Now since CNN is dedicating so much time to the Broken Government (no disagreements here), I thought I would dedicate some equal time providing examples of how well the government is working . . . —xxxxxx Just kidding, its not working and I won’t pretend, but I will talk about how technology is not working.

Now, I’m not typically a pessimist in this area and have been accused of being if anything too optimistic so this will be an exercise for me and hopefully an illustration of what trends are emerging in need of a fix!

The Internet is Broken

In 2005 an article was published with Technology: An MIT Enterprise Review, and the name of the article was “The Internet is Broken” by David Talbot.

Talbot’s article starts off by covering David D. Clark, somewhat of an ‘Internet elder statesman’ who had quipped about some of the deficiencies of the original Internet design and the potential for these deficiencies to eventually amount to a big problem.  His concern about a year ago and somewhat foretold in a PowerPoint from 1992 was that the Internet’s original simplistic communications purpose is being hi-jacked by many convoluted processes and systems that the Internet was never designed to handle from instant messages, to video on demand and VOIP, peer-to-peer file sharing and more, pick your poison, pick your bandwidth hog, pick your security sensitive area.

Clark argued for a new design of a completely fresh system to potentially replace the Internet someday and the National Science Foundation indicated that they would take on that mission and hopefully deliver a result 5-7 years down the road after spending $200-300 million dollars.

So that was last year, and we should have 4-6 more years to go.  Now as I see it, this is a useful approach.  Let’s face it the internet is not getting any younger and the infrastructure was not designed for many of its current uses.  The network is benefiting from better hardware and from better software, but fundamentally things are still broken down much the same as they were 10 years ago.

Can the internet continue to evolve and grow in a somewhat open source development type of approach where public and private and individuals and groups and companies from around the world contribute to patching, inventing, fixing, redesigning, and growing different parts of the internet year after year?  Grown in many ways on the backbone of an even older telephone switching system, which has gone mostly digital, but fundamentally engineered to maintain a type of backwards compatibility with all the wired versions of the phone system still in existence.

What role will WiMax and wifii and 3G or 4G play in leap frogging the world out of this technology?  We shall see, but in the meantime it would appear that we will continue with the same old broken internet.  At least for another 4-6 years!