compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
What’s especially remarkable [IS] the close parallels between ant colonies’ networks and human-engineered ones. One example is “Anternet”, where we, a group of researchers at Stanford, found that the algorithm desert ants use to regulate foraging is like the Traffic Control Protocol (TCP) [updated with correct spelling] used to regulate data traffic on the internet.
Both ant and human networks use positive feedback: either from acknowledgements that trigger the transmission of the next data packet, or from food-laden returning foragers that trigger the exit of another outgoing forager.
This research led some to marvel at the ingenuity of ants, able to invent systems familiar to us: wow, ants have been using internet algorithms for millions of years!
( WIRED, too, flirted with the concept of “anternet”
in its Jargon Watch column 2013.)
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THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT’S latest attempts in recent months to stifle protests through internet blackouts, digital curfews, and co... have presented a particularly extreme example of how far regimes can go in restricting digital access. But a new report from the internet infrastructure company Cloudflare, released today, highlights the stunning global prevalence of connectivity disruptions and their increasing relevance to people and organizations all around the world.
In 2022, Cloudflare began publishing reports that compile its internal observations about government internet blackouts and notable outages worldwide. As a content delivery network that also provides digital resiliency services, the company sees an array of signals when a chunk of the internet goes dark. For example, Cloudflare can assess internet protocol requests, like those for the routing system Border Gateway Protocol or the internet address book Domain Name System, to get insight into how a government executed a shutdown and where in the internet backbone it implemented the connectivity blocking.
The specific geopolitical context and technical nuances of different digital disruptions can make it difficult, or unhelpful, to make granular comparisons of disparate incidents. But Cloudflare, which operates in more than 100 countries and interconnects with more than 10,000 network providers, is using its vantage point and visibility into the global internet to track broader trends and offer a sense of scale about how pervasive internet shutdowns have become.