I was glad to respond to an invitation to write “Beyond Data Monitoring,” a Background Paper for the UN International Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) on the Data Revolution, co-chaired by Robin Li of Baidu, which is good, with Open Source represented by Tim “algorithms rule” O’Reilly, which is bad. Although the paper gained no traction with the intended recipients, it was sent by other means to the special assistant to the Secretary-General, and has taken on a life of its own elsewhere. Building on the earlier Earth Intelligence Network concepts, and together with my forthcoming article on Applied Collective Intelligence (Spanda Journal, December 2014), this paper is the summary of my old thinking.
Today I begin new thinking, with a tip of the hat to Daniel Mezick among others — I feel blessed to have connected with so many brilliant information technologists over the years, including hackers around the world and with Stephen E. Arnold, CEO of Arnold IT, always in the forefront as my most trusted observer of the hollowness of industrial-era IT. Below is my emergent vision challenge for the future of public free open information sharing and sense-making. I am seeking contributing thoughts that will be acknowledged here as this develops.
By way of introduction, I confess to being unclear about the near-dogmatic position of those in the Free/Libre software camp and those in the Open Source Camp. This is a conversation that is needed. For now, when I use the term Open Source I mean FLOSS — Free/Libre/Open Source Software AND Open Source Everything Engineering.
How do we create a globally distributed open source database that turns every device linked to wi fi but particularly PCs, into nodes in a world brain that is impervious to NSA while open to the public?
This means that the data is open, secure, and distributed — we harness distributed cycles for substance and ethical evidence-based decision-support the way some people now harness distributed cycles for massive data processing (e.g. SETI).
The database must integrate OpenGeo now BoundlessGeo.com (includes PostGIS). I respect the utility of mobile devices as data access and data entry points, but believe the center of gravity for the global brain is going to be found in desktop PCs, laptops, and MacBooks.
The second task is to create an open source toolkit that emulates TOOZL but is updated and does all eighteen of the CATALYST capabilities.
My strategic intent is to be able to create an adaptable dashboard that can be focused on any location or decision domain such that citizens can self-organize at every level, and dominate conversations about choices fully informed about true costs of every policy, product, service, and behavior. We overturn the corrupt secrecy-based and trade-dominated decisions being made today with educated citizens that buycott everything not in compliance with ethical evidence-based decision-support and citizen decisions about what is best for their community now and into the future.
We need to build toward the “six bubbles” conceptualized by the 24 co-founders of Earth Intelligence Network, with particular attention to ensuring that the globally distributed open source database is “game capable” which is to say Medard Gabel must be the lead architect on that aspect from day one.
We particularly need to establish open standards for distributed research and collaborative documentation of true costs of every product, policy, service, and behavior, with the ability to visualize this both at the hand-held level, and across time and space with clear identification of each spending authority associated with those elements we wish to buycott.
I am not familiar with the efforts of those focusing on budget transparency and participatory budgeting, they are certainly in the vanguard and must be fully integrated into the design aspect and the mobilization planning.
Finally, I believe that our larger vision must provide for the integration of education (free online and face to face for life), intelligence (decision-support for every citizen at every level on any matter however personal and small, as well as for citizen groups from the neighborhood level on up), and research — we must nurture Open Science and ruthlessly expose corrupt science and the commercialization of the universities, a form of Catholic Inquisition most foul.
Here is is my final slide, this is what I would like to end up with in five years time.