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I Predict The End of The Web

2020-06-19

The fact that we still have the world wide web, HTML, JavaScript, SQL databases, means we have not yet completed the transition to distributed computing.

The web is merely a severely limited, but very mature concrete application of the total philosophy of hypertext.

In the end, I do predict that the web will fail, and we will move to a form of computer telecommunications that is better suited to mass participatory computing. This is because the web is a fetter on the freedoms that we want to exercise and experience. It will become a restriction on the kind of flourishing life activities we want to practice.

The very likely end of the history of the web, I predict, will be that the centralisation of it as a system will be destroyed through constant external social crisis, like the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters, mass biological contagions, and the deep, deep crisis in capitalist production and exchange that will necessarily come about due to mass social crisis, as the centralised networks fail.

The fediverse is therefore an incomplete project. It relies on much of the same centralised telecommunications infrastructure that powers the Web 2.0. Gossip protocols, like those that power the Manyverse, such as Scuttlebutt, are probably going to be the biggest winners out of the collapse of centralised telecommunications.

The next step, for us as a community here, is to find a way to move beyond the web, while continuing to use it while it lasts, as a mere tactical manoeuvre.

This is just my current train of thought. I may, in all likelihood, be completely wrong, and we will keep it all in some distorted form. I do currently believe that, not only should we stop using the web, but, one day, the web will begin to rapidly decline, and will cease to exist altogether.

This is a bolder claim: either become a part of the future, or live long enough to suffer your nostalgic attachment to what will soon be ancient history.

oh i think IPFS is amazing—i installed 9front onto the bare metal a few months ago, and was amazed at how the system works.

i need to find out much more about it, to be honest. i actually think plan9 is definitely a way forward.

hypertext should be something built into the operating systems we should be using.

i find something a little scary in how mundane it is to just open up a web browser and simply, mindlessly, do your business.

i was going to write another (silly) manifesto about what should take the place of the web, when, (i hope) it dies.

perhaps constructing an IPFS system that could rival scuttlebutt and ActivityPub could be a fun exercise! i wonder what that could look like.

i think one of the things that allowed the fediverse to take off so quickly, was, that it was a clone of twitter, and so it kept the design language of the format, and allowed people to simply jump across and not actually think too much about how to behave once they had landed here.

i guess i’m still developing a lot of this idea more fully, right now. i wonder if we could find a way to play off people’s cognitive defaults like the fediverse did in trying to move people away from the web. at one point, web browsers did have to be consciously and deliberately placed onto people’s computers.

i think most people’s experiences on the fediverse would in fact be their phones, so maybe having a full IPFS system and distributed operating system easily flashable onto, say, a samsung phone could be the final goal.

i do think hardware has a role to play, as well… raspberry pis being another target system?

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