In all of our worlds (social, political, economic, biometric) we are searching for things considered necessary. We see closed doors, glass ceilings, and tables with no invitations. The good news is we have a set of new rules that could make change more positive.
A way to develop answers to questions about change rest with the combination of several very new organizations such as the World Wide Web Foundation and some old scientists such as Nikola Tesla pictured (left). Both are excellent examples of learning and unlearning everything to begin every day differently than the day before. Pioneering access to information has always been available at the speed of light thanks to your hippocampus, but now it is a many-brain experience. New skills will be needed.
The first rule of knowledge is that it expands through the experience of frequency. The second rule is control is what you make recur. The third rule is books do not hold truth or meaning. Meaning is in people, and the truth is just outside your front door. Take a long looking walk every day.
These three rules draw a vital connection to the immensity of change. Here is an example. It is a comparison of Nikola Tesla and Tim Berners-Lee. Here we find two people who looked just outside their door but managed to see the whole world. Just under a century ago, Nikola Tesla explored every aspect of energy he could imagine. Just a few decades ago (1989-1991) Tim Berners-Lee and others created the URL and HTML as a fast method for sharing and editing documents on a worldwide basis. There is a connection.
I came across an examination of Tesla’s writings and interviews on the subject of the future at The Smithsonian. In Tesla’s vision, leaning to control the energy of everything will establish the recurrence of all things good. Here is a summary.
- A movement to elect scientists instead of lawyers to leadership positions in the legislative branches of government has begun. In a 1935 Liberty Magazine article, Tesla writes,
- “Today the most civilized countries of the world spend a maximum of their income on war and a minimum of the Today the most civilized countries of the world spend a maximum of their income on war and a minimum on education. The twenty-first century will reverse this order. It will be more glorious to fight against ignorance than to die on the field of battle. The discovery of new scientific truth will be more important than the squabbles of diplomats. Even the newspapers of our own day are beginning to treat scientific discoveries and the creation of fresh philosophical concepts as news. The newspapers of the twenty-first century will give a mere ” stick ” in the back pages to accounts of crime or political controversies but will headline on the front pages the proclamation of a new scientific hypothesis.
- For every $100 paid in U.S. federal income tax, well over half of it still goes to the military in the 21st century. Something isn’t right.
- Tesla called out the ability of science to improve people. Called eugenics at the time, these discredited and immoral practices present a view of the world based on the experience of privileged white males and this has yet to change in a meaningful way. Nevertheless, the debate continues in a broad spectrum by manipulating DNA in thousands of lifeforms. CRISPR will continue to press for the inclusion of the human genome. It must be watched, something isn’t right.
- Tesla recognized the lack of control over the waste machines create and envisioned a national agency with the mission to prevent pollution (waste nothing) and regulate the discarded materials of production for the specific purpose of protecting the land, air, and water. The EPA did not form until 1970. President Nixon was in office. Something isn’t right, we are still wasting human beings.
- Tesla’s outlook on the energy requirements of the human diet eschewed all stimulants except alcohol. Perhaps he was familiar with Mark Twain’s idea that “too much of anything is bad, but too much Scotch is rarely enough,” but he knew it was possible to provide “…enough wheat and wheat products to feed the entire world.” and he criticized the industrialization of animals for protein. He was a contemporary of Dr. Norman Borlaug.
- Tesla recognized energy drawn from the burning of fossil fuels as wasteful and dangerous. The identification of global warming gases began in the 19th century. He saw clean energy, from sources such as water- power and the scientific preservation of natural resources would end the agonies of drought, forest fires, floods, and viral infestation. Federal Disaster Declarations have doubled and tripled since 1955. Something isn’t right.
- Perhaps his favorite work was the invention of remotely controlled machines designed to automate production. He understood communication as wireless. In 1935, he said, “At this very moment scientists working in the laboratories of American universities are attempting to create what has been described as a thinking machine. In all of our worlds, for right or wrong, the only proof of communication is persuasion. Can a “thinking machine” isolate the wrong of it?
In 1994, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), formed as an international community devoted to developing open web standards. Tim Berners-Lee is the Director of W3C (2017). The question is direct. How well can this resource advance the frequencies of useful change that Tesla envisioned? In 2009, Berners-Lee formed The World Wide Web Foundation and began operations as an independent, international organization fighting for digital equality. It envisions the continuing implementation of an open web as a public good and a basic right. Its mission is to help build a world where everyone can access the web and use it to improve their lives. The internet community produced the following revolutionary ideas.
- Decentralization: No permission is needed from a central authority to post anything on the web, there is no central controlling node, and so no single point of failure … and no “kill switch”! This also implies freedom from indiscriminate censorship and surveillance.
- Non-discrimination: If I pay to connect to the internet with a certain quality of service, and you pay to connect with that or greater quality of service, then we can both communicate at the same level. This principle of equity is also known as Net Neutrality.
- Bubble-up design: Instead of code being written and controlled by a small group of experts, it was developed in full view of everyone, encouraging maximum participation and experimentation. All you have to do is right-click and select inspect.
- Universality: For anyone to be able to publish anything on the web, all the computers involved have to speak the same languages to each other, no matter what different hardware people are using; where they live; or what cultural and political beliefs they have. In this way, the web breaks down silos while allowing diversity to flourish.
- Consensus: For universal standards to work, everyone had to agree to use them. The achievement of consensus occurs by giving everyone a say in creating the standards, through a transparent, participatory process at W3C. The consensus to agree with everything, at least “somewhat” and a known degree.
Two immediate suppositions are evident when comparing Tesla’s ideas (turn of the 20th) about the world’s future with what the World Wide Web now offers (turn of the 21st). The first insight reveals a public education policy as risk and the second is one big assumption. The risk is that a probable series of severe social, economic, and environmental events will increase and continue to occur as “chaos costs.” The assumption is the threat of these costs will lead to repression as if the cause/effect in this situation is a certainty. It is not.
The third observation is less reactionary. The documentation and implementation of two resilience strategies that will serve as benchmarks. For example, putting a global price on GHGs and investments in new energy solutions are arguments that can be won toward action in less than a decade. The reasonable deadline appears to be 2050 by most observers. It could be sooner.
If initial benchmarks such as these establish firm roots, a path will become apparent on ways to improve our global selves with the aid of super useful “thinking machines” focused on facts and knowledge instead of death and war. Not an unreasonable position in a world in which trust is firmly established. Yes, that is correct. Something isn’t right.
A responsive market approach can succeed, but with a value system that suggests some physical parts of a community will always be disrupted, but not the spirit of people in the wake of that change. The infusion of world wide web values: decentralization, non-discrimination, a bottom-up design, super universality, and consensus offers a compelling alternative, and the rules are clear for building pathways to new physical realities. All that remains is implementation, one hellish set of trusted, tried and true algorithms, and the desire to go outside and have a good, long look at the world. (Knowledge share link here).