January 02, 2004

Who Swallows Who?

Gerrit Visser posts an intriguing article speculating that the Net is set to swallow the telephone system and pointing to a BBC article that is even more revolutionary, if a little less clueful.

Grid computing and enum, and NAPTR, are three revolutions that are likely to spill over into the collective consciousness, each of which are likely to be at least as disruptive as e-mail and e-commerce have been.

Grid computing is timesharing on a vast scale. Currently, we're usually using our computers at only a fraction of their potential. With grid computing, you have the ability to take computing power you didn't even know you had and meld it into a virtual machine that handles tasks quickly, cheaply, and virtually eliminates the wasteful NOP.

Enum is the suite of protocols to marry the classic telephone system to the Internet. It slightly overlaps NAPTR which is an even more ambitious project to marry all addressing systems to the internet so that even the most dedicated luddite might be reached through the net via a NAPTR record containing the appropriate instructions. Meals on Wheels, for example, could add message services along with their meal delivery with a creative use of NAPTR records.

This is a socio-legal nightmare waiting to burst upon us. Radio, TV, books, telephones, they all have different legal frameworks that attend them. By creating this one service, NAPTR creates the temptation for regulators of all these forms in every country (and the rules do tend to vary from country to country) to try to extend their familiar legal framework to this "new version" of their particular field. Book censors in Myanmar will want to have the net conform to their rules, and thus affect radio programming in Canada. by making the net touch everything, the net gains the potential to be a transmission belt of regulative restrictions.

On the other hand, the net has the equal potential to become the regulatory solvent for all these other fields. It really does depend on who is more skillful and aware of the potential for change and is best prepared for the huge cat fight that will burst upon us in the next 10 years.

Posted by TMLutas at January 2, 2004 10:00 AM