Beyond the Web: Making a platform-free online marketplace for goods, ideas and everything else
What we know of the Internet is largely through the Web. Even on our phones, the Web is the primary app through which we publish, learn and participate in the world. But the Web has also become a vast and feudal online land of baronial Big Tech feifdoms where mere "users" are as subordinate and dependent as are serfs to barons, with personal privacy and agency granted and valved at the mercies of their digital lords.
Do we need to settle for that? Ostrom Workshop visiting scholars Doc and Joyce Searls believe we don't, and are at work on the Byway: a new path between buyers and sellers, citizens and governments, sources and journalists that can be paved outside the Web but still on the cyber firma of the Internet below. The Byway is being prototyped by Doc, Joyce, and their colleagues at Customer Commons here in Bloomington, where it will also be studied together with the Ostrom Workshop.
To inform that work, and the whole subject of what can be built outside the status quo where Big Tech giantism, surveillance capitalism and regulatory torpor all prevail, each salon will feature a compelling speaker and a focus to drive conversation. In order, these are David P. Reed, Robin Chase, Ethan Zuckerman, and Shoshana Zuboff.
October 25, 2021
David P. Reed
November 15, 2021
David P. Reed
February 7, 2022
March 7, 2022
The Web is wonderful. Yet, while it's a place where you can gather easily and find nearly all the information you want, it's also where it's easy to unknowingly have your thoughts, opinions, prejudices and choices of friends hacked by algorithmic nudging and viral misinformation. How can we do better, elsewhere on the Internet—such as on the Byway we're exploring in this salon series?
April 11, 2022
The main business model of the Web goes by a label we all now know from the title of Shoshana Zuboff's landmark book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. How do we fight surveillance capitalism? And how do we work around it? How, especially, can we keep our new Byway from becoming infested with it—or with the mendacities behind it?