Donate

Collaborative Leadership Exchange (CLX with Global INET 2012)

‹ Back

The follow notes were captured during specific sessions at the CLX.

What is the Internet?

The discussion began with each group member sharing their #1 word association with ‘the Internet.’ Responses were diverse: network, sharing, IP, consciousness, community, end users, advertising, e-business, daily life, freedom.

We considered whether ‘Internet’ may be outdated terminology, given the range of meanings attached to it. The term previously referred more tightly to the ‘network of networks.’ Now the Internet is part of the fabric of life. Yet no alternative designation seems forthcoming.

So we moved to a different route: trying to understand appropriate analogues to the current Internet imaginary. The Internet, unlike some past communications technologies, cannot be understood as a ‘pipe.’ It’s mainly what comes through the pipe. It’s water. (Water, and millionaires).

Can global citizens claim a right to the Internet, as they claim a right to water? Indeed like water the Internet could be interpreted as an ‘upstream’ right that empowers many others.

If the Internet is a right, however, it’s one not universally available. It’s not global. It’s unequal. It can be cut off by the powerful. It isn’t subject to decentralized control. It’s American. In principle the Internet puts its users at the top. But the very materiality and technological immaturity of the underlying infrastructure create fixed points, open to influence by traditional powers.

Whatever the contemporary roadblocks, one may ask whether the Internet is ‘in principle,’ therefore, an unstoppable reality, an emerging economy and sociality unto itself, an enabler of world unity. If openness isn’t a reality, is it a lie, or a reasonable hope? Is it winning the long game? Will the potentiality of the technology work its way into the holes in the current architecture? Will it do better than keep pace with the traditional authorities seeking to fold the technology into other logics, and turn the Internet to their benefit?

We lack the appropriate myths to order such a developmental picture. The ‘Global Village’ is a stagnant-sounding place. ‘Spaceship Earth’ is under orders from the flight command. Both those famous images, even for their flaws, are also perhaps too ambitious. Is the Internet more an anarchic space, allowing people to choose between different possibilities and valuations? Is it generative of flexibility no less than unity? Might the proper myth be a ‘Harmonic Anarchy,’ increasing the diversity and general salience of distributed yet partial sources of order?

Communication is increasingly folded into how we expect ourselves to behave. We develop new means of action and new modes of citizenship based on the expectation of communication. Yet what communication and information mean are also changing, and will continue to change with such innovations in the pipeline (in the water) as planetary sensors and the Internet of things.

One hopeful framing of what the Internet has done for us is that political enemies will find it increasingly hopeless to launch missions of cultural destruction. National skeptics of the Internet may come to see that we preserve culture by using the Internet, not by blocking it. Meanwhile global citizens have a pallette of options for forming a global culture.

The line of such arguments often flies close to the potentially more intimidating framing of world government. Even now there is a sense emerging that the Internet and the forms of power it leverages are more powerful than governments. Should we expect these logics to work up into a new and total global authority — all harmony, no anarchy, and not much fun?

The Internet recreates life. Language of positivity and negativity as blanket designations are rarely helpful. We should expect both good sides and dark sides, space for adventure but also firm protections where needed. Children need to be looked after. The ultimate issue is how the Internet can be used to unlock potential.

Women in ICT

We had a mutual agreement on the fact that women are equally suitable for ICT as men. Lack of participation of Women in ICT education and careers is not a matter of religion but of socio-economic norms and ethnic values.

Despite of the above cultural and economic limitations It has been observed that ration of women participation in ICT areas, however, following measures must be taken in order to enhance this participation further.

  1. Promotion and marketing of engineering and IT as soft professions (as opposed to current perception of these disciplines as tough and masculine) in order to make them better fit the cultural stereotype image of a women’s profession.
  2. Increase public awareness among the communities about ICT as a potential profession for women.
  3. Career counseling for young female students in schools and colleges before they choose their professions
  4. Accessibility to computer labs right from the beginning of education so that female students get inspired and attracted towards ICT and its true value.

Business Models for Free Content on the Internet

Why this topic?

  • Size of the internet; number of users is far outreaching what studios dreamed of; they have the possibility to have so many viewers – impossible a few years ago; today that supply chain is ‘cut off’; this is a strength for advocating for free content, this metric combined with a possibility to get money should allow for a free model for the end user
  • Try and find a middle solution for the owners of the IP that could ensure the end users get it for free, but in another way
  • Is there a way to circumvent the process so pirates do not make money; ‘we like everyone to listen for our songs, but we want someone to pay for it’
  • In an ideal world – content is already free for the end user and everyone gets their fair share

Examples of models that could work:

  • Search engines like google is a lovely model: content is more free and content owners get things like more page views for their content
  • Examples of ‘bad’ (?) business models:
    • Piracy taking content and selling it that they do not own;
    • Facebook business model – based on user data; user is mislead by the service (abuse of data?)
  • Toolbar options: in exchange for a toolbar on your browser you get content
  • Product placement (‘sponsored by Coca Cola’)
  • Freemium model -> ad-supported; assumption that people will pay later for ad-free content
  • Pay tv – add drm because you want to be sure that people paid for the content; its also about avoiding of copying of content
  • Coupons model like groupon; any creator must be able to easily deal with these groups: who manages that?

Questions that the business model has to answer:

  • What business model is ethical, results in direct profit for the creator but doesn’t cost the end user?
  • Problem with google adwords model only works for popular subjects
  • Method of payment is bound to the content : bind the payment to the content?
  • No DRM: people will always try to find ways to share content – no matter how it is protected; the more you try to protect something, the more technology will be created to break it free
  • There is content that does not thrive in a global market; there is no 1 business model that applies to all cases; for local content there needs to be a local business model; users must be aware that they have to pay

Possible business models:

  • Model A: tax/flat rate model; like a dj license or Spotify model; count the number of times content is downloaded or shared – let people submit this info, as there is no reason to not disclose that you enjoyed a piece of content; no reason to sell content (illegally) that is already free – Questions: who will make sure that a model works; WIPO? what will be the flat rate fee? somebody needs to manage all that data?
  • Model B: business model of e.g. conspiracy movies like 2012; put up the movie for free; people will buy goodies for the movie and thus pay for the movie
  • Model C: freemium model; advertised content for free, premium content without ads for a price

Opportunities / Challenges Notes

Opportunities

  • Global Access to eHealth
  • New services eMedicine and eEducation
  • Eliminating redundancy in existing business modules (supply chain management)
  • Preparing for singularity —Opportunities/Responsibility
  • Accessibility for all
  • Emmersive Internet enables all
  • Creativity as a means to problem solving and devising new solutions
  • Access to Information and Knowledge
  • eParticipation/Digital Citizenry
  • Reduced conflict (better comm. Governance) econ develop/new ways to make money
  • eLearning
  • Life long learning
  • Applications to transform local content in economic value
  • Education to be proactive users
  • Disseminating information as means to bring peace to the world
  • Sharing all the world’s info./free

Challenges

  • How to provide the basic requirement for connecting everyone and provide equitable internet. Access globally?
  • International infrastructure challenges affecting traffic and throughput, everything
  • Lack of national infrastructure
  • Broadband access in developing countries
  • Identity on the Internet Society
  • How to bring everyone to the table to come to consensus about online data protection?
  • Cyber Security
  • Local Access and Content
  • Multilingualism and local contents
  • Local content in local language
  • Internet Fragmentation (balkanization)
  • Net neutrality
  • Economics of the business in the Internet/Global vs local
  • Global monetary regulations throttling internet mobile innovation in moentary space
‹ Back
Time

Saturday 21 April 2012

Join the conversation with Internet Society members around the world