inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #26 of 280: Life in the big (doctorow) Fri 22 Nov 02 12:37
    
<blush>
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #27 of 280: Christian Crumlish (xian) Fri 22 Nov 02 12:51
    
cory for president! (jerod pore for veep?)
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #28 of 280: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 22 Nov 02 13:12
    
If Cory was president, we wouldn't *need* veep. We'd have a prez who could be 
in all places at once!
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #29 of 280: Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 22 Nov 02 13:30
    
You're going to have to amend the Constitution to account for his age and
Canadianness.
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #30 of 280: "Et toi" is French, and so you're a crack muffin. (madman) Fri 22 Nov 02 14:32
    

No, we'd just need to assimilate Canada.
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #31 of 280: Howard Rheingold (hlr) Fri 22 Nov 02 14:53
    
The Well: Land O Drift
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #32 of 280: Gail Williams (gail) Fri 22 Nov 02 15:14
    
This mob is too smart for itself!
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #33 of 280: virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Fri 22 Nov 02 15:33
    
Howard (or Cory or Dave or Gail or any of the rest of you), what
brings about thos cornucopia architectures, as opposed to ones that let
The Big Guy dole things out under conditions of artificial scarcity?
Obviously, part of this is political and part is technical, but how do
we encourage political processes and technological developments that
favor the one rather than 'tother?
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #34 of 280: Howard Rheingold (hlr) Fri 22 Nov 02 15:51
    
That's a big question and maybe beyond me, but Phred recently turned me 
onto a paper by Yochai Benkler, about the economics of  open source, in 
which he talked about situations in which peer-organized production 
systems are more efficient than hierarchically-organized production 
systems. Phred also gave me a book, "Ruling The Root," which I've just 
started, which seems to get into the relative advantages of markets, 
hierarchies, and networks. Perhaps it might be best to inquire about what 
the right questions are before leaping at answers. I'll offer a couple, 
and encourage others to offer others -- or provide answers, if you have 
them:

1.  What are the conditions necessary to provision a resource? For 
example, copyright was originally intended to provide a temporary monopoly 
on the profit from an invention or work of art -- as an incentive to 
production.

2.  What are the conditions necessary to prevent consumption from 
depleting a resource? 

3.  What are the most effective conditions for producing a good?

There is a whole economy and ecology of public goods. I only dipped into 
it. I'm continuing to read about these issues.

In regard to spectrum, it looks as if, in regard to question #3, that 
treating more of the spectrum as a commons, and regulating broadcast 
devices so they play nice with each other, could create efficiencies that 
would lead to a multiplication of broadcasters. This seems an obvious 
advantage. Why create an artificial scarcity of a resource that can lead 
to innovation, education, and discourse?
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #35 of 280: excessively heterosexual (saiyuk) Fri 22 Nov 02 23:30
    

billy dee williams: land o calrissian. 
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #36 of 280: William H. Dailey (whdailey) Fri 22 Nov 02 23:43
    
Mr. Rheingold might be interested in the technology presented at:

http://www.cheniere.org

It offers the possibility of instant communication for one thing.  A
starship could communicate in real time.
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #37 of 280: Howard Rheingold (hlr) Sat 23 Nov 02 08:59
    
A smart mob is not necessarily a wise mob: The role of texting in the 
Nigerian riots: <http://www.smartmobs.com/archives/000383.html>
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #38 of 280: a man, a plan, and a parking ticket (clm) Sat 23 Nov 02 09:11
    

Yep. Timely example.

I'm interested in the trade-off between privacy and cooperation
that you mention in the book.

What is your current thinking about how the relationship between
these two might change as smart mob technologies evolve?
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #39 of 280: Howard Rheingold (hlr) Sat 23 Nov 02 09:48
    
Of course, many other forces -- like the zeal of US law enforcement and 
intelligence agencies to prevent terrorism by tracking every breath of 
every citizen -- are arrayed against privacy. And citizens who would like 
legislators to offer minimal privacy protections -- for example, to 
require financial institutions to offer opt-in instead of opt-out plans 
for sharing intimate details of what we buy and when and where -- seem to 
be outgunned by lobbyists. At least that has been the case in California.

Technological development on many fronts seems to be mounting an 
unstoppable threat to what we now know as privacy. If you live in a major 
urban center and get out much, your face is captured by 200 cameras on an 
average day. Software for matching your face against databases of suspects 
or dissidents is in its early stages, but who can doubt that it will 
improve? The movie "Enemy of the State" seems already possible on both the 
technical and political levels.

Maybe Scott Mcnealy was right: "Privacy? We have no privacy. Get over it."

I'm not optimistic about this aspect.
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #40 of 280: Howard Rheingold (hlr) Sat 23 Nov 02 09:50
    
There's encryption. Citizens do have a (still, for the time being) legal 
technical means of protecting the privacy of communications. But 
collective action is required. If a few individuals use encryption, we 
identify ourselves as potential suspects. We need millions to use 
encryption. Are these going to be the same people who can't figure out how 
to change the clock display on our VCRs?
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #41 of 280: a man, a plan, and a parking ticket (clm) Sat 23 Nov 02 10:44
    

I was just at a conference where, during a session on privacy,
someone in the audience suggested that there were over 70,000
cases of identity theft in the US last year. That seems like a
big number.  (So maybe it wasn't really Scott who said that!)

I wonder if a serious loss of privacy might eventually generate
a counter force that might cause the pendulum to swing back again.
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #42 of 280: Chris (cooljazz) Sat 23 Nov 02 10:48
    
 Hi Howard. I'm looking forward to reading the book. At the risk of a
bit of drift, you mentioned economists  "...economists, 
mathematicians, political scientists have begun to converge on issues
of collective action, problems of commons, the evolution and
maintenance of cooperation...."  and "...Economists have told me that
eBay is a market that shouldn't exist ..." 

  Since this topic started (and having at one time studied Economics)
the conversation here has inspired me to do a bit of my own research. 
The recent Nobel Prize was awarded to an economist/psychologist pair
who  are at the forefront of (imho) a "Scientific Revolution" more
commonly called Behavioral and Experimental Economics. I think much in
this field must be germane to your observations and study of Smart
Mobs.

  The field involves the study of some of the most cherished
assumptions of economics "homo economicus" that rational selfish
creature presumed to be the decision maker throughout economics.  One
of the award statements was "..for having integrated insights from
psychological research into economic science, especially concerning
human judgment and decision-making under uncertainty..."

  In a sense Behavioral Economics studies how individuals are making
decisions, (based on emotions and whatever else governs and motivates
individual) especially when the decisions aren't "rational".  (And
there are actual experiments as well).

Issues that you mention above "ride sharing" <#24> and "public goods"
have been studied and desribed with the seemingly tongue in cheek
title of "Anomalies".  Anomalies - means only that there is a
phenomenon which can't be accounted for by the "assumptions of
rationality". 

The experiments try to determine why people actually cooperate (when
the "rational behavior" would be to follow ones "self interest" or
"defect" from the public interest)

 I assume its only a matter of time before the "natural experiment"
implied by the smart mobs use of commmunications devices is studied
more formally -  if  I find something sooon on that I'll let you know.
(I'm sure there's a dissertation on the topic waiting out there for
someone :) )
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #43 of 280: Life in the big (doctorow) Sat 23 Nov 02 12:05
    
166: "Privacy? We have no privacy. Get over it."

That's a tad techno-deterministic for me. If we live in a civil society, we
can make laws that govern how and where we may be surveilled.
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #44 of 280: Gail Williams (gail) Sat 23 Nov 02 12:41
    

That touches on a deeper question for me.   The word "mob" implies something
other than civil society.  Is it possible to create technology that could
make civil society impossible?  Do we collectively want civil society,
expecially when we are able to act without planning and reality-checking?

Over in the WELL's town square, the <news.> conference, an observant user
posted that he had heard a report on NPR that the Nigerian Miss World riots
were orchestrated by instant messages ordered by Islamic leaders.

I did a quick search on Google News and found a newer instance: The 
newspaper that published the blasphemy is now threatened with a boycott
organized in part by text messages to mobile phones.

> Meanwhile, all attention is now focused on the outcome of today's Friday
> sermon by major Islamic scholars in Kano. Already, anti-ThisDay messages
> are being flashed through the GSM message network. Part of the messages
> sent by various unpublished numbers reads "boycott ThisDay. Don't buy,
> and don't advertise if you love Allah and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)."

 http://allafrica.com/stories/200211220171.html

This is not pure anarchic group think, but something which sounds more
like mob with a capital M, with powerful leadership.

I guess it's debatable whether it is an attempt to make society even more
civil, according to one set of values, but it is an eye-opener.
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #45 of 280: Howard Rheingold (hlr) Sat 23 Nov 02 13:10
    
Thanks, Chris. From what I understand of the Nobel-winning economist's 
ideas, one key factor is that people tend to overestimate risk when making 
decisions. In regard to cooperation, a couple of the factors that tend to 
override cold rational decision-making are reputation (I cite some 
interesting work on "costly signalling") and...well, actually, I think 
reputation is the main one. In costly signalling, humans and other 
creatures expend energy and take risks that are not rational if they can 
signal that they are good candidates for trading partners or mates -- 
reputation.

Cory, the problem in California, which I somewhat cynically extrapolate, 
is that most polls indicate that people would like a law that simply 
requires our banks to ask us to opt in before they tell thousands of their 
sister institutions how much liquor, cholesterol, condoms, and Prozac we 
buy. However, as you probably know, the California legislature has failed 
three times to pass such a law. Civil society is diffuse and not 
well-funded; lobbyists are concentrated on their special issues, and have 
lots of what legislators want -- money to buy TV ads. I don't know the 
solution in terms of politics. It seems that technical solutions might be 
better, but as I said, the problem is getting a sufficient number of 
people to be aware of the solutions, and to use them. Do you encrypt all 
your communications and pass out your public key? I don't, because I had 
some problems getting PGP to work with Mac and Eudora a few years ago -- 
problems that are probably a result of my technical deficiency. And 
compared to most citizens, I'm an arch-geek.

Gail, the Nigerian mob is the one I pointed to on the Smartmobs blog this 
morning, and I think I posted a link above. In the opening pages of the 
book, I made it clear that technologies of cooperation can help criminals 
and terrorists as well as others. Wasn't that true of the printing press 
and the telephone?
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #46 of 280: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sat 23 Nov 02 13:47
    
Howard, is the Benkler essay you mentioned called "Coases Penguin, or, Linux 
and the Nature of the Firm"? Just want to be sure I've got the right one.

http://www.benkler.org/CoasesPenguin.PDF
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #47 of 280: Marla Hammond (marlah) Sat 23 Nov 02 13:47
    
Hello all - catching up on the topic.

In some of these cases, I think we have to ask: Would this event have
happened even without the new technology that was involved?

The American Revolution was organized with Minute Men who relayed
messages as quickly as possible in the time they lived. "One if by land
. Two if by sea." was a powerful and fast low tech message delivery.
The social conditions of the times caused the people to find the most
effective way possible to communicate. 

On the flip side, would the American Revolution have had a different
outcome if both sides could send instant text messages across the
ocean?  
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #48 of 280: Gail Williams (gail) Sat 23 Nov 02 14:30
    
I missed that pointer in  <37> above, Howard.

I'm asking something rather different than "can't bad guys use this," I
think.  It may be unanswerable, but I'm wondering if some delay and latency
in forming mass consensus is an advantage to societies.  I know there is no
clear answer, but I tend to be pro-async and some of the things I like about
not having to be simultaneous in a small group may be true about larger
groups too.  Perhaps time will tell.
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #49 of 280: David Gans (tnf) Sat 23 Nov 02 14:37
    

Anyone reading this who isn't a WELL member can contribute a question or com-
ment by sending email to inkwell-hosts@well.com
  
inkwell.vue.166 : Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs
permalink #50 of 280: a man, a plan, and a parking ticket (clm) Sat 23 Nov 02 15:04
    
> not having to be simultaneous in a small group

That reminds me of another interesting part of the book: how
texting may lead to a more flexible sense of time.
  

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