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Net Neutrality “Quote of the Week”

SAN JOSE, CA – With regards to the current debate in Congress on the telecom bill generally and net neutrality specifically, Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) is quoted in today’s National Journal’s Tech Daily “People” Column “in responding to a question about whether he might alter his telecom bill to strengthen language on network neutrality in an effort to move his legislation”: “There’s no way you can appease these people. It’s a fetish — it’s really something that doesn’t exist. But they want to stop this bill because it might exist.” — Sen. Ted StevensA previous blog entry on this site followed very similar logic.

Pew Internet Project: “Internet Here to Stay”

SAN JOSE, CA – Okay, so maybe that wasn’t the entire thrust of one of their latest reports, but it does have some interesting findings on what many think the web will look like in 2020. Yesterday, the Pew Internet Project announced the release of its second report on The Future of the Internet and analysts and experts shared their views. I offer my expert opinion after each of the highlighted findings.Among the findings: A survey of internet leaders, activists, and analysts shows that a majority agree with predictions that by 2020: 1. A low-cost global network will be thriving and creating new opportunities in a “flattening” world; (Earnhardt prediction: the use of “flattening world” will never be overused.)2) Humans will remain in charge of technology, even as more activity is automated and “smart agents” proliferate. However, a significant 42% of survey respondents were pessimistic about humans’ ability to control the technology in the future. This significant majority agreed that dangers and dependencies will grow beyond our ability to stay in charge of technology. This was one of the major surprises in the survey; (Earnhardt prediction: “Blade Runner” – which is set in 2019 – will still be a good movie and one of Darryl Hannah’s finest performances.)Daryl_Hannah_Blade_Runner.jpg3) Virtual reality will be compelling enough to enhance worker productivity and also spawn new addiction problems; (Earnhardt prediction: I’ll still want to go outside to play golf rather than playing it on my “virtual reality” environment.)4) Tech “refuseniks” will emerge as a cultural group characterized by their choice to live off the network. Some will do this as a benign way to limit information overload, while others will commit acts of violence and terror against technology-inspired change; (Earnhardt prediction: Ted “Unabomber” Kaczynski will still be in jail.)5) People will wittingly and unwittingly disclose more about themselves, gaining some benefits in the process even as they lose some privacy; (Earnhardt prediction: If a marketer sends you something based on what your likes are, you don’t mind. If someone sends you something based on what your SECRET likes are, you mind.)6) English will be a universal language of global communications, but other languages will not be displaced. Indeed, many felt other languages such as Mandarin, would grow in prominence. (Earnhardt prediction: China will continue to be a populous nation.)Click here for the full survey.

Senator Obama to Mayor Daley: WiFi Project Good for Chicago

SAN JOSE, CA – I wanted to bring your attention to a letter sent this week from U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) to Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago, Illinois, USA. In the letter, Senator Obama commends Mayor Daley for Chicago’s municipal wi-fi network project. Further, he points out that the wi-fi network will be the platform for services to citizens such as “safety/emergency services, economic livelihood, education, public affairs, and health.” At Cisco, we have been saying the network is the platform for a little while now and it is nice to see the same recognition of the networks importance by an influential U.S. Senator. Please see the letter in full below: Read More »

Parochial Political Interests & Economic Nationalism (0) vs. Free Trade & Global Economic Integratio

WASHINGTON, DC — In a world where it seems to be increasingly the case where people retreat to their parochial interests, it’s nice to see that the U.S. Senate yesterday passed the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement. While two-way trade between the U.S. and Oman was only about $1 billion last year, passage of this Agreement provides a legal mechanism to increase not just economic ties, but also to heighten bilateral interaction and accountability on social and environmental matters. Free and fair trade is certainly not a panacea for all of the world’s ills, but without the institutions and agreements to facilitate rules-based global exchange and integration, the world would be an even more nationalistic and isolated place. In the current U.S. Congressional election season, parochial political interests could have trumped national and international interests -in this case, I’m heartened to see they didn’t.

Math, Science (and Broadband): U.S. Falling Behind

SAN JOSE, CA – I encourage you to read an editorial in today’s New York Times that states, in part: “The countries that outperform the United States in math and science education have some things in common. They set national priorities for what public school children should learn and when. They also spend a lot of energy ensuring that every school has a high-quality curriculum that is harnessed to clearly articulated national goals. This country, by contrast, has a wildly uneven system of standards and tests that varies from place to place.” Read the full editorial here. (Free registration required).This same editorial, methinks, could have been written replacing “math and science education” with “broadband penetration.” This is how it would read: “The countries that outperform the United States in broadband penetration have some things in common. They set national priorities for what broadband is. They also spend a lot of energy ensuring that every state has a high-quality broadband infrastructure that is harnessed to clearly articulated national goals. This country, by contrast, has a wildly uneven system of standards and speeds that varies from place to place.”Hey, I love this country, but, at some point, we should get tired at other countries looking at us in the rear-view mirror on education and broadband.