Tags: p2p*

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  1. The study examined data collected from 40 municipal broadband providers and private throughout 2015 and 2016. Pricing data was collected predominately by visiting carrier websites, where pricing is (quite intentionally) often hidden behind prequalification walls, since pricing varies dramatically based on regional competition.

    In many markets, analysts couldn’t make direct comparisons with a private ISP, either because the ISP failed to meet the FCC’s 25 Mbps down, 3 Mbps up standard definition of broadband (a problem for countless telcos who refuse to upgrade aging DSL lines), or because the ISP prequalification website terms of service “deterred or prohibited” data collection.

    But out of the 27 markets where they could make direct comparisons, researchers found that in 23 cases, the community-owned ISPs’ pricing was lower when the service costs and fees were averaged over four years.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-17)
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  2. Peer production has emerged as a new and relevant way of organising the work of distributed and autonomous individuals in the production and distribution of digital content. Increasingly, the adoption of peer production is taking place not only in the development of digital and immaterial content, but also in the design, manufacturing and distribution of physical goods. Furthermore, Open Design and Open Hardware projects are developed, discussed, manufactured and distributed thanks to digital fabrication technologies, digital communication technologies, advanced funding initiatives (like crowdfunding platforms and hardware incubators) and globally integrated supply chains. This new systemic dimension of work is possible, among other factors, thanks to local facilities like Fab Labs, Makerspaces and Hackerspaces (that can be generally called Maker laboratories), where individuals can gather and form communities with other people, designing and manufacturing together. Generally, these people are referred to as Makers and, while their existence is still an emergent phenomenon, it is widely acknowledged that they could exemplify a new modality of work. We investigated the knowledge, values and working dimensions of Makers in Italy with the Makers' Inquiry, a survey that focused on Makers, Indie Designers and managers of Maker laboratories. This research generated a first overview of the phenomenon in Italy, improving the knowledge of the profiles of Makers; an important step because Makers are usually defined in a very broad way. Furthermore, we investigated their profiles regarding their values and motivations, in order to understand how much Makers engage in peer production or in traditional businesses and whether their working condition is sustainable or not. Finally, we compared these profiles with data regarding traditional designers and businesses and the national context. Given the recent nature of the Maker movement, the focus of this article is on providing a first overview of the phenomenon in Italy with an exploratory analysis and with comparison with existing related literature or national data, rather than contextualising the Maker movement in sociological and political contributions. Far from happening in a void, Italian Makers have a strong relationship with their localities and established industry. Therefore, this is a recent evolution, where Makers work with a broader palette of projects and strategies: With both non-commercial and commercial activities, both peer production and traditional approaches. The activity of making is still a secondary working activity that partially covers the Makers’ income, who are mostly self-employed working at home, in a craft workshop or in a Fab Lab in self-funded or non-commercial initiatives, where technology is not the only critical issue. As a conclusion, we identified current patterns in the working condition of Italian Makers. The data gathered shows some interesting information that, however, could be applicable only to an Italian context. Nevertheless, the survey could be a starting point to compare the same phenomenon in different countries. Therefore, we released the survey files, software and data as open source in order to facilitate the adoption, modification, verification and replication of the survey.
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  3. While these high-profile cases and thereby theoretical possibilities often attract the headlines, the real challenge is reimagining our institutional architecture to match the dream offered by emerging technologies. Just as the Victorians imagined new institutions such as what is now the British Standards Institution and renaissance Italy imagined the concept of IP and patents, we need to make sure that the rules of the game match the possibility of the moment.
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  4. It think the weak part of the commons is that very frequently it is not a business for anyone. So, nobody is interested in funding it. This is a real hurdle for its development. The solution is to create a new kind of money that can fund the commons. Conventional money taps into the scarcity. The new money that can help build the commons taps on the abundance.
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  5. Through the geographical focus of the platform, users are encouraged to find other conscious, awakened individuals in their local area and, via the messaging tools provided, connect and form empowering, offline connections which in turn will enable collaboration and positive community action.
    An online space for discussion and collaboration

    Coeō is a unique platform for topic focused, global collaboration. Cross referencing online discussion between many networked sites enables a unique, topic based and grassroots collaboration between movements.
    Bringing movements together

    Coeō has brought together a unique and growing network of movements, creating much-needed unity. Thanks to Coeō, members from a growing number of groups such as Ubuntu Planet, The Full Circle Project, Prepare for Change, The Freedom Cell Network and The Conscious Media Coalition are coming together, connecting and collaborating. The local connections made between members of these varied groups is enabling greater collaborative action at a grassroots level.
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  6. The basic income is an idea whose time is coming, because there won’t be enough work to go around. For me the basic income is a one-off subsidy for automation — to un-hook humanity from bullshit job creation and promote hte delinking of work and wages.

    However, it’s a transitional measure. It can only be paid for by the state taxing the market sector. As the market sector shrinks, that means you run out of taxes. So I never use the words “unconditional” or universal. I would make the basic income conditional on engagement with the demos of the city. For example, if you obliged peopel to take part in collective groups to manage the chronic diseases of poverty: mental illness, hypertension, stress, obesity; you could point to a payback from the basic income in terms of current spending.
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  7. prototyping with desktop 3D printers (rather than CNC milling machines) may be less environmental impactful than first thought, but this is dependent on high utilization of the printer. This conclusion appears rarely exploited by Fab Labs: by being shared, open, peer-learning spaces, they boost the potential for eco-efficient use of shared equipment. They may also remove health, safety and emission problems away from the home or office, given appropriate health, safety and waste management measures are adopted in the Lab. Stephens et al. (2013) examined ultrafine particle emissions from desktop 3D printers and recommended caution in use in  inadequately ventilated spaces. (Ventilation, filters and careful procedures are more clearly observed with the use of laser cutters and milling machines in makerspaces than 3D printers.) This was also the conclusion in Short et al. (2015) (who examined more 3D printing technologies than Stephens et al., 2013, and not only in the context of personal, desktop machines); the authors expressed concern that environmental impacts (and health and safety issues) of many materials used in additive manufacturing remain unknown, including when they begin to degrade. These hazardous issues, connected to process waste, support materials, resins, finished products and so on, impact not only people in the fabrication space, but also people downstream in the waste cycle as well as natural ecosystems at final disposal. This issue will become even more prominent as other types of 3D printers are developed based on expiring patents. (Desktop 3D printers have up until recently been solely FDM, fused deposition modelling, printers; low-cost, desktop SLA, stereolithography, printers are now entering the market whose materials and processes are less certain to be benign.)  Hunt et al. (2015) identified the challenge of recycling the polymers used in personal 3D printers, and to that end developed a model for recycling codes that could be deployed in the United States as well as the design scripts that could print the codes into the products. The same research group (Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology) also examined the life cycle benefits of distributed recycling: a scenario where home users and prosumers would perform their own recycling processes from postconsumer goods for their own future 3D printing processes (Krieger et al., 2014). These studies are rather unusual in that they project for a scenario where small-scale, distributed, open manufacturing exists and then conduct studies to pre-empt the barriers to the environmental sustainability of such a system. A similar strategy can be seen in Kostakis et al. (2013), who explored the viability of a new social production mode oriented to sustainability, desktop manufacturing and commons-based peer production, via a case study of an open source wind turbine design.

    These recent studies therefore appear to be taking a new direction, acknowledging a future where manufacturing is distributed and small scale and peer production has a clear role. They may be placed in the constructs of ‘bespoke fabrication’ and ‘mass fabrication’, little addressed as yet, as depicted in Figure 5 below (which appeared as Figure 4 in paper 1). They may also represent small steps to a better understanding of the under-addressed areas of research in Figure 6 below (which appeared as Figure 1 in paper 2). Nevertheless, particularly when considering the opportunities and threats of a new distributed production paradigm, as represented on the right side of Figure 6, significant challenges remain in deciding how to best study them. Part of the challenge lies in dealing with complexity and large system boundaries if one is comparing mass production to distributed production.
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  8. The individual increasingly has at her disposal the means of taking on large, powerful bureaucratic institutions as an equal.

    Networked consumer, environmental and labor activism, with its ability to subject corporate malefactors to boycotts or tort actions, and to expose them to humiliating scrutiny, offers the potential to control and punish bad corporate behavior at least as well as did the regulatory state or the traditional press, and — insofar as they are not prone to the same sorts of cross-institutional collusion — to do an even better job of it.

    This includes “culture jamming” of the sort employed by the McLibel defendants and by Frank Kernaghan against Kathie Lee Gifford. It includes labor-led boycotts and information campaigns based on “open mouth sabotage” like those of the Imolakee Workers and the Wal-Mart Workers Association, and a whole host of online “employernamesucks.com” websites. It includes targeted campaigns to embarrass such corporate malefactors in the eyes of their suppliers, outlets, major stakeholders, and labor and consumer interest organizations. It includes networked activism through umbrella movements of labor, consumer and social justice organizations linked together for ad hoc single issue campaigns against a particular corporate criminal. It includes efforts like Wikileaks to promote whistleblowing and provide secure platforms for circulating embarrassing information about corporate misbehavior. It incorporates a large element of what John Keane calls “monitory democracy.”

    Networked organization offers, as well, to supplant the regulatory state’s old licensing, authentication and quality certification functions. If Consumer Reports was pithecanthropus in this evolutionary schema, and Angie’s List ishomo erectus, then the future lies with full-blown networked civil societies, organized on a voluntary basis, providing a context within which secure commercial relationships and other forms of cooperation can take place. The future of this model has been described variously as neo-Venetianism or phyles (fictionally in Stephenson’s The Diamond Age and non-fictionally in de Ugarte’s work), the Darknet in Suarez’s Freedom, and “economies as a social software service” by John Robb.

    In short, networked activism offers to do to the state and the large corporation what the file-sharing movement has only begun to do to the record industry, and what Wikileaks has barely even begun to do to the U.S. national security community.
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  9. brilliant critical remarks on the blockchain by Alanna Krause :

    1. Ethereum and similar blockchain enabled systems may distribute the verification of the ledger, but they are still centralised systems that easily become controlled by a few big players with more infrastructure resources. The contracts and transaction ledger may be decentralised, but the infrastructure isn't.

    2. Decentralisation in and of itself will not lead to P2P principles, or more social justice. In face, it has just as much power to great exacerbate social inequality. The most likely outcome of widespread adoption of block-chain enabled decentralised technologies is simply increased efficiency and wealth for big banks and governments. The discourse around the blockchain does not seem to acknowledge this. This WILL be co-opted (already is).

    3. I sense a deep lack of understanding of the social dynamics behind truly P2P ways of working and living in the blockchain community. People seem to want to "program" away what I consider the real challenges of confronting power dynamics, synthesising diversity, meeting different human needs, balancing collaboration and autonomy, building high-trust networks, collective ownership and commons management, etc. You cannot fix these things with technology - technology will just magnify the underlying dynamics. This is related to my observations of the lack of diversity in these communities.

    4. People get all excited about the blockchain, but most of the things they seem to want to do with it could be achieved just as easily with a normal database. It seems like the cases where you actually need an objectively verifiable distributed ledger in a zero-trust system are quite rare in practice. If people want to run self-organising corporations, why haven't they make a start with a normal database already? Surely they can implement a blockchain once it scales or they run into a real need. Seems to me people are just excited about some new and shiny tech concept, and not actually into solving the deeper challenges of self-organisation. I have seen a LOT of money changing hands and ideas thrown around, but no living case studies of blockchain enabled networks of people doing real productive work and creating livelihoods and societies." (via email, May 2016)
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  10. La tesi di fondo proposta dall’autore è che oggi l’uomo contemporaneo, per superare la crisi economica e sociale in cui è piombato, deve re-imparare a collaborare. Afferma significativamente: “Voglio mettere a fuoco una piccola porzione di ciò che si potrebbe fare per contrastare la collaborazione distruttiva del tipo “noi contro voi” nonché la collaborazione degradata in collusione. L’alternativa positiva è un tipo di collaborazione impegnativa e difficile: quella che cerca di mettere insieme persone che hanno interessi distinti o confliggenti, che non hanno una simpatia reciproca che non sono alla pari o che semplicemente non si capiscono tra loro. La sfida è quella di rispondere all’altro a partire dal suo punto di vista” (p. 16).

    Intervistato da Famiglia Cristiana nel giugno del 2012, tre mesi dopo l’uscita del suo libro in Italia, Sennett mette in risalto anche il ruolo che potrebbero giocare le grandi religioni per dare una spinta, in senso collaborativo, alla società attuale: “Nel cattolicesimo, nell’ebraismo e nell’islam la collaborazione non è una scelta personale, bensì un rituale che si dipana all’interno della comunità. La rivoluzione protestante ha creato un nuovo paradigma, proprio in ragione del fatto che essa è diventata una scelta e il rituale viene sostituito da una volontà individuale. (…). Ha qui inizio la modernità, per la quale le relazioni sociali vengono dall’io, non dall’esterno”.

    In sintesi il sociologo americano sostiene che la capacità di cooperare è “genetica” ma si può apprendere e perfezionare. Si tratta di un’abilità dell'uomo che può, con il suo operato, "riparare" la nostra società, come un artigiano fa con uno strumento danneggiato; utile in passato e potenzialmente ancor più utile una volta riparato.

    Non basta, però, condividere luoghi, oggetti, conoscenze, saperi, informazioni ma è necessario imparare a collaborare con tutti apprendendo la virtù della pazienza di curare, sviluppare e riparare continuamente relazioni e processi, come fa l’artigiano. Questa è l’unica via per costruire su basi nuove il futuro del lavoro, dell’economia, della politica, della società e dell’ambiente come indicato da Papa Francesco nella Laudato Si’. Questa è la sfida che ha davanti la sharing economy, il coworking e tutte quelle esperienze di condivisione che si stanno diffondendo.

    Insomma bisogna dare un senso alla condivisione orientandola in chiave collaborativa e tenendo ben presente la prospettiva del bene comune della famiglia umana. Ridurre questi processi di condivisione solo ad opportunità di business sarebbe gravissimo.
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