Op-Ed: How Elon Musk’s plans for Twitter could threaten free speech
Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur and founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has spent many years dreaming about creating a world wide decentralized information and communications network. His grand vision of building the “network” would be like the internet, but without its dependence on servers and websites.
“I think we can create a network that is self-organizing. We don’t need a central server,” Musk told the Guardian in 2015. “We don’t need servers at all. We just need to make nodes and use them to send packets to each other. This is an entire new way of building networks.”
Musk seems to believe in the network’s promise for better access to information and communications across the globe. However, it isn’t clear if his vision is a pipe dream or just what he plans to do with it once he gets one established.
“I’m not saying he’s an awful person, but he really does seem to believe that the only solution to problems is to have a central authority controlling this system that will be able to coordinate them,” writes Alex Gourevitch, writing for BuzzFeed. Indeed, Musk believes that his network will be self-sufficient. He said on Reddit, “The key part of this ‘network’ is that all nodes can talk to each other without any special infrastructure or middlemen, acting as a decentralized mesh.”
“Self-organization is a great word,” Musk tells Wired magazine. “I’ve been using that word quite a bit lately. The concept is really simple: If you have a large group of computers working together to create a solution, then that is self-organization in that the whole group can do a lot of the heavy lifting. You wouldn’t have to tell every member of the group to do a particular piece of work and you wouldn’t have to tell anyone else to do a particular piece of work.”
The network Musk envisions would be like the Internet, with no central servers. Instead, it will rely on nodes that each have their own independent systems and applications, which will then work together to carry out functions that would normally require a server.
“You could imagine if you had this many nodes communicating with each other, you could build a system that would have a lot