Michel Bauwens on peer production
Monday evening, I’ve been to a reading on peer production in Amsterdam (@ Waag Society). Besides the excellent talk, I met some wonderful people as well! I had heard and read about the peer to peer foundation earlier, but didn’t really dive into it then. Now, hearing Michel speak was really fascinating. He has the capacity to extract some generalizations about peer production that apply to much more than just open source software. In a way, it’s more of a cultural change than any specific field to which an open, ‘voluntary participation based’ process is applied. Michel was able to clearly put the current state of affairs and developments in a historical context. This thought experiment allowed us to think much more out of the box, which is important since every person has a degree of paradigm lock-in. Paradigm lock-in can be attributed to the fact that it takes learning of a reference frame to start understanding things within this framework. If you want to understand the sames things from another perspective, we should have learnt both perspectives in parallel. Unlearning an older, tacit but consolidated mental model or reference frame is a low and hard process, which has to do with neuroplasticity. But let’s not lose track of what I was talking about… I really welcome Michel’s anthropological approach and like to integrate it with my own ideas and my experiences with open source.
What was interesting was that Michel was really hoping for peer production of material goods (as opposed to virtual goods) would become significant. We see this happening. Open source PowerLineComms, Private GSM networks, MP3 players, wearable electronics, game consoles, a multitude of embeddable electronics (controllers), robot controllers, alarm clocks, various gadgets, an open source EEG (measures brainwaves) and ECG, 3D printers, robot kits, etc. Most things vary from useful, to educational or plain fun, or any combination. Your plant’s pot can now contain a module to send you an SMS in case your plant needs water. I think that 3D printing can create another wave of innovation and peer production. It’s nice to see I’m not the only one who’s convinced of the transformational power of technology and persistent benevolent people.
I may write more on this subject later, but now I have some other obligations to attend to.