An Update and Preview of “What is the ‘Splinternet?'”

To begin, I must state that as of this writing, I will be updating my PC to Windows 10 sometime this week. I don’t expect the changeover to cause any serious delays since I have a backup laptop that I keep around just in case if something happened to my PC. In fact, much of the effort poured into this Blog has been on that laptop. Since I seldom used the PC, I never bothered to update it to Windows 10. If I do not post anything tomorrow or Saturday, it’s probably because I am trying to update the PC.

Regardless, I have been investigating the significance of the Internet, World Wide Web (WWW). Those of you who have read yesterday’s post will know that my interest in Project Cybersyn has to do with the feasibility of a more contemporary variant. One of the conclusions that I had considered was the possibility of, had Allende’s Chile survived, Cybersyn eventually gaining some form of connection to the WWW.

The WWW is the digital medium that everyone uses whenever they are referring to the Internet. Anyone reading this post on their PC, smartphone or other device is using the WWW to do so. It has become commonplace in the daily lives of billions of people around the world. Thus, the idea of us somehow ‘losing’ access to the Internet seems unfathomable. Such a premonition is so outrageous that it cannot possibly happen.

The greater availability and accessibility of the WWW came as a result of subsequent advancements in information technologies like WIFI and the Cloud allowing greater coverage for wireless devices. From gaming consoles to smartphones, they have enabled people around the world to be interconnected than they had been in the past.

But the significance of the Internet is well-known and much has been written about the subject.  What I intend to discuss here is the idea of somehow ‘losing’ access to the Internet and why that seems unfathomable. While such a premonition is so outrageous that it cannot possibly happen, the possibility has been explored by governments and telecommunications firms since the 1990s.  

The idea of “Internet balkanization,” of the breakup of the World Wide Web into a series of national intranets, is referred to as the ‘Splinternet’. Unlike the Internet, Splinternet is limited in terms of where and when information is allowed to circulate across networks. This is already being done among the internal networks of universities, institutions, governments, and organizations. What the Splinternet describes is the concept of the Internet splintering into intranets restricted on a national level, hence its term.

Recent examples of trends toward the Splinternet have been the “Great Firewall” of Mainland China and the more recent “Sovereign Internet Law” of Russia. It is possible that Cybersyn would have thrived better under the circumstances of the Splinternet rather than the Internet as the issue of malware, cyberwarfare, cyberespionage and cyberterrorism become increasingly dangerous in this century. It may seem preposterous, but the possibility of malware and cyberattacks are not the only conditions for the rise of the Splinternet. Another problem has been the widespread proliferation of trivial information such as memes, including the inability of institutions, technology firms, and governments to filter the flow of information. Information on the WWW has grown exponentially that it is impossible for anyone to keep track of everything.

This provided the impetus for the development of data mining and analytics to gather information, sort out the reliable from the unreliable, and draw conclusions based on their implications. Not to mention the common usage of search engine browsers like Google to navigate and sift through the information.

If I had stated yesterday that the Work-Standard is suitable for being used alongside Cybernetics technologies, what would be its interactions with the emerging importance of the digital realm? Is the Work-Standard designed to function with the Splinternet or the Internet? And assuming it is the former instead of the latter, why? Is there anything within the literature about the history behind the World Wide Web that lends credence to such a conclusion?

Categories: Compendium, Philosophy

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