Friday, August 01, 2008

Resilient Community: Technological Acceleration by Jon Robb

The pace of technological change is accelerating exponentially. Fact, not much real debate on that. Most important to our analysis is how this change superempowers small groups, allowing them to accomplish activities normally reserved for large corporations or governments. The keys to this supermepowerment are:

* Better tools. Moore's law, Carlson curves, and personal fabrication (DIY everything, the start of an exponential rate of improvement for matter/products). Shift from centralized production to 'grow' your own computer/chemicals etc. Local energy.

* Rapidly expanding network resources. How to's on everything. Basic education via open courseware (from the best Universities in the world). Sensor networks. Spimes.

* New social connectivity. Expert networks. Tinkering via open source development. Telecommuting. Wisdom of crowds and crowd-sourcing.

Unfortunately, this supempowerment makes it possible for small groups to do incredible damage to global society. Fortunately, it also making it possible for resilient communities to efficiently and productively emulate global production/services locally. As a result, the resilient community isn't a step backwards to 19th Century approaches (survivalism, scarcity, and low productivity), but rather a move in a direction that makes it possible to generate rapid and sustained (as opposed to the relative stasis and irregular progress of the current system) improvements how we live.

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