culturshock

sizing up media, technology, and society

Archive for January 2009

The Next Web

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This article hit the upcoming section of Digg earlier today, and I thought I’d post my 2 cents here after leaving them in the comments.

It asked, “What will replace the Internet?”, and in my humble opinion, is quite colourful and speculative in answering.  While I think some of the ideas have merit, I opted for a shorter term, less sci-fi take on the future of our beloved WWW.

The Internet was initially developed @ CERN for the purpose of facilitating scientific data transfer. It later trickled down into corporate and public uses, where its technology was built upon (the WWW), expanded, and participated in on worldwide scales.

Internet -> The Grid, developed @ CERN to facilitate collaborative processing in order to manage the massive amounts of data being created by the Large Hadron Collider. It won’t just use the information present on the network, but the computational abilities of the members of the network itself (processors, storage, I/O). Imagine the Web that we could build on a system like that.

It will be cloud computing in the truest sense yet, and will be to information processing what the social media explosion has been to traditional modes of circulation: computers won’t be dumb terminals of data, but active participants in the whole process.

I would venture that the development and implementation of the Grid’s next-gen WWW platform would give rise to and/or facilitate the semantic web, as information processors would finally have access to new perspectives and massive statistical banks to help distinguish how different pieces of information are related to one another.

These perspectives would go beyond the number of link hits and keyword searches, and allow critical evaluation of the relationships between data through the conversation enabled by the Grid’s collaborative protocols.

This is why I liken the Grid’s introduction to the social media revolution: look at what conversation has done to us (as info processors), our information, and our information habits.  We may not *actually* be any smarter, but information networks like the Internet have made us far more resourceful, and continue to accelerate our ability to find, understand, and apply knowledge.

I am treading into some future post material, so I’ll stop here.  Stay tuned.

What do you think?

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Written by jon.

January 30, 2009 at 10:21 pm