The Internet Computer makes the world better by providing solutions to the critical problems facing tech today. Here are some key ways it makes things better:
Ending The Captive Customer Trap
The Internet Computer makes it possible to build websites, enterprise systems and internet services by uploading software into a seamless open universe where it runs securely and can easily interact with users and other software. By contrast, builders using the legacy IT stack must roll their own platforms by selecting from a multitude of commercial cloud services, cloud tools, proprietary and open source variations of operating systems, components such as databases and firewalls, virtualization technologies, software development platforms and more. The resulting complexity, the highly custom nature of the systems assembled, the special developer knowledge needed to maintain them, and the associated vendor relationships, makes it expensive and difficult to migrate and adapt legacy systems as needs change. The effect is compounded by legacy stack vendors strategizing to create captive customers, for example by encouraging dependence on custom features and using restrictive licensing. In the future, developers building on the Internet Computer will marvel how anything used to get built at all, and jealously guard their freedom.
Powering Systems That Are Secure By Default
Using the legacy stack it is almost impossible to build and maintain systems that are truly secure. Once systems have been built to provide desired functionality, additional hardening work must performed to make them safe, which involves protecting them from the outside world using firewalls, and careful configuration and administration of their components. A single mistake by just one member of the IT team, a malicious insider, or a failure to apply software updates in time, can result in hackers jumping firewalls and creating havoc. Consequently, the legacy stack is behind a rolling global meltdown in security, with ever increasing hacks, data thefts, and incidents where entire infrastructures cease to function after ransomware encrypts server machines. By contrast, the Internet Computer provides a tamperproof environment where unstoppable software runs that does not depend on firewalls and hardening for security, in which installed software systems are secure by default and run with the same security guarantees provided to smart contracts. In the future, when systems get hacked or experience downtime, people will fairly ask, “why didn’t they build on the Internet Computer?”.
Fixing Debilitating IT Complexity, Costs and Delays
The legacy stack is always evolving, but the problem of overarching complexity in IT isn’t going away, and some would say is worsening. Complexity drives costs, slows down system development, and of course, is a contributing factor in security woes that cost yet more money to mitigate. Today, 85% of IT costs at a typical Fortune 500 company reside with IT Operations (i.e. people), who often have to spend more than 90% of their time dealing with system complexity that is unrelated to the functionality they are trying to provide, such as configuring infrastructure components so they will talk to each other. Solving for complexity can deliver huge dividends by reducing costs and time to market. The Internet Computer has dramatically reimagined software in a way that addresses the challenge. For example, when developers write code that describes data (such as the profile of a person, say), that data is securely automatically persisted within the memory pages hosting their software, removing the need for the developer to marshal it in and out of databases or even think much about how persistence works at all (the feature is called “orthogonal persistence”). Without need for legacy components such as databases, and working using reimagined software, Internet Computer developers focus on coding up “what” they want to achieve, rather than traditional complexities of “how” systems are constructed and interoperate, driving incredible efficiencies.
Powering “Open Internet Services” And Ending Big Tech Monopolies
The primary aim of technology companies has always been to establish monopolistic positions, which then allow vast profits to be generated. Originally the strategy was pursued by operating system vendors, such as Microsoft, but it also became the goal for internet platforms and services. This has been seen with everything from online auctions sites, through social gaming, apartment rentals, ride sharing, email, search, online advertising, cloud services, SaaS business systems, social networks and much more. Venture capitalists fund entrepreneurial startups they believe can execute well and capture enough user relationships and data that they can create compounding network effects that makes competition almost impossible within their respective fields, but in recent years the system is coming undone. The challenge is that the largest players in Big Tech have hijacked sufficient user relationships that creating new internet services is becoming more and more difficult, and consolidation is making the situation worse as the largest monopolies buy up the smaller monopolies.
The problem arises from the way the internet services share their user relationships, data and functionality via APIs on the Programmable Web. In recent years, many opportunities involve building on the APIs provided by Big Tech. For example, Zynga became the largest social games company primarily by publishing via Facebook, but one day Facebook changed the rules and within 3 months 85% of Zynga’s $15 billion value had been lost. More recently, LinkedIn had been allowing thousands of startups to query its database of professional profiles and incorporate them into their own services, but when it was purchased by Microsoft it revoked API access for all but a few fellow Big Tech players, such as Salesforce, causing widespread damage. These are examples of “platform risk” at play, and for example in 2019 when Mark Zuckerburg, the CEO of Facebook, rejected a meeting request from the CEO of Tinder, the world’s biggest dating service, he said “I don’t think he’s that relevant. He probably just wants to make sure we won’t turn off their API”. This kind of thing has become the norm and even the smaller tech monopolies are worried.
Nowadays, most venture capitalists will not invest in startups creating services that depend on the APIs of Big Tech, even if they are otherwise exciting propositions, greatly limiting opportunity, competition and innovation, which will harm all of us. The Internet Computer addresses this by providing technology that supports the creation of a new kind of “open internet service” that runs as part of the fabric of the Internet without an owner. These can provide better guarantees to users about how their data is processed, but an equally important superpower is that they can create “permanent” APIs that they can guarantee will never be revoked or degraded (because they cannot, whatever they decide). Thus, for example, an open equivalent to LinkedIn might be created that provides an API that other internet services can use without risk to incorporate professional profiles it hosts, laying the foundations for powerful “mutualized network effects" that can help it out-compete the monopolistic LinkedIn: since it can guarantee the availability of the API it shares in perpetuity, thousands of new services can safely build on top and extend its functionality, driving the value of its core services and the professional profiles it hosts, while also encouraging the other services to forward to new users and apply open LinkedIn as their own user repository. A key purpose of the Internet Computer is to power the reengineering of key Internet services in open form, in a way that completely reverses the monopolistic incentive to hijacking data, driving the formation of a far more dynamic, collaborative, richer and ultimately more successful internet ecosystem.