Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (May 2022)

This land is your land

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed reading about the not well known dangers of databrokers, likewise the surprise? inequality effects everyone, and hearing the details of Facebooks paid smear campaign,

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with the power of community, Reddit’s /place working together and different ways to do notifications.

Community door deliver fills in gaps

Ian thinks: This reminds me of the community WiFi initiatives, which filled in the gaps of big internet companies which refused to support smaller communities. However I can see these growing, with the backlash against generic speedy delivery systems.

The metaverse’s architecture is simply lazy

Ian thinks: In my recent Mozfest session about the metaverse vs public service internet. I was highly critical of repeating the same mistakes of the physical world in the virtual world. I’m not the only one.

Lessons for a metaverse

Ian thinks: On a similar note, there are plenty of lessons for virtual space creators, but I wonder how many are actually paying attention?

P2P fashion renting, focuses on the community

Ian thinks: Not my usual interest but shrinking fast fashion’s carbon footprint is interesting. However its the community focus and peer 2 peer model which elevates it into this line up this month. Expect this business model to be duplicated over and over again.

Sunshine technology

Ian thinks: This BBC Click episode is focused on solar technology and there are some impressive developments. The limits are made clear but frankly I’m reconsidering my next pair of headphones.

Channel 4 sell off shows the misunderstanding of public service business models

Ian thinks: Much has been written about the recent announcement to sell off Channel 4 but the misunderstanding of the business model of Channel 4 isn’t just embarrassing but shocking that people assume the model is one way.

Leap frogging with 3D printing and communities

Ian thinks: I always liked the idea of leap frogging in tech but things tend not to stick unless there is influence from governments or a ground swell of community support.

Secrecy as a means of monetization?

Ian thinks: The joy of tinkering, making, and sharing is part of the human condition. In modern times, this creative freedom too often is stifled by secrecy as a means of monetization – from non-compete laws to quashing people’s right to repair the products they’ve already paid for.

Twitter is not a digital public space

Ian thinks: The whole Elon and twitter saga is simply boring, and I do not buy Elon’s idea of Twitter being the public square. Paul’s piece sums up some critical thoughts around this all.

Find the archive here

Embedded Inequality in the vaccine development process

I knew it was bad, but Vox spell out the embedded inequality. Remember for all the people being vaccinated in one country, it will never be over till most of the world is vaccinated. Vaccine nationalism needs to end!

In related news I got my call up for the vaccine… I was thinking it would be interesting if there was a system like the OLPC (remember that?) get one, donate one. I know it wouldn’t scale but it would at least focus us away from vaccine nationalism.

No mushy middle for Ben & Jerrys

At the intersection of activism and confectionary delight is none other than Ben & Jerry’s. The company has stood up for everything from climate change to same sex marriage to Black lives matter and defunding the police. And in June 2020, the brand took a bold stance against white supremacy, proving that in business, silence is no longer an option.

Ben & Jerry have been consistently amazing with their support for many things from climate change to systematic racism. I do wish more companies would learn from them examples. It can easily dismissed as PR in glance but their consistently is the key.

The continuous ability to be better is something which I see is missing in many places. The status-quo must be challenged and Ben & Jerrys are all about this.

Inequality and the Covid19 vaccine

Here it is again, inequality is in full affect around the Covid19 vaccine.

The figures of the vaccine buying in richer nations is insane, and on the other side I really hope the Covax scheme is successful. However its clear there is a big question of timing, how many people will die in developing nations while the developed nations vaccinate themselves?

As the video points out vaccinating the world has never happened before. This a critical as we saw with the EU considering article 16.

Inequality affects everything.

On reading the Inner Level

The Inner Level

I recently read (actually listened to) The Inner Level by Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett. I first came across them at Nesta’s Futurefest conference, but had heard about the Spirit level beforehand.

The book leans a lot on the Spirit level but expands the results with new data and papers looking directly at the psychological effects of inequality on society

In short the inner level can be summed up in this graph

More inequality = more problemsIts not a surprise but the evidence is clear and the examples are spot on. You might also prefer the keynote where Kate takes directly takes bits from the book.

While I’m working from home, I have been listening to a lot podcasts and audiobooks. Each book has got me writing and thinking but this one really has given me a framework for a lot of the ills of the world. Now I’m a lot clearer on the fact equality is the core (or very likely one of them) of so many.

Lets take for example the American dream which I have been critical of previously. Work hard and you too can be successful and rich? Casey Gerald’s book and talks titled there will be no miracles here, highlights the problems of the American dream and the ultimate effect of inequality. If you want more have a read of the world economic forum.

It reminds me why the likes of Jeff Bezo’s net worth growing, is just all types of awful for us all. First time I heard about this, I wasn’t best pleased but besides the comment Amazon must pay their taxes, theres little more I could really say. I hadn’t really factor in the bigger effects of stuff like this.

In the book they mention the equality trust and trying to reach out further to gain some impact on policy makers. This reminded me the badges work and of course our own BBC Human Values work.

Bezos’s possible trillionaire status is the worst of capitalism and inequality

There is a lot wrong with the world especially our western capitalistic society. The very thought/notion of one person being personally worth one trillion (in less than 10 years) is just unthinkable with all the problems in the world.

Bill Maher sums it up nicely in new rules. Although not a fan of relying on these rich white men to share the wealth, Jack Dorsey recent pledge did take me by surprise. Especially how transparent he is with it all.

The whole Bezos issue reminds me of the talks and books by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, especially the spirit level. (I still haven’t read the inner level yet)

In their influential 2009 book The Spirit Level, the epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett demonstrated conclusively the pernicious effects of economic inequality. In more unequal countries, outcomes are worse for almost everyone in areas such as public health, education, obesity and social mobility.

Demostration of inquality in action
From Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s the spirit level book, this cartoon is just perfect.