In my last NODE update video, I mentioned that I had some bigger plans for the future, and I thought that today I'd share my ideas for where I eventually want it to go, and see what you all think.
THE MAIN IDEA
One of the goals of NODE is to help show people the track we are on as a species, especially regarding technology. It often feels like we're strapped into a roller-coaster, and impotently have to accept everything that comes our way - even if it leads us towards a nightmarish dystopia.
It is often portrayed that we have two options; the "resistance is futile" mindset, where we may feel unsettled by technological developments, but passively accept them anyway, or the off grid response, where we go live in the woods somewhere, shunning all modern technology.
I'd like to propose another way. To stay actively engaged with technological progress, but make it work for - not against - us. In other words, build the world we want to live in.
The cypherpunk, open source, free software and open hardware movements are great, but you could argue that they're so wide, and all-encompassing, that they become too fragmented and unfocused.
What if we could unleash the brilliance of all of these ideas and minds together, creating a unified movement, coupled with a practical strategy for how to tackle the challenges we currently face, and will increasingly be facing in the future?
A focused, non-political effort to change the world using technology, for the benefit of as many humans as possible.
This would all be implemented using a decentralized platform that'd be like a mix between hackaday, github, and kickstarter, allowing people to collaborate on projects in specific important areas, as well as making it easy for others to directly fund those efforts. All innovations and findings would be available for everyone to use and iterate upon.
The idea would be to make something that harnesses all the talents of this great community, so we can spread out, and start our own projects in specific areas that interest us.
Projects could be split into 3 sections:
1. Ideas/Proposals/Prototypes. This could be a launchpad for finding collaborators, and/or looking for specific funding to take them to the next level. People could put forward their ideas, and try to persuade others to join them.
2. In Development. Once projects are underway, they will move on to this stage. Progress will be detailed much like hackaday, and similar to github, other people may make contributions. Again, funding could play a key role here, especially for certain milestones, say like paying for new hardware prototypes.
3. Finished. This will apply more to hardware projects, but this section will be all about creating detailed, well presented documentation, and how-to videos. For example, if the instructional videos were all filmed in a similar style to NODE, then aside from the simple, visual consistency, there would be a chance to add alternate language tracks over every video, so it's accessible to everyone in the world.
It's worth pointing out that there are already plenty of great open hardware projects out there, but they may not have the best documentation. This could be an extremely fruitful area to work on, basically demystifying all hardware projects, and making them accessible to people of all abilities.
Ideally the platform itself would be decentralized and easily distributed somehow, so that anyone, anywhere could access, contribute, and download the entire archive whenever they want.
So to sum up, the basic idea is to unleash the creative power of this community, so all you designers, developers and communicators can disperse into hundreds of autonomous groups to work on meaningful projects, and change the world in the process.
THE KEY AREAS
As a way to ensure we're spending our time wisely, and working on important projects, I think the categories should be limited. Here are the ones I've been thinking about, along with example project ideas:
Manufacturing. Decentralize manufacturing, by showing people how to make all sorts of machines, like 3D printers, milling machines, pick and place machines, vacuum formers, PCB fabricators, whatever. Make it so simple, and straightforward that a person of any ability could follow along and make them.
Electricity. Develop new, cheaper ways to generate electricity. Create things like an open source solar tile project for example.
Food/Water. Come up with innovative ways to use technology for growing food, both indoors and out. Develop new ways to collect and purify water. Build autonomous robots that can help facilitate farming in small spaces.
Communication. Create decentralized platforms that allow us to communicate. Explore alternative networks, and meshnets, and create hardware to enable them. Work on P2P social networks and services that are run by the users themselves.
Knowledge. Decentralize projects like wikipedia, so knowledge and history can be available to everyone, everywhere. Think of ways we can store and preserve human knowledge, and create hardware and software projects that enable this.
Scientific/Medical Equipment. Reverse engineer, and create alternatives to expensive scientific and medical machines and processes.
Privacy & Digital Security. Create hardware and software that protects our privacy and digital security in this age of massive data breaches and unlimited surveillance.
Money. Use cryptocurrencies to increase the ways humans can exchange value without needing intermediaries. Make custom hardware to enable this. Build alternative funding platforms.
Much good could be achieved by simply looking at existing solutions out there, and creating open alternatives that are as good, if not better than the originals.
ll software would be free to use, and distribute, but you could sell the hardware developed on the platform, as long as all the plans and documentation are available, so others can make and sell too if they want.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
What do you think to the idea? If the platform existed, would you use it?
Imagine the amount of good we could do in the world, if thousands of us were working in all these different areas, doing meaninful work.
There are many brilliant minds out there, working alone on their projects, and I hope something like this could help connect them, and support their efforts both with extra brain power, and financially.
Like I said, this is a long term goal, and it would be a giant undertaking. I don't have a specific timeline in mind, but I think in reality it's a multi-year kind of project. It is something I will slowly be moving towards though. Thanks for watching.