Friday, April 6, 2012

Commanding Heights

[The name of this post was inspired by the Commanding Heights documentary.]

Four years ago we launched the Multitude Project with the aim of understanding the effects of the new digital technology on our socio-economic institutions. We convinced ourselves that humanity was fast approaching a transition point, and that a new social order was about to emerge. But, unfortunately, we now realize that the future doesn’t look as unidirectional as we would like it to be.

Three possible worlds

One possibility, the one we would like to see materializing, is another step of emancipation of the multitude. It is a world in which individuals have greater control over what they want to become, over the value they produce, in all dimensions of value and, as a matter of fact, a world in which individuals have greater control over their own lives. It is a continuation of an undeniable historical trend of emancipation, as the multitude became more cohesive with the advance of communication and coordination technologies. We have finally reached the era of real-time peer-to-peer coordination, with practically no spatial barriers. The multitude is now more coherent than ever. It is able to generate very powerful large-scale effects, surpassing the containing forces of any social system previously designed to constrain it. The will of the people can now be expressed in massive global waves. The #occupy movement is one recent example of such manifestations.