Distributed systems promise great possibilities - and challenges.

A conversation with Hugi Asgeirsson

Earlier this year, @hugi was in Berlin for the Data Terra Nemo conference, focussing on decentralised web applications which are hosted without traditional servers, allowing for a lot of interesting applications.

They were inspired by the human-centric community that has grown up around ‘gossip’ protocols like Scuttlebutt. It seems to be forming a playground where new and radical ideas can be tested and implemented. The original developer of Scuttlebutt, Dominic Tarr, describes his MO as: “not to build the next big thing, but rather to build the thing that inspires the next big thing, that way you don’t have to maintain it” and this seems to have set the tone for Scuttlebutt itself.

One of the core elements of Scuttlebutt is that users can host data for other people on the network without being directly connected to them. This has the positive effect that users in countries where internet usage is highly restricted can connect via other users - though on the other hand, this also means that users could unwittingly be hosting information they would rather not propagate. There have been instances of the Norwegian alt-right using Scuttlebutt to communicate. Scuttlebutt has been working to address this issue but solutions are imperfect so far.

The bottom line is that distributed systems such as Scuttlebutt are both democratising and empowering and they come with a whole new set of possibilities and challenges.

Participate in the conversation with Hugi here: Data Terra Nemo: First report & Scuttlebutt

Join our Workshop on Inequalities in the age of AI, what they are, how they work and what we can do about them. Registration: https://register.edgeryders.eu

More info: https://edgeryders.eu/t/workshop-on-inequalities-in-the-age-of-ai-what-they-are-how-they-work-and-what-we-can-do-about-them-19-11-brussels/10326/60

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