Obama and the Future of the Internet

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Advocates are pushing Comcast to provide free or discounted cable and internet access to low-income New Yorkers in return for approval of the company's plan to merge with Time Warner Cable.

President Obama put forth a plan this week calling on the Federal Communications Commission to adopt strict rules protecting net neutrality. The agency has been working to balance the interests of technology companies who create and transmit information over the Internet with the concerns of cable operators and equipment makers that build and maintain the infrastructure that carries that information.

Tech companies, like Google and Netflix, generally oppose proposals that allow broadband companies to charge different rates for faster speeds.

The president is pushing for rules that would reclassify broadband operators and permit more regulation, bringing them in line with how phone companies have been regulated for decades. That would prevent preferential pricing and eliminate the so-called "fast" and "slow" lanes."

Not surprisingly, broadband providers want a freer hand to negotiate pricing and say net neutrality, as it's known, will stifle innovation and curb investment in better infrastructure.

This week on Money Talking, Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University and the man who coined the term "net neutrality" discusses why the outcome of this debate has the potential to fundamentally affect the way the Internet works, and by default, the way we work. 

Then, a look at encouraging curiosity and tough questions with Genevieve Bell, Intel's Director of User Experience Research. An anthropologist by training, Bell represents a growing trend of companies looking to social scientists to help predict what people will want in the future.