The Net as a medium is not for anything in particular — not for making calls, sending videos, etc… Because everything we encounter in this world is something that we as humans made (albeit sometimes indirectly), it feels like it’s ours. Obviously it’s not ours in the property sense. Rather, it’s ours in the way that our government is ours and our culture is ours. There aren’t too many other things that are ours in that way.
If we allow others to make decisions about what the Net is for — preferring some content and services to others — the Net won’t feel like it’s ours, and we’ll lose some of the enthusiasm (= love) that drives our participation, innovation, and collaborative efforts.
I think if you had to summarize how Jaron Lanier feels about the Internet now, you could do worse than say, “it used to be OURS, but it’s THEIRS now.” For Lanier, he means the early freewheeling individualist-humanist pioneers, as opposed to the corporate peddlers of alleged community. Not everyone experiences everything in today’s internet that way, but for someone who came up during the wide-open, small-community period, it probably has to feel like something important’s been lost.
Now imagine that in five years, we (us, here, listening, this community, and all communities networked to it) all feel the way Lanier does. That none of it is ours anymore, all the way down to data packets. That’s what we face today.