Technological developments for the digital environment

6. About Bits

First, some fundamental properties concerning the performance of digital computational technologies.

  • One can fit many separate streams of bits through the same space/channel that previously could carry only one analog stream.
  • Bits can be error corrected more easily than can analog information.
  • Bits can be modified and manipulated relatively easily.
  • A bit is a bit is a bit: Bits don't care what kinds of information they represent.
  • Digital leaves tracks
    • while some don't seem to much care (the young seem to care less than do older segments) and there's a degree to which "this is how the internet works" and "this is what provides a business model for monetizing that which otherwise doesn't make money," there are still loads of questions about how much tracking and targeting, data mining and analytics, a majority of users will stand for.

Second, we can note that the economy of bits is driven by the medium in which the bits are arrayed, by the bit architecture, and by the constraints imposed by storage and delivery mediums.

  • The size and functionality of chips change and evolve as do the mediums in which bits are arrayed.
  • Moore's Law proposes that computer power and speed double every 18 months to two years. This is both good and bad for many folks along the pipeline. [this applies to silicon-based chips; we'll see about other media and approaches--biology, chemistry, dna, quantum]
    • the limits to silicon have been size, heat, & cost (as everything gets smaller to get more circuits working, heat builds up, and the cost to make the chip increases).
  • Gove's Law (Moore's onetime colleague at Intel) posited that bandwidth doubles only every 10 years.However, most of what we know is based on/applies to computing on silicone.
  • If/when we change mediums, a lot of principles will change. Nano-tech, biological computing and quantum computing might lead to new/different chip mediums.

Third, we must take note of the importance of delivery systems.

  • "The Negroponte Carrier Switch" originally said: That which is now in/on the ground will take to the air. That which is now in the air, will soon be found in/on the ground.
    But, of course, these could flip again.
  • In terms of "bit radiation and time": Only live events need real time display. All other events will be received, stored, culled, reorganized, redisplayed.
  • The "winner(s)" of the pipe wars will play an important role in the shape of new media.

Fourth, who and what regulates "the pipes"?

(remember, no one "runs the Internet" really. By "the pipes" I mean the US infrastructure & industries)

FCC didn't regulate the Internet from the start, then did (as a common carrier) at the end of the Obama administration, then stopped during the Trump administration.

The FTC has been pseudo-regulating entitites on the Internet. They have no regulatory authority over common carriers, but they are able to regulate against consumer fraud, so have been working that angle.

Municipalities & states sometimes battle commercial outfits (and sometimes with each other) over providing broadband services.

Define Net Neutrality:

What are the central issues?

Who's in favor? Who's against it?

How we got where we are today... a timeline in the courts and legislature

Part One:
Verizon, FCC Go To Court Over Net Neutrality

Part Two: US Appeals Court Strikes Down “Net Neutrality” Rules (but suggests that the FCC could make it so, by redefining the Internet)

Part Three:
On February 26, 2015, the FCC reclassified broadband access as a telecommunications service and thus applying Title II (common carrier) of the Communications Act of 1934 to Internet service providers

On March 12, 2015, the FCC released the specific details of its new net neutrality rule.

On April 13, 2015, the FCC published the final rule on its new regulations.The rule took effect on June 12, 2015.

FCC says AT&T is violating net neutrality with DirecTV data cap exemption

Part Four:
FCC Republicans vow to gut net neutrality rules “as soon as possible”

To kill net neutrality rules, FCC says broadband isn’t “telecommunications”

Net Neutrality Rules Expire as Backers Turn to Congress, Courts

Part Five:
46 Cities Sue The FCC For Trampling Their Rights

Net Neutrality: How Recent Developments Could Affect Content Companies and Other IP-Intensive Businesses

Biggest ISPs paid for 8.5 million fake FCC comments opposing net neutrality

Concept 6 Analysis article:

-If you want to write about computational capacities, use:

"Chiplets helped save AMD. They might also help save Moore’s law and head off an energy crisis."

-If you want to write about delivery systems, use:

How the 'Net' works: an introduction to peering and transit [if using this, read the ENTIRE article. You'll learn A LOT about how the Internet really works]

Do ONLY ONE and indicate which at the top of your work


Want to learn more?

"How Intel Makes Semiconductors in a Global Shortage." <>

"Biden Sends $53B to US Chipmakers by Signing CHIPS Act Into Law"

Bruce Schneler. Click Here to Kill Everybody. W. W. Norton & Co. 2018.

Nicolas Carr, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, Norton: 2014.

Lev Manovich. Software Takes Command. Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.

Andrew Blum. Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, HarperCollins, 2012.

Timothy Wu. The Master Switch. Knopf, 2010. 

Nicholas Carr, The Big Switch. Norton, 2008.

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