2 – Motivation

by Hans-Jürgen & Stefan

The Internet of Things & Services: Renaissance Re-Born

Does time feel accelerated?
[by Hans-Jürgen Kugler]

Do you have the feeling that time accelerates? Have you noticed? Everything around us changes. And it changes ever faster. And now we have the Internet of Things promising even more change! But isn’t the internet already a key driver for this unprecedented change? Why should we want more? How can we cope with this?Let us answer the last question first: by leading the change in the direction we want. This must not be interpreted as “keep status quo at all costs”. No, human evolution and history are made up of changes. And these changes did not always happen in similar timescales. We argue that by looking at turbulent times of the past we can get a feel for the historical time dimension, and not try and see everything in quarterly financial drumbeats. This “bigger” picture of the development of our society can help us set longer term visions for sustainable improvements of society and provides a better foundation for the decisions that will have to be made. We invite you to step back and reflect on the current development of the internet and its impact on society. Let us look back at “space ship earth” from an external vantage point a hundred or more years from now.
Society? The Internet of Things is a technological system, a suite of products and services that will make life a bit more comfortable and ensure creation of shareholder value! Yes, the Internet of Things & Services (we prefer this term, more about that later) is a major driver for technological development and will dramatically change products, services, and markets. Significant technological developments have always had profound impact on shaping society. This is exactly why we are looking at these impacts from a historical perspective. And we have to ask which society we want to live in the future. The Internet of Things is appearing at a time when the virtues of communities are being rediscovered and the sustainability of common resources is gaining attention. The power of open source software communities like Linux have inspired many people to bring this everywhere, e.g. Wikipedia or YouTube. These are private communities, initiatives by people sharing a purpose in a self-managed and self-funded way. These are what we refer to, not the political or business organizations (or fragments thereof), which often have community as mere part of their name.
These communities challenge the ruling dogma that people focus only on their own advantage and not that of society [Smith 1776]. New scientific insights support this challenge to the foundation of capitalism as we know it. These insights come from recent advances in neurological research, in social sciences, in biology, in physics and bio-physics, and in many other disciplines. The conclusions challenge many current dogmas of science, economy, politics, and religion. Whilst many of these “waves” may have technological origins, the cumulative effect can change society. Into this “groundswell of movements”, of individual waves, comes the Internet of Things. It is more than the internet we know — it goes beyond empowering people to communicate and collaborate. The Internet of Things can connect any product or service. And it automatically links what might emerge as a result of this collaboration — interact even without human intervention. One does not have to be a visionary to see that the Internet of Things will revolutionize the business world. The location of resources for development, production and operation will become largely irrelevant, allowing to really “think global and act local.”

State of Create Study
[Adobe]

Now imagine the groundswell of individual waves using the Internet of Things to synchronize and turn into a tide. If emphatic communities drive the development, deployment and operation of the Internet of Things, then this technological development can be used to truly democratize the productive resources of humans and our spaceship earth. This result is what we call Internet of Things & Services. With this we have the ability to change our society beyond our wildest dreams. And if we learn from history to try understand long term effects at timescales beyond a single generation, then we can openly lead this change rather than stumbling along without a frame of reference.

In our opinion the historical period with the most striking similarities is the European Renaissance starting around the 14th century. The Renaissance heralded the end of the medieval society. Today, we are also in the transition to a new society based on purposeful communities: the transition from the knowledge or information society to the creative society. The Second Renaissance  has begun.

What’s Next?

We are writing a series of articles expanding on our ideas and conclusions to date. Whilst we have a number of topics, which we want to cover in more detail (see next article), we are not slaves to our own agenda. Feedback, discussion and other forms of contribution will hopefully clarify our thinking and enrich the lessons we can learn. We will also set up a list of topics for discussion in the future. These topics can be commented on and volunteered for.

Call for Participation

We therefore ask all scholars, artists, practitioners, students, from all walks of life, to join us, to set up this movement, to transcend our individuality by realizing “I am what I am because of who we all are.”

7 Responses to 2 – Motivation

  1. chrishammel says:

    I read interestingly through this site and all the articles, so thanks for helping us to consider these technological upheavals from another angle of vision, from a social perspective, a historical perspective and notably an ethical perspective. And I defenitely agree that a technology like IOTS (Web 3.0) may be disruptive to many other areas of life, like already Web2.0 changed the social and communication behaviour of people and organisations.
    I also liked your analogy of the revolutionary impact of these new technologies with the Renaissance epoch of history.
    To me, finally everything goes back to the way we transfer data. And I fully agree that the way data or information is transferred from one location (no matter if it is data from/about humans or data from/about things/environment) to another is one of the big technological forces that pushed history. Similar forces are the way energy is produced and distributed, the way people travel and carriage of freight is done. And of course there are forces in other areas like emerging religions, political ideas and humanities related paradigms and last but not least the arts.
    Looking at the 1st mentioned technological influence (way of cummincation) we can identify that each epoch was charaterized by its own way:
    - for ages it was only possible by a human messenger
    - later horses and ships were used (interestingly they had to send redundant data on 2 ships in case one was struck by a storm and couldn´t reach its destination)
    - then someone invented the smoke signals (North American Indian tribes)
    - not to forget about the bottle message
    - sending information by a carrier pigeon
    - sending handwritten mails (paper, not email!), telegram
    - sending printed artifacts, letters, books
    - telegraphy (operated only by experts, customers had to visit them)
    - telephony by landline (finally the service was available to the end customer)
    - Internet Websites, Web1.0
    - email
    - telephony mobile
    - SMS
    - Chat, Facebook messages, Web2.0
    - … what next?

    But to me, the most interesting point in this discussion is the inter correlation between these technical forces (e.g. communication) and the other paradigm shifts in history (social, political, economical, religious, humanistic). E.g. the print technology was a big enabler of the Reformation in Europe. Or the upcoming of the new political party \”Die Piraten\” was closely related to the new technological possibilities enabled by the Internet. And so forth.

    Discussing these aspects with regard to the new IOTS technology in this blog or community would be very interesting to me.

    • stefferber says:

      Christof,
      welcome on our blog. As you already did we are expecting discussions and reflections like yours here. Thanks a lot for adding more details on the perspective for communication advancements. And we agree that there is not one single technological invention or a social movement but rather the combination of such forces that make big transformations which we call Synchrodestiny. The example you mention: printing press and reformation is very good one. In our view that example is as good as the Renaissance by itself. We even believe that the Renaissance was the “Mindsetting Machine” for it.

    • Hans-Jürgen says:

      Very good points. Have you seen our script, by any chance? ;-)

      The development of human society generally has taken a “leap” whenever some new “base” technology and new communications capabilities combined. The base technologies would require greater specialisation, which, in turn required greater coordination for this to be deployed effectively. Sumerian cuneiform writing and their mastery of a watering-system based agriculture is an early example. You refer to printing — which roughly equals broadcasting. I find actually that greater democratisation of communication was achieved through cheap pencil and paper, which also became available during the Renaissance. The enabling of this p2p communication also facilitated the move from re-creating (scribes copying) to creating (individuals own insights.)

      Some of this we have started to discuss in our (first) Renaissance blogs, and more will come in the series on “The War of the Worlds.” I look forward to continuing this discussion then.

      • chrishammel says:

        Which script you are refering to? I haven´t seen it, but would be interested in reading it.

        I think a key point in this evolution is what you call “democratisation of communication” or I would even call it “democratisation of information”. I think there were two reasons in history for hampering this process. No.1 is the intention of the dominant elite of any epoch tried to protect their knowledge and access to information against usage of others, because information is simply an instrument of power. And No.2 is the missing technology. Each new level of cummunication mechanisms in the long list above made it easier to access the information and simplified the way of forwarding information to others (which is basically communication). Especially these technologies like printing and pencil and paper and later Internet along with email were big milestones in that process. I remember a discussion I had only 10years ago about the internet with some people, when somebody hold the view that Internet means “banalisation of knowledge”. Such an opinion somehow implies the mindset that knowledge shouldn´t be there for everyone.

        This democratisation of information and communication was not continuously improving during history, though technology (No.2) was. But the other force (No.1) was getting very strong during some periods of history. If you consider church history, it started with the mission to bring the gospel to everyone in the world and this was happening at the beginning. But then later this became a science (by monks) and communicated in a language (latin) that wasn´t understood (accessible) by everyone. And it was a privilege to a small elite to have a bible it all. Even the services were done in latin language which gave them the power to select the information according at their own discreation (I would call it censorship). The reformation brought a turn in the direction of democratisation again, print technology enabled the chance for everyone to get a bible and the translation of the bible made it possible to understand this information.
        Was this a phenomenon of the old ages? I think: No! If we look at the Internet today, how many countries are limiting the access to the Internet to their people or even blocking some sites. And then there is the discussion about the copyright in Internet (SOPA).

        Another example in history of “information democratisation” is the large civil revolution which demanded education for everybody and an emancipation from the elites (clergy, nobility). E.g. the funding of all these clubs and associations was an outcome of this.

        Well coming back to the original topic: What will be the next technological step in this evolution? I think one improvement will be the “ubiquity” of information that is already enhanced by mobile devices and probably even more by the IOTS topic. But probably the bigger effect will have the ability to play an active role in this system, i.e. not only consuming information but also analysing this data and then acting (by controlling other devices) based on this data.

  2. chrishammel says:

    Stefan,
    thanks for your feedback. I think a very intersting point is also that the drivers of historical changes or revolutions influence themselves mutually, e.g. technical innovations causes social changes and these social shifts may have impact to the direction of research and again to technical inventions. I think this is an important observation in history: that it moves forward highly iterative.
    Another aspect you brought up in your articles is the change in mindset, e.g. “value orientation replaces profit orientation”. The more general question is if there is a general trend of the mindset over the last centuries or milleniums? E.g. is the mentality of mankind always evolving to the better or do we also here see ups and downs or even a general trend to the worse? I don´t want to sound too pessimistic but if we look at the way how technology was used for the good or for the bad, at least some doubts are appropriate that everything is developing to the better. But I don´t want to end with such a negative statement, the positive conclusion of this is that all technological developments should always come along with strong value oriented leadership and open ethical discussions. E.g. it is a very complex question how far we can go with genetic engineering. In general we an say, the more powerful a technology is, the higher the risk of abusing it. That´s why I believe also IOTS should be guided by serious ethical discussions.

    • Hans-Jürgen says:

      Exactly – we are developing a technology, and it should have a purpose, a positive influence on society.
      We are looking for patterns of interaction between technology and society throughout history. Renaissance is as good an example as you can get, but it is certainly not the only one, especially if you take a global view.
      And if you take a global view than it becomes difficult to see trends that indicate an overall mindset change. We do believe, however, that there is such a long term transformational model, and I think that this has something to do with our reason for existence.
      I am afraid that again I will have to test your patience and ask you to come back to these points when we discuss our transformational model.

      • chrishammel says:

        Right, technological developments should be guided by the question: “How do we use that for making things better?”, though we never can foresee what will happen at the end of the day. I also don´t think there is a general and consistend trend in mindset in the global view. Maybe through globalisation it is getting more convergent. But it is an exciting topic to think about this transformation of mindset initiated by new technologies.
        The recent change in processes and working models was defenitely enabled by Web2.0 technologies. Suddenly it was understood that the paradigm “divide et impera” is not always the best way to lead an organisation. Since this reduces the communication across these divided subgroups deliberately which leads to misunderstandings, reduces the spirit of solidarity, increases communication overhead through the hierarchical levels and so forth. The observation that online communities (Forums, Wikis, Blogs,…) are much more efficient than a hierarchical structured organisation fostered the new paradigms like inter-disciplinary-teams, swarm-intelligence and agile approaches.

        Another example is the change in social behaviour through social networks. Though some people claim that connections in social networks never have the quality of relationships in reality, it is defenitely a support for keeping in touch with other people. The effort for staying in touch is much less compared to “face-to-face-meeting-only relations”. And probably we are now able to keep relations and connections to other people we simply would have broken without these technologies because it would be way too much effort for maintaining them. Not to mention to get and stay in touch with people around the world we never would have met in real life without that technologies.

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