Autonomous Internet Road Map

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Preliminary Focus

Our preliminary focus is on the Open Source Tri-Fecta, the combination of Free/Open Source Software (F/OSS), Open Spectrum, and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), with an urgent collective commitment to focusing on the vital need to connect the three billion poorest of the poor as quickly as possible.

Interoperable Connectivity of people, things, and ideas, are the Prime Directive.

Strategic Phasing starts with connectivity, moves toward virtual networks and regional decision-support centres, and culminates in all humans connected to all information--especially "true cost" information--so as to achieve Panarchy--informed self-governance at all levels on all issues.

Discussion Forums

Our primary technical discussion is fireworks taking place at the Google Group on Distributed Decentralized Intelligence.

The primary public discussion should take place at the Autonomous Internet Facebook Page.

P2P Wiki Protocol

Unlike larger Wiki endeavors where trolls can destroy the work of others with impunity, this Wiki encourages anyone to create, edit, or relocate, but elevates destruction of content to an act that requires discussion and intervention of the P2P Foundation manager. Discussion should take place at the Mailing List.

Open Everything Overview

Here is a depiction of a simplified view of Open Everything at the strategic level.

Strategic Perspectives

Strategic Approaches

Philosophical Framework

Our philosophical foundation is comprised of the well-established themes of accountability, legitimacy, and transparency.

  • In the absence of accountability, corruption rules.
  • In the absence of legitimacy, corruption rules.
  • In the absence of transparency, corruption rules.

When we refer to corruption, we do not refer only to a lack of integrity in the sense of honor, but also a lack of integrity in communications, computing, and intelligence--insufficient or incorrect facts, false assumptions, active deception.

Hence, at the most strategic level, the Autonomous Internet is the means by which We the People (of all cultures, all ethnic groups) achieve what Founding Father James Madison called "the power which knowledge gives."

James Madison: Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

Educational Focus

In human terms, we embrace the view of the great philosophers from Plato to Durant, to wit, that education of the individual is the surest route to a prosperous world at peace. In this context, the education of the three billion poorest is in and of itself a major objective or mission of an Autonomous [Distributed, Decentralized, & Free] Internet: to connect them and empower them with the ability to learn "one cell call at a time."

When Plato says that the office of minister of education is ‘of all the great offices of state the greatest,’ and that the citizens should elect their very best man to this office (Laws 765-6), he is not pronouncing a platitude, he is making a radical, revolutionary proposition.

Will Durant, Philosophy and the Social Problem (Promethean Press, 2008)

Connecting Humanity

It is in the above context that we consider an Autonomous Internet to be the Information Era equivalent of clean air and water--an essential human right. To deprive any individual of access to the central feature of the next hundred years is to relegate them to sub-human status.

Recognizing this human right is not without its tangible benefits for all humanity including the one billion rich. C. K. Prahalad teaches us in The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid–Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton, 2004)that the one billion rich have an annual income of one trillion dollars, while the five billion poor have an annual income of four trillion dollars. It is on this basis that authorities such as Howard Bloom have broken from Industrial Era predatory and wasteful capitalism to posit The Genius of the Beast–A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism (Prometheus Books, 2009).

Apart from the obvious opportunities for moral capitalism redirected toward the needs of the five billion poor, a form of capitalism that will be substantially enabled by a global Autonomous Internet that is not subject to either censorship or toll booths, the new literature on the "wealth of networks" cannot be slighted. Connecting humanity is the surest path to creating a prosperous world at peace. The following four books are early proofs of this idea.

Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks–How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (Yale University Press, 2006)

Barry Carter, Infinite Wealth–A New World of Collaboration and Abundance in the Knowledge Era (Butterworth-Heinemann, 1999)

Thomas Stewart, The Wealth of Knowledge–Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-first Century Organisation (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2002)

Alvin Toffler, Revolutionary Wealth (Knopf, 2006)

Mark Tovey (ed), COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace (Earth Intelligence Network, 2008)

Spectrum Commons

Open and Free Internet Advocacy

Open Source Intelligence



The emergence of the Autonomous Internet will transform the global to local legal system. Legal "rights" rooted in corruption and privilege, and especially legal "rights" affording secrecy and monopoly privileges as well as "personality" protections to corporations, will be over-turned by public consensus, first at local and state levels, then nationally, and finally globally.

In the interim, and rooted firmly in the concepts of public sovereignty, localities and states or provinces will combine both local implementation of the Autonomous Internet, with nullification of federal or international attempts to impose restrictions on spectrum use, to take one example, that are from a more corrupt and less technically evolved Industrial Era.

In extreme cases, secession will be the solution chosen by a sovereign public group, with Vermont and Hawaii being the two most obvious candidates for full independence from the United STATES of America. This Road Map does not favor secession or any other political course of action; it is designed to empower all humans everywhere to be free with dignity and empowered to live in a prosperous world at peace, however they choose to define their own circumstances.

Technical Terms of Reference

Financial Objectives

It is theoretically possible for an informed public to self-finance public intelligence, public policy, and public participatory budgeting, while out-spending those who seek to corrupt public processes and also out-doing them in legal, ethical public dialog and deliberation such as are facilitated by the National Coalition for Dialog & Deliberation (NCDD).

Our strategic financial objective is to create a self-funded [World Brain and Global Game] such that the Autonomous Internet movement can connect every human being, with dignity and trust, to all relevant information, and to the social network processes that allow for collective intelligence to be harnessed and applied in the public interest.

A preliminary financial calculation suggests that three billion dollars a year is sufficient to fund an Open Source Agency or Network (OSA or OSN) that pioneers and promotes the Open Source Tri-Fecta.

Operational Campaigns

The operational level of action & analysis is a regional or continent-wide one. At this level the regional interests of the indigenous peoples as represented by various forms among which the nation-state is but one form, should be the center of gravity. This is a grass-roots way of saying that the days of ATT&T "owning" Chile, to take one example are over. Carrying this further, the days of any telecommunications or computing company having any kind of monopoly and any kind of predatory privilege, are over. The center of gravity is on empowering the indigenous poor so they can create wealth while eradicating the corruption that has been looting their commonwealths--local elites bribed by foreign elites, a form of global class war that has made globalization a legalized criminal activity. Dictators empowered by arms sales, global bankers willing to take blood money, and the friendship of Western nations that have sacrificed their integrity to commercial interests having nothing to do with the public interest, should be the first to fall. This has begun to happen in the Middle East and North Africa. It will spread. The Autonomous Internet is both inspired by these recent successes, and energized as a need by the early attempts of the Egyptian and Libyan and Bahrain dictators to "shut down" the Internet.

It is very important to emphasize that the spirit of the Autonomous Internet does not seek to confiscate any wealth nor does it approve of violence. On the one hand, confiscation of wealth is both counter-productive and insufficient--only the poor themselves, if empowered, can create "infinite wealth." On the other hand, violence is both counter-productive and costly in human terms--the very resource we seek to preserve and empower.

Empowering the Billions of Poor

Free Cellular Access

The single most important contribution the one billion rich can make is to promote regional campaigns to give to each individual person a lifetime of free access to the Internet and one another via low-cost cellular telephones with unlimited calling and Simple Message System (SMS) capabilities, along with directory, calendar, and alarm features. OpenBTS by Range Networks, to take one example, is now capable of meeting these needs at a cost of $2 a month when scaled. Individual cellular units can be created at a cost of under $10, and with recycling of older units to recover the rare metals and other elements, could come down even further.

At the operational level, the Autonomous Internet movement respectfully suggests that free (subsidized) access to the Internet and the ability to connect to one another at all levels from local to global is the full equivalent of a free education, and indeed better than what passes for education in Industrial Era terms, with the added advantage that it frees the poor from six to eighteen years of rote learning in a structured environment, releasing 30-50 billion man-years of entrepreneurship empowered by being connected.

Among many other contributions, this universal access to cellular telephones, calling, and texting, allows for the constant, rapid, nearly infinite constitution of open space face to face and virtual conferencing, a form of human Open Space Technology as pioneered first by indigenous natives centuries ago, and more recently by Harrison Owen.

Virtual "On Call" Support Networks

Instead of schoolrooms that "lock down" human minds and bodies, the Autonomous Internet movement proposes a global virtual learning environment such as originally envisioned by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and H. G. Wells, among others. This network, using existing capabilities such as TeleLanguage, and a global network of volunteer, subsidized, and fully-funded educators and support personnel, becomes the "information-sharing and sense-making" facilitator for the three billion poor, educating them "one cell call at a time as originally envisioned by the 24 co-founders of the Earth Intelligence Network.

Regional Multi-National Decision-Support Centres

The concept of regional Multi-National Decision-Support Centres (MDSC) and a single global MDSC embedded with an Open Source Agency has been well developed but rejected by the logical sponsor, the United States Government, as it would over-turn decades of fraud, waste, and abuse embedded in the GRIFTOPIA "system." Absent more advanced entitities or a handful of major corporations realizing that the only sustainable profit is ethical profit fully aware of all "true costs," it appears that only a bottom-up public network will be able to create such centres under conditions of Panarchy.

Operational or Regional Technical Road Map

Regional Financial Possibilities

Religions and regional governmental organizations appear to be the best candidates for creating regional financial networks able to fund the combination of volunteer cognitive surplus and subsidized or fully funded free cell phones and cell access for the poor, support network answers on demand, and regional centres able to process massive amounts of incoming SMS as well as warning calls and photographs (e.g. of a sudden emergence of a specific new plant disease).

Religions could fund the Autonomous Internet from within each parish or other localized religious district. Solar-powered Internet and OpenBTS hubs in each church/mosque/synagogue, combined with satellite access from one central point within that mesh, could begin to create a foundation for others--universities, chambers of commerce, labor unions--to join, rapidly achieving the network effect in a bottom-up manner.

Regional governmental organizations, and especially those in the Southern Hemisphere, are ideally suited to harness the distributed intelligence of their regions, mobilizing the eight tribes of intelligence (academic, civil society, commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, and non-governmental/non-profit) around a common regional commitment to eliminate predatory telecommunications monopolies that are unaffordable, unsustainable, and unproductive. Simultaneously, selected telecommunications partners such as ENTEL in Chile, could realize that there is more profit to be made in the sense-making and in the offering of regional cloud services, and be encouraged to create local cell phone and recycling factories as well as the physical multinational decision-support centre, stepping back from that aspect of the global communications network that should be the Autonomous Internet.

Tactical Opportunities

Pilot Projects

Important Gaps in Open Capability

Financial Needs

Technical Infrastructure

The OSI Model

"The Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI model) is a product of the Open Systems Interconnection effort at the International Organization for Standardization. It is a way of sub-dividing a communications system into smaller parts called layers. A layer is a collection of similar functions that provide services to the layer above it and receives services from the layer below it. On each layer, an instance provides services to the instances at the layer above and requests service from the layer below."

OSI Model
Data unit Layer Function
Data 7. Application Network process to application
6. Presentation Data representation, encryption and decryption, convert machine dependent data to machine independent data
5. Session Interhost communication
Segments 4. Transport End-to-end connections and reliability, flow control
Packet 3. Network Path determination and logical addressing
Frame 2. Data Link Physical addressing
Bit 1. Physical Media, signal and binary transmission

"Some orthogonal aspects, such as management and security, involve every layer." [1]

Autonomous Internet Models

(this section will detail multiple models for Autonomous Internet architectures)

P2P Infrastructure

Physical Layer

A minimum of 3 satellites are required for global communications. More is better to prevent bottlenecks. Physical connections, wires, cables, are another layer in the system.

Transport Layer

Router Layer

Nodes on the networks have multiple addresses.

Host Layer

Nodes on the networks have multiple addresses. Nodes on the networks implement multiple communication protocols.

Application Layer

Nodes on the networks implement multiple communication protocols. Software on the network will implement APIs for interoperability. Good APIs will provide mechanisms for automated discovery and communication.

Required resources for implementation


Collaboration around defining Core Principles

  • From Paul B. Hartzog:
    • interoperability first
    • inclusive (give all ideas a chance)
    • diversity (many solutions trump any single solution)
    • cooperation-oriented (populations of cooperators outperform defectors in complex systems)
    • test-driven development
    • forking & merging (evolutionary principles produce evolved/ evolveable code)
    • access for all (affordability, geolocation, peak times, bottlenecks, etc.; a political AND technical problem)
  • From Richard C. Adler
    • a metadata-ready environment, perhaps embracing something akin to RDF/XML style metadata schema (or other schema that will prove appropriate on the data level(s) of the next net)
  • From Aaron Huslage:
    • a Content-neutral and content-centric environment.
    • user-centered design

Open Questions

  • On
    • What are the fundamental requirements and building blocks of a distributed internet? in preparation for the Contact summit in NYC october 20 (2011), we want to understand the current landscape of projects/initiatives building a distributed internet and the fundamental requirements so we can better coordinate efforts
  • Aaron Huslage on The Next Net Google Group, thread "Too Geeky?":
    • There are some major issues with the technology stuff we talk about. It's largely too geeky. This is normal for new technology since the developers and early adopters are practitioners of geekery, but I worry about things when they get to grandma and grandpa. "Normal" people don't know how to use BitTorrent or port forward their router, for instance, so how can they participate in one of the many p2p networks in existence today? "Normal" people don't even know they HAVE a router, they take what the telco gives them and call them when it breaks. "Normal" people don't even know what a web browser is, they simply click the little Internet icon on their desktop and are whisked away to a world where everything is peaceful and amazing. See what I mean? What implications does a distributed Internet have for users? How do we make this stuff EASY and as fully baked as possible?
  • Richard C. Adler on Users: Who will be using it? And what for?:
    • There's a topic we've touched on in a couple of these threads but haven't addressed directly: who do we expect to be using this distributed internet? Some points to make up front about starting from the user side: 1) I realize this question is, by definition, speculative. But I offer it *in context* with the other discussions (and as a more focused sub-discussion of 'defining the problem', which has strayed from Colin's original question). Considered on its own, this question might have us building an internet for a constituency that doesn't exist. But alongside the other discussions, it may help us clarify what options make sense and which do not. 2) I realize there will not be a single constituency with a single purpose in mind. Obviously many groups may/will take up whatever internet we might build, and they may have different purposes for it. What they choose to do with it may not be our immediate concern as such ('content neutral', etc), but speculation as to what they most *likely* will want to do with it may also help us clarify what this next net will need. 3) This question must necessarily influence the technical discussions already happening. If we expect many users to have limited resources (including limits on money and access to tech) and limited knowledge of technology, then solutions relying on 'the best off the shelf tech available today' will be less useful than solutions relying on 'the most affordable, most easily understood, AND most widely distributed off-the-shelf tech available today.' 4) This is *not* an issue that can just be solved on the application layer as an after-thought. It's not *just* an issue of usability or of being user friendly (though it's partly that). It's a question of what resources we are going to demand that someone must have in order to access this distributed internet, in terms of hardware, software, and technical proficiency (because whatever internet we build, we *will* be demanding that of all users, even if we wish that didn't have to be the case). Having said all that, here is one possible way to frame the question: "In its initial stages, should the next internet be architected with the expectation that it will be adopted primarily (perhaps even exclusively) by technically adept enthusiasts? Or, instead, on the expectation that it will be adopted by enthusiasts (who will always come) but ALSO a wider, less technically adept base (including activists with limited resources in hostile sociopolitical environments)?" Obviously, they way I've framed the question favors the latter option. But the former IS an option. A next net for enthusiasts would probably be much easier to make a concrete reality, and--if architected right--could be made a step toward an internet that could be used by a far greater number of people (as indeed was the case with the first internet). But I think at some point we will need to make it clear to ourselves which way we're leaning if we hope to build something truly accessible to the people we hope to make it available to.

"Greenfield" Visioning




  1. Source of quote and table: