We have now completed our interim report. This contains a wealth of information on the project so far, including the results from the first round of our online Delphi survey and our nearly-finalised scenarios. We look forward to your comments!
Our MIT expert workshop went very well earlier this week. Thanks again to our participants: David Clark, Karen Sollins, William Lehr (all MIT CSAIL), John Wroclawski (University of Southern California), Karmen Guevara, Chris Marsden (University of Essex), Andrea Matwyshyn (University of Pennsylvania), David Reed (MIT Media Lab), Atanu Ghosh, Ken Carlberg (SAIC), Michael Geist (University of Ottawa), Eddan Katz (EFF) and Andrew Odlyzko (University of Minnesota). (Jonathan Zittrain was unavoidably detained, but happily now seems to be on the mend!)
Here are the slides I used to introduce the event:
We will be posting a short summary of the event once it is written.
I’m looking forward to the 25th annual European Communications Policy Research Conference in Brussels later this month. My colleague Dr Alison Powell will be presenting the paper we have co-authored with Alissa Cooper on US and UK discourses of network neutrality. This is timely, since net neutrality is a key policy variable in our Future Internet scenarios. I will also be responding to a paper on identity as a concept for policy design.
Jesse Thomas animated this short databurst about today’s Internet:
Later this month MIT are kindly hosting our second expert workshop. Twenty invited participants from across the Americas will be analysing future Internet trends and technology based on the draft scenarios we are developing around Europe’s future Internet needs.
Many thanks to Karen Sollins and Sue Perez for facilitating, and to all of our participants for sharing their expertise. It’s exciting to be running this Future Internet event at one of the birthplaces of the ARPANET.
You can read a draft report on our first expert workshop, held last September in Brussels with a similar number of European experts. In May we will be holding our third and final expert workshop in Tokyo.
|0900-0930||Welcome and overview of project|
|0930-1000||In pairs/threes: review of four scenarios|
|1000-1030||Whole-group discussion (plenary room)|
|1045-1230||In three groups: isolating the key social, economic, technical scenario trends, and identifying their inter-relationship. How does the Internet need to develop to support positive trends and minimise negative trends?|
|1300-1315||Groups report back|
|1400-1415||Overview of European Commission Future Internet actions|
|1415-1530||In three groups: identifying Internet-focused R&D and policy actions that promote positive trends and minimise negative trends identified earlier in day|
|1545-1600||Groups report back|
Interesting short article from Dave Clark in IEEE Computer: Fighting over the Future of the Internet.
For much of the Internet’s life, it has coevolved with the PC. The relative maturity of the PC could thus lead to the erroneous assumption that the Internet itself is mature. But as computing enters the post-PC era over the next decade, with mobile devices, sensors, actuators, and embedded processing everywhere, the Internet will undergo a period of rapid change to support these new classes of computing.
Lots of goodies from RAND Europe today. Here is another just-published report, summarising their study on Policy Options for the Ubiquitous Internet Society:
This report has discussed and linked together technologies, connectivity technology trends, socio-economic impacts, and policy challenges, ending with recommendations for possible policies and approaches. It launched the concept of the ‘Internet of X’ as a generic description of the multiple of concepts that express the trends of converging information infrastructures, increasing computing power and its embedding in everyday objects, the convergence of humans and machines and the growing intelligence of the web. The report should provide policymakers with a rich account of what the Internet of X may entail and what can be done to support its socially and economically beneficial development.
RAND Europe have just published a discussion paper on the Future of the Internet Economy, prepared for the Dutch government. Worth a look:
Openness and transparency are essential character traits of the Internet economy and should be embraced by governments as necessary components to deal with issues of privacy, security and active inclusive participation. The creative and entrepreneurial individual – organised or not – is at the heart of this development and the open Internet is his habitat. In this world government does not only ‘govern’ but facilitates, enables, shares, empowers, creates awareness and stimulates trust. Government will also retain an important role in ensuring effective competition and supporting innovation, through the use of open standards and the application of intelligent but not overly restrictive IPR policies, which support the innovators and not the concentration of market power.
National and international government cannot effectively control or regulate this space and needs to embrace industry, service providers and other stakeholders in self-governing and co-regulatory arrangements. Governments may back these up and strengthen them through political, financial and sometimes regulatory means.
The virtual and the real world abide to many of the same rules, with human rights and respect for personal space as guiding principles. Also there are risks and benefits like in the real world, which need to be understood and managed. Yet at the same time it seems important to only take measures in areas where it is seen to be necessary, because of facts, rather then because of assumptions, in order to avoid that unnecessary barriers are created that would stop innovation in technology and its application in ways that may well be of benefit to society at large. The Internet economy is truly global and diverse, which creates many interesting opportunities for all, and connectivity and access for all should be supported wholeheartedly, notwithstanding some of the risks.
Thanks to CM for the pointer to Andrew Odylzko’s predictions for the next Internet decade. They include:
Many of the old battles over issues such as QoS or ﬂat rate vs. usage-based pricing, as well as the on-going one over net-neutrality, are likely to be fought again in the wireless arena. It is possible that some outcomes might be diﬀerent this time. The reason is that the balance between supply and demand is diﬀerent. In the wireline arena, the growth in demand is still high, but it has been declining, to a level that is currently just about counterbalanced by improvements in technology. This produces incentives for service providers to increase usage, and such incentives suggest simple pricing and simple networks. In wireless, on the other hand, growth in data transmission appears to be signiﬁcantly ahead of what technology can support, at least without major increases in levels of capital expenditure. And the incentives to raise investments are lacking, since most of the large potential sources of new wireless data transmissions are not anywhere near as lucrative as voice and texting. Users would like seamless mobility, but the huge gap between capacities of ﬁber and radio links is unlikely to allow this. So service providers will have strong incentives to closely manage their network traﬃc, and are likely to try to ration capacity and discriminate among applications and among service providers.
Last month we held a small workshop in Brussels to draw on the knowledge of a number of external experts for the project. Here is a short report of the event — all comments welcome!