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On the 40th anniversary of the Internet, WE LIVE IN PUBLIC tells the story of the effect the web is having on our society as seen through the eyes of "the greatest Internet pioneer you've never heard of", visionary Josh Harris. Award-winning director, Ondi Timoner ("DIG!"), documented his tumultuous life for more than a decade, to create a riveting, cautionary tale of what to expect as the virtual world inevitably takes control of our lives. Josh Harris, often called the "Warhol of the Web" through the infamous dot.com boom of the 1990's, founded Pseudo.com, the first Internet television network and created his vision of the future, an underground bunker in NYC where 100 people lived together on camera for 30 days over the millennium. He proved how in the not-so-distant future of life online, we will willingly trade our privacy for the connection and recognition we all deeply desire. Through his experiments, including a six-month stint living under 24-hour live surveillance online ... Written by
WE LIVE IN PUBLIC charts the career of a man who not only embraced, embodied, and celebrated the World Wide Web practically from its inception, but was able to guess certain directions that this phenomenon would take. However, the premise of the film is that Josh Harris is a genius because he was able to develop internet social networking years before anyone else, and I find this to be a kind of false assumption. Granted, he might have had the original idea, but what good was the notion of a 'real time social networking system', if the internet had not evolved enough to support this activity. The bandwidth simply was not there! Many ideas are marvelous in the abstract, but if these concepts cannot be brought to fruition, what good are they? A true genius not only develops the concept, but must make it work in the real world. Timing has to account for something, and I think that this was Mr. Harris's Achilles Heel. WE LIVE IN PUBLIC is a great look at an era in the development of the Computer Age, and certainly documents Josh Harris's many accomplishments. but the film fails to make the case that this man is as much a pioneer as he would have us believe. The reason that he is not in the same league as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, is that they successfully accomplished 'real things', whereas Mr. Harris came up with a major idea which was not really supportable at the time.
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