This I believe…
The Internet was created for connecting and sharing — initially, connecting research networks and sharing (computing) resources. Ever since it “escaped” the research lab, it has provided a basis for individuals of all age and background to connect and share in ways previously unimagined. The things we’ve seen in the last twenty years would surely have been deemed impossible, except that they have been achieved. As long as the Internet remains open and non-discriminating to all-comers, the people (individuals, communities and organizations) of this planet will continue to amaze each other with the creative uses to which they put the Internet.
It’s that openness and accessibility of the Internet that we need to preserve if we want to see our brightest possible future.
Of course, the Internet is no static thing — not in technology, use, management or culture. When the thinkingcat.com domain was first registered, it was during an era where people had login names that reflected their favourite activities, beverages, fictional characters, etc (as opposed to systematic e-mail addresses based on first and last names, for example). As the Internet increasingly underpins our daily lives, we have greater expectations of reliability and security, and the question of who and how to govern the Internet in order to meet those needs (across geopolitical boundaries) promotes the expectation of change: in how the Internet is run, or how societies organize, or both.
Cross-industry collaboration has important precedents, but it is rarely completely spontaneous. I have worked on TechArk as a “centre for collaborative development of the Internet” (CCDI), cultivating cross-industry collaboration where and when needed, empowering individual organizations to make the Internet better. You can follow the activities and progress on the dedicated project site for TechArk: http://www.techark.org .