The Future of Internet

Around Y2K a friend and I had an idea for a phone that works over the Internet by connecting to USB. The time was not so great because of that bubble. A few years later Skype did it.

After that I went into the area of media and Internet video and broadcasting. Part of this was the experimental broadcast of Israeli Channel 10 on this site: There were two applications that I could think of at the time. The first is a storage that lets people share their video clips online - this is YouTube. The second application is a radio or TV channel with multiple sources. This means that everyone can bring their own content to the public, live. This was not really implemented yet and we only have web-blogs today. Perhaps one day a shopping center would has a video room for kids to broadcast their content after school..

About four to five years back I had a vision of all network routers in an organization becoming a cloud. You can read about this by searching the web for patents with my name on them. Today everybody is considering cloud as the near future of computer systems.

What I really want to talk about is the next step after it. The future of Internet in two to four years from today.

First and foremost anonymity will be gone. Gone or at least cast a side. Today we log in to most of the websites and most verify our email address. IP addresses can pin-point out location to the area of a city and very often a street, the company we work for, and this is widely public for every website to use. Facebook gave a face for the people we talk to and we can choose not to chat with people we do not know. People who do not log in to facebook can't interact with anyone. I am anonymous right now - you don't know where I am and where I work, and still you know more about me than anyone I meet at the shopping center near my house. You read my blog, you have a picture of my face, and you know what I think about many things. Anonymity allows people to feel free over the web but the truth is that Google knows who you are when you are browsing the web. They need this to help you with your search results and with ads. Websites know who you are, that you came back, what other sites you visited, and who sent you. The Internet started with anonymity for porn but in fact most porn sites will not only keep track over you but will also make the best effort to install a spyware on your computer so they can keep better track over you.

We can still be anonymous in the web but we can also be anonymous in a dark alley - nobody is going to recognize you there. The question is what kind of interaction are you willing to have with people who wish to stay completely anonymous...

The other side of innovation in the Internet and web, which will soon link to the first, is Cloud. I am not talking about cloud computing, rather it is cloud as a concept. We have a few clouds today, for example e-Mule is a cloud in which everyone can donate their file resources. You contribute more - you get more. DNS servers in the Internet operate as a cloud. When we think of machines working together we like it. It feels right. This is because our community is a cloud. Family is cloud, friends are cloud, every group of people who agree to share, who agree to give in exchange for receiving operate as a cloud, as a collective.

Next step for the Internet then is to let me identify the people around me so we can agree on cooperation. If I can locate the people near me then I get more out of the cloud. If I play online with the guy next door then he is more likely inclined to give me a cup of sugar when I am out of. You get more if your communities overlap. Friends are members of your community. Kids today have more friends online that face to face, this is because they are part of more online communities than otherwise. The more committed you are and more involved with a community you are better privileges. Communities also have leaders.

If I have a nice song that I wrote I cannot share that with the rest of the world on my own. I need to find a website, a place where people with the same interest meet. A while back I had to go to a club to play chess with other people. Today I can do it online by using an application that searches for someone else with interest in the same game. Gamers also have communities and you usually play online with your username. Today I have to go to a website to find out about new songs. Google cannot search for a song I wrote on my computer. I need to use a central server to publish that. Or do I?

Why can't I publish my work? I wrote a nice application and I want other programmers to benefit from this code. I share information I get better access to other resources that the community (or cloud) has to offer. Why do I need a web server to share files? Why can't I borrow web-server services from the community in exchange for sharing my computer as a web-server?

The Internet has no owner and anonymity is basic. Both arguments are false because you cannot do anything without being identified, and everywhere you go online you are dependent on web-site owners. They might want to delete your post or comment, they might agree to publish your work... The real Internet begins when everyone has an equal share. Like a Kibbutz, just like communism only you are the owner of your resources and you will only give them willingly - like democracy.

The time to start is now.
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