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meeting: the problem with the decentralized web

what people really need from the 'next internet'


The Decentralized Web has been hailed as a new way to create websites that will fix all of our problems related to corporations and governments controlling and monitoring everything we do. But who is writing these programs? Who is designing them? Will the decentralized web just be another version of the current one, or will it truly be liberating? This will be a short introduction followed by a round table discussion on this topic.

Note: this event was not recorded.

The idea of a completely decentralized web has been popularized by the advent of Bitcoin/blockchains. We find new projects including ZeroNet, ipfs/dat, secure scuttlebutt, storj, inteledger, and maidsafe (and others) who claim to bring the dreams of a new private decentralized internet to fruition with website creation and distributed data storage systems. However, the people building these tools are overwhelmingly similar in their background, race, class, sex/gender, country of origin, etc. In the decentralized web summit in 2016 in San Francisco, the attendees were overwhelmingly technologists and not users. Without representation and comraderie with folks from diverse situations, we must ask ourselves if the use case for which they are designing will be as universal as it is claimed to be.

What is it that people need from the ‘next’ web? What is missing or wrong about the current one? It is true that the current zeitgeist on decentralization did not come from nowhere — the web is clearly broken and needs to be fixed. But in what way, and by whom? How can we foster a culture and community that truly supports the people who are most in need of decentralized technology? Let’s spend a few minutes to have a critical eye to make sure we aren’t “heading 1,000 miles in the wrong direction.”

K is a former academic and currently an open source software developer who works on a new p2p 'decentralized web' tool for sharing versioned data. She will facilitate a critical discussion on this topic, with the aim of bringing in new perspectives on how and what is needed in the ‘next’ web.


Day: 2016-08-18
Start time: 19:45
Duration: 01:00
Room: Klapka



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