We are working to build an information architecture that will enable communities of all sizes, all the way up to global scale, to self-regulate more effectively. Tne goal is not to make these communities perfect or free from trouble, we don’t believe that is feasible. Rather the goal is to improve these communities abilities to “self-heal” by equipping individuals with information that they find readable, reliable and relevant, to better navigate the world.
The members of Build the Collaborative Internet are working to build protocols and applications that will give users access to collaboratively created – yet custom filtered – information that is pulled from across the internet to deliver Relevant, Reliable and Readable information.
When I walk into a grocery store, I will be able to pull out my smart phone and scan the barcode on a bag of potato chips using a collaborative internet powered application. Based on my user preferences, the application will return a handful of items:
1) a graph comparing these chips and the three most popular alternatives with info on price, calories per bag and the average “taste” rating.
2) a map displaying the cheapest place to buy each of these 4 options in my neighborhood
3) an alert from a trusted non-profit that indicates whether rivers were polluted or workers under the age of 15 were used by the companies that produced these chips or by any of the companies further up the supply chain (plastic bag manufacturing, ink production, digital design, corn harvesting, spice harvesting, transportation etc…)
4) a warning if any of these chips might contain peanut particles.
If a friend decides to “follow” my subscriptions, but doesn’t care about peanut particles she can modify that portion of the subscription with a quick swipe and a tap. Next time she does a similar search, she benefits from all of my other subscriptions but doesn’t see the peanut warning. Alternatively, if she wants to alter the “taste” metric to count only the votes of people who are members of Facebook; or are female; or are between the ages of 23 and 35; or are members of “the Bay Area Food Buffs”; or any other way that she can dream up – with just a few taps, these results – and her future searches – will be filtered accordingly.
Because users are able to piggyback on one another’s efforts, small incremental contributions by individuals result in collaboratively built – yet customizable – reports. This enables even a first time user to benefit from comprehensive sets of expertly curated subscriptions while being empowered to select an alternate version or adjust any system component to better suit their own needs.
With minimal effort, users of every experience level will be presented with information that is relevant, from sources they trust, filtered any way they like and presented in the format of their choice, while allowing them to modify any aspect of the system to fit their own preferences. This is the key to the Collaborative Internet vision – its modular structure enables users to collaborate on a massive scale while simultaneously freeing them to customize those collaboratively created works in any way they see fit.
The Collaborative Internet’s annotation protocols will allow users to comment on any item – whether a real world object, an internet resource or a specific annotation created by a user. Once content (of any type) is created, users will be able to:
SHARE: publish with flexibility and control;
SUBSCRIBE: determine which sources (and other system components) they will rely upon;
REMIX: Add to, subtract from or simply modify any of these subscriptions and system components (in accordance with any underlying permissions and licenses) and
RE-SHARE: publish in any way that complies with “upstream content’s” permissions and licenses.
To put it another way: Take the pieces that you like. Ignore the stuff you don’t. Remix it any way you want. Repeat.
Currently members of the community are designing a number of layers that are critical to the delivery of this vision, including
1) a structure for enabling identification and discovery of content on the basis of the content itself rather than on the basis of location,
2) a graph database management system that relies upon that content based addressing system,
3) a publish / subscribe protocol that will populate a distributed network of graph databases and indexes in accordance with the publication, licensing, privacy and other preferences of users and
4) user interface tools to improve the ease of navigating graph data.
We have a community of software developers, user experience designers, computer security experts and at least one political theorist that are working to make this vision a reality. At it’s core, this is not just a software project, it is a movement. We are trying to build an infrastructure that will enable whole new types of coordination and result in new models for business, governance and social impact.
We are in need of skill-sets of all types: story tellers, film-makers, business model designers, intellectual property lawyers and people with experience in fundraising both from venture capital as well as from impact focused capital (government or philanthropic sources). If you are interested in getting involved in building out the Collaborative Internet, you can