At our second meeting of the 2018-2019 season, held at the Old Lyme Country Club on October 24, we were treated to a wonderful review of the current state of the Internet, and how it might develop in the near future. Robert Morgus, a Senior Policy Analyst at the Washington DC think-tank “New America”, outlined the recent evolution of the Internet and the hopes and expectations of several individuals and organizations with a stake in it. Of course, we all are stakeholders to varying degrees in this digital platform, and so his presentation was relevant for all.
Robert outlined two general models for the future Internet: one that favors freedom and openness and a truly global web of information, and a second that argues for keeping a tight control over information and emphasizes the sovereignty of states. The result of the latter model will be several internets; for example, one for China, one for Russia and one for the West. A completely free and open Internet can result in some unintended consequences, such as the use of the medium by ISIS to radicalize followers, and to interfere with the conduct of the US Presidential Election of 2016.
The evolution of internet content over the past 4 years was demonstrated by Robert using a series of graphs mapping the “Character of Internet Governance” versus “Internet Content Openness”. The data demonstrates a decrease in “openness”, reflecting in part an increase in sovereign control over the Internet, and in part efforts to prevent radicalization by anti-Western agendas.
Subsequent to the presentation, Robert sent links to two publications that provide more information:
In his presentation, Robert quoted Eric Schmitt, former Google CEO, on the future of the Internet: “I think the most likely scenario now is not a splintering, but rather a bifurcation into a Chinese-led internet and a non-Chinese internet led by America.” No doubt, it will be interesting to invite Robert Morgus back to SECWAC in a few years to see where the Internet did in fact go!
For our next meeting, we hope to see you on November 14 at the Blaustein Building, Connecticut College, New London, when Charles Sennott, Founder, CEO and Editor of the GroundTruch Project, will present on “GroundTruth in a Post-truth World”.
Executive Director & Program Committee Chair, Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council
The mission of the Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) is to foster an understanding of issues of foreign policy and international affairs by study, debate, and educational programming, primarily through a Speakers Series of 8 to 10 monthly meetings.