Chapter 5

The decentralized web allowed the system to run without any servers of its own. User’s would just log their devices onto it and would be granted access. CPU and storage would be pooled and the device registered in the global network. This breakdown in any kind of middleman is what really proved threatening to the powers that be, allowing whole worlds of curriculum to be built up organically not subject to the panels of academics of yesteryear. In fact, the system, by publishing all academic research publicly allowed a similar self-editing process to Wikipedia to take place, but on an exponentially bigger set of resources.

The system’s impact was beginning to be felt in disparate countries worldwide but not all repercussions were good ones. Because education credentials garnered from the system were beginning to be seen as legitimate, regular degrees were begging devalued. And because of this, granting institutions were beginning to be defunded and fall into disrepair.

Whole cities like Boston, whose economies had relied on the excellence of their post-secondary education were becoming ghost towns.

People of all ages were spending more time in the system however and the general education level of society was rising. Answers were being put forward to previously intractable problems like climate change, the scarcity of water and overpopulation. Fighting between nation states was diminishing as people from across the globe interfaced and learnt together.

Jim and Randi were heartened that their creation had cause so much good, despite its flaws.

The rise of the system coincided very much with the first internet wars while its consolidation happened, really during the second internet wars. The first internet wars pitted the tech haves, the big multinational tech sovereigns who had come to dominate the economy against a kind of civic anarchistic coterie of hackers and activists, often who were themselves on the fringes of the decentralized web projects of various sorts. The second internet wars took place almost wholly within these anarchist groups as a new functioning tech hierarchy, and with it society and world government, was consolidated.

Jim now sat at the top of this, an integral part of world education on the new web from his perch on the 86th floor on billionaire’s row in Manhattan. The new web did not usher in any kind of utopia, it just provided an evolution to these technologies and in essence, a new set of winners.

If only Jim could enjoy it.

“Well Jim,” Randi said on one of her periodic visits, “I decided it’s time to let Mia into the family business. I am going to write her back on your behalf. I am not going to give her a whole history, she will come to learn that in time, but I am going to give her a peak behind the curtains, something she deserves.”

And with that Randi left the building and Jim didn’t hear back on the matter for a while.


Silenced Copyright © by Jonathan Wexler. All Rights Reserved.