The Edge Net : A First Design Proposal
The spy state cannot be voted out of office. It eats laws for breakfast and excretes excuses for breaking them. We will either build a spy-proof Internet, that cannot be banned or controlled, or we accept to become slaves.
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That gives us a global fabric, which I’ll dub the “Cellnet.” The Cellnet is slow, asynchronous, opportunistic, and works at a human scale, closely tied to our physical movements and proximity to other people. It is a different animal from the Internet we use today, where distance is abstracted to nothing and you never really know who you are talking to. I like the idea of de-abstracting technology.
A sustainable social network would be a collection of real relationships, not clicks. It would be based on private relationships, since to expose one’s relationships makes it them public assets. That may work in some contexts, and certainly in open communities, yet open communities seem to be a different animal than social networks. Each person’s social network, that map of our relationships and how important each one is to us, would be owned by each of us, and no one else.
As a user experience, it’s simple. I have stuff (code, photos, ideas, documents, music) that I want to share with one or more people. I choose the stuff, click Share (it should be a physical button on the phone) and it pops up my most important groups and people. I choose who to share it with, and that’s it.
The actual sharing might take hours or days, as I meet people and our phones exchange data. My stuff hops leisurely across the Cellnet, sometimes getting lost and trying again, until it finds its destination. I don’t really care. With enough people connected, data can travel very rapidly and if I really have gigabytes to send, I’ll wait until I see the person and we can work over a direct WiFi link.