How many years until General Direct Dialed telephony dies?

Discuss.

#telephony #deathOfTelephony #robocalls

[ ] 2 years -
[ ] 4 years
[ ] 8 years
[ ] 16 years +

As I'd posted this poll a week or so back, general direct-dialed telephony, a/k/a PSTN (public switched telephone networks) seem to be in trouble. I think we could be within five years of their total collapse. And no, not just land lines (already about 25% of their peak in much of the US), but _all_ direct-dialed phones: mobile and VOIP included.

The problem, as I'd written before, is paradoxically the _low_ cost of calls. This is inducing tremendous volumes of junk calls, with one ...

1/

@dredmorbius It's the #@*&#@$ topology - any can reach any in one step is a nightmare. An absolute nightmare. That's what's going to take us down. We need something like web of trust to put a distance metric back in; anything that doesn't have one is going to implode.

@feonixrift Or one-on-one whitelisting. Basically the UI that mobile phones already have, but with different defaults: Silence all incoming calls by strangers! @dredmorbius

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@kensanata @dredmorbius
This is the ball of radius one and all other radii are infinite topology. It works great, if people are willing and familiar that they need to get introductions from other humans in order to connect. Given the success some networks have had with FOAF type layers, I think this can be leveraged and improved upon.

@feonixrift My experience with friend-of-a-friend like sharing has been dismal. Sadly, enough of my "friends" have terrible taste and I'm better off not knowing. @dredmorbius

@kensanata @feonixrift @dredmorbius Well, I'd distinguish FOAF as a network strategy from FOAF as a communications strategy. FOAF for networking is, I hope, more likely to be a scale-tolerant and resilient system. But I've also had abysmal experiences of FOAF comms.. Retroshare, for example: once you hit FOAF connectivity sufficient for global routing.. there's this one guy who spams all the fora with antisemitist screeds. And anonymous, censorship-resistant FOAF networks can't deal with that. 🤷

@cathal @kensanata @dredmorbius

This is why I think we need a toy network - a sandbox of completely simulated 'nodes' and 'links' and 'posts', purely statistical, not involving real servers just simulations - on which to try these things out! Then we would be able to work from at least simulated data when hashing out which methods might work, rather than pure imagination.

@cathal Reputational accountability for introductions and recommendations _is_ something that I think should scale _somewhat_ better than raw content-recommendations cases. Though given the disasters (and susceptibility to manipulation) of the latter, we may want to dial up the skepticism fully.

@kensanata @feonixrift

@kensanata Some friends are better recommenders than others.

In cases, getting agreement from a set, or having a local authority (in the sense of "has good taste and/or sense") might work.

@feonixrift

@feonixrift The whole protocol of introductions and references which society and business used to rely on may have some lessons.

The ancient methods were slow, and probably _too_ slow, for modern needs. But a reboot of the general idea might work, and could be based around existing social, community, business, and/or financial institutions based on trust.

Without becoming oppressively Big Brotherish _or_ petty-tyrannical.

@kensanata

@dredmorbius @feonixrift @kensanata

Unfortunately introduction-based screening is *literally* the definition of "prejudice" and is about the worst possible "solution" to this problem.

it's going to lead to massive, casual, race, class and sex-based discrimination, just because *that's how introductions work*. You don't even get a foot in the door unless you Know The Right People. And of course you don't know the Right People if you're Not Our Kind Of People.

@natecull Depends. If it's based on social introductions yes, and very much so.

If it's based on some sort of blinded introductions, merits-based, some sort of entitlement (in the sense of, "by virtue of some vetted property X, party is entitled to participation", where X could be any of various diverse qualifications), or even fully-blinded / sortition based vetting, which largely goes to say "we know _who_ this is and can vouch for identity (mostly), but ...

@feonixrift @kensanata

@natecull ... the rest of it is up to you to sort out.

Dorm-room assignments are something like this (though freighted with all that's involved in college admissions). You know that your roommate meets entrance requirements, but otherwise, they're an unknown.

That's a pretty significant issue all told, you're right.

Hrm.

@feonixrift @kensanata

@dredmorbius @feonixrift @kensanata

Yeah, hmm. Some kind of verified vetting might work. I wonder. Some kind of token?

The corporate obsession with outsourced call centres I think is what's driving this robocall nastiness. The corporates WANT random offshore businesses to be able to call people on their behalf, but without any verification.

It's funny to me that we hit this problem with email decades before we hit it with voice... I guess it took that long for voice-over-TCP/IP to catch up?

@dredmorbius @feonixrift @kensanata

I know I've taken to screening calls with my answering machine and only picking up if it's someone who's already called me. Even then, Completely Fraudulent Robocalls (tm) really get my blood boiling, because you're never sure that it's NOT a legitimate call from a real company saying they're doing something stupid and horrid.

And then there's just the endless political/commercial pollsters and ads.

@dredmorbius @feonixrift @kensanata

But the biggest trend I see is just so many people whose only phone is a mobile. No landline because why pay for two phone numbers? And even the phone, they mostly use for Internet messaging. Whatsapp and such.

@natecull s/phone/computer/

And by that, I mean both telco and compute are consolidated to a single device.

@feonixrift @kensanata

@dredmorbius @feonixrift @kensanata

I suppose it's *possible* that some kind of absolutely unbiased 'introduction authorities' might emerge from (lol) the 'Free Market' or (more lol) the universities, but, uh.

I don't really think so.

I do think though that either a telephone or an email system that lets you casually fake a 'from' address is *utterly* broken and unfit for the most basic of purposes.

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