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A Brief Discussion on How Internet Governance Can Positively Affect the Digital Future of the
Society (Human, Social and Economic Development)
The Number Resource Organization (NRO), which is the coordinating body of internet registries, define
Internet Governance as “the evolving policies and mechanisms under which the Internet community’s
many stakeholders make decisions about the development and use of the Internet”1.
It further explained that “Internet governance covers a wide range of issues, from day-to-day technical
and operational workings of the Internet to public policy issues such as combating crime on the Internet.
Internet governance discussions occur in many forums. Technical and operational Internet governance
discussions have long been discussed in multi-stakeholder bodies developed for these purpose”2.
It has been said that there are five defining technologies of the future (known as the five horsemen) and
they are “Nanotechnology (science of the small), Biotechnology (biology enhancing or replicating
science), Robotics (science for animating non-living things), Information and Communication (technology
for connectivity) and Applied Cognitive Science (technology to simulate human thoughts processes and
patterns)”3. Internet has evolved from being just a medium of connectivity to a robust platform for these
technologies - Internet of Things and Big Data, Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
It is therefore very important that policies and mechanism for control be put in place so that man does not
destroy himself in the quest for technological advancement. These policies and mechanism will not only
form best practices that will mitigate technological risk, but also help maximize benefits of these
technologies. Advancement in technology without appropriate controls and governance is very
dangerous.
Take for instance in Artificial Intelligence (AI), in the last weeks there have been back and forth
discussion, that evolved into jibes between technological thought leaders (Mark Zuckerberg and Elon
Musk), about the need to put controls and governance in place for Artificial Intelligence. They both belong
to two different schools of thoughts.
While Musk believe that AI is great for the future, he sounded a heads-up that, “unchecked AI is
potentially the biggest risk we face as a civilization”4. Mark on the other hand feels the downsides to AI is
being over emphasized. Mark said “I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday
scenarios — I just, I don’t understand it. It’s really negative and in some ways, I actually think it is pretty
irresponsible” (sic)5. It is no news that AI will transform the way we live our lives; AI will bring a radical
improvement in our living and well-being; however, Musk’s heads-up is very valid. AI without governance
is lethal; it is capable of ruining our very existence and annihilating human beings completely, hence the
need for its governance.
Another area where the intervention of Internet Governance has proven to be very crucial is in managing
Internet Protocol Addresses (IP addresses). If not for the intervention of governance and control in
managing the IP Address resource, we would have run out of IPv4 addresses and the whole internet
would have suffered for it. But with the intervention, smarter ways of using the IPv4 were developed
(Network Address Translation etc) and IPv6 (which is almost inexhaustible) was brought-forth. With IPv6,
we can successfully deploy Internet of Things, assign unique IP addresses to them hitch-free. It is
projected that there will be billions of devices (things) on the internet in the years to come; this will cause
a dramatic change in the way we socialize and a dramatic improvement in our collective prosperity.
Internet Governance has also proven to be very helpful in Cybersecurity. Cyber-threats have gone rocket-
high since the internet has become a critical infrastructure for the global economy. Elections have been
acclaimed hijacked, ransom-wares have taken advantage of people, financial transactions have been
hijacked, and many more menaces that have befallen the 21st century society. Cybersecurity best
practices (as proposed by industry governance bodies like IGF and Council of Councils) have helped in
coordinating and facilitating handshakes in tackling Cyber-threats and Cyber-crimes. This coordination
has helped in nabbing international Cybercriminals and facilitated cross-border resolution of Cyber-
threats.
Conclusively, our world is a better society for Internet Governance. We have advanced in technology
globally and we collectively deal with our issues by a global coordination of Internet Governance. It was
Ronal Reagan who said, we meant to change a nation and instead we changed a world.
References
1 & 2 Internet Governance, retrieved August 3rd, 2017 from https://www.nro.net/nro-and-internet-
governance/
3 Adesoji Egbonwon, Trends of the future, April 2017
4 AI is the biggest risk we face as a civilization, Elon Musk says, retrieved August 3rd, 2017 from
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/07/17/ai-biggest-risk-face-civilisation-elon-musk-says/
5 Facebook Mark Zuckerberg: Elon Musk's Doomsday AI Talks Are Irresponsible and
Questionable, retrieved August 3rd, 2017 from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5_v1rgGC5U&t=1s

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Relevance of Internet Governance

  • 1. A Brief Discussion on How Internet Governance Can Positively Affect the Digital Future of the Society (Human, Social and Economic Development) The Number Resource Organization (NRO), which is the coordinating body of internet registries, define Internet Governance as “the evolving policies and mechanisms under which the Internet community’s many stakeholders make decisions about the development and use of the Internet”1. It further explained that “Internet governance covers a wide range of issues, from day-to-day technical and operational workings of the Internet to public policy issues such as combating crime on the Internet. Internet governance discussions occur in many forums. Technical and operational Internet governance discussions have long been discussed in multi-stakeholder bodies developed for these purpose”2. It has been said that there are five defining technologies of the future (known as the five horsemen) and they are “Nanotechnology (science of the small), Biotechnology (biology enhancing or replicating science), Robotics (science for animating non-living things), Information and Communication (technology for connectivity) and Applied Cognitive Science (technology to simulate human thoughts processes and patterns)”3. Internet has evolved from being just a medium of connectivity to a robust platform for these technologies - Internet of Things and Big Data, Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is therefore very important that policies and mechanism for control be put in place so that man does not destroy himself in the quest for technological advancement. These policies and mechanism will not only form best practices that will mitigate technological risk, but also help maximize benefits of these technologies. Advancement in technology without appropriate controls and governance is very dangerous. Take for instance in Artificial Intelligence (AI), in the last weeks there have been back and forth discussion, that evolved into jibes between technological thought leaders (Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk), about the need to put controls and governance in place for Artificial Intelligence. They both belong to two different schools of thoughts. While Musk believe that AI is great for the future, he sounded a heads-up that, “unchecked AI is potentially the biggest risk we face as a civilization”4. Mark on the other hand feels the downsides to AI is
  • 2. being over emphasized. Mark said “I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios — I just, I don’t understand it. It’s really negative and in some ways, I actually think it is pretty irresponsible” (sic)5. It is no news that AI will transform the way we live our lives; AI will bring a radical improvement in our living and well-being; however, Musk’s heads-up is very valid. AI without governance is lethal; it is capable of ruining our very existence and annihilating human beings completely, hence the need for its governance. Another area where the intervention of Internet Governance has proven to be very crucial is in managing Internet Protocol Addresses (IP addresses). If not for the intervention of governance and control in managing the IP Address resource, we would have run out of IPv4 addresses and the whole internet would have suffered for it. But with the intervention, smarter ways of using the IPv4 were developed (Network Address Translation etc) and IPv6 (which is almost inexhaustible) was brought-forth. With IPv6, we can successfully deploy Internet of Things, assign unique IP addresses to them hitch-free. It is projected that there will be billions of devices (things) on the internet in the years to come; this will cause a dramatic change in the way we socialize and a dramatic improvement in our collective prosperity. Internet Governance has also proven to be very helpful in Cybersecurity. Cyber-threats have gone rocket- high since the internet has become a critical infrastructure for the global economy. Elections have been acclaimed hijacked, ransom-wares have taken advantage of people, financial transactions have been hijacked, and many more menaces that have befallen the 21st century society. Cybersecurity best practices (as proposed by industry governance bodies like IGF and Council of Councils) have helped in coordinating and facilitating handshakes in tackling Cyber-threats and Cyber-crimes. This coordination has helped in nabbing international Cybercriminals and facilitated cross-border resolution of Cyber- threats. Conclusively, our world is a better society for Internet Governance. We have advanced in technology globally and we collectively deal with our issues by a global coordination of Internet Governance. It was Ronal Reagan who said, we meant to change a nation and instead we changed a world.
  • 3. References 1 & 2 Internet Governance, retrieved August 3rd, 2017 from https://www.nro.net/nro-and-internet- governance/ 3 Adesoji Egbonwon, Trends of the future, April 2017 4 AI is the biggest risk we face as a civilization, Elon Musk says, retrieved August 3rd, 2017 from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/07/17/ai-biggest-risk-face-civilisation-elon-musk-says/ 5 Facebook Mark Zuckerberg: Elon Musk's Doomsday AI Talks Are Irresponsible and Questionable, retrieved August 3rd, 2017 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5_v1rgGC5U&t=1s