How to make lemonade from a big bag of lemons ;)
It probably seems like there is nothing good to gain from repeal of net-neutrality. But in every challenge there exists an opportunity, so let’s dive right in…
1) Citizens of the Internet were able to come together across divisions in gender, party, religion, and background to agree on a single thing
In a time of so much divisiveness, almost universally Internet users agreed that creating fast/slow lanes is bad. I take that as a reaffirmation that there is still a shared common belief in the value free speech and the opportunity for prosperity and success. Repealing net neutrality is seen as an affront to both of these ideals and the fact that so many who generally disagree, can unite on this one thing should serve as an example. Maybe it can encourage us to try to find common ground or at least tolerance of different viewpoints on many other issues.
2) Exposes newer generations to the possibility of a regulated/slower Internet
Those that know the world before Internet were acutely aware and even afraid of what would happen if the free open worldwide network was at all restricted or prioritized. Those generations that have only known an unrestricted Internet will now see just an inkling of what a big change in the world that would make.
"We don’t really know what we care about until we are threatened with losing it"
I think this is showing all of us that a free and open Internet is important and worth fighting for. We all see the impact this has in our lives and our futures. I believe this realization will help shape future policies and hopefully re-institute the mandate for a neutral Internet.
3) Most importantly… harsh environments breed innovation
There are many studies of how plants and animals react over time to adverse conditions. At first they suffer and do not do very well, but over time through evolution, and adaptation, the strongest of the population will begin to thrive and overtake the weaker less adapted variations. These new mutations will enable the next generation to succeed in the face of the harsh and restrictive environment and use those same restrictions to its advantage.
My hope is that the same can happen with the Internet. That the restrictions and limitations that get imposed can serve as inspiration to innovators everywhere. Go generate new, more resilient solutions that turn the current weaknesses into strengths. Whether its blockchain, mesh, or something else entirely is yet to be seen.
But make no mistake the network will evolve to overcome any limitations imposed on it. The growth of the Internet itself was an exercise in exponential improvements in bandwidth, latency, and scale. There have been many predicting that “X” problem was unsolvable. And every time, I have watched as the solution became possible, then practical, then pervasive.
I have always lived by a motto which I think equally applies in this situation:
"Tell me what I can’t do, then get out of my way and watch me make it happen!"
- Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder — You must read this if you are looking to build in the face of adversity and not only succeed but thrive.
- IPFS — Building a distributed web that can’t be throttled, censored, or restricted
- Brave — New take on how the web could be monetized using blockchain for tracking attention and payments
- Swarmify — We built video acceleration with all of these concerns in mind. Make your video resilient against a non-neutral Internet while delivering a better experience than any of the ISP fast-lanes.