Grey-scale, regulation, decentralization, “going Amish;” these are just some of the things people are looking into to deal with the internet’s inherent problems. After operating for just over 20 years—and with concerns of security, hate speech, fake news, and Cambridge Analytica—it’s clear the web needs an overhaul. So, what is the best course of action?
The dream of democracy
If there is anything that this current administration proves, is that democracy is extremely hard to maintain. When the internet first came into being, the potential for a fully democratic utility—something that everyone could access—was as clear as the idea has ever been. And yet, within a few years, this seemingly limitless vessel of information became a tight highway with fast lanes and slower ones.
As the system became more adopted by every government and organization across the world, however, the problems of selfish people taking hold of the once democratic platform became more apparent. Google at one time was considered to be the ultimate power with the amount of influence they wielded. Since then, Amazon and even Facebook has taken that mantle. The power of the internet in the hands of the chosen few.
However, dealing with overruns like this can’t be something we simply push onto a third party like the government or lesser tech companies. No, to truly make this internet regulated in a way that empowers each individual who uses it, it has to be an individual responsibility (assuming we can repeal that human nature). The alternative is to offer those other systems the ability to limit or coerce control in some form or another.
Humanity needs the DWeb
Thankfully, the road ahead for the internet doesn’t have to be so bleak. Self-control and imposed regulations are not the only things that could be used to create balance on a naturally skewed system. The distributed web (DWeb) is a new way of operating the world-wide web. Essentially, by adding blockchain to the way sites are surfed, pundits think that the web as a whole will be decentralized, or governed by each individual user on a site-level rather than server-level.
The principle issue with the web as it stands today is that the worst abusers are these huge control centers. But the DWeb could decentralize the control of the framework to make it harder for oppressive regimes to control the internet. In other words: putting the power back into local control.
So, maybe you’re saying “Great! Where do I login?” But the cost for the DWeb is steep—much steeper than simply taking ownership of one’s own digital activity. To employ a decentralized web would require a complete restructuring of how we use one of the most ubiquitous and influential systems in human history. So, it’s good that the original creator of the internet is onboard—and even advocating—for this shift.
How blockchain became the most important thing
You may recall from another post of ours that the Blockchain is essentially a serial-number digital paper trail of information. That information can be anything from your home’s mortgage history to your laptop’s server activity. Because blockchain holds all that information at the point of contact, the need for centralized control of information is moot. The chain itself becomes the control.
This control can be revolutionary in how we handle things like currency (as with Bitcoin), ledgers (those mortgages I mentioned), and even produce handling (like with Walmart’s Romaine). And, given that throughout history, governments and organizations have held the keys to these control centers, decentralizing the net will require a complete rethinking of how we as a civilization even operate.