There has been a few things I learned the last few years, and certainly one of the things I still do lots of research on is serverless applications. And no, it is not blockchain, and also blockchain without it would probably be useless.
It seems to me that the internet was built in a way that every computer could actually connect to each other instead of just websites, but something happened that made everyone decide that this is not a good thing, or maybe just “bad for business”.
Of course there’s always the excuse that it’s for security reasons, because in the 90s people didn’t use routers, so every IP address was a computer that could be connected to ( if they had their ports opened ), but this could lead into rogue applications opening ports on your computer, giving outsiders full access to your whole machine. But now the router is the entrance, and if the routers are built without any opened port by default, it makes every home computer inaccessible from outside, which is good in a security perspective, but terrible for communication purposes. Did you know battle.net ( Blizzard’s first multiplayer solution ) used P2P? That’s why latency in multiplayer here in Brazil was always great!
It is very profitable to host an accessible machine on the internet to someone else that doesn’t want to go through all the security measures themselves. And I have to say that if you’re making a business out of an application, it’s probably ok to add that extra cost, but if you’re an indie developer, it might render your application impractical to develop. So this is where P2P comes in very handy.
Imagine that you make an app that has no need for a server, a game with multiplayer that no one can put down and even if you stop developing it, old versions will still be able to function properly for years to come. Bitcoin takes advantage of this by making it impossible for any government to shut it down, but there are infinite uses for it, specially community driven stuff.
Tor network is pretty cool, and actually the base layer of it is in fact a decentralized network, and in case you didn’t know, the Tor network is just lots of computers connected to each other and scrambling the requests in a way that it would be extremely difficult to trace where it came from, and that’s why it’s really slow. The more computers the request has to go through, the slower it gets, and also their bandwidth is crucial, so one computer with really slow connection on that chain, would act like a golf cart on a Ferrari lane.
If I had to choose what’s the best technology I learned from these three: Blockchain, AI and Descentralized Networking. I’d say AI has great potential, but an open communication network sounds a lot more interesting, since information and communication is far more important then any prediction system, because any following breakthrough on AI ( for instance ) could be instantly spread in a network with no regulations. The funny thing is that we had this since the the beginning and we’re just bringing it back.