Arms races are fueled by two things: ignorance and fear. We don’t know the capabilities of the other side, and we fear that they are more capable than we are. So we spend more, just in case. The other side, of course, does the same. That spending will result in more cyber weapons for attack and more cyber-surveillance for defense. It will result in move government control over the protocols of the Internet, and less free-market innovation over the same. At its worst, we might be about to enter an information-age Cold War: one with more than two “superpowers.” Aside from this being a bad future for the Internet, this is inherently destabilizing. It’s just too easy for this amount of antagonistic power and advanced weaponry to get used: for a mistaken attribution to be reacted to with a counterattack, for a misunderstanding to become a cause for offensive action, or for a minor skirmish to escalate into a full-fledged cyberwar.
5.0 out of 5 stars SIX STAR #OWS Primer Wow Wow Wow,October 20, 2011
I bought this book in October 2010 because I was getting to know both Mitch Ratcliff and Jon Lebkowsky better, but at first pass through it did not really draw me in. Then OccupyWallStreet happened. I read the book on the flight from the US to Spain where I am talking about commercial intelligence and integrity in the messed up new world, and this time around, the book grabbed me.
Because #OWS has brought to life the ideas the co-editors and various contributing authors understood well before 2004 and articulated in 2004, now I can absorb this book as much more meaningful and inspirational. Anyone associated with OccupyWallStreet in any way from direct to indirect, should read this book. I am donating my copy to the George Mason University Library as I do all my new books (they took over my entire library when I joined the UN back in 2010).
That made me think of the Emergent Democracy paper that Joi Ito authored collaboratively (2001-2003) with several other folks (including Ross Mayfield and I) a few years ago. Digging into my files I found the attached marked up version… it aligns pretty well with some of the discussions here.
There's been a lot of interesting thought about the Internet and the web as platform for enhanced social activity. That idea of “finding our tribes and ourselves” was a core aspect of FringeWare, the company/community that Paco Nathan and I started in 1991. We realized that like-minded fringe thinkers and doers were scattered everywhere, and the Internet gave us a platform where they could find each other and form community. All it took was an email list and a compelling concept (“fringeware”) to catalyze that community.
“Declaration of Interdependence” sounded familiar… I did some searching…
Jon's bio is under the photo. He is one of the originals, including a book co-edited with Mitch Ratcliffe (a co-founder of Earth Intelligence Network), Extreme Democracy (Lulu.com, 2004). Below is his latest update.
Irons in the fire:
Plutopia Productions projects are on fire… including the Plutopia 2011 event during SXSW and the Plutopia News Network that Scoop Sweeney and I will be launching within the next month. Scoop and I are also producing events on the side, like last Friday’s “From Jerusalem to Cordoba” performance by Catherine Braslavsky and Joseph Rowe. Scoop and I, like our Plutopia Productions colleagues, see event production — creating compelling experiences — as an art form. We expect to produce at least one event per quarter, either as part of Plutopia Productions or onw our own, in addition to our work on the content site, which will include podcasts and god nose whatever other media.
I’m partnering with other web developers in creating Teahouse Media, a web consulting and development cooperative. Web development is my day job, and I pursue it with relish… an avid builder of information environments and systems. As in the past, I’m focused on open source platforms, primarily Drupal and WordPress.
With a loose group journalists and other thinkers and doers, I’ve been exploring the future of journalism and the emergence of digital news applications; set to moderate a panel on the subject at SXSW Interactive.
Trying to get my head aorund the future of the Internet. I gave a talk on the subject at a recent meeting of the Central Texas World Future Society, and will give another similar talk at Link Coworking at noon on January 8.
In that context, I’ve also been tracking the Wikileaks controversies, thinking to convene a public forum on the subject via EFF-Austin. Is Julian Assange shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre? Or is he a contemporary Daniel Ellsberg variation? Also thinking about transparency; working as an organizer (with the LBJ School) of the Texas Government 2.0 Camp, which will be January 28-29.
A practicing Buddhist, I’m looking into the Gurdjieff work, a different system of thinking, but similar in its cultivation of mindfulness. True mindfulness is easy to conceive but hard hard hard to achieve.
I’ve signed up to be a reviewer for the City of Austin’s Grant for Technology Opportunities, which awards money to community technology projects. I’ve always had an interest in community technology, and that’s revived somewhat as I note that there’s still a digital divide, and it’s even more significant as so much more of what we do in our daily lives requires access to technologies and networks. Also interseted in digital literacy; not long ago Howard Rheingold and I were discussing his next book, which will be on that subject.
The world is incredibly screwed up at the moment; I feel an obligation to get into an active an visible advocacy for the things I think are important… a humane progressive agenda, a positive and transformative cultural agenda, depolarizing politics and an end to the cultural cold war in the U.S. and beyond, commitment to the ideal of sustainability, acknowledgement of and response to the problem of global warming, etc. Can a web developer do all that much? I’m with the army here… we should all try to be all that we can be…
Five years ago at IC2 Institute in Austin, we were talking about digital convergence, and those talks spun off an organization called the Digital Convergence Initiative, the idea being to build a local business cluster of convergent companies. We were ahead of our time, and it was hard for many to get their heads around how such a “horizontal” cluster would work. We were onto an effect of convergence that could be pretty interesting: the edges of verticals will blur, and companies that before convergence had nothing in common will find affinities and synergies that create new forms of business.
Phi Beta Iota: We have been beneficiaries of Jon Lebkowsky's good-hearted genius and will start following his blog, which is being added to Righteous Sites today. The ten areas covered by the cited article include Shopping, Relationships, Business Deliveries, Maps, Education, Politics, Society, War, Advertising. The bottom line for the public is that accountability and transparency is virtually inevitable, and we will eventually eradicate corruption including fraud, waste, and abuse. The only question is how soon and will it be soon enough. We think it will. Like Jon, we are optimists.
Here are the last two paragraphs with the links recommended:
Linked data and the future
The examples of data mentioned in this article are innovative, exciting and life changing, but the best is yet to come. The majority of the information that we use in our daily lives is “dumb”, or unconnected. The next step is “linked data”, or data that talks to each other. In the UK, Tim Berners-Lee and the team behind Data.gov.uk are aiming to create a linked database of Government information. By providing all data the Government produces in a linked format, individuals will be able to pull in different sets of data to produce new and innovative ways of understanding how our Government and the world works.
FluidDB, a start-up company run by Terry Jones, and with backing from Tim O'Reilly and Esther Dyson and others, is tackling this field from a different angle. FluidDB wants to create a “writeable world”, where physical objects have virtual identities, which can be updated and called upon by any individual with access to the internet. That could mean tweets and status updates about everything from a brand of toothpaste to the Eiffel Tower could contribute to a collective database. The possibilities for collaboration are endless.