The 2020s will be the beginning of the consolidation, monopolization and the bureaucratization of the Internet. Govts, media, non techies have finally realized the Interent’s ability for construtive destruction of existing monopoloies and power structures and are seeking to restrain it to hold on to their monopoly.
What prompted me to write this was the complete de-platforming of Parler. Yes, it is a clusterfack filled with crazy manicas, but that is besides the point. The point was how quickly Big Tech swooped-in, co-ordinated and killed off Parler like a pack of wolves hunting down a rabbit. The takedown was swift and immediately effective , and extremely chilling.
We know how much of a monopoly Google and Facebook / Twitter are when it commes to communication. They control 90% of the ad-revenue, or even more, have the biggest media platforms on the world and pretty much is the only conduit to the rest of the world.
What is more scaries is the ability of Amazon/AWS to cut off access to running your servers on the internet. This is even more chilling and dangerous.
See, outsourcing your skill and ability to maintain servers, datacenters, to AWS is like outsourcing your manufacturing to China. Once you lose, you probably wont re-learn it in time and by then, your business might no longer exist.
Post 1970s , NASA lost the blueprints and ability to engineer an engine like the Rocketdyne F-1. When SpaceX and the rest of the companies tried to reverse-engineer the F1 and build a massive engine like it from scratch, it almost proved nigh on impossible and took more than a decade (I think they still havent made an engine as powerful as a single F-1).
Edit/Update: I was somewhat mistaken. NASA did NOT, in fact, lose the blueprints. But each engine had so much customizations (parts, welding, etc) that having access to the blueprints alone did not mean that one can simply build the engine back by following the design. More information here
AWS, Google, MSFT, FANG now make the majority of the internet’s hardware, communication AND SOFTWARE. If the BIG TECH even finds you to be a threat, not only will they cut off your ability to communicate, or deploy to a server across the world, but even prevent you from writing software in the First place.
This is deeply troubling. Software development is centralized like never before. Docker, NPM, Github, for example, host the majority of software. The days of downloading source code from sourceforge anonymously are long gone (edit/update: IMHO, not yet gone, but it can be reversed/pulled from you VERY easily).
All of these are centralized platforms and hold the key to getting applications up and running, serving users across the world. Docker already started restricting anonymous imagepulls. Nothing is gonna stop NPM and Github from doing the same (NOTE: both of them are controlled by MSFT).
For decades, software and the internet were the key to freedom, education, money, status and livelihood for billions. It allowed us to circumvent censorship, jump over socio-cultural obstacles and make a livelihood in a meritorious society devoid of bureaucracy and backstabbing politics.
For these and ones with a non-mainstream opinion, the consequences should be chilling. The internet provided a platform when mainstream media didn’t. The internet provided a way for one to reach out to users and readers when the powers that be decided to silence you.
It may no longer be something that can be taken for granted.
From twitter fact checkers, to Facebook/Google approve news stories, to Amazon vetted “businesses”, you will be cut off from reaching out to the rest of the world if you toe the line.
To survive, one must re-learn the skills to build and maintain software/hardware. Reverse the trend of outsourcing hardware skills to Amazon, build pipelines to Github, centralized software repos like NPM, before it is too late.
The 2020s will be a battle for the freedom and the openess of the internet that bought an era of unprecedented opportunity in the first place.
This will be my mission for the decade.