“Future Histories” by Lizzie O’Shea creatively connects the past and present to suggest how a better future can be ours, if we want it. Ms. O’Shea is an influential lawyer, writer and broadcaster who is renowned for her expertise around human, indigenous and digital rights. Demonstrating how past struggles can offer wisdom in our time of crisis, this outstanding book explains why the demand for ‘digital democracy’ is integral to building a better world.
Each of the book’s eleven chapters are built around lessons learned from history. Ms. O’Shea applies these lessons to challenges facing us today. For example, the American revolutionary Tom Paine’s thoughts on common property might inspire us to demand ‘digital citizenship’ rights. Technology can make it possible for ordinary people to participate more fully in the decisions that impact our daily lives.
Throughout the discussion, Ms. O’Shea displays an extraordinary level of insight into issues historical, technical and political. Importantly, Ms. O’Shea’s unabashedly working class perspective effectively exposes the uselessness of those ‘technology capitalists’ whose control of the technology has held back progress. Reminding us that the Internet was built using public monies, the author succeeds in opening readers’ minds to the possibility that technology can serve people rather than profit - but only if we want it.
I highly recommend this exceptional, timely and powerful book to everyone.