by Paul Baran
The Monkey Buddha Archives:
Digital technology, especially the Internet, have greatly increased our ability to connect on a global scale.
Television, both broadcast & cable, can be seen as a centralized medium. There is a central television station or cable provider that controls all the content.
The Internet, on the other hand, is decentralized. Each computer is a node that can connect to other nodes through ISPs (Internet Service Providers).
The future of digital media & the Internet is in distributed networks. Each device or node in the network will be independent, and capable of directly connecting to any & all of the nodes in the network.
We have see distributed networking emerging already, in situations where the government or some other authority tries to shut down Internet connections. One recent example of decentralized, but vulnerable, Internet connectivity being replaced by distributive networking is the protests that have take place in Hong Kong.
I don't think anyone can predict the full implications of an Internet that consists of distributive networking. It will greatly diminish the power of centralized power structures, such as media conglomerates and nation-state governments. Perhaps it will lead to truly democratic societies, in which everyone is an independent, but crucial, element in a fully interconnected network.