At any given moment, the Internet as we know it is poised on the edge of extinction.
There are at least two ways to understand that sentence. One is pretty gloomy, suggesting a fragile Internet that must continually be rescued from doom. The other way to look at it is that the Internet is always in a state of evolution, and it’s our understanding of it that is challenged to keep up. I tend to prefer the latter perspective, and think it’s important to keep the Internet open for innovation.
At the same time, change can be scary — if it leads to an outcome that impacts us badly, from which we cannot recover, for example. That’s at least one reason why discussion of policy requirements and changing the Internet can be pretty tense.
If we want a dialog about the Internet that is as global as the network itself, we need to know how to talk about change:
- what are the useful points of reference (hint: they aren’t particular technologies), and
- how can we frame a successful dialog?