Blog Archives

Blockchain technology: a new (r)evolution in the digital economy

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By Primavera De Filippi, researcher, Centre d’Études et de Recherches de Science Administrative, CNRS-Université Paris II.

Remember the world, back in the 90’s? Before the Internet had invaded pretty much every aspect of our lives? It was back then quite difficult — if not impossible — to foresee that one day, not too far away, people would be able to communicate directly with one another, that they would be able to broadcast themselves to the world and interact in a peer-to-peer fashion, bypassing most of the intermediaries of that time.

This marked the beginning of a new paradigm shift in the way people communicate — the beginning of a digital revolution characterised by a process of decentralization and disintermediation. With the Internet, traditional media operators, such as publishers and broadcasters, have been progressively displaced by a more distributed network of players, relying on emerging information and communication technologies in order to provide new opportunities for people to receive and impart information.

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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

Do Something, Even if it’s Wrong

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By Joe Brockmeier, principal cloud & storage analyst, Red Hat.

Ask about open source, and no doubt you’ll be immediately told about the benefits of distributed collaboration. People from all over the world will be able to work together on projects and join efforts to produce work that would not have been possible a few decades ago. At least, until a decision needs to be made.

One of the dirty secrets of open source is that participating in open source is often counter-intuitive for folks who’ve been working in a top-down decision-making culture. Most educational institutions and companies teach us to expect someone with authority to tell us what to do. We’re taught to wait for permission, that those with “ownership” need to be consulted, etc.

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Posted in Open Thoughts 2014

How many networked light bulbs does it take to change a light bulb?

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By Laura Forlano, assistant professor, Illinois Institute of Technology.

In a world where connected devices are becoming increasingly commonplace — from fitness trackers to home appliances to adaptive traffic signals and smart grids — the question might be more appropriately rephrased as: How many networked light bulbs does it take to change a light bulb?

Currently, there is great enthusiasm about the Internet of Things (IoT) as these connected devices are more broadly known with companies vying to educate and capture various parts of the market by offering a wide range of trainings, grants and developer’s tools.

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Posted in Open Thoughts 2014

A ten-step guide to approach the light bulb challenge

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By David Cuartielles, Arduino co-founder and teacher at Malmö University.

Step one: take a close look at the problem.

Step two: walk in circles for half an hour thinking about what could possibly go wrong, put the boiler in action, you’re gonna need some tea.

Step three: do you have all of the tools you need? Who knows anyway how to solve this task!

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Posted in Open Thoughts 2014

Lessons from Linux: the future is collaboration

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By Jim Zemlin, executive director, the Linux Foundation1.

Linus Torvalds was named the 17th most influential person of the century by Time magazine. Maybe you’ve never heard of him but you’ve probably heard of the software he created, the world’s most successful software, Linux. It runs everything, I am not kidding. It is in your phone, you car, your TV; it runs your bank, most of the global economy, air traffic control systems, nuclear submarines, most of the Internet. You use Linux every single day, multiple times a day, and you don’t even notice.

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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