There's Internet available everywhere, and mobile services, too, in a country where 97% of telecom is a government monopoly. Could we be on the wrong track with competition as the driver of telecom service superiority?
I think we may be stereotyping China and Japan with "not creative". I've worked with both nationalities in international standards and communications projects and both have performed at the equal to those in the west.
I remember reading an article about how even though Chinese and Japanese do really good in areas of math and sciences, they don't test well in areas such as literature and creative. It's one of the reason why most innovation have come from the West and then improved upon by the East. Maybe we need to focus on saving our art and music programs as well as the science and math programs.
That depends on what kind of applications we're talking about, Mary. OTT applications just generate traffic, they don't add to revenue or advance the state of how the Internet works. They don't fund additional capacity either. Applications that are provided by network operators and that build operator revenue could in fact spur Internet innovation, but how those applications work in regards to integration with current IP routing/switching is an issue still being debated.
Interestingly, Huawei has sponsored an initiative with the IEEE on what they call "Next-Generation Service Overlay Networks" or NGSONs. This is designed to drive standards and structure for service overlays on IP networks, and it could in fact be something that could advance both applications and the state of infrastructure. It shows that China isn't idle on this key issue.
Great observation on the importance of infrastructure, Tom. But one question: In terms of the Internet hardware and routing technology, isn't it clear that applications, not plumbing, are going to be key to the future of the Web?
I completely agree that we shouldn't expect to be the leader in everything, but I do think that most here want to be the leader in the Internet. The challenge China poses there, as I noted in my response to Paul, is that they are able to direct their capital resources more toward manufacturing things versus creating financial instruments or social network applications. Inevitably, innovation follows the money. We need to decide whether we want to sustain Internet leadership or not, and if we do then we need to invest more in what the Internet is and not what it carries.
A deeper economic issue is that most industrial economies like the US depend on products with high profit margins to sustain manufacturing with labor costs higher than those of other countries. We can't build cheap stuff with expensive labor. But if you can't innovate meaningful features in what you make, it becomes cheap stuff whether you want it to be or not, because absent feature differentiation only cost differentiation is effective.
China is a cost leader. I'd like to have us stay an innovation leader, but it's not going to be a slam dunk.
It seems that every (western) country has something about China to be afraid of. The internet is just one of the numerous domain China's potential SEEMS to threaten. I just don't think it is fair to say that the US should remain master of everything in the world. That is just not possible. Let's China show what kind of innovation it is able to give the world and we might all profit. By the way "one swallow doesn't make a summer".
I think the issue here is how one defines "innovation", Paul. There's no question that the US came up with the basic principles behind the Internet. There's no question that applications that run on the Internet, like social networking, are spawned mainly here. But applications don't make the Internet, they only exploit it. In the US today, you couldn't get venture funding for a company to build the next-gen router. I bet you can get money in China. You can't get money to explore new protocols or to build other add-on technology components to the Internet infrastructure. Bet you can in China.
My point is that we're becoming a nation that consumes the Internet, to the point where we don't care about how the Internet is built and sustained as a network. That's a bias that means we can't really innovate the Internet itself, only think of innovative ways to consume it. Ultimately, the producers will define the Internet, and we don't seem interested in being a producer anymore. Bet China is.
Hope you are having fun on your vist to China. China seems to be destined as the place where the next big thing is bound to occur. I totally agree with your excellent take on what realy we should be woried about as far as China's dominace is concern. In as much as we may loathe internet censorship we should not forget the fat that the internet is still a very recent technology and as such the society outwit others in innovation will eventually end up controling it.
My only concern now is how does China's explosive economy gives them the cutting edge in innovation? Is there anything that can point to this viewpoint that China may one day outwit the U.S. when it comes to internet innovation? Do you know of an "internet" idea that has it origins in China?
I have not seen any of the drivers and trajectories of China's scientific and technological growth that makes me feel that China are in anyway close to the projections you've made.
The whole Amazon.reader debate is a double-stupid. It's stupid to think that there's any e-book buyer who doesn't know Amazon's URL, and it was stupider to let ICANN launch the whole free-form TLD initiative to start with.
YouTube's move to a partial pay-for-view model could help relieve a dearth of good new content but it could also complicate debates in many parts of the world over payment by content providers for delivery of their material to customers.
That's what Larry Page said on Google's earnings call, referring to the conjunction of mobile and the cloud. Well, let's chart it then! We need to be thinking about an Internet where 90% of our traffic goes to 70 destinations within 40 miles of us.
Facebook's Graph Search may face some profound challenges and risks, first, because Facebook users haven't been thinking of their posts as product reviews; and second, because Facebook will now have to contend with the social-network equivalent of SEO "gaming" of results.
EU operators are considering joining up to create a pan-European network to reduce competitive overbuild and cost. This might lower costs and focus operators on higher-level, more interesting services.
US counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke, who came to prominence with his prescient warnings before the 9/11 attacks, tells Smithsonian Magazine the US was responsible for the Stuxnet supersmart worm that attacked parts of nuclear reactors in Iran – and in the process, has given away one of the world's most sophisticated cyberweapons.
It wouldn't be the first time, but a group of Chinese engineers has proposed a means by which the Internet's root could be split, enabling secondary, independent networks that could be government-controlled. The Internet's root security committee is taking such proposals seriously.
The plan for unmanned police drones to patrol traffic and other city conditions in Seattle has sparked a new set of legal concerns about privacy. Law traditionally lags technology, but we can expect now to see a new round of activity in the courts as legal definitions begin to emerge on what "next-gen privacy" will look like.
The world’s most powerful supercomputer now resides in Japan, but the US would like to reclaim the lead. The Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee, which is part of the US Department of Energy, is building a supercomputer that will be used for such tasks as simulating nuclear explosions.
The US government is funding controversial projects to collect daily Internet activity, including Web searches, Twitter messages, Facebook and blog posts, and the digital location trails generated by billions of cellphones. Its goal is to map these interactions to predict social behavior, such as protests.
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