“Decentralization” has emerged as a rallying cry to build a web where control is delegated away from central authorities and toward individuals. However, among the multitude of efforts to decentralize the web, there is a lack of consensus on how it should occur and what new centres of power will be cultivated in the process.
This talk traces decentralization through historical accounts of the development of the Internet, highlighting how architectural decentralization has served multiple dimensions of social and cultural power. It then discusses how two recent projects reimagine web culture and inscribe new values through the design of socio-technical systems. This analysis offers tools for researchers and designers to think beyond mere decentralization and more substantively engage with their social and epistemic commitments in the design of future internets.
As organizers we strive for low-cost pathways of participation, are you interested in a community billet program either hosting out-of-towners or staying with locals?
Jack Jamieson is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. His research investigates intersections of digital technologies with culture, with a focus on issues related to values, labour, and interoperability. Specifically, he studies how web developers shape the direction of the Internet by creating, contesting, co-opting and compromising with platforms and standards.
Dawn Walker is a researcher and PhD student at the University of Toronto focused on participatory design tactics for building environmental civic technologies. She also imagines possibilities for grassroots and decentralized (environmental) data with EDGI and Data Together. A keen urban agriculturalist, Dawn would rather be in the garden.
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