What it is: Predicting the future can be easy by just keeping your eyes open on eliminating the middleman.
In any field, you can predict the future by identifying the middleman and eliminating him. In the music world, the middleman was the music store and the company making CDs, tapes, or vinyl records. Eliminate that and you get digital audio files, which is how iTunes thrived. Now eliminate the middleman of digital audio files and you get streaming audio, which is now threatening iTunes.
One of the earliest music sharing sites was Napster, which provided a central server that anyone could access to upload and download music. Shutting down Napster was as simple as shutting down this central server, which was the middleman. Then other peer-to-peer networks popped up that decentralized file distribution.
Instead of relying on a central server middleman, these new peer-to-peer networks relied on every computer being a server. That meant you could copy a file from multiple computers and download different parts of a file, making transfer faster.
More importantly, it also made taking down the peer-to-peer network harder because you couldn’t just shut down one computer. You had to shut down the entire network of computers. That’s basically the design of the Internet and why it’s so robust.
The latest change to the future are cellular networks. Currently they’re based on cellular towers scattered around the land. Take down a cellular tower and you lose coverage. Now here’s the interesting question. What happens if you eliminate cellular towers?
The latest cellular technology suggests that individual cell phones could become transmitters themselves. Now instead of building cellular towers everywhere, you just need enough people with cell phones to move into a certain area. As long as there’s one cell phone nearby, you’ll be able to get coverage.
By eliminating cellular towers, cellular networks can get more robust and spread coverage faster while increasing reliability. For anyone currently making money renting land for a cellular tower, your income is about to disappear in a hurry, which shows the unintended consequences of losing the middleman in any field.
Peer-to-peer cellular networks are the future, so we can finally stop building and seeing ugly cellular towers all over the place. Peer-to-peer cellular networks will come sooner than you think because it eliminates the middleman of cellular towers that cost money to build. There can never be enough cellular towers to provide coverage, but there can be enough cell phones to link together and spread a network anywhere enough people gather. Such a network will be far more robust and reliable while being less expensive as well, which means its future is assured.