Some have claimed that bandwidth is all it takes, and that any greater functions can be layered onto that basic communication substrate (aka. Napster), but I disagree. I think that what the Internet has done and meant has had a lot to do with what it (Internet Protocol) specifically
does and how it specifically does it.
My point here is that while allowing many new and important applications, the core "Internet" itself still does just one thing: transfer packets from one specified place to another. You can do a lot with that of course (FTP, HTTP, streaming media... and even Gopher!), but make no mistake that much more would/will be possible with a network that, deep in its heart, does more than just transfer bits from point A to point B.
I'd like you do take a minute to imagine a network that does more than just transfer; or better yet, that specifically does not transfer, but instead does other things like:
- Process information in a distributed fashion.
- Store stuff in a distributed and anonymous way.
- Access information in a content-addressable way (as opposed to the www.righthere.com geographic way we use now). Google everywhere?
- Somehow allow those processes and stored elements to mutate somehow, like we read about in Out of Control. (Indeed, this is wacky, but bear with me for a sec)
We're all worried about lawsuits. What kind of architecture would make this kind of thing impossible? What if a specific "server" for mp3's (or something) was not only hard to locate, but not even specifically/geographically defined
? Etc. etc.
And then finally, how might such a network be organically cobbled together out of the basic technologies we have on hand now? Even more organically than how the Internet has grown?
Thanks for your time,
--Craig Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org)