Protocol or how control exists after decentralization
Alexander R. Galloway
The Internet isn't an unpredictable mass of data.
Protocol IS how new technological control exists after decentralization. It allows decentralization because any end point in the Network can interfere with another as long as they speak the same language. This is structural and doesn't have anything to do with the content that has been transmitted.
Misconceptions are due to the fact that protocol is based on a contradiction between two opposing machines.
A- one distributes control into autonomous locales. Family of protocols known as TCP/IP enabling data transmission between two machines over the network.
> Non hierarchical, P2P relationship
“IP uses an anarchic and highly distributed model, with every device being an equal peer to another one on the global Internet”
B- focusing control into rigidly defined hierarchies.
> DNS (Domain Name System) – large decentralized database mapping the Network addresses to Network names. Inverted tree structure. Resolution is the name given to the conversion of URL into IP addresses. It makes it easy to control access to certain domains (root servers are authoritative over names)
THE DISTRIBUTED NETWORK IS AN IMPORTANT DIAGRAM FOR OUR CURRENT SOCIAL FORMATION.
Structured/simplified representation of concepts/ideas/et caetera...
aiming to help clarify the topic
the diagram determines the relational structure of the elements of the phenomenon in discussion before the phenomenon can be seen or told.
Therefore the diagram helps building situations rather than illustrating them.
According to Deleuze it is the a priori presupposed by the shape of history but also the instrument for the mutation of this shape.
Distributed Networks are different from centralized or decentralized networks
There are native to Deleuze's control societies.
Each point is neither a central hub or a satellite node.
“intelligent end point systems are self-deterministic, allowing each-point system to communicate with any host it choses”
Hall- Internet Core Protocols
Without a shared protocol there is no network
Periodization table (after Foucault and Deleuze)
TO BE INSERTED
CHAPTER I - Physical Media
Diagrams for the 3 Network models -the two first ones are redundant
Key points in Deleuze and Guattari's rhizome:
• [U]nlike trees or their roots, the rhizome connects any point to any other point . . .
• The rhizome is reducible neither to the One nor the multiple. . . . It is composed not of units but of dimensions, or rather directions in motion.
• It has neither beginning nor end, but always a middle (milieu) from which it grows and which it overspills.
• Unlike a structure, which is defined by a set of points and positions, with binary relations between the points and biunivocal relationships between the positions, the rhizome is made only of lines . . .
• Unlike the tree, the rhizome is not the object of reproduction . . .
• The rhizome is an antigenealogy. It is short-term memory, or antimemory.
• The rhizome operates by variation, expansion, conquest, capture, offshoots.
• The rhizome is an acentered, nonhierarchical, nonsignifying system without a General and without an organizing memory or central automation.
About the same time as the Interstate Highway system under Eisenhower (agreed post WWII but signed in 56), Paul Baren was experimenting with packet switching computer technologies at Rand corporation.
As Hafner and Lyon write: “Baran was working on the problem of how to build communication structures whose surviving components could continue to function as a cohesive entity after other pieces were destroyed.” See Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon, Where Wizards Stay Up Late, p. 56.
Internet protocols can be find in documents entitled : Requests for Comments or RFC.
For instance, Requirements for Internet hosts defines the Internet as a Network of Networks, interconnected via numerous interfacing computers called Gateways.
Hosts are computers attached to a Network (either server or client).
To communicate through the Internet they must implement an entire suite of protocols. Protocols are languages that computers can speak. They are like layers with different functions, as a whole they enable communication to happen.
Distributing protocol. TCP ensures all the data has been transmitted correctly. Most common protocol in the transport layer. Responsible for the handshake between two computers when connection is established. IP is responsible for routing and fragmenting. It is responsible for selecting paths for moving data across the Network (as routes aren't fixed) but also for fragmentation as messages sent across are too large to be sent in one piece. They have to be sent in little packets before being re assembled at the end.
• TCP/IP facilitates peer-to-peer communication, meaning that Internet hosts can communicate directly with each other without their communication being buffered by an intermediary hub.
• TCP/IP is a distributed technology, meaning that its structure resembles a meshwork or rhizome.
• TCP/IP is a universal language, which if spoken by two computers allows for internetworking between those computers.
• The TCP/IP suite is robust and flexible, not rigid or tough.
• The TCP/IP suite is open to a broad, theoretically unlimited variety of computers in many different locations.
• The TCP/IP protocol, and other protocols like it, is a result of the action of autonomous agents (computers).
DNS This protocol maps the humanised names into machinic numbers. This process is called the resolution.
Before, with name space, this protocol was centralized which was too complicated to maintain. Paul Mokapetris invented this protocol to decentralize the process, making it easier. It works like an inverted tree.
DNS is the nature of protocol. It is language. Governs meaning by mandating that anything meaningful has to be registered within the system.
”Protocol is a circuit, not a sentence.”
CHAPTER II – Form
Protocols aren't just a set of technical specifications, they are an entire formal apparatus.
Chapter focuses on formal qualities of the apparatus of computer protocols.
Brecht critised radio for being “in the wrong shape” because of its one-sided nature (broadcaster – listener). Ezensberger (Constituents of a theory of the Media) was influenced and thought that this was due to political reasons (prohibition). “technical distinction between transmitter and receivers reflects the social division of labour between producer and consumers.” (Marxist materialist framework) Ezensberger made a comparision chart confronting characteristics of repressive and emancipatory use of media. The repressive aspects are native to modern media (tv,radio...) and emancipatory are nested into post-modern media (the Internet).
To him, decentralization equates Marxist liberation. Electronic media is oriented towards action rather than contemplation. The very important immateriality of media resists commodification and reification.
“The media produce no object that can be hoarded or auctioned”
“The media also do away with the old category of works of art which can only be considered as separate objects... the media do not produce such objects. They create programs. Their production is in the nature of a process.”
Weiner's theory of dynamic systems/cybernetics >>> Precursor to network theory.
Began with the idea of feedback. Feedback means that processes having both a beginning and an end point should be able to receive new input about their surroundings through their duration. Process can mutate throughout its duration according to data received from its surrounding.
Process is then autonomous, adaptable and doesn't need to be organic.
Weiner considered that there was a relationship between the human brain and computers. Replacement of organic senses with computerized ones is a logical step.
Cybernetic system's virtues are balance, self-regulation, circularity and control.
Bush's 1945 essay “As We May Think”
> isomorphism between structure of the brain and networks. Obsession with making technology more transparent, more like the human brain : operating by association. Imaginated the Memex :
“A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.”
> They both contributed to Marxist media theory as inaugurated by Brecht. > Bush's Memex offered an alternative to the centralized and hierarchical, power > Weiner's theory emulates ideas from emancipatory charts of Enzensberger (self organisation, process, imbrication of input/output and feedback).
Then concept of continuity (application layer, user experience)
On the Web, the browser’s movement is experienced as the user’s movement. The mouse movement is substituted for the user’s movement. The user looks through the screen into an imaginary world, and it makes sense. The act of “surfing the Web,” which, phenomenologically, should be an unnerving experience of radical dislocation—passing from a server in one city to a server in another city—could not be more pleasurable for the user. Legions of computer users live and play online with no sense of radical dislocation. Continuity, then, is defined as the set of techniques practiced by web- masters that, taken as a totality, create this pleasurable, fluid experience for the user. As a whole they constitute a set of abstract protocological rules for the application layer.
How continuity is enhanced :
- Conceal the source (hidden source code, hidden ip address, image source code, graphical interfaces)
- Eliminate dead links (no one likes 404 errors)
- Eliminate no links (no dead ends on the Internet)
- Green means go (inject meaning of the link into its form)
- True identity (deceptive links are bad)
- Remove barriers (flat interfaces rather than tree like hierarchy)
- Continuity between media types (no differenciation)
- Prohibition against low resolution
- Highest speed possible (means continuity, illusion of body extension maintained)
- Prohibition on crashes
- Prohibition on dead media
- Eliminate mediation (interfaces have to be as transparent as possible)
- Feedback loops
- Anonymous but descriptive (statistics are more important than users' identities. )
1st term in Net form is the RECORD – ability of physical object to store information