How Far We Have Come

It is concerning to know that how we pay to use the internet with net neutrality is in the hands of congressmen that mostly decide based on donations or for political reasons instead of actual morals.  Converting to an internet system in which we have to pay for bundles like for cable is extremely inferior to our current system of paying for all internet access.  It seems that as with cybersecurity, uneducated politicians are once again messing with things they do not fully understand.


The various cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum oddly rely on a general trust of value of nothing tangible.  This trust is especially odd considering that ethereum has already been hacked and evidently could pose many security risks as people can add applications to the platform.  Also, that ethereum was created by many instead of a single benevolent dictator creates greater probability that ethereum code has bugs as there is no overall design philosophy and a sense of personal responsibility.  Considering that there will always be a huge incentive to hack cryptocurrencies, I think that cryptocurrencies will always have security risks.


I am not sure how many uses blockchains have.  Beyond cryptocurrencies, I do not see necessarily a benefit for blockchains for areas such as healthcare.  We already have databases, and I am not convinced that public blockchains is helpful for healthcare.


Looking back, it is amazing to think how far we have come to be dealing with crises over virtual online currency today when sixty years ago ARPA struggled with creating the first reliable network.  I have learned so much about the creation and development of the internet in this course, not to mention the thought provoking discussions about moral and philosophical dilemmas that arise with technology.  So, I find it frightening that most politicians cavalierly gloss over the specifics of policies related to technology and vote for political or financial gain instead actually considering the implications.  Hopefully the dysfunction in Washington does not set us to either be vulnerable to major cyber attacks or grappling with limited access to the internet that is paid for in bundles.


Thank you to Professor Smith and Professor Waldo for putting together an enlightening course and leading a great semester!

1 Comment »

  1. Jim Waldo

    December 6, 2017 @ 2:13 pm


    And thank you, and the others in the class, for all of your work and the great discussions.

    You may have noticed that I’m pretty skeptical about blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Beyond the sloppy engineering, there are easier technologies that can do much of what the blockchain can do, if you are willing to trust anyone. Blockchain claims to not require any such trust, but instead requires that you trust the implementation team, which seems like an odd tradeoff. We will see how things develop.

    Thanks for a great semester. Stay in touch…

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