John Robb: Digital Empowerment of Resilient Communities

Advanced Cyber/IO, Blog Wisdom
John Robb

The Digital Roll-Out of Resilient Communities

Many of us believe that networked resilient communities are the key to the future.  These communities are not only a way to survive the current global collapse, they are something more:  The next step in social/economic organization.  For those of us that are successful (by hook or crook) in building a resilient community, it will be a way of life so productive, vibrant and life affirming that will make our current lives look stagnant, backward, and feudal in comparison.

Currently, our big challenge is to find ways to acclerate the shift to resilient communities as quickly as possible.  Why?  The ongoing and rapid delcine in the global economic and political environment I've been describing here for the last five years, will make it increasingly more difficult to make a successful shift despite a greater willingness to do so (as in:  finally seeing how truly screwed we all are).  So, how can we outrun the current collapse into economic depression and political chaos?

One of the fastest ways to a) change behaviors, b) deploy tools, and c) route around bariers (political/economic corruption) is to do it digitally.  Digital deployment is the way to get the “networked” portion of “networked resilient communities” rolled out. Let me show you how fast it can be.  Here's the rate of deployment and adoption for new technologies over the last Century.  The chart from Peter Brimelow that I found on Rob Carlson's site:

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Note that with each new product, particularly those with strong network effects, we can see two things:

  1. the lag between discovery and deployment is dropping over time.
  2. the rate of adoption has accelerated over time.

Now that nearly everyone has a computer (either on a desk or in a smart phone), the rate of adoption for new tech has dropped from years to quarters.  There's almost no lag between development and deployment, and applications that represent major innovations can roll out to globally significant levels in months.  Here's a chart from Asymco that uses the most recent Android data.

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Wow.  Applications that run on these phones deploy even faster. Given how fast things move now, it's not hard to imagine that a new economic system (better design), decentralized financial wire service, or P2P manufacturing system could sweep the world in months, drawing in tens of millions of people into a ways of creating, trading, and sharing wealth.  In short, new digital systems that make the transition to local production within networked resilient communities easier and faster since they can help generate the wealth required to do it without starving/freezing and the vision of the future that motivates people to persist despite setbacks.

Phi Beta Iota:  To our great surprise, Brother John does not mention OpenBTS in relation to cell phones, or the Autonomous Internet Roadmap.  The forthcoming book from Random House / Evolver Editions, THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth, & Trust, make one core point over and over again: making anything “open” at “root” creates log of log adoption rates–in other words, if cell phone adoption or smart phone adoption is logrithmic now, making the pieces  open will make today's adoption rates logrithmic again–meta-logrithmic.  This is why there is a power-shift going on–bottom up common sense is being powered by both digital technology, and the access to one another and to information that digital technology brings to the public.

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