Friday, March 30, 2018

Mesh networking & post-verbal communication

For our Internet to grow & mature healthily, we'll want to keep strengthening its backbone. Our 20th-century telephone system has evolved into information superhighways with billions of connection points. We'll want to maintain & expand this immense web of digital pathways.

There's a largely untapped dimension of hardware connectivity. Our devices can now act not only like telephones, connecting to others via central switchboards, but also like walkie-talkies, talking directly with each other. The prospect of direct, peer-to-peer Internet connections, known as mesh networking, holds enormous promise for improving our access & our bandwidth.

So we've barely begun to make use of some of our hardware's networking capabilities. We've also barely scratched the surface with regard to the potentials of the software that we might run on these billions of connected devices.

Spoken & written words remain major conduits for knowledge. We put significant amounts of time/energy into words: finding them, composing them, listening to & reading them, comprehending & interpreting them, etc. Our information technologies have helped make many of these operations more efficient, but the inherent limitations of our language media, of the spoken & written word, still seem to be some of the biggest constraints on our effectiveness & our flourishing.

But it's entirely conceivable that we'll overcome the constraints of our words by creating post-verbal ways of communicating with our billions of sophisticated, connected input/output/computing devices. We see the beginnings of it already, but there's a whole new dimension of collaboration & shared experiences in store if we diligently pursue the possibilities.

Mesh networking & post-verbal communication. Let's make them priorities. Let's make them happen!

1 comment:

Josh Maurice said...

Short of the scenarios of radically new, largely graphical, forms of language, there's a lot of potential for interfaces that enable significantly more fluid/efficient coordination/communication than we have now. The effort to give interface users more and more sophisticated ways to program their interfaces can happen in the context of heavily text- and voice-based communication. I would suggest (social) media developers make this a major priority. We can create (social) media such that users can configure:
* the interface layout
* the algorithms that determine the content presented to them
* etc