The impact of safe network on the delivery of ‘standard’ web content such as video, images and text is obvious; user experience can and will closely match the current web.
But there’s an interesting talk from Noe Gorelick of Google Earth Engine (source video 17m-40m) that highlights a more specialised use case for the safe network.
At the 36:35m mark there’s a slide that explains from an engineering perspective why centralization of datasets is happening (ie not political / business / economic / conspiratorial reasons). Data transfer and storage is a major limiting factor to the end goal of running computation and exploring the output. End users want centralization so they can reap the benefits of it, namely speed-of-output.
Consumer end users will gladly download a 10 GB movie from safe, but industry end users will not download a 1 PB dataset. This would take 3 years at a rate of 1 TB per day. It’s not a matter of desire, it’s a matter of impossibility.
Scientific data is currently being centralized in a few massive data centres because it simply cannot be delivered, even between warehouses. This means computation must happen close to the data.
I admire the work of google earth engine and their goals (the response to “what’s the business model” is “we have to live on this planet too” ie their business is to improve the health of the planet). However I think they’re wrong about the inevitibility of data centralization.
A SAFE app which coordinates map-reduce operations (like Hadoop or BOINC) will be a natural fit for the safe network and hopefully increase the utility of massive scientific datasets. Eventually it will be nice to have compute as a native part of the network, but in the short term I can see enormous value in a grid computing application.
There’s also an interesting slide at 36:03 about the cost of data processing
Processing 30 years of global satelite imagery costs around 30K euros. 25K of that relates to data (ie bandwidth) costs, the other 5K is cpu. This gives an indication of what the current market price is for data and processing, and some insight into what cost / value / price industrial users can afford to pay for the safe network.
A lot of scientific and industrial data work isn’t especially sexy, but I think that industry opens the door to a valuable opportunity for the safe network.