Decentralization: Cutting Out the Middle Man

December 13th, 2002 | Posted by paul in Uncategorized

Scott Rosenberg’s new article in Salon provides a well balanced review of: The geek-driven world of new “decentralized” technologies like Wi-Fi, blogging and Web services is more about cutting out the middleman than finding a business model.

The internet is first and foremost a communication medium, like the telephone, only potentially infinitely more rich. David Isenberg’s elegant view of a Stupid Network with all of the intelligence located at the peers just makes more sense. Attempting to make money by creating the artificial need of a middlemen is ultimately doomed to failure. Only the strong arm of the law could possibly make it otherwise, which is why the policies around Open Spectrum, the Broadcast Flag, the DMCA and others are so important in this crucial struggle for communications liberty over the greed of corporations and the power-lust of governments.

Essentially we are witnessing the birth, a “Supernova” if you will, of people around the world being able to digitally and richly communicate without the need of any middle men for bandwidth or content. This threatens literally the way business and power have always been played. Think of it as analogous to the discovery of a cheap, clean and decentralized energy source without the need of anyone else to provide it. *** Decentralization threatens central power hierarchies ***. So look for the telecom big boys to do everything in their power to prevent such decentralization from occurring. I expect the governments recent branding of Wi-Fi as a terrorist threat, to be the first in a long line of attempts to stop this communications revolution.


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