TLDR: Without a solid software template for the internet as a whole i.e., SAFE the net will continue to centralize even at physical level and become more problem than solution. With a decentralized software template like SAFE catching on, the net has a solid chance of truly decentralizing even down to its physical structure and decentralizing other systems. No arguing that the internet is already a decentralized system but its tending toward greater centralization. I am suggesting that hardware follows software. For instance, it’s interesting that as soon neural net software starts finally working for undecernable reasons we get chip level hardware from IBM and quantum stuff as a complement.
If you look at Qualcom’s recent comments and its marketing strategy around 5G (see Fierce Wireless publication) you see it comes across as extremely aggressive on 5G but also comparatively balanced. If you look at Intel, which just got a contract opposite Qualcomm for the Iphone 7 and 7 plus (AT&T only) for the modem chip, you see Intel talks 5G and about mesh networks but also wanting to allow centralized ISPs to get down into people’s private meshes and IOT and monitize every bit. This is a bit like when AOL was charging people by the hour to access data stored on their own hard drives because it was taken from the public net. It’s depressing to see that Intel wants to use its name and might to protect walled gardens and oligopolies just like it did with HDCP and its role in pushing and protecting DRM. Intel seems to be there to protect zero ratings and messing with neutrality.
What I take from this is just how important and pivotal the role SAFE can play is. Skype destroyed the business case and model for long distance fees. That died because of Skype and similar software.
Of course Skype was far from perfect, but the example was enough. Napster, Kazaa, Limewire and finally better stuff like Emule led to Itunes and ad free low cost subscription based access to almost all music and to the iTunes model and the disintermediation of the labels. It’s also led to Popcorn time. But SAFE shows just how fundamental the software layer is to p2p. What these p2p platforms did for music and content and long distance, SAFE will do for the internet itself but do it also in physical terms and do it with something better than TOR in a way that also impact centralized power generally.
Without the decentralized software piece that SAFE will provide the arguments about enclosure and restricting access to make money and protect investors and jobs and rents and property and all this other stuff will get in the way of the crucial physical decentralization of the net. Even with SAFE I am not sure we don’t end up with Qualcomm’s model but without a solid software template for the hardware future of the net it would seem we are more likely to get Intel’s model. And Intel’s is a true toll-road model. Imagine if you had to pay long distance postage on every email you sent. Getting it right could mean another dot com bubble but those that do investment ethically they should be fine.