Hi there. Did I tell you guys I got a kitten? I did. His name is Alexander. But his rap name is Fuzzy G. Because he’s gray. And fuzzy.
Anyway, I only mention it because as I type, he’s attacking my hands. So what comes out will be filtered through his rapier-sharp claws. And I have the scratches to prove it. It looks like I have leprosy.
Okay, on to business…On Thursday of last week I attended this event at The Heritage Foundation. I encourage you to watch the whole video because it concerns itself with the topic of net neutrality, an emerging issue and likely one we’ll be hearing more and more about in the coming years. Now, given this current administration’s inability to ram illogical legislation down our collective throats without people speaking up (and being called offensive names I might add. Cause yeah, they deserved that kind of disrespect. It’s truly offensive when people peaceably assemble to redress grievances…), I’m less worried that any legislation will pass. But I do think the topic of whether or not to regulate the internet is not going away anytime soon. It’s a new marketplace my friends. And it will be fascinating to see how this all evolves.
And Gilder is a genius. I was aware as I was listening to him that I was being treated to the thoughts of a great and complex mind and it was — and, yes, I know how nerdy this makes me — exciting. Genius turns me on. No kidding.
And I felt badly for waiting to post until I visited the International Spy Museum on Sunday (discount tickets are also exciting) and reflected on the last exhibit — cleverly devoid of any real, tangible fanfare because its focus is the emerging threat of cyber spying/terrorism. Who knows what that exhibit might look like in a few years?…scary…) and I thought of Gilder mentioning deep packet inspection. Look people, if we don’t foster a market for this kind of innovation, we do willingly put ourselves at risk. And that kind of thing just makes me mad.
Anyway, I potentially got some some freelancing work (in the process of negotiating terms so the “potential” is not yet realized. But it’s looking good. More on this later.) so I may be writing about net neutrality soon. Hence my attendance at the event. The jumbled recap I sent them is at the bottom of this post (I didn’t independently confirm anything. These are just my notes. Were I being paid for these, all points would be confirmed. As it is, consider this a disclaimer.) I offer it to you so you can find these points in the video. Go ahead, get comfortable with it. It’s coming. And, I met this gentleman there and am fortunate enough now to count him as a professional acquaintance and resource. And he’s quite the thinker himself; here he’s talking about the next incarnation of the attempt to regulate energy. Former WSJ reporter. I think I’ll add him to my list of must-reads.
Also, I met some of the softball team Friday at happy hour (I’m the grandma so I went home at 11. They were just gearing up to dance to a cover band’s decent version of a great Weezer song — and it was strangely bittersweet to realize this song was an oldie for some of these kids (the album came out the year I graduated from college. Sigh.) Anyway, they’re good kids and I had a long conversation with one young man — an economist — wherein I became aware of the fact that discussion of Reagan and supply-side economics is all the trendy rage these days. It was the second time that day I found myself discussing how supply-side works for the market but not for individuals. Nerdy McNerderson. I know…
Best parts of meeting the softball team? Discussing running on a platform of “I make no promises” with the requisite campaign photos of the candidate shrugging and vacantly smiling. Also hearing this during conversation: “Guys with long hair creep me out. Unless they’re Jesus.”
Here’s the Weezer song. Can’t wait to throw some softball pics at you.
Referring to work done by Publicknowledge.org, which tries to link the crash of the telecom industry in 2000 to deregulation and tie it to the issue of net neutrality (specifically that regulating the internet will help avoid a similar crash), Gilder takes issue with their assertion that a crash could occur because we have too much unused bandwidth. Rather, he says, the problem is a lack of connectivity to businesses and residential areas.
* He asserts that this is what happened in 2000 with the telecom industry and that it was a direct result of deregulation of that industry (breaking up of Ma Bell).
* He threw these predictive numbers out from Cisco (I believe they indicate a prediction of increase in usage but don’t quote me):
1. over the next 5 years, wireless will increase 542 times
2. over the next 5 years, wired will increase 91 times
* What allowed this kind of increase, according to Gilder, was a surge in investment to the tune of 4 trillion. Publicknowledge.org never acknowledges this.
* Gilder says the efforts toward “net neutrality” (a misnomer that speaks to usage of the net being neutral, i.e. all data is treated equally), is really just a way to “socialize” broadband.
* He called it a “kind of civil rights legislation for the internet,” which would lead to a kind of random lottery of bytes in order to treat them equally (some of more innovative data bytes related to graphics and video could be lost if such a thing occurred. Fact: not all bytes are created equal)
* Net neutrality would also lead to new unbundling laws that would stifle competition and that would break the market apart as a necessity in order to regulate it.
* The internet is not a mature enough industry (it is still “modular” and rapidly changing) to even discuss regulating it.
* Net neutrality legislation would also damage innovation such as cloud computing and some of the super computer processing done by clustering graphics processors together (because all bytes are treated equally, some of these graphics processor bytes would necessarily be lost in the lottery, reducing the speed of computing)
* He does say that the need for “deep packet inspection” is important (for national security, etc.) and calls it a “critical capability.” But the development of this kind of technology, crucial for national security, only happens if “you have a commercial market for it.”
* He calls net neutrality a “cap and trade for the internet” and said “we do not need more legislation on our most free and dynamic” American industry.
* The result of this legislation would lead to a public option for the internet “as night follows day” and would also lead to silicon valley professionals angling for subsidies as opposed to angling for innovation, always the result of government interference he noted.
* He called this kind of policy “serious in healthcare; deadly in energy and [now] extended to the internet.
* interestingly, in response to a question about whether or not this kind of legislation had some conspiratorial malevolence attached to it, Gilder said the potential or perceived malevolence was less frightening to him that the “ideals they voice” to justify the legislation