Technology is social? Reflections from a first round of playing the Witness game

“In a large AI information system (with one of its unsaid goals being a digital super capitalistic gain (in terms of capital costs)) it is really difficult for people to participate. Only a small number of experts are involved (heavily), all the others are consumers.”

During our test game session last week, we discussed how the Witness game can create meaningful content for the NGI Impact Conference on November 29. How will we contribute to the debate around how we build, finance and regulate internet technologies against the backdrop of a global climate crisis?

And we zoomed in on this: Tech is a social thing. In discussing Internet Technologies we need to consider the nature of technology and its context. Technology is not what it does. It is how it is developed, who can be part of it etc.

For example: Monitoring sea fauna - if you crowdsource, rather than use drones/satellites to control the seas, and ask people to do work and use tech to collect data it is a feature where tech allows coordination and social aggregation.

In the tech industry, these aspects tend to get overlooked. But if we want to contribute to better futures, as tech builders, funders and regulators we need to figure out how to embed this understanding in our work. Current and future.

This is quite a challenge to do. Attempting to do this as an individual or small group is like a neuron trying to see things at the level of the brain. We need ways to put our brains together.

Designing and playing a game together is our way to do it. Because it makes good use of every single participant’s intelligence, experience and skills. It’s fun, creative and great for networking.

In our card game deck with have cards for a range of technologies that players can use to respond to different adverse events (ecological, economic, social such as heatwaves, brain drain and ideological extremism).

Almost each of the tech mentioned can have different effects depending on the context. Inside and outside a place, community or in our case Distrikts. Some effects are known, others not.

In a conference where people will both play the game and hold discussions around how we finance and regulate Next Generation Internet technologies - what elements and people should we include in the program? How can we embed this in the game?

If you can share your thoughts in a comment, or even better - get involved in shaping the program with us that would be much appreciated!

We are discussing it in this thread.