Die Technikmafia

Marcus Rohwetter has recently published a very detailed article about Antifeatures in the German monthly magazine Zeit Wissen. Although I’ve only read the article through automatic translation — unfortunately, I don’t read German — I’m hugely honored that Rohwetter has taken the time to engage with the idea so deeply and to help translate the argument for a much broader community than the free software community I come from and am best able to speak to.

A lot of what I’ve been trying to do in the last year or so is to figure out how to speak more effectively about the politics of technology control to audiences of non-technologists. Indeed, that’s the whole point of the antifeatures concept. I deeply appreciate the help of Rohwetter, and others, in that project.

3 thoughts on “Die Technikmafia”

  1. Thank you!
    I never was quite able to point my finger on what bugs me about (many) “features” you pay good money for (like the tethering subscription fees demanded by certain mobile providers for the IPhone.
    The word Antifeature properly describes this, thank you very much for this catchy word!

  2. Reading the Zeit article about anti-features reminded me of the old story about “everlasting light bulbs”, that light bulb manufacturers supposedly invent and then conspire to suppress, as it would deprive them of their source of income. (see e.g. http://www.johnkay.com/1999/09/01/shedding-light-on-the-limits-to-innovation )

    Has anybody looked into the economics of anti-features? Under what conditions is it rational for a manufacturer to include them? It’s a pity the author of the Zeit article didn’t think to ask the opinion of an economist.

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