The growing influence of federated social media platform Mastodon could serve as a possible model for consumer Pods. Mastodon is not a single, privately held social network like Twitter now is, rather a network of distributed servers or instances which federate together in a collective review film group. If a Mastodon user doesn’t like their server, they’re free to move whenever they like.
Changing the internet, again
If AI proves to be a nightmare movie plot threat, like Skynet in Terminator, all the Pods in the world won’t stop the nukes from flying. But if this plays out as Schneier suggests it may, the idea of decentralising data in the service of giving individuals agency over AI, and their own privacy, is certainly an attractive one.
“This notion of distributing our data is much more resilient, reliable, generative and better than if the big tech monopolies have it,” says Schneier. “Google has all of your data, but they don’t have to have it, it’s just convenient for them to have it.
“We can make it convenient for you to have it, and that would be better for you. That’s the vision of Pods, the vision of Solid. The reality is not there yet, but Tim Berners-Lee changed the internet once. He has a track record of changing the way the internet works, so I wouldn’t put it past him to do it again.”
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