Newletter 5

SAMSUNG

This week’s image is from a reader who had to wear it on his arm in a to-be-unnamed warehouse, where he worked packing boxes…

Economic Sharing & Solidarity

Some elected leaders in the City of Edinborough wants to do politics differently–so they adopted a cooperative model for soliciting citizen input (and are developing co-ops for childcare, social care, energy & housing). In other co-op news, here’s an in-depth look at the university run by the Mondragon Co-op, where the highest-paid worker can’t earn more than three times what the lowest-paid worker makes. They also serve as the R & D arm for the Mondragon Corporation, which is a set of interlocked co-ops.

If you’re interested in starting a co-op of your own, there are tons of helpful guides and how-tos here. And while we’re on the topic of co-ops, Giles Simon has a helpful piece about why we should talk about our values when promoting them.

While most of the articles about sharing economy services talk about individual users as consumers–here’s an example of Mechanical Turks moving science forward by creating a dictionary that linked words with emotions. And here’s a good article from the Freelancer’s Union about how to use community purchasing power for good.

Peer-to-peer is inevitable–but how we make it work is up to us, as outlined by Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation at last spring’s OuiShare Fest. He’s recommending two hacks that can help move us from a for-profit to a for-benefit system. Watch, it’s 20 minutes out of your day that you won’t regret.

Here’s a great interview that describes how Brazilians built their version of the solidarity economy, on the Shareable blog. They’ve even got it all mapped out!

A new service raised $6 million last week to put the sharing economy to work in managing major vehicle fleets, causing Wired to ask the question–do we need less democracy to spread the sharing economy?

What’s Going on in the Workforce

In a follow-up to last week’s news about changes to higher education, here’s one MOOC star who just refused to teach that way again, after being asked to license his course for sale to other schools, saying, “When they talk about lowering the costs, I think that they are creating a rationalization for the state legislatures to cut back on funding to the state universities.” In other e-learning news, this British startup aims to be the Netflix of that ecosystem.

London School of Economics professor David Graeber asks a trenchant question in the Sydney Morning Herald: “Why aren’t we all working less, by now?” And as if to answer him, entrepreneur.com shows us why everyone will someday be an entrepreneur, in this helpful infographic that’s designed to make you loathe the future. In more positive news, at least one tech investor is thinking about the labor impact of technological innovation. While we’re on the topic, why not join the campaign for a 4-hour workday?

Business week shows us how even construction jobs can be outsourced, this week. And McDonald’s just ordered 7,000 touchscreens, to replace cashiers in Europe.

The Singularity Approaches

Remember that Tom Cruise movie, Minority Report, where ads were pitched to individuals walking down the sidewalk? Did you ever think that a billboard  would be able to recognize your car? And while we’re on the topic of cars & engineering–are you ready to drive one using only your brain? Or do the Imperius Curse from Harry Potter (while playing a videogame)?

This file may be outdated. New computer programming systems need to move toward natural language, and away from the structures that currently exist.

Electronic skin (no, really) may someday take your vital signs, and allow you to have the kind of subvocal conversations that parents today can only dream about (come on, like you’ve never reverted to high school French to attempt an adults-only conversation with your partner?). But first they’ve got to figure out how to make it bend right.

Final Thoughts

“It’s about knowing what the underlying values are of the social systems that you’re using.”

Michel Bauwens, Peer-to-Peer Foundation

 

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