David Gelernter’s giant macaw, Ike, has taken a tumble. One moment he was there, offering agreeable squawks as Gelernter spoke, and then, in a flash of lightning, he wasn’t. Ike is fine, the 64-year-old Yale computer scientist assures me, simply stunned. “Luckily he’s as light as a bird. So he can fall great lengths and it doesn’t bother him,” he says. Now where was he? Oh yes, Gelernter was in the middle of telling me about his plans to revolutionize social media—emphasis on revolution.
On Thursday, Gelernter published a post on Medium declaring his grievances against our favorite social media overlord, Facebook. He’s directing his ire into a new company called Revolution Populi, a social network that emphasizes individual data ownership and democratic rule by its users. Hence the patriotic timing. “For me, this is an opportunity to take some action on a public issue that I think is really important,” he tells me. “Who owns the cyber landscape? Do we all own it, or do five incredibly rich people in California?” Gelernter’s message to those of us living under Facebook’s imperial rule is “Join or die.”..