Magellan Powered by Hypernet is here and ready for download on June 12th!
Through Magellan, a select group of explorer-adventurers will be testing the very first portal to Hypernet’s initial testnet. We’ve already demonstrated the Hypernet protocol’s capacity to harness 1000 virtual machines across the globe to cooperatively solve a machine learning problem. It is now time to connect the devices of this inaugural group of ‘everyday people’ to conduct further experimentation and development of the testnet.
Members of the Project Magellan group are builders and self-starters who are taking initiative with Hypernet to address daunting societal challenges, including: 1) our ever-increasing and desperate need for compute power and data processing, 2) resource depletion and climate change resulting from attempts to meet this need, and 3) barriers to access to compute power–the means of scientific discovery–for many would-be innovators.
They join the Hypernet team as we build a new computing infrastructure that will more efficiently draw upon our collective computing resources, which are shared across billions of devices around the globe.
Practically speaking, Project Magellan acts as the supply side in the under-construction blockchain enabled marketplace for compute power. Accessing the testnet is extremely simple. Members of the group will download and install a desktop app, allowing their machines to run test compute jobs sent through Hypernet, directly from the Hypernet team. That’s it! The element of simplicity will remain once Hypernet launches in its fully developed form, and suppliers will be able to earn passive income by renting out the use of their machines. We are committed to delivering a network that places users first. Working with users, on both the supply and demand sides of the network, is therefore at the center of our product development process. This is where Project Magellan fits in.
The Hypernet team is scheduling private early Alpha testing sessions with the Project Magellan group starting next week. Test jobs will be launched using the testnet on an intermittent basis for the next 2-4 weeks. Project Magellan will serve as a testing ground for added features, as we fit the various technical pieces of the Hypernet vision together.
Ultimately, tech is built by humans, for humans. We’re excited to embark on this journey, towards enhancing both our technology and user experience, alongside supporters from our community.
Spring 2019 at Hypernet has seen the successful test of the computing protocol across 1000 machines around the world as well as the release of our first Alpha product for the compute demand side of our network. The team in California also moved from our house close to Cupertino (and the original Apple Garage) into an office in Palo Alto. We outgrew our original location as we began to scale up in order to bring full utility to the network, create a groundbreaking B2C product, and build our user base. While we are keeping our burn rate low during this phase of product development, the team has grown considerably over the past several months and we’d like to introduce you to our newest members!
John Drexler, Hypernet’s Chief of Staff, is focused on company operations and communication, team building, and product-market strategy. John joined us from the venture capital fund Sovereign’s Capital, where he was a Senior Associate working on the due-diligence/investment team and assisting with portfolio management. He previously served as a Management Associate at Siloam Hospitals (IDX:SILO), as Marketing Manager on Summit Healthcare’s founding team in Jakarta. He studied economics at Covenant College. John has been absolutely critical to the reorganization of intra-company communication. Synergy between engineering, product development, business development, and marketing has been incredibly strong over the past months as a result of his efforts.
Conrad Bailey is a full-stack engineer focused on Hypernet’s first Alpha product, the demand-side portal to the network. He arrived directly after earning his B.S. in computer science from the University of Notre Dame, but this wasn’t his first trip to Silicon Valley. In 2017 he was one of only ten students to be selected for the Silicon Valley Semester program, in which he participated as an intern in Palo Alto maintaining a full academic courseload. During his internship he explored finely tuned, parallel solutions for large scale numerical methods and wrote a linear algebra library for Prolog. At Notre Dame, he worked with the Cooperative Computing Laboratory to bring cloud functionality to WorkQueue: a framework for master-worker applications that can span thousands of cores. Conrad’s work with the engineering team greatly accelerated our progress towards the release of our first Beta, which we anticipate very soon.
Elliot Shohet joined the team in February as a Blockchain Engineer. He hit the ground running and has been helpful on a number of different fronts. Elliot started programming at the age of 12, attained a computer science degree from UC Davis, and joined the blockchain space in 2013 when he first discovered bitcoin. In 2017, he started smart contract development for the Ethereum blockchain, and he has served as a developer and advisor for blockchain companies. Elliot brings a variety of skills and experiences to the team. We’re thrilled to have him on board as we build the blockchain scheduler, a crucial component of the Hypernet marketplace for compute power.
Antoine Estienne is an outstanding blockchain engineer who is, along with Elliot, helping to architect the blockchain piece of Hypernet. Antoine is passionate about decentralization and peer to peer technologies, as well as their implications in our lives. He discovered the power of blockchain when he was finishing his Master of Science in Paris and exploring crowdfunding technologies for renewable energy projects. Thanks to his dual American and French citizenship, he was able to work in both countries to acquire skills in this quickly growing domain.
Jennifer Hudson joined the team in February as our Communication and Market Strategist. She brings a social science background to Hypernet, with a PhD from Columbia University in political science, specialized in political theory and international relations. She is experienced with social scientific tools for understanding market power dynamics and social climate, which helps her to effectively and strategically nurture relationships between Hypernet, its stakeholders, and its users. As communication lead, Jennifer is articulating and helping to implement a vision of the future in which our business model is aligned with users’ intentions, needs, values, and vision for their lives.
Iain Carson joined Hypernet in March as Marketing Manager and Director of Content. Iain comes to the team with a background of over 10 years of experience in film and television production, including working for CBS and Lionsgate, and over 5 years of marketing experience with The Walt Disney Company. He is excited to bring engaging multimedia experiences in the coming months to the Hypernet community. Iain will be developing visual content and working with other members of the marketing and communication team to manage digital marketing.
Dan Luo is our most recent hire, who we were happy to welcome as a member of the engineering team this month. Dan studied computer science and Japanese at UCSB and then learned web development at the App Academy bootcamp. Dan is an outstanding Front End developer and will be focused on our Alpha product. He has hit the ground running, and he is already delivering major value to the team.
As you can see, our engineering, communication, and marketing teams are taking shape, and we’re extremely excited to have more capacity to build and successfully launch the product! Thank you to all of our supporters who have believed in us and our mission to democratize computing resources and make strides in responsible data science.
Thanks to all of you who believe in our mission to democratize computing resources and make strides in responsible data science. To bring full utility to the network and provide a complete product, we are currently focusing on three main activities: technical development, compute buyer and seller acquisition, and the creation of a B2C product that will utilize the technology we have built so far. As planned, we are releasing our technology in stages. Q1 2019 saw the Alpha testing of our first application, the gateway to Hypernet for scientists and engineers seeking to access more compute power.
Alpha Product Development
Initial product, launched to Alpha testers in Q1 2019
Demand-side portal for the blockchain-enabled marketplace for compute power
As of May, user-centric product development ongoing, Alpha user base growing
The Alpha product serves as the launching pad for testing the Hypernet protocol before release and as a vehicle to onboard users who have unmet needs to easily deploy code to another machine.
For those of you who have never attempted to spin up more compute power in AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud, we recommend you attempt it once so you can experience, first hand, the complexity involved. Once you gain access to a cloud instance (or even someone’s computer) your code dependencies need to be installed on the new machine before you can send your script to be executed remotely. Hypernet’s Alpha product simplifies all of this.
Business Development, Communication & Marketing
As development continues, the product team and engineers are prioritizing the features that will deliver the most value to our users.
Our user-centric, ease-of-use focus is one of the major differentiators between Hypernet and other blockchain-enabled computational projects.
Since users, their values, and their needs are at the core of our process, we’ve focused a lot of attention on user interviews. We are learning more and more about the fundamental problems our users need to solve, even before they consider remote code deployment as a possible solution. This research has been crucial for the purposes of product development, business development, and marketing / communication.
In April, we began to systematically categorize different user profiles so that we can become increasingly surgical in our approach to product development and feature prioritization. The BD team has made great strides in identifying which segments derive the most value from our product, as well as ways we can better serve them and locate more users with similar needs. User profiles, derived from in-depth interview data and associated market research, have also been critical for the generation of targeted communication and marketing. The marketing team has been working closely with BD to target these segments and onboard Alpha users. The close feedback loop between user interaction and product implementation is key to successfully bringing a technology to market.
Project Magellan, the future supply-side portal and the current gateway to the Hypernet test net, is set to launch with our exclusive group of testers in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for updates on that front. Thank you for joining us on this journey!
Engineer and computer scientist Katie Bouman, PhD, and copious hard drives containing M87’s supermassive black hole image data
How did a telescope that looks more like a dispersed series of satellite dishes extract an image of the heretofore “unseeable”? The answer is data — masses and masses of it — and, more importantly, its processing and interpretation. Each node in the decentralized Event Horizon Telescope produced so much data that its analysis required the physical transportation, by plane, of half a ton of hard drives to a central supercomputer at the MIT Haystack Observatory.
Paradigm-shifting scientific discoveries, like the first-ever image of a supermassive black hole, entail the production and analysis of increasing amounts of data, often utilizing decentralized data collection as in the case of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). And yet, data processing is still carried out in a centralized manner, requiring impractical transportation and potentially insecure information storage at a single location. How can scientific discovery continue to progress if we don’t find a better way?
Hypernet technology could catalyze a shift from the current centralized/cloud processing model to a code-to-data paradigm for data analysis. In the future, the Hypernet protocol could facilitate the coordinated processing of data in situ, in the field, harnessing local compute at field sites to create a globe-spanning supercomputer to match a globe-spanning telescope.
To understand the relationship between the Eye of Sauron picture and data processing, we should first consider what an image actually is. To begin with, it’s fairly inaccurate to say that this image — or any image — was “captured.” Images are not things that exist in nature, separate from human interpretation. Our eyes and our brains work together to gather, process, and reconstitute data to create things that human beings understand as images. Similarly, cameras are devices for gathering and processing information, which is then reconstituted into recognizable image form.
The Event Horizon Telescope is a decentralized means for gathering information in the form of radio waves, emanating from the ring of infalling material surrounding the black hole. The collection of massive amounts of data, from 7 different observatories around the world, was required to sort out the interactions between the radio waves and translate the resulting pattern into image form. Coordination of many far apart radio telescopes provided the necessary magnification and resolution that would have otherwise been impossible, but it also meant the data needed to be combined and analyzed before it could be reconstructed as an image. Processing relied on an algorithm, CHIRP (Continuous High-resolution Image Reconstruction using Patch Priors), developed under the leadership of engineer and computer scientist Katie Bouman in 2016.
The EHT collected the radio wave data in April 2017, after which it was transported and processed, and the image was presented to the public in April 2019. A non-trivial amount of time was lost because hard drives from the South Pole were stranded due to weather. But what if there was a way to bring the algorithm to the data and synchronize the processing, and not just the collection? This is Hypernet’s vision of the future.
All of us in the blockchain space are familiar with the boom and bust that has occurred since 2014, when Ethereum first facilitated and unleashed the ICO mania that eventually hit the wall — hard — in 2017. Many technology and economics experts, and not just the skeptics, saw this as a predictable outcome, but their analytic frameworks also suggest that there’s good news ahead for companies that make productive use of blockchain technology. This is excellent news for the Hypernet community. We will further discuss the economic context and theories below, but first, we have an important update and announcement!
As you know, first and foremost, Hypernet is on a mission to create a world-changing product. This product-centric thinking is the major determining factor in all of our decision making, communication, information gathering, and idea building. Our community has been an excellent source of beneficial ideas, and we’re now in a position to solicit your feedback on the actual products we are striving to build via the creation of a private test group. We are extremely excited to begin sharing more details and insight, as well as an eventual test product for you to download.
Welcome to Project Magellan.
Here’s an edited screenshot of our first test product, which we expect to place in your hands soon this spring:
Project Magellan membership will gain you access to exclusive information, regarding the product pictured above as well as the implications of Hypernet technology for researchers and data scientists around the world. Prospective members should complete this applicationas soon as possible to secure a spot.
Candidates will receive confirmation upon application submission and receipt by the Hypernet team. The application will remain open for two weeks (until March 11th). The open application period will be followed by three days for review. All approved members will be added to Hypernet’s Project Magellan group on March 14th. As we already noted, group members will have access to privileged content, eventually including the prototype portal to Hypernet’s test net, pictured above.
Note that space is limited. For now, it is important that the minimum necessary number of people handles the product as we roll out new features and stress test the network. We will be adding more applicants from the wait list as their devices and user profiles become applicable and essential for new tests, so you will want to submit your application as soon as possible.
Thank you for standing by us over the past months and trusting that sometimes ‘no news is good news.’ The Hypernet team has been hard at work, making strides in all facets of our operation. Much of this work must take place behind the scenes in order to ensure a successful product launch and token distribution. Strategic timing is crucial.
Now back to theory… The Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, first articulated in 1995, describes a now-familiar storyline and helps to contextualize this moment in blockchain and Hypernet history:
If the 2008 Bitcoin whitepaper marks the beginning of the blockchain cycle, the jury is still out as to whether we’ve reached the dreaded “trough of disillusionment.” At the same time, there’s a certain amount of hope built into this model. Running parallel to the “hype cycle” logic, former Stanford researcher Roy Amara’s “law” states, “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” It makes perfect sense that initial vague pronouncements about the impact of any new technology would drive overestimation and trigger disappointment. Underneath the hype, though, engineers would be using the new technology as the basis for real products and infrastructure, which might only become available post-disillusionment. This almost over-determines eventual underestimation of effective implementation of the original breakthrough.
The turmoil has a positive externality, however, and that is natural selection. In Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy(1942), Austrian economist and political theorist Joseph Schumpeter described the progressive evolution of the capitalist economy as a “perennial gale of creative destruction.” The idea is that a society cannot reap the benefits of technological advancement without accepting the fact that there will be some losers. The weak must be left by the wayside as the most productive actors contribute to the growth of the system as a whole. This is the place of Hypernet in the blockchain space — we are building a product that ultimately strengthens the entire crypto community because it allows society to harness the potential of blockchain technology. Creative destruction describes the process of separating the projects that are pure hype from the real technical progress that is left standing strong after the dust settles. And real technical progress requires real, sustained, less-than-glamorous hard work.
We are excited to embark upon this journey with our Project Magellan members and our wider community. We value you as the original true believers in Hypernet, and we want you to be among the first to pioneer our cutting edge technology. Together we will circumnavigate the globe with compute power.
The future of AI is unclear, but one thing is certain: companies which perfect the use and implementation of AI software will become the most valuable companies in the world. This is according to Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, founder of Sinovation Ventures.
Dr. Lee joined world renowned MIT computer science researcher, Dr. Eric Brynjolfsson, and Stanford economist, Susan Athey, for a discussion at the Stanford Graduate School of Business last week. Hypernet attends these events to explore partnership opportunities, source clients and talent, and ensure that we stay on the cutting edge of research and technology developments. This event was exceptionally fruitful in each of these areas.
The conversation between these scholars was deep and insightful. Although they touched on many subjects, three points stood out:
The field of AI is not nearly as mature as most people believe.
China could easily overtake the US’ dominant position in AI, and technology in general.
With AI displacing more jobs than it creates, companies will have a greater responsibility to maintain societal welfare.
The field of AI is not nearly as mature as most people believe
Both Lee and Brynjolfsson agreed that popular media outlets (and as a result, most people) have a poor understanding of where we are in terms of AI development. When people talk about AI, they are typically referring to AGI, or Artificial General Intelligence. This is the type of science-fiction AI that is capable of many tasks using different skills. Although this is where the field is heading, we are currently very far from that vision. Brynjolfsson was exceptionally antagonistic towards the idea that AI is nearing human intelligence. He views AI’s current state as an increasingly sophisticated ability to recognize patterns and predict outcomes… A far cry from humanoid robots which can think like we do.
China could easily overtake the US’ dominant position in AI, and technology in general.
Lee’s company, Sinovation ventures, has invested in over a dozen chinese unicorns, and 300 companies overall. He believes that while the US is operating at full capacity in terms of AI development, China is just getting started. Chinese companies like Alibaba, Baidu, and WeChat have enormous growth potential, given their market is 1B+ people. These companies operate very similarly to their US counterparts (Amazon, Google, and Facebook, respectively) but they manage to avoid R&D costs by copying successful business models. Furthermore, to many people’s surprise, China has more AI developers than the United States. Lee admits that all of the best programmers are in the US. But, he argues, companies don’t need the best programmers — they need a larger quantity of sufficient programmers in order to move their business forward. If this is true, then companies like Alibaba, Baidu, and WeChat may overtake their American counterparts in the next 10–20 years.
With AI displacing more jobs than it creates, companies will have a greater responsibility to maintain societal welfare.
Of course, one reason that companies are investing so heavily in AI is because it can be used to replace human workers. Although companies frequently claim that more new jobs will be created by AI, each of the panelists agreed that AI will displace many more jobs than it will create. This means that society will have to find new ways to deal with higher levels of unemployment, and the solutions may need to come from the companies themselves. This issue seemed to have the least clear solution of all the topics discussed. Ideas like low-income corporate housing, universal basic income, and heavier taxation have all been lightly explored, but until this becomes a bigger and more immediate issue, we likely won’t see companies experimenting with innovative solutions anytime soon.
Hypernet is a team of computer scientists out of Stanford University developing a groundbreaking new parallel programming model for AI applications. We are attending, hosting, and speaking at new events every month! Be sure to subscribe to our Telegram group chat and email newsletterto stay up to date with our progress.
The 2018 North American Blockchain Expo made three points very clear:
1. Blockchain is here to stay
2. The field is evolving quickly
3. The field is still young and has a lot of growth potential
With over 13,000 attendees, and nearly 400 exhibitors, the 2018 North American Blockchain Expo is the largest blockchain expo of the year. As an epicenter of corporate innovation, the conference attracts some of the world’s largest companies. This year, there were representatives from IBM, Cisco, Intel, Google, Tesla, BP, Disney, Boeing, GE, Target, Mercedes-Benz, and many more. These companies come to see the new ideas being generated by startups — and new ideas were everywhere.
The trendiest topic at the the expo this year seemed to be low-energy sensing and analytics. The chip manufacturer ARM was showcasing its new low-power operating system for use in distributed smart devices. Another project was exploring how to move an OS across smart devices. And Psikick, one of Hypernet’s Silicon Valley neighbors, is producing batteryless sensors which can be deployed worry-free to collect data over long time periods in remote places.
These low-energy plays all indicate an industry-wide shift towards IOT technology and analytics as companies strive to collect ever more data in a cost-effective manner. Hypernet is well-positioned to capitalize on this industry shift by providing a uniquely robust method for analyzing the tidal wave of data that will be produced by these low-energy IOT devices.
As expected, the expo also featured many companies which were still defining their value and differentiation in the market. It seemed like you could arrange the words AI, neural networks, deep learning, and blockchain in any order and there was a company there with that name. Other companies were clearly doing there best to rise to the top of an overcrowded sector. Precious assets (gold, diamonds, silver…) backed blockchains were around every corner of the expo auditorium. While the value proposition of this niche is clear and intuitive, realistically, this sector can only support a handful of companies. This market saturation is a good sign for the industry as a whole, because it indicates that there is a lot of potential for blockchain technology.
In any industry, intense competition produces winners and losers. In fifty years most of the startups featured at the 2018 Blockchain Expo will no longer exist. However, there are likely a select few which will stick around. These are the projects which are currently focusing on product development. Creating a fantastic user-friendly product which solves a real world issue is the only long term path to success. It is exciting to think that those companies — the ones currently in the throes of product development and going to market — might become the next Google, Amazon, or Facebook, and usher in the new technological paradigm which is made possible by blockchain technology.
Members of the Hypernet team recently attended an event at Stanford University which focused on the intersection of trust and technology. The event was led by Janine Zacharia, former middle-east correspondent for the Washington Post. Zacharia was accompanied by Dr. Jeffrey Hancock, a researcher who studies lies and deception, and Dr. Sharad Goel, whose background is in software and statistical analysis. While the discussion was highly interdisciplinary, there were great insights regarding the role blockchain could play in society, and how it is a natural evolution of trust-based interactions with technology.
It’s hard to overstate the significance of the “trust-revolution” in technology over the past 20 years. In 2007, when Facebook first became popular, many pundits claimed it would never succeed because people would never allow their personal information to be put online for anybody to see. Now, it seems the pendulum has swung in the other direction. Contemporary social media users do everything they can to attract friends and followers, displaying full trust in the Facebook platform.
With Ebay and Paypal there were similar arguments. In the early days of eCommerce, purchasing an object online with a credit card was perceived as a high-risk activity. At the time, we did not trust those systems or organizations with our personal financial information. Contrast that with Singles Day 2018, when nearly $25 billion dollars of transactions were conducted on the website Alibaba alone.
More recently, societal expectations of trust have adapted in order to accomodate “the sharing economy.” Airbnb and Uber each faced the same criticisms as Facebook and Paypal. Way back in 2010, around when Airbnb was founded, it seemed impossible that normal people would turn their homes into hotels where online strangers could enter and leave as they pleased. And growing up we are all told to never get into a stranger’s car — so how could Uber ever succeed? Thoughts like these seem oddly quaint and absurd today, but that is how most of us thought less than 8 years ago.
Now, we are once again at an inflection point as we learn to trust a new type of technology: blockchain. One of blockchain’s most attractive features is the ability to verify transactions in a trustless manner. However, users must still become comfortable psychologically while using the technology — even if the technology is more secure than the systems we already use every day.
Fortunately, previous technologies built on trust (Facebook, Paypal, Airbnb, Uber, etc…) are great case studies to learn from. Hypernet is already researching how to build a trusted platform, which helps users become comfortable with our technology. This will be an important component of our business strategy for adoption and growth of the network. This, along with our core IP and friendly user interface, will make Hypernet the first choice for peer-to-peer computation.
Last week, Hypernet outlined what a healthy strategic partnership looks like by exploring four main principles. Partnerships should:
Address a real problem
Create clear strategic value
Promote social good
Focus on the end-user experience and adoption
After exploring these ideas, we announced our partnership with ODX. ODX is bringing sustainable decentralized internet to developing countries. With millions of devices running ODX’s software, this partnership gives Hypernet access to those devices as well. In simple terms, our vision is for device owners to be able to connect their devices to Hypernetwork through the ODX app. The end result is that device owners will earn internet time for connecting to Hypernetwork, and the protocol will be adopted in a strategic part of the world. The symbiotic nature of this partnership is clear, but we are also excited for another reason.
At Hypernet, we believe that blockchain technology has an incredible capacity for promoting social good. The decentralized vision of blockchain is also a moral stance against the monopolization (and monetization) of information.
However, any visions for the future of blockchain are currently only obtainable by people with access to the internet. Internet in developing countries is prohibitively expensive, and out of reach for most populations. One of the qualities we find most attractive in ODX is their sustainable model for providing internet to those who otherwise couldn’t afford it. By making internet accessible to new populations, ODX and Hypernetwork provide people with new hopes, dreams, and opportunities. We’re all familiar with the saying, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for life.” Access to the internet is the 21st century version of fishing.
For this reason, Hypernet is doing what it can to help get people online, and realize the promises of blockchain technology in a healthy, socially beneficial, and decentralized manner. If you also believe in this vision, we invite you to partner with us as we continue to make blockchain a force for good, and use this technology to improve the lives of millions of people. Together, we can use blockchain to make the world a better place for all of us.
Palo Alto, CA
Have thoughts to share? Continue the conversation in our online group at: t.me/hypernettoken
Decentralized, distributed computing and cryptocurrency blockchain projects share the grand goal of breaking up monopolies in a variety of sectors in order to enable the free sharing of ideas, and unleash boundless creativity on the part of individuals. Of course, all of this rides on the assumption that people will use the technology, which so far remains an open question. Also worth considering is the degree to which individuals can be empowered in this way when only slightly more than half of the world’s population has access to the internet, in the first place.
The spread of mobile phone infrastructure, and cheap phones and plans, has recently been the most powerful driver of increased internet access in many parts of the world. It seems logical, then, that any plan to address the so-called global “digital divide” should also take into account the particular way in which mobile phone usage might shape the internet. As Hypernet works to change the world through parallel distributed computing, the spread of mobile phones represents an extraordinary opportunity. Hypernet’s technology is built to harness the latent computing power newly available on millions of mobile phones all over the world.
At the same time, there are certain other actors taking advantage of the global mobile phone revolution. These other actors are the tech giants which offer free data usage on mobile phones in several countries. With net neutrality top of mind, this should be a source of worry and consternation for everyone in the crypto space and, more generally, for everyone who cares about freedom of information. For many individuals in developing countries, they only know of the internet by the corporate brand which provides it to them in exchange for their personal data. If you care about the free market of ideas, this should immediately set off alarm bells.
The way in which tech platforms can shape the way we understand new information has been a major topic of discussion in the United States since 2016, when it was argued that large tech companies could actually skew democratic elections. The problem may be getting worse rather than better, and it’s not just Americans who need to worry.
Myanmar is another country in which free access served to bring an entire population online, suddenly and all at once, with the result that a single service provider has total power over information delivery. Instead of a drug war, this configuration has contributed to large-scale human rights violations and what many are calling acts of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslim population.
In short, it’s an understatement to say that we should be concerned about the incredible concentration of online information distribution. Ever since Marshall McLuhan declared “the medium is the message” in the 1960s, media theorists have recognized the importance of the delivery platform in the shaping of the very meaning of content. This point takes on absolutely crucial significance, though, when one organization or delivery platform usurps monopoly power over the dissemination of news.
The only solution to the problem created by concentrated data control is making the internet, and the flow of information and communication that goes with it, indiscriminately accessible. The free flow of ideas and information is a democratic ideal of the highest order. Since the internet is today’s most widely used channel of communication, we should work to protect it from distortion and bad actors, to ensure that it remains neutral.
Given that mobile phones are the most commonly used devices for accessing the internet worldwide, Hypernet would be perfectly suited to partner with other organizations seeking to provide internet in a fair, uncensored, and equitably accessible manner.
Imagine an organization built on the explicit mission of democratizing internet access for everyone on the planet, of offering the opportunity and possibility of the internet without the harmful effects of the single provider system. This would be the pinnacle of open and equal information sharing. Now imagine that this organization is already reaching millions of users through software on millions of devices. Hypernet would be a natural and beneficial addition to an already symbiotic relationship. Hypernet would be able to provide the necessary computational component for a decentralized internet, and the owners of mobile devices would gain the capacity to monetize their devices, in addition to accessing the internet.
These are precisely the types of partnerships that Hypernet is interested in forming, partnerships that create value for everyone involved while preserving the values and vision of a decentralized internet and the free circulation of ideas.