The life and death of Aaron Swartz and why it matters. Part 1.

--Originally published at Merino is talking about security.

Aaron Swartz at Boston Wikipedia Meetup, 2009-08-18
Aaron Swartz at Boston Wikipedia Meetup, 2009-08-18
(From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository)
A couple of classes ago we saw the first half (and a little more) of the 2014 documentary feature "The
Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz", directed by Brian Knappenberger. And, for a millenial that spends most of his time online, and is studying a mayor in computer sciences, I´m guilty, like many others, of not knowing who Aaron Swartz was. And, let me tell you, he was a pretty big deal.

As soon as the film starts I was ready for not liking this guy, he was a gifted boy genius, heavily opinionated and responsible for the creation of Reddit (a page that, to put lightly, has image problems). People with that profile usually score low on the likeability scale, they can be read as pretentious and hard to connect to in a human level. But I was pleasantly surprised that I was dead wrong, yes he was heavily invested in his work, but also he cared a lot about the PEOPLE who surrounded him, and how his work affected them.

You see, Swartz was quite a pioneer of the modern internet, maybe not a founding father per-se, but his work went from RSS, a page that can be best described as a pre-Wikipedia, and the aforementioned Reddit, all at a very young age. Swartz was all about sharing information, his brothers, interviewed on the film, mention that, apart from computers, he had a passion for teaching. He will explain what he learned at school to his brothers, he will read the entire textbook before class, he will spend his time toying with cd-encyclopedias, he wanted all that information to be accessible to the world, and he saw in the internet a way to do so.

Continue reading "The life and death of Aaron Swartz and why it matters. Part 1."