Living in the moment

A good piece of advice my mentor taught me was to “live in the present” and to “stop thinking about the unchangeable past and unforeseeable future.”  Taking this advice to heart, I was able to enjoy each event of my life more, from family dinners at McDonald’s to beach-watching with my friends.  Although it has served me great, it didn’t make me prepare as well as I liked for my transition from home to overwhelming college life.

On this note, the large magnitude of users has also overwhelmed the Internet, especially in regards to security.  It is interesting to think that cyber security issues we face today might not have existed if the developers of the early Internet have thought ahead.  Would viruses, malware, and their companions have ever existed?  Would hacking into a system have been impossible if the developers had security in mind?  It is hard to tell, but this is an issue that will only get more difficult as our technology advances.

Further reflecting on our discussion, I could not help but notice a trend of shifting away from closed-source-specialization to open-source-general-purpose.  Amazon and Microsoft are willing to sacrifice personal profits in order to compete effectively against other AI giants and to hopefully provide a better end-user experience.   From the start, the Internet itself was a tool only for scientists and researchers, but is now a tool that billions of people can access and wield.  Why does this trend exist, especially in regards to technology and the Internet?

My mentors words have done me well, but I still look back at the static past to prepare for the dynamic future and understand the present moment.  I am looking forward to diving deeper in the history of the Internet to examine the ideas and events that shaped it to what it is today and to think about what we could to do to prepare for its dynamic future.

1 Comment »

  1. Jim Waldo

    September 6, 2017 @ 2:50 pm


    Hi Robert–

    Great first entry; two really interesting themes here.

    While it is a common claim that the original internet engineers didn’t think about security, in fact they did– and the internet lacks security for a reason. We will read about this in a couple of weeks, when we read End-to-end Arguments in System Design (one of my favorite papers).

    The open-source/closed-source, dancing with the giants question is less easy to answer, but we will most certainly talk about this over the course of the semester. This often turns out to be as much a divide between the technologists and the business people in a company (you can guess which side each comes down on), and is on-going.


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