Let us look at the Internet (45 y.o.) and the World Wide Web (WWW, 25 y.o.) in a parent-child context. The ‘parent’, older and wiser, was invented as a means for resource-sharing and network collaboration for research purposes. It’s child, or product of reproduction, still shares the same genetic coding for ‘open-sharing’ BUT with the needed inclusion of wider communities and commercial activities to adapt into a new generation.
The relevance of the Internet’s history highlights the nature in which its success was due to it moving from being an innovative solution for isolable constricts of sharing information to a creative method of economically and intellectually investing from said information. However, with added stakeholders comes added risk. These include power elements such as ‘governance’ (control over regulation and ethics, cost and community benefits) and ‘security’ (safety of data exposed online).
What happens as we move to the future and these risks grow and fester? Do we let it become septic and in turn, kill the Internet? The typical response would be to find a solution just as the WWW presented. The Internet society refutes the idea by reasoning that we, as a community are unable to collectively steer towards the future with compromise being unachievable as the new-bred power-tiered communities are unwilling to risk their advantages. This leads back to the parent-child relationship expressed earlier. In the face of needed amendment, should reproduction stop and cause predecessors to die out OR should the Internet be reproduced as a new generation brainchild guided by its predecessors? This quote by Internet law and policy expert Robert Cannon addresses this eloquently….