A crash course in changing the world.
Here is an idea that is more than a little ahead of the curve. It's one that you might want to wrap your brain around. Feedback is always appreciated.
A Darknet is the system that runs an autonomous social network (a tribe, a constellation of resilient communities, a gang,
etc.). It is composed of a software layer and hardware infrastructure
that connects, organizes, allocates, and automates the functions of the
synthetic social system it is built for. Some details:
For those of you that have been reading this weblog for years. You already know that I've been advocating that people start building resilient communities (RCs).* Why? Resilient communities will:
Unfortunately, nobody is going to help us build them.
The nation-state can't and won't. It is losing power across the board as the global system strengthens. Organizationally, the nation-state has lost
control of its finances, borders, media, economics, use of force, etc.
Worse, moral and ideological moorings that served the nation-state well
for hundreds of years have rotted away. The nation-state is now
adrift, unable to orient its decision making cycles.
As a result, the nation-state has been largely co-opted by increasingly powerful non-state entities -- from parasitical banks that sit astride core
functions of the global system (they profit from the ability to distort
core financial and economic functions to manufacture virtual "wealth")
to transnational gangs that puncture borders with drugs and other
smuggled goods -- and that corruption is spreading. Nothing can get
done at the nation-state level anymore and what does get done (as the
recent health and finance legislation in the US proves), is only being
done to drive forward profitability in parasitical firms or sap our
resources (making us more vulnerable to predation by local threats).
Worse, nation-state bureaucracies are becoming more insulated and
focused on self-preservation by the day from the institutional level
down the individual government employee contractor.
So, what can we do? Attempts to bootstrap resilient communities are definitely possible. However, isolated and
small, I fear these efforts will either result in a reduction in the
quality of life for its participants or quickly fall prey to
parasites/predators (as in, you won't get far if bankruptcy,
privatization, and gangs-disorder guts your community).
The dominant solution to all of these pitfalls, dangers, and threats is to team up. Create a virtual tribe that helps communities become resilient
-- by financing, protecting, and accelerating them. While its
possible to build a virtual tribe via a completely ad hoc process, the
best way to build platforms in software that make the growth of tribal
networks fast and easy. If we can build these software platforms, we
can turn the transition to resilient communities from a process prone to
high rates of failure, into a process that spreads virally* and
generates immediate improvements for its participants. A vibrant future
awaits, all we need to do is build it.
NOTE: As soon as I get some cash flow, I'm going to self-finance the building blocks of these platforms. I'll do what I can, but if there is someone with deep
pockets interested in changing the world (for the better) reading this,
here's a chance to do it. Also, given the number of people that have
sent me e-mails expressing their intent to join in, we won't be short of
high quality talent to work on this.
*Virally, as in the growth of self-reinforcing networks and not the diminutive sense of viral content/site traffic.http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2010/01/why-a-...
"However, at this point the presentation breaks down. McGonigal then proceeds to think of ways gamers can be used to do things (which plays well with the users at TED). While I
give her props for thinking about ways to generate ideas on how to fix
global problems, she entirely misses the big idea.
Here's the big idea. For active online gamers real life is broken. It doesn't make any sense. Effort isn't connected to reward. The path forward is confused, convoluted, and contradictory. Worse, there's a
growing sense that the entire game is being corrupted to ensure failure.
So, why play it?
They don't. They retreat to online games. Why? Online games provide an environment that connects what you do (work, problem solving, effort, motivation level, merit) in the game to rewards (status, capabilities,
etc.). These games also make it simple to get better
(learn, skill up, etc.) through an intuitive just-in-time training system.
The problem is that this is virtual fantasy.
So the really big idea isn't figuring out how to USE online gamers for real world purposes (as in the dirty word: crowdsourcing -- the act of other people to do work for you for FREE -- blech!).
Instead, it's about finding a way to use online games to make
real life better for the gamers. In short, turn games into economic
darknets that work in parallel and better than the broken status quo
systems. As in: economic games that connect effort with reward.
Economic games with transparent rules that tangibly improve the lives
of all of the players in the REAL WORLD.
This isn't tech utopian. It's reality. The global electronic marketplace
and the political system that currently dominates our lives is at root a
game but with hidden rule sets. As a result, it's a game that is being run
for the benefit of the game designers to the detriment of the players.
The reason we keep playing is that we don't have any choice. Let's invent
something better and compete with it. Let's provide people with a choice."