The Contingent Internet
Author(s)Clark, David D
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The Internet is so omnipresent and pervasive that its form may seem an inevitability. It is hard to imagine a "different" Internet, but the character of the Internet as we experience it today is, in fact, contingent on key decisions made in the past by its designers, those who have invested in it, and those who have regulated it. With different choices, we might have a very different Internet today. This paper uses past choices made during the emergence of the early Internet as a lens to look toward its future, which is equally contingent on decisions being made today: by industry, by governments, by users, and by the research community. This paper identifies some of those key choices, and discusses alternative futures for the Internet, including how open, how diverse, how funded, and how protective of the rights of its users it may be.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Clark, David D. “The Contingent Internet.” Daedalus 145, 1 (January 2016): 9–17 © 2016 David D. Clark
Final published version