Search Results for: clay shirky

The open source government part III

In this third part of the open source government comes Clay Shirky who said very sensible things about the internet before. This time he tells how open source software and open source collaboration will sooner or later completely transform government. With the current technology of the internet, the government can be organized much more efficiently and democratically than we currently have.

The open-source world has learned to deal with a flood of new, oftentimes divergent, ideas using hosting services like GitHub - so why can't governments? In this rousing talk Clay Shirky shows how democracies can take a lesson from the Internet, to be not just transparent but also to draw on the knowledge of all their citizens.

Clay Shirky argues that the history of the modern world could be rendered as the history of ways of arguing, where changes in media change what sort of arguments are possible - with deep social and political implications.

After this third part and third TED Talk about open source government, it might be interesting to gauge what visionary readers think about this. Is this really a way to improve the current system or are these just beautiful dreams of three unworldly idealists at TED?

Related items:
-) The open source government part I.
-) The open source government part II
-) The open source government part III
-) Previous articles with Clay Shirky on Visionary
-) Changes in society
-) Is the internet democracy coming?
-) Learn to program for free via The Code Academy

3 visions about the internet, social media and copyrights

Eerder kwam Clay Shirky al voorbij in zijn analyse over de invloed van het internet op gevestigde instituten. Deze man heeft echter nog een aantal boeiende visies op deze materie en het is een verademing om eens iemand te horen die zaken als het internet, copyright en sociale media daadwerkelijk lijkt te begrijpen. Buitengewoon interessante en informatieve materie. De drie presentaties hebben allemaal Nederlandse ondertitels.

Hoe sociale media geschiedenis kunnen schrijven.

Terwijl nieuws uit Iran de wereld binnenstroomt, laat Clay Shirky zien hoe Facebook, Twitter en sms-berichten burgers in landen met een repressief regime kunnen helpen bij het melden van echt nieuws, zodat ze de censuur kunnen omzeilen (zij het kort). Het einde van de top-down beheersing van het nieuws verandert de aard van de politiek.


Hoe congnitieve overvloed de wereld zal veranderen.

Clay Shirky onderzoekt “cognitief surplus” – het gezamenlijke online werk dat we doen met de reservecapaciteit van ons brein. Terwijl we Wikipedia editen, posten op Ushahidi (en ja, LOLcats maken) bouwen we aan een betere, meer coöperatieve wereld.


Waarom SOPA (en soortgelijke wetgeving) geen goed idee is.

Wat betekent wetgeving genre PIPA/SOPA voor onze deelbare wereld? In de kantoren van TED stelt Clay Shirky een manifest voor – een oproep tot verdediging van onze vrijheid om te scheppen, debatteren, linken en delen, eerder dan passief te consumeren.


Related items:
-) Het nieuwe samenwerken 


Teach all children to code

Children in Estonia learn programming from the age of 7 to 19 as a standard part of their education. This is to prepare children for the future where it is probably just as practical to be able to program as it is now to be able to speak English.

Also in this TED talk a plea to teach children to program as quickly as possible.

Coding isn't just for computer whizzes, says Mitch Resnick of MIT Media Lab - it's for everyone. In a fun, demo-filled talk Resnick outlines the benefits of teaching kids to code, so they can do more than just “read” new technologies - but also create them.

What do people think here, is it wise to teach children of about 9 years old in education to program as standard in the Netherlands as well?

Related articles and information:
-) Website with Scratch software
-) Forbes - Why Estonia has started teaching its first graders to code
-) Learn to program for free and online via The Code Academy
-) Articles with computer / social media specialist Clay Shirky

The virtual revolution

Een interessante documentaire serie van de BBC over het internet. Over het hoe, waar en door wie het internet is ontstaan, de gedachten erachter en hoe het van een klein project uitgroeide tot een wereldwijd fenomeen. Het laat zien hoe de opkomst van het internet de wereld al volledig heeft verandert en nog steeds druk aan het transformeren is. Inmiddels heeft een kwart van de wereldbevolking toegang tot het internet en het aantal groeit nog steeds snel. Een zeer boeiend onderwerp met de kwaliteit die je van de BBC gewend bent. Voor iedereen met interesse in het internet een must see. :-)

Twenty years on from the invention of the World Wide Web, Dr Aleks Krotoski looks at how it is reshaping almost every aspect of our lives.

Joined by some of the web’s biggest names – including the founders of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, and the web’s inventor – she explores how far the web has lived up to its early promise.

The founding father of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, believed his invention would remain an open frontier that nobody could own, and that it would take power from the few and give it to the many.

Now, in a provocative, strongly authored argument, presenter Aleks Krotoski will re-assess utopian claims like these, made over many years by the digital revolution’s key innovators – and test them against the hard realities of the emerging Web today, exploring how the possibilities of the pure technology have been constrained, even distorted by the limitations of human nature.

The Great Levelling? In the first in this four-part series, Aleks charts the extraordinary rise of blogs, Wikipedia and YouTube, and traces an ongoing clash between the freedom the technology offers us, and our innate human desire to control and profit.

De eerste video is nog niet onderdeel van de BBC documentaire serie, skip deze dus eventueel om met de afspeellijst van de BBC documentaires te beginnen.

Enemy of the State? With contributions from Al Gore, Martha Lane Fox, Stephen Fry and Bill Gates, Aleks explores how interactive, unmediated sites like Twitter and YouTube have encouraged direct action and politicised young people in unprecedented numbers.

The Cost of Free. She tells the inside story of the gold rush years of the dotcom bubble and reveals how retailers such as Amazon learned the lessons. She also charts how, out of the ashes, Google forged the business model that has come to dominate today’s web, offering a plethora of highly attractive, overtly free web services, including search, maps and video, that are in fact funded through a sophisticated and highly lucrative advertising system which trades on what we users look for.

Homo Interneticus? Joined by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Al Gore and the neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, Aleks examines the popularity of social networks such as Facebook and asks how they are changing our relationships. And, in a ground-breaking test at University College London, Aleks investigates how the Web may be distracting and overloading our brains.

Related items:
-) BBC The Virtual Revolution
-) 3 visions about the internet, social media and copyrights
-) Het nieuwe samenwerken met dank aan het internet
-) The open source government part I.
-) The open source government part II
-) The open source government part III
-) Previous articles with Clay Shirky on Visionary
-) Learn to program for free via The Code Academy
-) Changes in society
-) Is the internet democracy coming?

Short politician course, 8 lessons

This article has been reproduced with permission from Pieter Stuurman (view his entire blog here, which also includes interesting articles about money, control, etc.). The original of this piece can be found on his site under the same title: Short Politician Course

With the elections approaching, a whole group of new top politicians is ready to enter the highest stage of national politics. I would therefore like to give our future leaders this short course politician to offer.

You will soon take a seat in the second chamber and you will therefore become a top politician. Being a politician can offer you many benefits and is not difficult. However, in order to enjoy the benefits, prospective rulers would do well to know some important terms and principles. Below you will find the most important ones.

1- Never take responsibility

You as a politician are going to make the rules. And of course everyone must obey your rules. In order for those rules to be accepted by your subordinate people, you must explain why those rules are in favor of those same subordinates. Then, threatening to punish, enforce your rules.

You will soon find that your rules are never in favor of the subordinates (that is not the intention of rules) and it happens regularly that those subordinates also find out about it.

There is no problem admitting that the rules were not right, but it is vital that you never admit that you made a mistake. If you want to remain a politician you must refrain from taking any responsibility. You simply blame someone else and then set new rules to fight that other person. You will be amazed at how easy this is.

Note that colleagues who (forced; they will not do it of their own accord if they are smart) immediately lose their acquired position.

2- lie

This spell is not limited to just the VVD.

The people don't need you. You need the people. Without them you could not be a politician and you would lose your position. However, it is very important that people do not know this truth. Your right to exist is based on the lie that people need you. To maintain that right of existence, you must lie constantly.

Truth is your greatest enemy, so you should only say something true if it serves your lies. For example, you can say that the Netherlands is a country where relatively many older people live. That is true, and you can use that truth to say that therefore your people have to pay more taxes because those old people are annoying, useless, sick, money-guzzling individuals. And that is of course not true. After all, your employer, the state, has not received more money from anyone than from people who, throughout their long lives, have given up most of their income to your boss.

It's just an example, but you get the idea. If not, I advise you to choose another profession.

As a politician you have to lie constantly if you want to have a chance at a somewhat fruitful career. If your lies come out every now and then, that's no problem. After all, people have been used to politics for centuries and therefore think that lying is just part of the profession of politician.

Since truth is your greatest enemy, you should ensure that you always ridicule truth so that everyone can laugh at it heartily. After all, laughter is healthy.

In order to lie effectively - that is, to lie with the desired outcome - you will need to know the truth about the things you are lying about. This is actually the only thing that sometimes complicates the profession of a politician, but with a little persistence you will probably be able to do it.

3- Think strategically

As a politician you only have a right to exist if you promise to fix the things that are not right. People only tolerate your efforts if they believe that your policy will 'improve' things.

That will never happen, so you should always keep people's attention focused on a 'better' future so that they don't notice the results of your policies. After all, there comes a point when the consequences of your past lies can become visible in the present and you don't want it being held against you. See also point 1 for this.

Obviously, you should never actually be successful and achieve your proposed goals. You would make yourself redundant. Because your policy (your strategy) never produces the desired results, things do not stay in order and you therefore need to make them right. You then promise to do so, but you don't. That way things don't stay in order and people keep thinking they need you.

For centuries people have believed that new politicians will fix it this time. This of course never happens. It may be curious that people continue to believe this while the promised results always fail, but apparently that's how people work. Don't worry about this.

In some cases it also helps to sabotage things that are okay. This is how you create problems, and when there are problems people will ask you to solve them. You can easily perpetuate your position.

4- Don't do anything

You as a politician do not have to do anything. It is even better if you do nothing because if you do you can be held liable for the result (see point 1). So a good politician does nothing himself, but lets others do the things he wants. Keep in mind that none of the great rulers in history (take one in mind; one with a striking hair on the upper lip and a piercing voice, is fine) has ever imprisoned or killed anyone themselves. He let others do that.

It is not your job as a politician to do anything yourself. Your job is to make others believe that following your orders is to their advantage so that they actually do it. Obviously, this is not really to their advantage, but to your advantage. See also point 2 for this.

5- Have rich friends

Politics doesn't really make you rich. Yet you have chosen to become a politician and it is not without reason. If you want to take advantage of your choice, it is imperative that your friends take good care of you. One of the great things about the business is that it is very easy to make rich friends. After all, you make the rules, and rich people are known to be extremely generous when those rules serve their best interests. So, when making rules, always consider the interests of your wealthy potential friends, and your life will be pleasantly comfortable for a long time.

Your title is 'representative of the people' but it is important that you do not serve or represent the people. You represent your wealthy friends, and it is your job to make the people serve your wealthy friends, so that your wealthy friends serve you.

6- Create fear and scarcity

People don't really have such special desires. Most people mainly want to be able to take care of themselves and their loved ones. Making this difficult for the people keeps those people's attention constantly focused on survival.

By creating scarcity, they will always have to work much harder than necessary. Having rich friends (see point 5) is an important advantage in creating the desired scarcity. By favoring them, they get the opportunity to parasitize the rest of the people and thus the scarcity arises.

In addition, make people afraid of each other. Keep saying that it is teeming with irresponsible criminals, both at home and abroad. Say you take responsibility for protecting people from this (see points 1 and 2).

Creating fear and scarcity brings several benefits. First, people will experience fear and scarcity as a problem. You can then present yourself as the solver of this (of course not really, but see again point 2 and point 3).

Second, people prefer to take care of themselves and their loved ones. If they really did, everyone would take care of everyone, and they wouldn't need you anymore. Obviously, this cannot be allowed.

Fear and scarcity distract people from what really drives them: love for one another. It is of the utmost importance that people do not realize this or you will become redundant. Letting them keep their focus on survival all the time will keep you in the saddle. Therefore, make sure that people do not realize that they love each other, but fight (compete) each other because they think it is necessary.

7- lie to yourself

You are well aware that your power is based on your lies. If you don't understand this, you better not become a politician. Yet it is also difficult for you to greet yourself in the mirror every morning if you keep seeing the image of a liar there. Therefore lie to yourself.

So say to yourself, "My power is good power, because I am good!"
Tell yourself: "I understand that people are dying under my policy and that not everyone likes it, but I am responsible for the big picture and sometimes have to take tough measures to achieve the right thing."

Surely you can make up some other lies that you can make yourself believe. This makes your life less unpleasant and you can last longer in the profession you have chosen.

8- Finally

Being a politician is not really difficult and does not really place any special demands on you. It is useful to have a good memory. When you can remember your past lies, you can lie more consistently and you will be seen as a backbone politician. In addition, you must be able to remember when you should have forgotten certain things. See point 1 for this.

You will certainly become unhappy in the long run, but you have to give something for it. And besides, who can really be happy in a corrupted, lies-ruled world like this…?

I wish you every success in your new position!


So much for this interesting and entertaining piece about politicians, how do the readers think about this on visionary, is this piece perhaps a bit too cynical or is it a reasonably good description of politics today?

Related articles and information:
-) Documentary - The Power of Nightmares, The Rise of the Politics of Fear
-) The illusion of politics 
-) Does voting make sense?
-) The open source government part I.
-) The open source government part II
-) The open source government part III
-) Previous articles with Clay Shirky on Visionary
-) Learn to program for free via The Code Academy
-) Changes in society
-) Is the internet democracy coming?

The open source government part II

Hierbij deel II van driedelige serie over een open source overheid. Beth Noveck maakt duidelijk dat het met de huidige technieken mogelijk zou moeten zijn om de overheid en de politiek heel anders in te richten.

What can governments learn from the open-data revolution? In this stirring talk, Beth Noveck, the former deputy CTO at the White House, shares a vision of practical openness — connecting bureaucracies to citizens, sharing data, creating a truly participatory democracy. Imagine the “writable society”.


Wat vinden mensen hier van de ideeën die Beth Noveck geeft. Wanneer zou het mogelijk zijn om in Nederland wetsvoorstellen via het internet met grote groepen mensen te bespreken? Hoe kan een overheid de kunde van het volk benutten om zo voor ons allen een democratischer en eerlijker samenleving te maken?

Related items:
-) The open source government part I.
-) The open source government part II
-) The open source government part III
-) Previous articles with Clay Shirky on Visionary
-) Learn to program for free via The Code Academy
-) Changes in society
-) Is the internet democracy coming?

The open source government part I.

Er zijn hier regelmatig stukken verschenen over corruptie/belangenverstrengeling binnen de Nederlandse overheid, ook kwam er voorbij hoe zinloos stemmen is. En natuurlijk is het belangrijk om problemen te constateren. Maar als visionair is het na die constatering juist de uitdaging om naar oplossingen te gaan zoeken! Hierbij deel 1 van een serie over hoe we met elkaar de overheid transparanter, democratischer en functioneler kunnen maken.

Kan de overheid gerund worden zoals het internet, permissieloos en open? Programmeur en activiste Jennifer Pahlka gelooft dat dit kan — en dat snel en goedkoop gebouwde apps een krachtige nieuwe manier zijn om burgers met hun overheid te verbinden — en met hun buren. Deze TED-Talk heeft Nederlandse ondertitels.

Hoe zouden deze voorbeelden toegepast kunnen worden in Nederland. Hebben we binnenkort een zwerfafval applicatie waarmee burgers stukjes stad kunnen adopteren om schoon te houden? Of kunnen we via deze app in steden groenbeheer uitgeven aan burgers die dit graag doen en er zo een gezellige buurtmoestuin van kunnen maken? Wat voor toepassingen zouden er nog meer te verzinnen zijn?

Related items:
-) The open source government part I.
-) The open source government part II
-) The open source government part III
-) Previous articles with Clay Shirky on Visionary
-) Learn to program for free via The Code Academy
-) Changes in society
-) Is the internet democracy coming?

Videos: the new way of working together

Deze drie sprekers bij TED geven allemaal een eigen visie op hoe de opkomst van het internet het samenwerken tussen mensen heeft verandert.

First Clay Shirky met Nederlandse ondertitels:

In this prescient 2005 talk, Clay Shirky shows how closed groups and companies will give way to looser networks where small contributors have big roles and fluid cooperation replaces rigid planning.

Clay Shirky argues that the history of the modern world could be rendered as the history of ways of arguing, where changes in media change what sort of arguments are possible–with deep social and political implications.


Vervolgens de spreker Yochai Benkler:

Yochai Benkler explains how collaborative projects like Wikipedia and Linux represent the next stage of human organization.

Yochai Benkler has been called “the leading intellectual of the information age.” He proposes that volunteer-based projects such as Wikipedia and Linux are the next stage of human organization and economic production.

En als derde Howard Rheingold met Nederlandse ondertitels:

Howard Rheingold talks about the coming world of collaboration, participatory media and collective action — and how Wikipedia is really an outgrowth of our natural human instinct to work as a group.

Writer, artist and designer, theorist and community builder, Howard Rheingold is one of the driving minds behind our net-enabled, open, collaborative life.


En hierbij een drietal interessante Nederlandse samenwerkingsprojecten:
-) – website waar mensen kunnen aangeven waar eetbare planten in de openbare ruimte te vinden zijn incl. recepten.
-) – website die mensen in staat stelt spullen aan elkaar uit te lenen en uit te ruilen.
-) – website die mensen in staat stelt elkaars arbeid in tijd met elkaar uit te ruilen door het hele land heen.
-) Tips voor andere interessante samenwerkingsverbanden zijn van harte welkom in de reactie.


Is the internet democracy coming?

The idea of a democracy in which every person has an equal vote and everyone is allowed to give his or her ideas to improve society is wonderful. Thanks to the internet, this idea also seems to be better realized than ever before in our history. For example, the German Pirate Party makes use of an interesting system Liquid Feedback is called. Everyone can contribute ideas and write about motions in politics via an advanced web platform. In this way, the party makes much better use of the intelligence, creativity and visionary ideas that live in all the people in their party. This is a lot smarter and more democratic than how the average political party currently operates, where position in the party's hierarchy is often decisive.


In addition, people can delegate their voices in detail to other people in the party. Instead of the system we are now in and we can vote for a party, this system allows people to vote themselves on all kinds of issues or to give their vote to a person they have confidence in for each topic. Thus in Germany one professor who is not even on the board of the party has become one of the most powerful piratessimply because other people value his proposals and appreciate his common sense and therefore have delegated their voices to him. This man does not have to participate in all the political scheming to climb up in the party structure, but can simply think along with his work via the computer and help build the future of his country. This system makes politics much more of a technical process in which the quality of ideas and argumentation become the most important, instead of the PR game in which many politicians today seem to get bogged down.

Below an extensive presentation of the system by the German Pirate Party (in German).


The pirate party in Germany is doing very well partly because of their use of this system and they are currently 3rd in the national polls. Below a short impression made by the NOS.


The liquid feedback system is Open Source, so everyone can contribute to it. It may be interesting to transfer the system to Dutch and to start experimenting with it here as well.
If people know more about this system, for example whether it is already being applied in the Netherlands, or if there is more information about it elsewhere (preferably in Dutch or English), then that is also very welcome. This new system of a much more detailed democracy seems to unleash a true revolution in the political domain in Germany, which political party in the Netherlands dares to make use of this?

Related items:
-) Pirate party, party for the information
-) The open source government part I.
-) The open source government part II
-) The open source government part III
-) Previous articles with Clay Shirky on Visionary
-) Learn to program for free via The Code Academy
-) Changes in society
-) Is the internet democracy coming?