Our second Beyond the Web Salon Series (speakers from the first series are below) explores work toward making good on the Internet's original promise of personal empowerment, peer-to-peer communication and social networks based on positive mutual interests rather than algorithmic nudging. Each salon will be led by leaders meeting challenges in each of those areas. In order, these are Doc Searls, Nathan Schneider, Roger McNamee, and Vinay Gupta.
The Salon series meets each month to explore aspects of this highly important topic. Each salon series events will be held in a hybrid format- with the Ostrom Workshop always broadcasting the event, and as noted on the event notice- some events include the speaker in person in the Workshop. Of course, you can always register to attend via zoom!
Exploring the work advancing the Internet’s original promises of personal empowerment, peer-to-peer communication, and social networking based on positive mutual interests, rather than algorithmic n...Read more
Archived talks and streams
"Seize the Means of Computation: The Big Tech Disassembly Manual"
40 years ago, we shot antitrust law in the guts, and we let companies led by mediocre idiots no better than their forebears establish monopolies. These donkeys were able to parlay their monopoly winnings into policies that prevented new technologies from supplanting their own. They got to decide who was allowed to compete with them, and how.
Notably, tech giants today are able to wield the law against interoperators: new technologies that plug into their services, systems and platforms. That’s a privilege that none of yesterday’s easily toppled tech giants had - if IBM wanted to prevent its competitors (the “seven dwarves” of the mainframe era) from making software, printers, keyboards, and storage for its mainframes, it had to figure out how to build a computer that no one else could reverse-engineer and improve on.
For complex reasons, this is impossible. The very bedrock of computer science - ideas named for midcentury computing demigods like “Turing completeness” and “Von Neumann machines” - dictates that the creation of noninteroperable computers is a fool’s errand. It’s fantasy, not science fiction, like a time machine or a faster-than-light drive.
Today’s tech giants have not invented an interop-proof computer. They’ve invented laws that make interoperability illegal unless they give permission for it. A new, complex thicket of copyright, patent, trade secret, noncompete, and other IP rights has conjured up a new offense we can think of as “Felony contempt of business model” - the right of large firms to dictate how their customers, competitors and even their critics must use their products.
"Beckn: A Radical New Open Protocol Leveling the Field in the Digital Economy"
In this conversation, Sujith Nair, CEO & Co-founder of FIDE.org will walk us through recent developments of how the Beckn Protocol, an open resource discovery and transaction protocol is enabling the creation of decentralized Open Networks. He will give examples of evolving success stories using this approach in critical sectors like Urban Mobility, eCommerce and Social protection. Get ready for some intriguing implications in a Beckn-enabled world—and how the Byway in our home town of Bloomington might be the first place Beckn gets put to use in the U.S.
In order for 8 billion people to live on the planet, we have to get our per-person environmental consumption down by about 10x. There are people that have those kinds of footprints today, all over the world, living successfully. What can we learn from their lives, and how can we apply it to our own?
Tech monopolies profit from undermining public health, democracy, human autonomy, and competition in the economy. The incentives of industry, politicians, and journalists are misaligned with the needs of consumers, but that means that young people are our best hope for both political solutions and new technology alternatives.
"Infrastructure for Community Governance: Two Prototype"
Join Professor Nathan Schneider of the University of Colorado for a lively discussion asking what kinds of tools would we need to enable robust, creative shared governance in online spaces? This talk introduces two prototypes that attempt to answer that question: CommunityRule (for designing group structures and processes) and Modpol (for embedding governance in online games).
If Doc Searls’ theory is right, markets will change radically—in compliance with what customers actually want, rather than what marketers can guess at (mostly by spying on people). His theory is that free customers are more valuable than captive ones—to sellers, to markets, and to customers themselves. Doc has been probing that theory since 2006 through ProjectVRM at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, and lately also at the Ostrom Workshop, where he and his wife Joyce are both visiting scholars.
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?
“Back when the Internet took off, in the mid-1990’s, it was called the “information superhighway.” (See the usage trend here.) While that term has fallen out of use, the need for original approaches to transport, both offline and on, is greater than ever—especially since we seem to have entrenched status quos in both. Can we meet that need?”
“How can the Internet do what its parents wanted it to do: extend human reach and cognition, facilitate coordination and cooperation, work as an architectural foundation, and have no owners? And why has the Web failed at much of that? Also, how can the Byway succeed while the Web is still busy failing, yet clearly satisfying a great many needs?”