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  • Lucas Gonze
    http://www.shareable.net/blog/the-evolution-will-be-socialized The Evolution Will Be Socialized By Douglas Rushkoff 02.07.11, 12:44pm Comments (7) From the
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 9, 2011

      The Evolution Will Be Socialized
      By Douglas Rushkoff
      02.07.11, 12:44pm Comments (7)

      From the actions of the Egyptian government to the policies of
      Facebook, the monopolies of central banks to the corporatization of
      the Internet, we are witnessing the potential of a peer-to-peer
      networking become overshadowed by the hierarchies of the status quo.
      It’s time for us to gather and see what is still possible on the net,
      and what, if anything, can be built to replace it.

      I have had a vague misgiving about the direction the net’s been going
      for, well, maybe 15 years. But until recently, it was more like the
      feeling when another Starbucks opens on the block, a Wal-Mart moves
      into town, or a bank forecloses unnecessarily on that cool local
      bookstore to make room for another bank.

      Lately, however, what’s wrong with the net has become quite
      crystalized for me. It started with the corporate-government
      banishment of Wikileaks last year, and reached a peak with Egypt
      shutting off its networks to stave off revolution. The Obama
      administration seeking the ability to do pretty much the same thing in
      the US, Facebook’s “sponsored stories,” and the pending loss of net
      neutrality don’t help, either.

      Here on Shareable, and then again in an OpEd for CNN.com, I suggested
      we “fork” the Internet – that we accept the fact that the net is built
      on a fundamentally hierarchical architecture, surrender it to the
      corporations who run it, and consider building something else for
      ourselves. The Internet as built will always be subject to top-down
      government control and domination by the biggest corporations. They
      administrate the indexes and own the conduit. It has choke points –
      technological, legal, and commercial. They can turn it off and shut us
      out. A p2p network protected only by laws – that exists but for the
      grace of those in charge – is not a p2p network. It is a hierarchical
      network allowing itself to be used in a p2p fashion, when convenient
      to those currently in charge.

      If we have a dream of how social media could restore peer-to-peer
      commerce, culture, and government, and if the current Internet is too
      tightly controlled to allow for it, why not build the kind of network
      and mechanisms to realize it?

      I received literally thousands of emails in response. Some people
      simply wanted to know if it was really true – could a government
      really just “turn off” the net? Yes. It’s true. Others wrote to let me
      know there’s no alternative; there’s no such thing as an unstoppable
      network. Even if we use ham radio or wifi “mesh” networks to connect
      to each other, they can always be jammed by governments. True, but by
      that logic the authorities also can prevent us from speaking to one
      another by shooting us. At least the tyrant would be in the position
      of attacking the people’s network, instead of simply turning off the
      network he already controls.

      Finally, though, the vast majority of emails came from people who
      wanted to get started actually building a new net, developing p2p
      currency, or figuring out how to promote deep democracy through social
      media. What should they do? Where should they go? And those kinds of
      questions can’t be answered in an email, an essay or a column. It’s
      not something you click on. These challenges can only be answered over
      time by people actively collaborating on solutions.

      That’s why – with some encouragement from a few great organizations
      including Shareable - I’ve decided to convene a summit called Contact.
      Contact will seek to explore and realize the greater promise of social
      media to promote new forms of culture, commerce, collective action,
      and creativity. I'm inviting technologists, artists, activists,
      businesspeople, funders, and other stakeholders in the networked
      future, to come together to hatch new ideas, connect with new
      collaborators, and forge an ongoing community for innovating social
      media and beyond. Some of them, like Michel Bauwens of the P2P
      Foundation, Paul Hartzog and Sam Rose at the Forward Foundation, have
      been working on these questions for a while. Others come from NGOs and
      even corporations looking to support and become part of whatever is
      next, rather than spending money resisting it.

      From the development of a new non-hierarchical Internet to the
      implementation of alternative e-currencies, the prototyping of open
      source democracy to experiments in collective cultural expression,
      Contact will seek to initiate mechanisms that realize the true promise
      of the networking revolution.

      The first summit, to be held October 20, 2011 as a MeetupEverywhere
      and centered at the historic Angel Orensanz Center in New York City,
      will be a participatory festival for ideas and action, consisting
      primarily of meetings convened by attendees. Featured participants
      will deliver brief "provocations" on stage, sharing the greatest
      challenges they are facing in their particular fields. But their
      primary contribution to the day will be to join in the meetings
      convened by other participants, sharing their experience, insight, and
      even connections to help bring these ideas into reality.

      If it’s not the only thing of its kind in the world, so much the
      better. Let’s connect, conceive, and conspire. Contact isn’t a way of
      competing with those efforts, but supporting them.

      Topics I’m opening for discussion include:


      Can we build an alternative Internet that can't be turned off?
      Alternatives to top-down registries and corporate-controlled access

      New net-based currencies and transaction networks
      Net-enabled Local Activism and Job Creation

      Arts networking initiatives
      Decentralized social networking platforms

      Proxy voting to expert friends
      open source democracy
      "Filter Bubbles" and how to prevent them

      What Factors Facilitate Collective Intelligence?
      The Reclamation of Public Space
      But please feel invited to bring your own. I may be initiating this
      thing, but I am by no means in charge.
    • Andrew McMeikan
      ... Just a FYI I know bit-coin is all the rage, but I have written PKTP, the Public Key Transaction Processor. While still a work in progress it is
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 9, 2011
        > New net-based currencies and transaction networks
        Just a FYI

        I know bit-coin is all the rage, but I have written PKTP, the Public
        Key Transaction Processor. While still a work in progress it is
        operational. Transactions are based on transferring precious metals
        from one key to another, this can be by very human readable clear
        signed transactions or signed and encrypted ones.

        Since keys are pseudonymous at best, there are also vouchers that
        act as (non-blinded) bearer instruments as well as other ways of
        breaking history.

        PKTP is not fully distributed but supports multiple vaults so that
        risk of seizure or attack can be limited as well as reducing
        individual storage difficulties.

        Since each vault store a small amount of metal no transaction or
        storage fees are needed with operating profit provided by expired
        vouchers and keys. Each key can have a next of kin key specified so
        lost passphrases or expired keys do not have to be a disaster.

        Not everyone loves gold or silver as money so there is also support
        for users to issue arbitrary shares. These might be for a national
        currency, fundraising or whatever and ae only backed by the key of
        issue. Payment of dividends to shareholders are supported.

        A fancy automatic exchange was planned but is turning out to be
        longer in development time than anticipated.

        Feedback always welcome...

        cya, Andrew...
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