The Next Net
Vint Cerf looks ahead in this BBC News article:
He said that the first decade of the net, 1972-1982, was about designing, testing and deploying the net’s basic technologies.
The second decade was about consolidation and commercialisation and the third about broad, popular use.
The next decade, he believes, will see the net spread even further and start to become the basic communications infrastructure for almost anything.
To begin with, he thinks, the net will stop being a part of the telephone network. Instead the telephone network will become a part of the net.
This could be thanks to Voice Over IP technology that chops up phone calls into bits of data and sends them across the net instead of dedicated, and expensive, phone lines.
“You are going to see a fairly dramatic increase in services riding on top of basic internet infrastructure,” he said, “You will see more and more layers of functionality showing up in the net.”
One such could be Grid computing that virtualises processing and storage resources and lets people use, or rent, the capacity they need for particular tasks.
Other key areas revolve around novel naming systems that allow objects other than web servers and net domains to become part of the net.
The Enum initiative attempts to turn phone numbers into net addresses and give people a universal way of contacting anyone, provided they know at least one e-mail, address, phone or pager number for them.
Allied to this is the work on Naming Authority Pointer (NATPR) that broadens the net’s reach considerably.
Vint Cerf’s final word: “The internet is a reflection of our society and that mirror is going to be reflecting what we see. If we do not like what we see in that mirror the problem is not to fix the mirror, we have to fix society.”