501 words — 3 minutes read

Europeans unite

The European Internet Project (EIP) that was founded after reboot7 tries to bring together european people working on or for the internet project. It is trying to counter balance the US domination that has been the way of the internet for the last decades.

While I applaud the idea, I think there are larger things in the making. The talk that Ben Hammersley ( pdf ) gave at reboot has got me into thinking:

(warning: Ramblings ahead)

  • Technology proceeds social change, yet there is little done to advance the social changes needed to adapt.

  • We, the web-literate people, live in our own bubble that is far disconnected from the (h)internet the rest of the world uses. We know how to deal with spam, virii and blogs. We can communicate, resonate. 90% of the people however just know about the web browser and Google/Yahoo/AOL. They don’t care about what we are devising - and rightly so.

  • It is arrogant of us to think that we hold the keys to the heavenly internet kingdom and that others are schmucks for not understanding how great this web is. They have different desires and needs than we do.

  • There are several ways we can proceed from here:

    • Continue to live in our internet comfort zone, advancing and living the rest of the wold behing. Roadkill on “the way ahead”

    • Listen to them, understand their needs, work to make the internet fit for them

    • Work on making social behaviors change, use our knowledge to change the way the rest of the world sees, understands & live the social changes we are inflicting upon them

    • not only found an EIP, but found a new society, a cult, a movement that transcends the physical borders of the countries. A society where people live in the internet, making it a place, rather than a transport mechanism (as Doc Searls postulates it should be)

Which one of the options outlined above is the correct one? Is it even up there on that list? Does it matter? I think it does. We have the power and the knowledge to change something. Let’s make that change bigger. Bolder. More difficult. There is little gained by preaching to the choir. We need to reach the rest of the world to make a difference. Yes, it is fun to be a member of the “elite”, but that’s not what life is about. As Doug Engelbart put’s it in the Q&A session:

So I said I should get a goal for my career, so then in the next hour I decided to maximize the benefit my career could have on mankind. Going after big problems is complex, need a lot of people to do it collectively. But we are not getting collectively smarter - spells disaster - maybe I can contribute to that - to contribute to our collective ability to understand and cope with complex problems.

Now is the time for us to make a change on mankind. Move!

Technorati Tags: social change, reboot7

Jens-Christian Fischer

Maker. Musician