A survey on Internet utopias

A survey on Internet utopias

1/ Future Media/Internet: Communication, Digital Media and the Internet in an Ideal World
IMAGINE:
The best world ever:
What kind of media are you using and why?
How is it beneficial for citizens, society and democracy?
How would the Internet look like in the best of all world?

Like today, I would mostly rely on my widely distributed networks to relay information to me that they considered important.

And in some situations I might set up my own monitoring systems, keeping close watch on situations of particular interest.

I don’t use any mainstream media on a regular basis, and I made that call following the July 1984 general election, where I was a candidate in Tauranga, and was reported in the major dailies 9 times. On reading one of those reports I was able to say “that was something like what I talked to the reporter about”, on the other 8 occasions I could see no relationship between the conversation I had with the reporter and what appeared in print, other than the fact that I did have a conversation.

Based upon that evidence set, and following many conversations I had with people I knew well in broadcast media; I concluded that I was decreasing the level of coherence between my model of reality and whatever reality actually is, by reading anything printed in the mainstream media and politics – so I stopped.

If the media is accurately reporting what is happening, that is a great thing, but it very rarely happens.
Mostly the media is about selling itself, and it therefore focuses on all the evolutionary hacks that capture and hold attention for the majority of people.

It now seems clear to me that the greatest single threat to our survival as a species is our reliance on money and markets as proxies for value more generally, and the inevitable pressures that brings upon the elites to exploit whatever is exploitable about humanity in the interests of profit. That applies particularly in the aspects of news and advertising, and it also applies far more deeply into the depths of the evolutionary underpinnings of the emergence of the sort of complexity that we are.

And this is deeply complex territory, as I am now clear beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that all any of us get to experience is a subconsciously created model of reality (that is our experiential reality). This model is generated from a large collection of genetically and culturally evolved systems, and is modulated through personal experience and personal choices. Most people seem to have no knowledge of this reality, and treat their models as reality itself. Plato tried to hint at it with his shadows on the cave wall, but we have only really developed the mathematical, biochemical, evolutionary and systemic underpinnings of how much of it actually works within the last 50 years, much of it within the last decade.

That can cause one to question deeply what notions like “best” and “society” and “democracy” might actually mean.

Very few people actually considered deeply the nature of structure and form, and the need for sets of boundaries at every new level of form.
Most have very simplistic models of the nature of human being, and the nature of “governance”, the types of possible “democracies” and the systemic dangers as against the systemic minima required to sustain form.

For me, the fundamental minima exist in the hierarchy of values – which need to be:
1/ Individual sapient life (human and non-human, biological and non-biological);
2/ Individual liberty (as responsibly constrained by the need to demonstrate through action a respect for the life and liberty of others, which necessarily entails responsible action in social and ecological contexts).

Anything else one wishes to put in the hierarchy below these two is optional.

Nothing in there about following orders or obeying rules, and there will be eternal exploration of complexity and our interaction with it, which must involve mistakes, as all models in use are necessarily simplifications of whatever reality actually is, and that necessitates that errors will happen.

And reality often has time and energy limits, which demand that we produce actions in reality within certain time and energy constraints if we are to survive. The greater the stress present, the simpler the models our subconscious has evolved to produce, all the way down to binaries like: good/bad; friend/foe; right/wrong; etc.

Reality is never that simple, and the necessities of decision making in complex realities can often force us into such simplicity, which often has high risk long term consequences. The current media systems tend to make that risk much greater than it needs to be.

Our mainstream media seem to have hacked this system within most people.

Fully automated systems allow us to meet the reasonable needs of all people with little or no involvement of most people.
This could allow us to create the sort of security where most people have the time to start to deeply explore whatever aspects of reality interest them (within the limits of responsibility referred to above).
This is nothing like our current economic system.

In this sort of world, having reliable access to how those in our networks rate the reliability of individuals and information streams in different contexts would be a very valuable tool in extended and networked sense-making and risk mitigation.

Few people yet understand that all evolved levels of complexity are predicated upon new levels of cooperation; and raw cooperation is always vulnerable to exploitation by cheating strategies. Thus, to stabilise, systems must develop ecosystems of cheat detection and removal systems.
Arguably our entire finance and political system is now one giant cheating ecosystem on the cooperative body of humanity.

The idea that competitive systems can benefit society generally is simply wrong (without mathematical foundation).

At our level of complexity, our survival is fundamentally predicated on cooperative systems.
We are the most cooperative species on the planet.
The idea of competitive markets is one giant cheating strategy.

Few people can yet see that.
More need to.

In biological systems, the evolution of complexity always involves massive redundancy and autonomy within subsystems.
Our current trend towards centralisation is an exploit, a cheating strategy.

The internet needs to be massively networked and immune to single point of failure or single point of capture; exactly the opposite of current trends and systems.

[2/ Making Public Service Media Better
IMAGINE:
You are elected as the Director/CEO of a public service media (PSM) provider (such as the BBC, ORF, Yle, ARD, ZDF, RTVE, France Télévisions, RAI, RTÉ, PBS, CBC, SRG, NPR, NHK, etc):
What new projects and initiatives would you immediately like to implement?
How would media and communication be different from today?
]

I would create software systems that allowed people to visualise both the flows of information and the connections between facts and systems and individuals; so that individual people could render views of the histories of information held in ways that suited the particular interests. I would allow people to choose to make templates they develop available to sets, or subsets of people or more widely (with or without particular keys).

I would allow people to develop their own networks and rating systems, and to sort data streams based upon those subsets and reliability indicators – allowing commonality or difference of prime data source to be displayed (even if the actual identity is hidden).

I would allow users to self signify their stories, and for others to have access to those signifiers (as per David Snowdens work on understanding complex systems).

I would have systems of hash keys that would allow people to communicate that they had some important information that was uniquely confirmable by that hash key, without actually transmitting the information at that time. A similar secure mechanism for transmitting location and contacts in case of serious trouble.

[Public Service Media/Internet in 2030:
IMAGINE:
It’s 2030: Public Service Media have experienced a remarkable development and a renaissance. A very successful, radically new media ecosystem has developed:
What has been changed in comparison to 2020 (ten years ago)?
How was it possible to achieve these changes?
How do public service media look like in 2030?
]

The world is now a fully networked place.
Automated systems now supply all citizens of the world with security of person and freedom to do whatever they responsibly choose.

Public service media is now part of a massive network of independent trust networks that have mechanisms for promoting high priority information into particular physical or conceptual spaces on the basis of the combined assessments of those within those spaces and networks.

Money and scarcity are now things mostly of interest to historians.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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