Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Instructions for Seminar 1

We will have our first seminar next week on Monday (Sept 15 at 8-10). We have two lecture halls that are not near each other, so everybody in class with a family name that starts with the letters A-J should go to D41 and everyone with a family name that starts with the letter K-Å should go to K42. 

Here are the instructions for the seminar.
1) Read the assigned literature (5 different texts, all in all around 50-60 pages). 
2) Prepare answers to the questions below and be ready to discuss your answers in class. Do note that you might personally be asked about your proposed answer to any of the questions below. We thus suggest that you prepare for the seminar by not just reading the texts, but by also taking down some notes to the questions below.

Botsman & Roo (2010), "What is mine is yours: How collaborative consumption is changing the way we live" (available in Bilda/Documents).
  • What are the most important factors behind "collaborative consumption" according to Botsman & Roo? Why for example is it happening right now (instead of for example a decade or two ago)?
  • What products and services have a higher potential to be shared/redistributed?
  • The authors seem to suggest that the economic developments during the last 50 years are an anomaly and that sharing and collaboration (and, by extrapolation, collaborative consumption) is more "natural". Do you agree?
  • Can collaborative consumption work everyone or does it only work (or work especially well) in some places, at some times and in some societies? If so, which and why?
Rifkin (2014), "The zero marginal cost society: The Internet of things, the collaborative commons, and the eclipse of capitalism"  (available in Bilda/Documents).
  • 3D printing (and Fab Labs and the maker movement); is it (in your opinion) a hype or a force that will reshape our societies forever?
  • Rifkin sees information as the crucial factor in decreasing the costs of producing just about anything and he imagines we are entering an age of abundance. Do you agree? Why or why not?
  • Is "3D printing" and "sustainability" best friends, on speaking terms or worst enemies (i.e. can they be combined or not)?
  • Is the sharing economy a scam for the benefit of the haves (tech entrepreneurs, investors etc.) but to the detriment of the have-nots ("the 99%")?
  • Discrimination - a) won't happen, b) is an unfortunate side effect we'll have to battle or c) a fact of life?
  • What is Shirky’s main point?
  • What are the implications in terms of "the old industrial" vs "the new networked" information economy, i.e. for example for Detroit building cars compared for Uber providing rides? Will we spend more or less money on transportation in the future (do we spend more less money on Spotify today compared to buying CDs in the past)?
  • Do you agree with him? Why or why not?
Finally, have a look at the book "The wealth of the commons". There are 73 short chapters in the book and almost all of them are available online. Freely choose one chapter that you think sounds interesting and read it!

3) Summarise the main idea in the chapter you chose in around 200 words (half a page of text). Also select the one most interesting and insightful thought, idea, question or reflection - based on your reading of these five texts above or on previous readings and lectures in the course. Please write another 200 words (half a page of text - 150-200 words are also ok), print your text on paper and bring it to the seminar. Remember to write your name on the paper as your submission is proof of your attendance at the seminar! 


  1. Hej, vi är några som har schemakrock (obligatorisk presentation i AGI14) och kan inte närvara på seminariet tyvärr. Hur kan vi lösa detta?


  2. That is unfortunate and to some degree impossible to solve (without breaking the laws of nature, e.g. being in two places at once).

    Fortunately it's ok to be absent now and then even though it's a pity you will miss out on the seminar.

  3. We're in K53, K42 doesn't exist.

  4. I guess that's a philosophical question...? In the event that K42 "doesn't exist", then we meet in K53 instead! :-)