F2C Day 1 Part 2: What do we do with all this bandwidth?

Yochai Benkler started off the information overload of what we could be doing with all the bandwidth we ought to have. I must admit, I’ve not read any of Benkler’s work yet, but the starting point is his article Coase's Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm, which appeared in the Yale Law Journal. He has also written a book, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom.

It felt like he was trying to compress his paper, his book, and a million other thoughts on the subject into his 45-minute time slot. Because of this, I probably only captured about 10% of what he was saying. Of course this was compounded by being at home and dealing with interruptions.

So instead of an exhaustive recounting of what he said, I’ll simply suggest that people read Coase’s Penquin, The Wealth of Networks. He spoke a lot about peer production of content and included an Anime Music Video and a political piece as examples. In particular, Dueling Videos: Under Ice and a mashup, “The Legendary K.O. George Bush Doesn’t Care about Black People” from The Black Lantern and The Legendary K.O.

With all the amazing content that Benkler presented, it was in many ways, just a warm-up. Elliot Maxwell spoke about Open Bio stuff. Links to check out Registery of Standard Biological Parts, the Public Library of Science. kc claffy spoke about the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis.

In the afternoon, there were presentations on Qwaq, “a rich ecosystem of interlinked Croquet spaces, that is as easy to navigate and extend as today’s web.”

I must admit, I don’t know much about Croquet, but apparently, it evolved from Squeak, which grew out of Smalltalk. On first glance, it looks a little bit like SecondLife. It will be fun to explore how the two compare.

Unfortunately, the streaming was acting flaky and I missed most of the discussion about Qwaq. The flakiness continued into the Second Life discussion, but I still managed to pick up some interesting comments. Cory Ondrejka spoke about the value of material being produced by individuals in Second Life as around $1.3 billion dollars, based on what it would cost to pay programmers to create it. He then applied Sturgeon’s law that 90% of what is produce may be trash, cutting the value down to $130 million. Either way, that is a lot of free coding being done. He mentioned that IBM has 4000 employees regularly using Second Life. This isn’t viewed as a replacement to face-to-face meetings. He suggested that if IBM could cut travel costs by 10% by having some of its meetings in Second Life, that is a very big cost savings for them.

To me, this particularly made sense. I would much rather have been at Freedom to Connect for the face to face discussions, especially those that happen during breaks. However, for me, that just didn’t work out this time.

Cory had some great comments about the nature of learning and how Second Life is particularly good for “legitimate peripheral participation”, or apprenticeships, situated learning, we learn best when we are around people doing what we want to learn and we see why it is important, heterogeneous learning, unlike so much of our school systems today, and on demand learning, learn when you want to. He mentioned InnoCentive, which goes on my list of sites to check out.

One final speaker talked a bit about OpenMoko, which I stumbled across a while ago and I’m interested in finding more out about.

There were plenty of other interesting comments, and I may come up with a Zettel type post to summarize them, but for right now, I continue on overload.

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