Thursday, September 18, 2014

Seminar 2 topics

Please see the blog post with the instructions for seminar 2.

Do note that many of the topics below are relatively abstract. It's possible to use the formulation below as a starting point from which to delve deeper and choose to explore a much smaller sub-problem. One angle could for example be to ask what opportunities there are for innovative sharing services (commercial or non-commercial) and go for it by exploring one specific idea within that space.

  1. Commons lessons. Physical commons have been around for hundreds or even thousands of years. What are the physical-world lessons learned and how can they be leveraged/implemented in the 21st century digital arena?
  2. Digital commons lessons. Physical resources are “rival” - only one person can eat an apple. Digital resources are “non-rival” - my use of a digital resource does not diminish that resource and it might even be the case that information and knowledge is worth more when more people use it. What are the implications for the future of information, knowledge and culture on the Internet? What is possible to do online/with digital resources in the future that could not even be imagined before?
  3. The future of the intellectual/creative commons (CC). What is the future of copyrights vs the future of sharing and of the commons? The electric car company Tesla released all their patents only this summer (search for “tesla patents release”) to grow the pie rather than to protect their own share of a much smaller pie. Is this an anomaly or a harbinger of things to be? 
  4. Open source and/or Wikipedia lessons. Open source software and Wikipedia are the poster children of the digital commons. What are the most important lessons that can be learned from their successes? How could this be leveraged to further support the creation of digital commons and/or a sharing economy?
  5. Sharing motivations. Why do people share? For the noble good, for making some extra cash for myself, from dire need or for some other reason (or combination of reasons)? What does this imply for the future of sharing?
  6. The sharing generation. Generation Y (millennials) is said to be the sharing generation. Why? What can we understand about the future of sharing by looking more closely at the sharing generation? Go out and explore!
  7. Share or die. Decreased affluence will be the big driver behind the sharing economy. Use countries in southern Europe that has fallen on hard times as a template and invent ways of leveraging the digital commons and the sharing economy to improve the lives of formerly-affluent Europeans. Perhaps we urgently need to build trust and learn to cooperate to increase our resilience against present or future economic hardship?
  8. 3D society. 3D-printers (and makerspaces and Fab labs etc.) will change society forever. Explore and explain how by finding, talking and participating with the Stockholm “scene”. Choose to explore the positive effects (Rifkin) and/or possible negative effects (printing guns and drugs, who has control over the printers or of the equivalent of the “ink”).
  9. A future sharing society. If today’s services are only precursors to a future sharing society, envision what that society looks like? If the sharing economy reaches a tipping point/critical mass, how could that “change everything”?
  10. Trust and reputation systems. For sharing to be able to work, there has to be (justified) trust between strangers. So who should you trust? How do state-of-the-art reputation systems encourage and ensure the creation of “social capital” and mutual trust today (and punish free riders and cheaters)? How could such systems be further developed to support the digital commons and the sharing economy of tomorrow?
  11. The future of discrimination. How will the sharing economy create a worse society for those who belong to minorities of different kinds - including ethnic minorities and those who are too poor to consume (or even to connect online)? 
  12. A sustainable sharing economy? What is the relationship between sustainability and the sharing economy? How can a future sharing economy be shaped to be maximally sustainable? 
  13. The end of big business. The sharing economy will undermine and topple some (or many?) of the giants of the 20th century industrial economy. Explore and explain how. Will collaborative consumption ruin old business structures and create a new economic system?
  14. The future of work. What will happen to work (good jobs, bad jobs, no jobs) if the sharing economy expands? Will sharing create a better society for all or will it undermine safety and security in the job market, e.g. taxi drivers starting to work for Uber but with lower salaries)? What are the effects of the current sharing economy on job creation and the job market?
  15. The future of crowdwork. Crowdwork is a powerful idea. Some work is done by voluneers for free (Wikipedia, Foldit), other work is done for profit (Amazon Mechanical Turk). What is the future of crowdwork? For for-profit crowdwork, how can such ideas be leveraged to be beneficial for employers and service providers (e.g. Amazon) as well as for employees?
  16. Digital commons infrastructure. What are the nuts and bolts in terms of technical systems that provide us with access to the commons? Delve into the internet, specialized tools and new services that underpins the digital commons
  17. The future of libraries. Libraries have been around for a long time and are part of the industrial-era state-supported commons. What is the future of libraries in a digital world? 
  18. The future of Wikipedia? What is the future of knowledge and the future of the creation of a knowledge commons on the Internet (e.g. Wikipedia)? What are the pros and cons of Wikipedia compared to the alternatives and how can Wikipedia be developed?
  19. The future of learning? What is the future of learning and the future of universities in an age of free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on the Internet? What are the pros and cons of MOOCs compared to the alternatives?
  20. The future of (shared) transportation. What sharing solutions, companies and services are “out there” for sharing transportation (sharing cars, sharing bicycles, making public transportation better)? How can sharing transportation be improved in the future?
  21. The future of (shared) spaces. What sharing solutions, companies and services are “out there” for sharing spaces (workspaces, unused rooms or homes, public buildings or public spaces like parks, streets and plazas etc.)? How can the sharing of space be improved in the future?
  22. The future of (shared) stuff. What sharing solutions, companies and services are “out there” for sharing stuff (drills, surf boards, kayaks or motor boats, supercomputers). How can sharing stuff be improved in the future?
  23. The future of (shared) time. What sharing solutions, companies and services are “out there” for sharing time (time banks, delivery services, babysitting, neighborhood help)? How can the sharing of time be improved in the future?

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