We’ve had enough of digital monopolies and surveillance capitalism. We want an alternative world that works for everyone, just like the original intention of the web and net.
We seek a world of open platforms and protocols with real choices of applications and services for people. We care about privacy, transparency and autonomy. Our tools and organisations should fundamentally be accountable and resilient.
Anish these are great examples. Do you mind if I push them to some
people who work in school online community building to see if they have
any thoughts or support to offer you to help take this forward?
Am I right in assuming you are offering a connectivity service locally?
Anish Mangal wrote:
> Hi hk (sorry don't have your name),
> Thank you for this well thought out and long response, a lot of which I
> can connect with.
> My primary focus is certainly not to "educate", perhaps I used the wrong
> word. If you read my email, the progression went something like
> pull from the field about being aware of pitfalls and benefits
>> "Whether it be some educator or an elder in the village, they want to
> be aware of the benefits and the dangers of enabling internet access."
> me being naive
>> I myself believed that the internet is a force for good, and wider
> internet access is the only way forward.
> me growing up (though certainly not being free of biases), and trying to
> best address that need.
> In most of the places I work in, I try to rely less on my "educating",
> or imparting knowledge, and more on observing whether the people who are
> on the ground, who are part of that community have within themselves
> (mostly motivation) to think this through. I *do* believe this is
> necessary in learning environments like schools where we deploy servers.
> So, what I am looking to answer is how to best address that motivation
> to learn about the internet. I do not claim to be smarter than anybody,
> certainly in the sense that my way is the right way - but I do recognize
> that it is important to discuss things which people might not be a ware
> of on their own when they first get online, and make their own decisions
> - and being free of bias while doing that.
> To throw in some real world data, here are two cases from the Himalayas
> in India:
> School #1:
> Large school, does not allow internet access for children, though slow
> internet is available in the area a year or so ago. A content, and media
> server is present in the school. Now, faster internet is available, but
> the school admins don't want to enable internet because:
> - They claim they do not know the dangers, they've heard stories that
> "somebody got on the internet and did X which resulted in Y"
> - They want to be able to curate the content their students have access to.
> - School principal is open to deploying technology and exploring new
> methods of learning. Currently they pay some money to a proprietary
> content vendor but they want to get out that deal gradually with the
> profusion of freely licensed, high quality learning content.
> Village community #2:
> - Small village, about 30-50 families spread over a mountain slope
> looking to setup a village network.
> - The person from the community with whom I had the conversation with
> has been living there for 20 yrs and is very concerned about the privacy
> implications of accessing the internet. He wants originally to create a
> local web and then enable internet access in a controlled fashion.
> - Is afraid of people uploading objectionable content which may pose a
> threat to the network (i.e. some govt. agency might use it as an excuse
> to shut it down) so wants to grow this slowly in a trust building kind
> of fashion.
> So, here's the question. How would you best engage in a conversation
> with these communities? Note that we only deploy in places where there
> is strong pull from the field, since that automatically implies people
> on the ground will have the time, resources and energy to take things
> forward and take ownership of the technology they're setting up/using.
> On Thu, Sep 17, 2015 at 7:47 PM, hellekin <firstname.lastname@example.org
> <mailto:email@example.com>> wrote:
> On 09/17/2015 09:52 AM, Anish Mangal wrote:
>> I believe the problem has atleast two aspects - educating people and
>> engaging them in conversation which was the thing I had in mind when I
>> shared this email, and second, the larger fight of generally making
>> internet a better place :-)
> The problem with "educating people" is that you're already coming with
> the assumption that you're right, and they should come to agreement with
> your position if only they had the correct information.Â It might not
> feel like this, but it's the case.Â Many cultures around the world have
> conflicting world with the global Western approach.
> The Western mind has a lust for general principles and since Descartes
> and with the Enlightenment, we have a tendency to reduce the picture of
> the world to support our totalitarian claims.Â If Newtonian physics
> works most of the time, we've known for a Century already that it does
> not in all cases.Â But the reductionist world view still prevails,
> destroying as it builds, seeking universality from flattened and
> dysfunctional models.
> In the last few decades, a new force has been growing fast and strong,
> that rejects reductionism, but still proceeds from a similar bias: it
> starts considering an issue (e.g., Internet access), and restricts the
> field of observation until it fits the agenda; it still works on
> computable/measurable parts, and leaves complexity to "externalities".
> This "good enough" / "just in time" / "stakeholder" approach can be very
> helpful in many circumstances, but still fails when people try to
> extrapolate universals from constituent parts.Â I would call this the
> holographic approach.
> The difference between reductionism and this is that the former assumes
> the world to be mechanical, and therefore entirely computable,
> measurable, controllable.Â The latter, while it's a lot more
> sophisticated, still assumes homomorphism between a partial model and
> reality.Â It works for specific, limited cases where we already know the
> parts and can combine them according to some predetermined logic, and
> appears to be effective even in more complex cases.Â But it often comes
> at the expense of other ways to conceive life that do not assume an
> informational world.
> I do think there are homomorphisms in the world, but I do not believe in
> an informational world that can be reduced to ones and zeros.Â If you
> come to a conversation with the assumption that you're right and your
> interlocutor needs to be educated, then you're not ready to listen to
> them and understand where you might be wrong.Â An awful lot of
> ideologies today assume that "progress" is "good", that "democracy" is
> "necessary", that "transparency" is "appropriate", or that "technology"
> will bring all solutions to all problems.Â They often fail to consider
> the genealogy and diversity of situations and tend to remove from "the
> big picture" anything that "doesn't compute".
> A prime example is this belief that connecting everyone to the Internet
> will bring more benefits than harm.Â But so far, there's no
> demonstration that communities thrive better with Internet access.
> Certainly isolated communities can defend themselves better if they can
> reach out to the Internauts and have them pressure their politicians.
> If "the next billion" is to connect to the Internet with Apple devices
> and Facebook, well, they won't get any benefit from it: they will join
> the hordes of ignorant people sucked by a machine that requires their
> brains and purchasing power to fulfill their own agenda.Â There's
> nothing automatic in accessing the Internet and magically obtaining
> empowerment.Â As you embrace new technologies, your environment changes,
> and with it your organism, from biological to political.Â With the few
> hindsight we have gained on communication technologies, we can tell that
> powers already there can use them to their advantage as much as wannabe
> liberation technologies, except at a must large scale: they act as
> amplifiers, but when everyone is shouting, who's listening?Â As much as
> I like the Internet, I'm still worried that promoting its expansion is
> more beneficial to the likes of Putin than to the rest of us.
> I didn't see much homogeneity within the ISOC to tell that local
> chapters can be helpful.Â The Argentinian chapter for what I know is an
> exclusive club of merchants who don't even take the time to update their
> website nor respond to email.Â But they still claim to be a local
> chapter of ISOC, and there's no official ISOC response trying to unlock
> the situation.Â The truth is that this is all a theater, where people
> try and play their part as much as they can.Â But there's no text
> written for this piece.Â Everyone is writing their part as we go.
> Acceptance without criticism means we're giving ink to those who do in
> the name of others, using their broken assumptions, confirmed in their
> biases by their apparent successes.