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Before starting this piece I had made a photocopy of some of the various articles that have appeared containing interviews with Bill Gates in view of the forthcoming publication of his new newspaper on Internet. In these I hoped to find a hint on how to explain, with reasonable arguments, the reason why anyone should want to create a newspaper or a magazine exclusively for the "mother of all networks". But the more I think of it the less I am interested in other people's reasons, the more I think of it the less the reasons for this choice strike me as being exclusively rational, the more I seek a reason inside myself the more the reasons for any choice defy pure reasoning. We wanted to make the first Italian newspaper of politics, current affairs and culture only for Internet, that's true, but who knows if we really are the first, or even if we really care whether we are or not? We thought we could enrich the content of the network, giving it the benefit of our knowledge, our experience as press journalists, without really knowing what this change involves, but trusting in a revaluation of our profession at a time when - being free from the obligations of printed paper and having greater freedom of expression offered by the computer system - we can linger exclusively over headlines and articles; we placed our bet on the fact that the newspaper is not for sale, but is put entirely at the disposal of the reader who, with his access to the page, guarantees the passing of the "banner" and the advertising "spot" that enables the newspaper to keep going; finally we invested in a future that will probably be different from anything we know and which, without indulging in too much science fiction, will make us move differently with regard to information. So is it all a matter of heart? A lot, certainly, because no enterprise would ever be undertaken without heart. Courage, intuition but also precise objectives and the desire to achieve them. Even the choice of the name is significant: NAUTILUS, the submarine of Captain Nemo, an almost mythological character, searching, like Jason and his Argonauts, for a new age, a golden fleece that had perhaps been lost for ever. On the network, where we navigate, touch sites, where we fly like surfers over the waves from one place to another, we also propose to be deep-sea divers, travelling under the surface, in the sea of information, to see things in depth and not just superficially.

So here we have a periodical, a monthly magazine for and on the network, which maintains its periodical nature on only one topic, the one "in the foreground"; in this first edition the topic is "Secession". Every month a wide range of topics will be examined in depth, we will seek contributions from intellectuals, politicians, journalists and scientists, so as to offer, on the chosen topic, if not an exhaustive knowledge, certainly the most complete and independent that can possibly be had. The other parts of the newspaper are variable, they may be updated from week to week, from day to day and, why not, from hour to hour. The only way to stay on the network is to enrich it with information, innovations, culture and processes. The network, which takes on the connotations of a complex organism, which by means of chaotic rules tends first of all to ensure its own survival, eliminates anyone who only exploits it as an instrument without supplying any new resources and processes. Pages on Internet that only supply connections with other pages of Internet may be of use to tidy up ideas and create indices, they reduce entropy but they do not enrich the network. So new pages are needed, fresh topics to propose to the more than 80 million users who are connected with one another by means of more than 350,000 computers. Pages of current affairs, politics, culture, art, gastronomy, fashion, games, sport, meteorology ... Serious subjects mixed with more light-hearted topics and, if something new crops up, there is no problem, the updated page comes on line immediately, replacing the previous one and adding further enrichment to what is in circulation.

The versatility of the instrument is impressive, when freed from the bond of printed paper; the user can of course print what he sees on the screen, care can be taken with the graphic presentation, the page lay-out and the image, supplying a product that is rich and good to look at as well. The journal will be on line along with its back numbers and the main part will come out at monthly intervals; as we said, updating will not be monthly. When the news or the interview arrives, the updated version will be punctual. The "form" of the newspaper loses one of its main characteristics, its periodical nature, it will never become something old, to be thrown away, because, right from the first page, the user can know where to find the innovations and the latest changes, thanks to the special indications provided.

A network newspaper can be made in this way, but is this just what we think, or does the fact that we want it this way not depend on us alone? I like to believe that the conditions are laid down by the network, that entity that exists no one knows where, but which manages complex decision-making mechanisms. We depend on these currents. The engine of our Nautilus can push in certain directions, but it is too weak if we try to oppose what everyone has mastered, a precise flow that springs from the converging of millions of individual analogical elements, free to think and speak without frontiers. It is the network that holds part of the "power", not the people who insert information, contents and lines of thinking. No one on the network is obliged to enter a particular site, no one is bound by the position of a certain way of reasoning, or forced to receive what he or she does not want. In the network it is impossible for everything to move in one direction. One voice is always answered by another. Printed paper and television: the fourth and the fifth power are already on the network and they can have their say, they have and will continue to have spaces of their own, governed by new rules. But they will not make the rules themselves, these will be imposed by a new subject, a superior who guarantees, the network in fact: the sixth power.