Just as I was beginning to think that I’m getting used to the Internet and the various ways that I’ve found to integrate it into the things I do in my life I read that researchers at several universities are working to design a new internet to replace the current global network.
The argument goes that the originally designed internet is well past it’s used-by date, with all sorts of “tack-ons’ having been added over the past couple of decades to address things such as security, performance, mobility etc., and that these things are now making the current internet cumbersome and in danger of falling over, particularly as we move towards much faster internet speeds and a more mobile internet.
In the article on eSchoolNews, Larry Peterson, chairman of computer science at Princeton and head of the planning group for the NSF’s GENI is quoted as saying, “Rather than create workarounds each time, clean-slate researchers want to redesign the system to easily accommodate any future technologies.”
Wow – I guess we’ll have to wait and see where this one goes, although indications are that it won’t be something that happens in a hurry – with those involved recognising that the internet has now become mission critical to so many in business, government, education etc – it would create mahem to do anything too suddenly.
The article did start me thinking however. What do you do when a system, designed and built to meet the requirements of a previous era, becomes so burdened through the repeated addition of “tack-ons” designed to make it cope with the emerging demands of the changing environment it operates in? Is a clean slate indeed the best solution?
The whole scenario sounds familiar – take for instance our education system. Trouble is, we’re up against the same things this group of internet researchers will find – entrenched sets of beliefs and behaviours, all sorts of established use and dependencies, and a general relectance to change from something that is familiar.
Seems we inevitably get back to the “evolution” vs “revolution” arguments. Meantime, another generation of young people get poorly served by what we offer…..