Supernova Summary Day 1: Distributed Concepts Expand Beyond Technology

from the thinking-outside-the-echo-box dept

So, we promised a short summary of Supernova, and since there are plenty of bloggers and sites covering the conference, we tried to pick through everything and come up with a slightly different take on things. Certainly, there was a lot of things being talked about that get discussed over and over (and over and over) again at every one of these conferences and which shows up on the same old blogs with the same old arguments. It would have been nice to cut out some of that fat, but mixed in with all of this was an idea that not everyone seems to be picking up on: the power of all of this "decentralization" isn't just focused on the technology world, but expands well beyond that. While many of the conversations were focused on technology, it's time we started looking beyond the nuts and bolts of decentralization and towards how it will actually impact real lives. Thomas Malone got that process started with his keynote talking about how decentralization makes massive changes to the way humans organize, and how truly powerful that concept really is. Unfortunately, instead of diving more into those concepts, many of the discussions went back to the nuts and bolts (and arguing over what shape the nuts and bolts should be -- of if we really need nuts and bolts at all). Still, a few conversations went beyond this issue and focused on more important aspects of decentralization. The final panel of the day, on "fighting distributed wars," (which was described by more than a few people as "depressing") showed how terrorists now understand network theory, and it's about time those who are fighting terrorists realize that they, too, can learn from ways that technologists learn how to build resilient, redundant networks in the fight against terrorism. That, in many ways, is a powerful lesson of decentralization that looks at how we can apply technology concepts to the broader world that really impacts peoples' lives on a daily basis.
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