Blog Archives

One white middle-class man

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By Mayo Fuster, researcher, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3-UOC).

Head of the P2PValue project and faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Mayo Fuster relies on recent data to support her reflections on the main question of this blog. According to her, peer production has still issues to address — for instance, it is not coping very well with gender equity —, but above all the success of the model, which now encompasses more than 30 areas of activity, relies on its increased efficiency. Get Fuster’s complete reflections on the topic in the short video below. Her contribution was recorded at the Ouishare Fest Barcelona event.

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Posted in Open Thoughts 2014

The Shift from Open Platforms to Digital Commons

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By David Bollier, author, blogger and consultant.

From open access platforms to managed digital commons: that is one of the chief challenges that network-based peer production must meet if we are going to unleash the enormous value that distributed, autonomous production can create.

The open platform delusion
We are accustomed to regarding open platforms as synonymous with greater freedom and innovation. But as we have seen with the rise of Google, Facebook and other tech giants, open platforms that are dominated by large corporations are only “free” within the boundaries of market norms and the given business models. Yes, open platforms provide many valuable services at no (monetary) cost to users. But when some good or service is offered for at no cost, it really means that the user is the product. In this case, our personal data, attention, social attitudes lifestyle behavior, and even our digital identities, are the commodity that platform owners are seeking to “own.”

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Posted in Open Thoughts 2014

Shifting trends on how we work

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By Pablos Holman, hacker, futurist and inventor, Intellectual Ventures Lab.

Can we learn something about how the open source communities work? Could their collaborative way be somehow extrapolated into how we work in a company? A hacker and inventor at Intellectual Ventures Lab — a prototyping and research laboratory aimed to invention and discovery —, Pablos Holman reflects about what some companies are doing wrong in order to motivate their employees, and what are the different approaches when facing a project. You can check his thoughts in the short video below. His contribution was possible thanks to the kind collaboration of the 4 Years From Now event.

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Posted in Open Thoughts 2014

Peer production and the opportunities and struggles of constructing a more humane production system

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By Yochai Benkler, professor, Harvard Law School; and faculty co-director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society

Commons-based production generally, and commons-based peer production in particular, are the most important and surprising organizational innovation to have emerged in networked economy and society. Surprising, because throughout the 20th century our intellectual frame for understanding production was dominated by a binary vision: state and market. By the end of the last century, we had shifted from a view of state- and managerial-hierarchy-based production as dominant to a view of market- or decentralized price-based organization as the dominant model.

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Posted in Open Thoughts 2014
About the Question
How many peers does it take to change a light bulb?

Systems like Linux and websites like Wikipedia are paradigmatic of a particular way of open collaboration known as peer production. Peer producers choose their tasks freely and coordinate their work using open digital platforms. They share the fruits of their labour as part of a global commons, and everyone works according to their abilities and benefits according to their needs.

Is this an emerging form of communism? Or the future of liberal capitalism? Or is it simply a new mode of production? In this blog we want to explore both the benefits and the downsides of such way of working.

UOC/IN3 degrees