During a special presentation of the SD Forum in August, John Markoff discussed his book about the 60's counterculture and it's effects on technology today. As I reveled in my morning commute, made much more interesting with this kind of content, I came to realize that the counterculture just needed to go silent to gain some experience.
Having lost much of it's utopian trappings, the counterculture matured through the 70's and resurfaced slowly with the PC and the Internet. As Markoff discusses and "Web 2.0" embodies, technology is infused with attitudes less about command and control, more about connection, context, and sharing.
Letting go of some control actually provides benefits - less "whacking a mole" or putting out fires, and more putting something out there and finding opportunity. The concept of the next "boom" as the rise of co-creation makes a lot of sense and reconciles well with open source development, user-generated content, and better information-finding tools.
The current attitudes towards control and innovation seem to represent the intersection of the counterculture and Generation X. Many representations of this younger generation paint a picture of disaffection and laziness. However, I believe we just wanted interesting problems to solve and the opportunity to do work that has some meaning.
Subsequent generations will be even more demanding in this regard. They will have never known a time without PC's, and soon, without the Web.