Imagine a world in which the US and China have two fully formed ideas that allow the world to use one of the two global internet systems? This is something we spoke about in our comments two months ago in our series of China presentations. The world of apps and other services that are used by the world would have two variations and two systems, at least the public would have clear choices. The commentators have now developed a name for this world, the “splinternet” as it is called. China has been developing all types of new services and there is talk that it will be ahead of the US in AI, or artificial intelligence in 5 years. The lead will be shockingly wide, perhaps so wide that the US will be helpless to counter. Imagine an authoritarian owner of the internet, a new leader that has no interest in individual freedoms. A scary thought.
Either way, two internets could emerge and dominate the world information systems in 5 years. One would be driven by China and its interests while the other by the United States. The future internet fragmenting or the “splinternet” would allow choice and in a world with one super power, it does make sense to have two – people need choice.
This would mean that Chinese and US apps would each dominate a part of the internet. Countries would line up to choose, and in the end there will be two massive providers. China would likely be able to take on government institutions, i.e. allow them onto a system that ensures that governments keep control of all the global networks at the expense of their local populations. There would likely be an authoritarian internet and a free speech internet but this is debatable, perhaps the US system will become much like China as some European powers are insisting on speech control.
China may be taking on new powers that will have historic and generational impact on history.