What is the future of the INTERNET ?
This is perhaps the most profound question of our age.
There have been many scenarios proposed for how the internet might go, and we will likely see aspects of each of them.
There is the 1984 scenario, of mass surveillance and mass mind control.
There is Peter Diamandis’ vision of an internet enabled economy with radical abundance in an economic model.
There is the sort of vision proposed by economist Robin Hanson where the internet is central to reducing almost all humanity to marginal survival, exploited by an economic elite few (the logical outcome of continued development within a market based value set).
There is the corporate model of a centralised and controlled internet.
There is the open source model of a decentralised and hyper-redundant mesh internet.
There is the use of internet to impose rules and conformance.
There is the use of the internet to empower creative collaboration.
There is the sort of vision I am proposing, where the internet is used to establish distributed trust networks at multiple levels, based on values of individual life and individual liberty.
The internet is an enabler of communication.
What people choose to communicate across the internet comes from the values they have adopted, the habits of mind, the distinctions and abstractions they have adopted or created.
In and of itself, the internet is morally and technically neutral.
It is what we all, as individuals and groups, choose to do with it that will define how it is used in our future.
It seems clear to me, that it is our choices that matter.
It seems clear to me that the most important of those choices is our choice of values.
If we choose to value individuals, with all the diversity that each individual brings, with the interaction of all of their 100 billion pattern recognition systems a hundred times every second, then there is a potential for a future that is characterised by security and abundance and freedom and creativity.
If we adopt any of the infinite classes of righteous adherence to some “true way”, to which others must conform or perish, then the future holds conflict and perhaps even extinction.
I see no certainty.
And I am quietly confident, in the face of all the linear evidence to the contrary, that there is an exponentially growing signal in the noise and we will choose to value all sapient life (human and non-human, biological and non-biological), and we will achieve that future of freedom and security and abundance and diversity for all (no exceptions). And I am clear that markets (and values derived from markets, like money) can have no significant role in such a future.