How do we organize society for a whole-systems approach for developing the Internet?


What I’m interested in seeing in regards for the development of the Internet is to explore the potential of the development of the infrastructures in a free software and open-source manner, without a Benevolent Dictator for Life. Considering that the much of Internet infrastructure is built on free software and open source technologies, it makes me wonder “What if we would organize the infrastructure development of the Internet in a similar manner?”. To do this by gathering companies, government, civil society and have open and collaborative processes in order to include a multitude of perspectives of this complex issue and overcome the challenges causing devastating consequences for societies, organizations and humans.

I do not know of any projects working on the organising of society in relation to the internet, only W3C and IETF working on technical collaboration and standardization. My interest in this is mainly in connection to the recent developments and consequences from the Internet that people can experience in their daily offline life or when surfing the World Wide Web.

Specific events I’m thinking about are examples such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal with Facebook and how similar events have happened. These are having a big effect on societies and democratic processes, at least in the representative democratic processes such as election. In that sense we are experiencing consequences of an Internet that is continuously being developed but we do not know how, when it is done, it’s simply having an impact on us as human beings, with potential large scale negative consequences.

The consequences can mostly be loosely drawn as humans and scientific research can’t really keep up with the silo-based, non-coordinated nature and speed of development, making it harder to connect the dots between source of change and consequences.

My hopes are that we can gather a group of organizations and individuals from different sectors of society who are willing to collaborate and take a more holistic approach, a systems thinking approach on building a Internet infrastructure which serves humans and society as a whole.

Perhaps establishing an ongoing collaboration with experimentation and action for the development of Internet with discussions and analysis happening when the group designs and reflects on experiments that are to be tested or have been tested.

These thoughts and my background leading up to this is mainly based on my experience as a human. In this information society it becomes more evident and feels like a lot of actors are acting independantly and unknowing, or not caring, of the different directions they are pulling toward, and the consequences which come from everybody trying to pull in different directions. It gets easy to create a sensation of chaos.

I believe that this goes for a majority of challenges we are facing, climate, mental health, economy. It’s basically the Wild West whereas I believe that many expressions we can see on the Internet are symptoms of this experience for many people.

I think that with the current information overload many people have, that can really pacify a lot of us.

I think we’re at an interesting point in this time in which these big challenges are becoming more and more transparent, evident and tangible. We need to take a new approach in order to show that we can overcome these challenges, prove that a new approach can be done and then overcome all of these in parallel.

I strongly believe that this is more of a challenge of how we organize the work with these common challenges as a society rather than finding one or many technological solutions to all of it. Technological solutions solve technological challenges.

How are we building the evolution of the Internet...
Stockholm, May 11th: Internet of Humans matchmaking event

Are you picturing an alternate open source physical infrastructure? Or do you picture adapting the one that already exists so that it operates in a more open and cooperative way?