MIT's Kwan Lee on the Future of Viral Radios

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"A technology called "mesh networks" is slowly creeping into our lives. Imagine a bottom-up world where your phone, your computer, your washing machine, your socks all talk to one-another (wash me, dammit!), creating their own networks with no go-betweens: no phone company, no internet service provider, nobody. The notion makes your mind spin with its potential for good and evil, for simplifying your life or generating a world of screwups remindful of the classic Lucille Ball trying to catch up with an assembly line TV sketch. Ma Bell must be soiling her knickers over schemes like Fluid Voice from MIT Media Lab (as if Skype wasn't bad enough). The idea is that if you put enough viral radio-enabled cellphones in, say, a city they will, by themselves, create their own cellphone network. Practically, in cases such as Hurricane Katrina or the earthquake in Pakistan and India, lives might have been saved with such an instant communications infrastructure. As part of the radio show we did during CES in Las Vegas, we talked with Kwan Lee of MIT about the future of viral radios" (