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The Internet AI Networking

Why the Internet Needs Cognitive Protocols 156

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-my-toaster-ever-tweets-i-will-throw-it-out-the-window dept.
An anonymous reader writes "We keep hearing that the 'Internet of Things' is coming – that day when we'll all have not just smart phones but also smart refrigerators, smart alarm clocks, and smart roads and bridges. A new article in IEEE Spectrum magazine makes the argument that this won't happen unless engineers do some serious rethinking of how the Internet's basic routing architecture works. The author, Anthony Liotta, offers some interesting solutions based on two networks in the human body: the autonomic nervous system and the cognitive brain."
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Why the Internet Needs Cognitive Protocols

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    That way I can block all those important tweets from my barbecue.

  • when the machines rise against us our fridges and bridges will destroy us all

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm sorry, nobody can tell me why I need these things. I know what is in my 'frig, I put it there. I don't need my stove connected to the net, nor my washing machine, etc.

      • You may know it. But the NSA doesn't.

        You say they are not interested in the content of your fridge? Well, if they are interested in what you eat in the plane, then why should the not be interested in what you eat at home?

      • by profplump (309017) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:22PM (#44429203)

        I want my fridge to know what I have so that I literally never have to think about buying food again. It tracks what I use an orders more. Someone drops it off at my door and I put it back in the fridge. I *can* do all of that manually, but there's no benefit to my participation so I'd rather have the free time and brain power to spend on something else. And the fridge can actually do it better than me, because it can look at use rates and determine if an order for more milk is required today or if it could wait until Thursday when I'll also be out of bread.

        And that's just one example with one appliance; I could sit here all day and name more. It's fine if you don't want to do those things, but it's ridiculous to pretend that no benefits exists, and that no one else is interested. Your lack of imagination and/or interest does not define society.

        • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:33PM (#44429285)
          Put another way, "It's 2013, damnit, how can it be I'm sitting here without toilet paper!"
          • And they say newspapers are obsolete...

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by maxwell demon (590494)

            Put another way, "It's 2013, damnit, how can it be I'm sitting here without toilet paper!"

            You are supposed to use the three sea shells.

          • Just check it before you sit down.

            I check every time and I have never been caught wanting paper in my life.

            • by mjr167 (2477430)
              Or keep the spare toilet paper in a basket on top the tank.
            • by mjwx (966435)

              Just check it before you sit down.

              I check every time and I have never been caught wanting paper in my life.

              Wont do you any good when your layabout housemate used the last of the bog roll and didn't get any more.

              Solution is
              1. Keep the spare rolls in the bog.
              2. Keep a spare pack of rolls in a cupboard outside the bog.
              3. When you run out of rolls in the bog, get the pack of rolls from the cupboard and replace that pack next time you go to the shop.
              4. Kick the arse of the useless housemate for the $4 of bog roll he used.

              • I like to get into a rhythm where I'm either pooping at work, or at a resaurant. I save heaps of money that way.

        • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

          I want my fridge to know what I have so that I literally never have to think about buying food again. It tracks what I use an orders more. Someone drops it off at my door and I put it back in the fridge. I *can* do all of that manually, but there's no benefit to my participation so I'd rather have the free time and brain power to spend on something else. And the fridge can actually do it better than me, because it can look at use rates and determine if an order for more milk is required today or if it could wait until Thursday when I'll also be out of bread.

          All puppydogs and unicorns good citizen! good to see you are of teh correct mindset.

          in the grand world of modernia, you will get ads on your refrigerator telling you that you really want Heinz Ketchup instead of that Delmonte crap, Please press yes to order the better ketchup experience!

          Multiply that by every item in the fridge, and you too will experience the consumers nirvana.

          And as na added treat, your insurance carrier will be very interested in your useage of the contents of that device, as

        • I'm surprised that this is what you think having a net connected fridge will do for you. If you actually go look into all the people proposing smart grids and smart appliances, these connected devices are connected so that the central planners can turn your shit off during "peak" usage periods.

        • by mjwx (966435)

          I want my fridge to know what I have so that I literally never have to think about buying food again. It tracks what I use an orders more. Someone drops it off at my door and I put it back in the fridge. I *can* do all of that manually, but there's no benefit to my participation so I'd rather have the free time and brain power to spend on something else. And the fridge can actually do it better than me, because it can look at use rates and determine if an order for more milk is required today or if it could wait until Thursday when I'll also be out of bread.

          Meanwhile, the fridge calls the store, tells the store you're out of cheetos and cookie dough whilst the store notices that a machine is doing the ordering and jacks up the price of cheetos and cookie dogh. Finally the fridge just hands over your CC details. You get shafted by two automated systems.

          However the number 1 reason I wont automate my food shopping is the loss in quality. I wont order fresh food online as you're guaranteed to get the crappiest fruit, veg and meat they have. At the very best it

        • by coofercat (719737)

          Perhaps you have more money than me, but I don't want my fridge re-ordering stuff for me at all.

          We use an online supermarket to buy our groceries. The app/website has a "you've ordered this before" sort of feature, and also "you might also like", "start with your last basket" etc etc. The trouble is, if I'm ordering (say) deodorant, I'll buy either of the two major brands that my supermarket stocks. I'll buy the one that's on special offer, and if they're both on special, then I'll pick the one that gives m

      • Let's say your fridge can figure out what you like to eat, how much is in stock, and when and where the stuff is on sale.

        "Good morning. There are two english muffins left. Peanut butter is on sale. I have compiled a list of groceries. Please say 'yes' to have them delivered tomorrow morning."

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        Look a far smarter use of protocols would be a protocol only for use by schools, minors and their teachers and guardians, to create a parallel internet that doesn't communicate at all with the broader internet but is carried on the same hardware. This obviously to get the censor the internet freaks of everyone's back and especially to shut down those autocrats who want to political censor the internet.

        So a new secure, registered use only protocol for schools and children and of course those supervising t

    • when the machines rise against us our fridges and bridges will destroy us all

      It is a very real concern.

      I do not want random people attacking Things.

      We already have enough problems with "smart homes" where random people are figuring out how to look at cameras (to identify the home for robbery) and unlock doors remotely.

      As more devices are added, how many small exploits are people going to find? Will we hear about the occasional house burning down because some skript kiddie ran the equivalent of: for(every toaster, stove, furnace, grill, etc in the world) { start cooking; }

      • by profplump (309017)

        One of the major problems with "smart homes" is that they aren't a commodity and there isn't a standard method of communication or authentication and they aren't subject to wide scrutiny (also that most current versions are not in fact very "smart"). Many of those problems would be worked out if such systems were more common.

        Take, for example, early automobiles. They all had different controls in different places. They required different pre-start, start, driving and shutdown procedures. They ran on differe

        • by lennier (44736)

          But as cars became more popular they became standardized, safer, more secure, cheaper, etc. Today cars all have the same major controls, the same security interfaces, etc. There's no reason to think the same process wouldn't apply to "smart" appliance design.

          That certainly seemed like a logical extrapolation of trends from about 1984 until 2010. And then we got iPads, Ubuntu Unity, the Office Ribbon and Windows 8. Now established UI conventions are lying in shards on the floor and it's 1983 all over again. Good luck finding anything approaching a new standard for your smart appliances.

          (Me, I liked the Home Computer Wars - Commodore 64 for ever! But I was twelve, and back then it was a miracle if you could get cursor keys *and* lower case on the same device.)

      • by lennier (44736)

        I do not want random people attacking Things.

        I think it's actually going to be the other way around.

      • by DoctorBit (891714)
        Suppose you use the same password on all your Things and one of your Things gets lost or stolen or you throw it away without erasing the password. Now someone going through the trash can get the password for most of your Things and most likely mess with your stuff through wireless. OTOH if you use a different password for every Thing, the password management chore for all your hundreds of Things is going to be a PITA. Most people will probably leave the default factory passwords unchanged. Imagine the p
  • Internet ALL the things!
  • Serious Rethinking (Score:4, Insightful)

    by intermodal (534361) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:54PM (#44428965) Homepage Journal

    Serious rethinking is what people who think they want smart toasters need to do.

    I really don't feel the need to see every device under the sun attached to the internet. And I certainly don't want my car being tracked by smart roads and bridges. It's bad enough that they're already using license plate cameras to track us all.

    • DRM on home appliances, anyone?

      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:16PM (#44429149) Journal

        I can just picture it now.

        "I'm sorry, Spluggies Brand Bread did not renew their agreement with your Anus 11 Brand Ultratoaster. This toaster does not authorize the toasting of Spluggies Bread."

        "Your milk carton has been determined to come from Canada. The Sphincter X73 Megafridge will not permit you to insert it, as there is no cross-licensing agreement with Canada."

        I can just see sites dedicated to rooting your shower so you can use European shampoo and conditioner.

      • by jkflying (2190798)

        "If you want to use this toaster for bagels you will need to pay an additional $4.99 licensing fee"

    • by JanneM (7445)

      I can imagine a minor use for this kind of thing: Have appliances disclose operating conditions, such as energy used, detected faults and things like that. Our fridge is already doing some cool stuff locally, without a net; it keeps track of when during the day we open it and when we don't, and goes into a lower-energy mode when we're unlikely to open the door for a long while. Makes a noticeable difference in our power bill.

      But in practice, any such system will of course be maker-specific, demand a particu

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      You really really don't want a smart toaster [youtube.com]

    • by RyoShin (610051)

      There is benefit to such tracking of vehicles, but done in an anonymous fashion. (Of course, as we know from the Netflix prediction data, you can't just give something random numbers and call it a day.)

      Sending simple data to a mile marker (as an example) that says simply "I am an X pound, Y wheeled vehicle" would, I think, be extremely useful in prioritizing which roads get priority in maintenance and when the best time of the day (or night) would be good to do that. Set it up such that a marker sends out

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jmc23 (2353706) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:57PM (#44428997) Journal
    My 'dumb' router is never going to decide my fridge needs to route through china to send my grocery list to my phone. He complains about the slowness of lookup tables but somehow AI is going to tax routers less?

    Is this why he's a professor teaching networking and not a network engineer?

    • by Tailhook (98486)

      Here is a dire warning [slashdot.org] from 13 years ago about the imminent collapse of the Internet due to routing table growth. Lots of speculation in the comments about IPv4 address exhaustion as well. Clinton was actually still in office then.

      Our routers do not need biologically inspired routing algorithms. Our routers do not need AI. Route aggregation, IPv6 and faster hardware will suffice.

      Check back in 2026 and see if I'm not right.

      • by swalve (1980968)
        Yeah, this was a pretty shit article. Congratulations to the author, he just invented qos the hard way.
    • For that matter, when did IEEE Spectrum become a weird, political clone of Wired? Check out the article that says our network architecture is shrinking the economy and impoverishing the middle class [ieee.org]. He might have a point somewhere in there, but is that really something that the IEEE cares about?
    • My 'dumb' router is never going to decide my fridge needs to route through china to send my grocery list to my phone.

      Actually, it might. The quick and easy smart device schemes I have seen require that all communication between devices route through an external server. If hosting starts migrating to China and local infrastructure to to short circuit these paths doesn't become pervasive in the mean time, you might very well find that your fridge talks to your phone via China.

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        my router as in the router in my home.
      • My 'dumb' router is never going to decide my fridge needs to route through china to send my grocery list to my phone.

        Actually, it might. The quick and easy smart device schemes I have seen require that all communication between devices route through an external server. If hosting starts migrating to China and local infrastructure to to short circuit these paths doesn't become pervasive in the mean time, you might very well find that your fridge talks to your phone via China.

        the problem is they want intrenet of things when what we need is a intranet of things. i want it all controled by me and talking to only who i want it to not who the manufacturer thinks i should talk to. it should be rootable and open.

  • We already know that adding complexity to the network only leads to more congestion. Why a renewed push down this path? Because some are determined to make data as expensive as possible.

    What we need is dumber networks, at the same time, more flexible networks. the idea that (parts of) the network should be aware of things like the context of a message or network conditions, by drawing loose comparisons from biology is simply a human's attempt to enforce his will upon the physical world. No matte

  • by NobleSavage (582615) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:05PM (#44429065)
    The last thing I want to worry about is security vulnerabilities overflowing my toilet. I really don't want my refrigerator, toaster, coffee maker, and microwave on line.
    • by profplump (309017)

      The fact that your toilet can overflow means it already *has* security vulnerabilities -- you've just accepted them. I don't know why you're assuming the new ones would be worse than the existing ones; if your toilet is capable of overflowing, wouldn't you rather it told you when that happened and tried to turn off the incoming water supply, as opposed to silently flooding your house?

      There are certainly *risks* associated with change. But there are also opportunities. Denying the possibility of improvement

      • if your toilet is capable of overflowing, wouldn't you rather it told you when that happened and tried to turn off the incoming water supply, as opposed to silently flooding your house?

        That never happens. An overflowed toilet happens when you are staring at it, and it got clogged. Rarely will a toilet decide to start flowing things out when you are not around......

    • by maliqua (1316471)

      But its a risk i'd be willing to take if my toilet could provide ratings, statistics or feedback on my 'work' there

      • my toilet could provide ratings, statistics or feedback on my 'work' there

        Now that you mention it, that would solve the Facebook problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Major Internet service providers around the world are now reporting global latencies greater than 120 milliseconds

    Did you know that the speed of light carries information at most 300 kilometers per millisecond? so for a latency of 120 milliseconds, the information can travel at most 36,000 kilometers. The Earth is 40,000 km around at the equator making 45 degrees north latitude only 20,000 km around. Between the two is the vast majority of all internet communication. So the fastest we can throw stuff around a circle that is 36,000 km in circumference is the time it takes light to go 36,000 km. Fancy that. Global latenc

    • Earth is 40,000 km around at the equator making 45 degrees north latitude only 20,000 km around.

      Gee, in my reality, the cosine of 45 degrees is roughly 0.7071, making the 45 degrees north latitude circumference closer to 28,300 km.

  • Better solution. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:30PM (#44429263)

    Offload as much bulk traffic as possible to content-addressible networking. Use packet switching for specific-destination time-sensitive communications, and hash-addressed caches for the 'want this, don't care where from' things like static content. With an IP fallback, in case none of the nodes in range have the requested data.

    There. That's just greatly reduced the traffic the internet needs to route, added considerable redundency and greatly enhanced the experience for mobile use by allowing for much more effective caching of static content. Two parallel networks, each doing what they are best at. Packet-switching for low-latency 1-to-1 communications, and CAN for dissemination, static content and publication.

    Now I just need to find someone with a few hundred million to invest in new infrastructure to support this thing.

    • by manu0601 (2221348)

      Now I just need to find someone with a few hundred million to invest in new infrastructure to support this thing.

      And work around entertainment industry resistance to switch to anything new

      • That would be an issue. It woul greatly reduce the cost of distributing media. That would be of benefit to the entertainment industry, but it would benefit pirates even more.

    • Can't you already do that with a URL? Certainly proxy caches already treat it that way.......
  • How is a "mesh network" (which is typically high latency) going to help latency when local bandwidth is seldom a problem?

    This is drivel, makes no sense, and is just a bunch of buzz words thrown together by somebody who has no clue.

  • "Engineering" means operating in the real world not some academic fantasy land of half-baked ideas littered with buzzwords.

    The Internet is not a decentralized network of ad-hoc peers it is a ridgid higherarchical network where the physical path reigns supreme. Even in nature and in brrraaaiiinnns there is higherarchical structure behind all transport of information and material.

    The problem with all of the adhoc mesh, self organizing shit is it has all been tried and it mostly sucks, wastes resources and do

    • by guruevi (827432)

      Actually mesh routing works quite well, it is basically how the Internet operates. TCP/IP works quite well on mesh because it will automatically figure out the lowest cost and the broken paths. The problem is typically with UDP or higher-layer (usually closed-source) protocols that pretend to re-invent TCP on another layer as well as too many technologies are bolted onto the wrong protocols. There is no reason VoIP-protocols couldn't work on TCP other than bandwidth and a bit more processing on either end o

  • Why can those with nothing worthwhile to say not just shut up?

  • by RR (64484) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @07:18PM (#44429701)

    I find it telling that Liotta (the author from TFA) is not mentioned in any IEEE RFCs, except in RFC 5345 [ietf.org] to say that he makes claims with no real-world measurements. But that's just appealing to authority.

    The most troubling part of his proposal, I think, is the elimination of Postel's Law. [wikipedia.org] The Telco-oriented people have been telling the Internet community people all along that what we need is an intelligent network that provides QoS guarantees. The Internet community rejected that, with the result being an Internet that grows in speed and adapts to countless unforeseen applications. Liotta uses the human autonomic nervous system as metaphor, but the fatal flaw is that the human autonomic system has only one brain. The Internet doesn't work with a single controlling entity.

    Likewise, his illustration of the Youtube clip is not entirely accurate. Companies like Google and Netflix are making colocation deals [arstechnica.com] with a bunch of the Internet Service Providers, so that most videos don't have to travel through the backbone, Time Warner Cable aside.

    There are problems with the current Internet [bufferbloat.net] and projects to redo the basis of networking, [ieee.org] but Liotta's proposals remind me of those fantasy "cities of the future" fiction that I used to read when I was a kid.

    • by Agent0013 (828350)
      It also assumes that the internet companies will want to play fair. Once they can determine the nature and destination of each and every packet, they can drop the ones that compete with their own services. Any idea that needs everyone to act fairly has serious flaws as in the real world that is not very realistic.
  • Routers could manage data flows more effectively if they made smarter choices about which packets to discard and which ones to expedite. To do this, they would need to gather much more information about the network than simply the availability of routing links. For instance, if a router knew it was receiving high-quality IPTV packets destined for a satellite phone, it might choose to drop those packets in order to prioritize others that are more likely to reach their destinations.

    And if a router knew it was receiving packets destined for a competitor's service, it could slow them down a bit and maybe drop a bunch.

    What's the point of making every device a router? It's not going to have the bandwidth or latency of a real router. And I doubt there's that much local traffic to justify a mesh system by default. Maybe it makes sense given the P2P culture out there, but I still wonder how much of the local network will have the content you want?

    And it's worth noting that the human b

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What is this? The 1980s again. Didn't the failure of 'semantic' OSes and file-systems teach anything? Semantics should be imposed top down by 'applications', NEVER bottom-up.

    The worst aspect of modern Computer Science is how applications are discouraged to the point of being BANNED from informing the underlying OS and resource managers exactly what use of resources would be optimal to the application. Instead, the underlying layers- following the same cretinous logic as this article- have to pretend they ar

    • by Agent0013 (828350)

      Trust the system memory-manager, you are told. Trust the OS scheduler. And yet, only the application can truly know how and why it needs to use the memory and CPU processing resources.

      PS the PS4 console from Sony, released later this year, allows as much 'to the metal' coding as possible, where the applications (ie., games) DO get to tell the underlying systems exactly how to behave. Top down semantics will allow this hardware to still be competitive in 5+ years time. The 'second guess the user' bottom up pseudo 'AI' semantics that will be controlling memory and thread scheduling on our ordinary computer devices in the same time period will need many times the computer power to even draw equal in performance.

      For the PS4, which runs one game at a time and needs to have all the performance possible for that single application I think this is a great idea. For a general computer that is running many applications at once I can see problems. Each program that is installed will want to prioritize itself above everything else. Just look at the myriad of application tray icons that get installed and program updaters that are constantly running. Look at MS Office and how it pre-launches the program in the background so

  • I for one welcome our new refrigerating overlords
  • The author seems to think that every device should also be a router. Sure, that's going to speed things up! So now my phone has to connect to the fridge to get to my car to get to my neighbor's toaster so I can read Slashdot? That seems a lot less efficient to me, than the hub-and-spoke system we have today!

    Why would a dedicated router not be better than some generic device that is also a router?

  • "The Internet of Things (That Can Kill Us)"

    When it has been demonstrated time and time again that huge corporations don't give a care about doing security right (read: not immoraly cheap or simplistic to the point of being 'special'), we shouldn't be adding remote access and control to 'things' that can be turned into open doors or even death traps, FFS.
  • I understand the convenience of home automation and all but I can't help seeing scenes of Maximum Overdrive playout in my head. But instead of aliens it's some little prick kid.

  • Look at some of the old claims from the JIT camp. Theoretically, the JIT compiler could produce optimized code after examining the runtime in action; certain methods are triggered (via data, or user interaction) more often than others, and so should be optimized even at the cost of other methods which are infrequently executed.

    Current solutions to these usage patterns rely on profiling systems both prior to and during execution, and then a manual effort to understand and adapt the system - and I'm guessin

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