Steve Job's death reminds us of how central the Internet has become to life. What didn't exist a short generation ago has become virtually indispensible now.
None of Job's incredible talents and creativity would have come out had the Worldwide Web not enabled his revolutionary devises.
Lest you think that only the affluent benefit, take a look at Nairobi, Kenya where, two weeks ago, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) gathered. This was fitting, given the new generation of African Internet entrepreneurs.
The IGF meeting reinforced Steve Jobs' message that the Internet must be maintained as a vehicle for the unrestricted exchange of views, information, songs, TV shows, movies, games, and what-have-you (some that we haven't imagined yet).
Similarly, the international organization designed to foster this goal must remain open. This seemingly obvious point is not so obvious to all. After six years of success, the IGF has come under assault by the authoritarian Chinese government and the international-regulation crowd in the United Nations bureaucracy. Together this axis for control attempted to turn the IGF into a regulatory agency by excluding NGOs and other elements of civil society from its proceedings.
In particular, the Chinese head of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs tried to use renewal of the organization's five-year mandate to force it into a regulatory, quasi-government entity.
Happily, this Chinese gambit was met with staunch resistance, as the IGF's mandate was renewed as the U.S., Europeans and others confirmed their commitment to the open, free nature of the IGF.
Steve Jobs would be pleased.