Dear lawmakers and regulators, this draft industry paper doesn't do the job. I explain why in the hope that you will act.Read more
First published to the AKASHA Foundation blog.
In the first of this two-part blog post I described why cooperating-at-scale is humanity's primary challenge. Here I outline some candidate concepts and pre-architectural principles to inform the necessary and sufficient 'sociotechnological primitives'.
First I'd like to qualify pre-architectural. It's not oxymoronic despite arche meaning origin or beginning. Both physical and software architecture originate structure and structural relationships, and we're not yet at the stage to prescribe such things. Structure is ossified pattern and our purpose at this early stage demands instead that we offer just a little structure to open up the space to explore and nurture multiple patterns in preparation for the emergence of multiple structural forms. If pre-architectural doesn't do it for you, then perhaps think of it as a parsimony of design.
A means to our purpose is the encouragement of multi-disciplinary cooperation towards ever-improving multi-disciplinary cooperation. At scale.
Nuclear physicists refer to the smallest amount of fissile material needed for a sustained nuclear chain reaction as the critical mass. No-one can know the variety or volume or patterns or structures of the methods, materials and mindsets required to constitute a critical mass for cooperation-at-scale, but perhaps your spidey senses are similar to our own ... maybe, just maybe, assembling such critical mass is a possibility nearer, rather than further away.
The Digital Life Collective co-operative is officially launched today. Here's some text I helped develop for the new website to situate why our mission is important ...
Today, we cannot determine if technology is trustworthy else when it’s betraying our trust.
Trust is a vital aspect of every friendship, every family, every society. When you and another person trust each other, you’ve worked out that your interests are suitably aligned. You both believe the other will behave in ways that ‘look out’ for the two of you, that serve you both well.
Trust supports our interactions as social animals. We’ve evolved to look for clues that tell us how trustworthy another might be, and to explore ways to test and build that trust without really thinking about it. We end up with:
You trust someone else to do X.
What does trust mean in technological terms? Read more
The hi:project team is collaborating with others interested in trustworthy and empowering technologies. We’re working to launch the Digital Life Collective and we'd love you to be part of it.
Now for anyone interested in the trials and tribulations of an ambitious, open-source, nonprofit vision such as the hi:project, I provide a fuller debrief below. For those who prefer their updates bitesize, everything you need is contained in the next six paragraphs.
You’ll recall the hi:project has some mighty challenges in its sights. We will help: solve personal data & privacy; secure a citizen-centric Internet of Things; transform accessibility & digital inclusion.
Just as for many free open source software projects, no-one profits with the hi:project but rather everyone because of it. And therein lies both the broad opportunity and the deep problem. If everyone secures the return on investment, if the profit cannot be privatised, who exactly is going to make the investment?
In other words, markets aren’t designed to address such particular potential, but that hasn’t stopped us appealing to commercial players – more on how that works below. Moreover, it doesn’t seem foundations can fund and foster such fundamental architecture. And our brush with academic funding was a brush off. In all, we’ve been working across four fronts, failing at these three, and seeing if we can succeed at the fourth.
At first the fourth appears counter-intuitive ... if the hi:project seemed too big, fifty of us have banded together so far to go bigger. The Digital Life Collective is a co-operative dedicated to “tech we trust for the world we want”, and today is the day we go all official. Today we put the incorporation paperwork in the post and invite you to become a co-founding member so that together we can give the market a miss for the moment, pause the powwow with foundations, give up grinding the grant applications … and start simply co-operating.
Technology of, by and for the people. Our tech, not their tech. Find out more now at www.diglife.com.
As for engineering the hi:project … well we’ll be making our case to the Collective in due time.
From the moment we started talking about the hi:project, we contrasted the user interface (UI) and the human interface (HI), the former describing the status quo in which you, the mere user, are actually the used, where you are in fact the product being sold, the civilian being controlled. By adopting HI as our terminology, we communicate the intent to reinstate your sovereignty, your dignity, your humanity. Read more
An invitation to build our technology together
… tech we trust for the web we want.
Digital technologies are undermining our privacy, permitting mass state surveillance, enabling censorship, undermining journalism, and spreading fake news. It feels forbidding, uncertain, unsafe – more problem than solution, and far from the original vision for the Internet and Web.
And yet we’re optimistic that we can join together to fix it. The problem isn’t really the technologies we have to work with of course, but rather the way they’re crafted and who gets to do the crafting.
We’re forming the Digital Life Collective to combine our resources to research, design, develop and certify digital products and services to protect privacy, foster trust, and work towards a sustainable and equitable world. We aim to pool $20m p.a. to make this happen.
Please join the Digital Life Collective, indeed be the Digital Life Collective. We need you. We can’t do this without each other.
Here's our 16-page stack with a bit more detail. [UPDATE 25th April 2017 – visit www.diglife.com]
If you love it, please join us.
If you sense the deep potential, please join us.
If you feel today's digital landscape is selling us all short, please join us.
If you're intrigued about making this happen as a co-operative, please join us.
There's a handful of us right now. We're talking to people who work in this space so that we become dozens or possibly hundreds of likeminds in the coming weeks.
We've been careful to scope the why? and qualify the what? ... but we've stopped short of detailing the what? until we've accrued greater collective intelligence ... by your joining us of course.
✿ We'll be plugging into all the riot.im goodness very soon.
UPDATE 15th June 2017 removing references to our Slack instance. We have since migrated to our own instance of Mattermost, and participation there is restricted to members of our co-operative.
Updated 16th September, embedding the videos of the session below.
The Global Commission on Internet Governance (ourinternet.org) was established in January 2014 to articulate and advance a strategic vision for the future of Internet governance. With work commencing in May 2014, the two-year project is conducting and supporting independent research on Internet-related dimensions of global public policy, culminating in an official commission report.
The Commission published a statement 15th April 2015 for the Global Conference on Cyberspace meeting in The Hague. It calls on the global community to build a new social compact between citizens and their elected representatives, the judiciary, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, business, civil society and the Internet technical community, with the goal of restoring trust and enhancing confidence in the Internet.
I have been invited to discuss this statement with Dame Professor Wendy Hall and Sir David Omand at a Web Science Institute event this afternoon.
The core elements advocated in building the new social compact are:
- Privacy and personal data protection as a fundamental human right
- The necessity and proportionality of surveillance
- Legal transparency and redress for unlawful surveillance
- Safeguarding online data and consumer awareness
- Big data and trust
- Strengthening private communications
- No back doors to private data
- Public awareness of good cyber-security practices
- Mutual assistance to curtail transborder cyber threats.
Here is the brief slidestack framing my contribution today:
Dame Professor Wendy Hall introduces session (1min 32sec)
Sir David Omand (12min 45sec)
Me (9min 35sec)
There's a lot to think about when it comes to the future of organization, and plenty to be optimistic about. Saying that, like any and all topics worth grappling with, it takes a bit of time to get up to speed on the depth and breadth of things. As a member of the advisory council for the Future of Work community, and part of the steering group for The Responsive Organization community, I know I'm not the only one looking to communicate these ideas effectively.
Mike Grafham and I talked about compiling a three-minute explanatory video, and I failed woefully at such brevity. This 42-minute video presentation aims to provide a relatively speedy immersion in some of the main themes, spanning human rights, complexity science, the death of heuristics, the six influence flows, personal knowledge mastery, social physics, trust, the digital nervous system, Web 3.0, performance and learning, public relations, collective intelligence, sociocracy, Holacracy, podularity, wirearchy, emergent civilzation, self-organization, organized self, socioveillance, the middleware corporate, Bread incorporated, distributed autonomous corporates, and the Mozilla manifesto.
This morning, my colleague Hector Arthur pointed me to a new report from Ovum's Mark Little knowing I'd have a few comments to make. In the corresponding blog post – "Big Trust is Big Data’s missing DNA" – Mark kicks off with:
In the rush to monetize customer data, companies risk diminishing the trust people have in services and brands. Sustaining and growing people’s trust in services is not just about “doing the right thing,” but also makes commercial sense.
As I like to say in other words, big data is worth more when wielded with customers rather than at them. Ovum calls this approach Big Trust.
Big Trust strategies are designed to build “trust equity” with customers as a basis for making core services stickier, for selling new services, and for brokering personal data to commerce under a new set of trust principles.
The outlook is informed, directly or indirectly I know not, by the excellence theory of public relations presented by James E Grunig more than twenty years ago, which champions the two-way symmetrical PR model. This model uses communication to negotiate with the public, resolve conflict and promote mutual understanding and respect between the organization and its stakeholders. My Six Influence Flows model from 2011 extends this work for the digital / social / big data age, and you can find out more about PR models in my post here if it's your thing.
Of course, this is not how the majority of practitioners practice PR, deferring instead to publicity and 'spin', which may be associated more closely with distrust than trust. But excellent practice is championed if, as a shrewd procurer, you know where to look. Read more
[Originally written for the CIPR Friday Roundup.]
Identity is not a black and white thing. Sure, at one end of the spectrum anonymity reigns. This is the world of 4chan, the popular image-based bulletin board from which famous memes such as lolcats and Rickrolling emerged. At the other end of the spectrum we have passport border control.
And in between we have many shades of identity.
Nightclub handstamps for example are needed only to ascertain who has already paid. Many a website cookie serves just to determine if you've dropped by before. A supermarket loyalty card serves just to build up an understanding of your shopping habits, and may be associated with a bank card proffered for payment.
OK, so what has this got to do with marketing and public relations?
I really enjoyed having the opportunity to ask Robert Phillips (@citizenrobert), CEO Edelman UK, his opinion on the state of the PR profession. Robert believes that public relations is at a pivotal moment when, confronted by the brutal transparency of social media, the profession has the opportunity to embrace the public information and two-way symmetric models as the default rather than the exception, ditching the spin and persuasion attitudes and connotations. Resigning them to history, or at least to publicists.
Robert emphasises the re-emergent role of the citizen, an idea that appears to have played a distant second fiddle to the consumer in recent decades. And if this rings your bell you might be interested in Robert's Citizen Renaissance project.
I was particularly interested in Robert's assertion that social media is about behaviour; it is not a "channel", and PRs who regard it as one are getting it wrong.
And Robert capped this off by giving us his four outcomes for PR programmes (as opposed to outputs):
- Increase trust – referring to Edelman's annual Trust Barometer
- Deeper communities
- Driving behavioural change; of citizens, consumers, business
- And ultimately commercial success.
Lastly, Ben Matthews (@benrmatthews) gets a big thumbs up from Robert, and my co-host Stephen Waddington (@wadds). FYI, they're talking about Ben's Bright One initiative (@brightonecomms), a volunteer-run communications agency for the third sector.