Speaker Insight Series: Primavera De Filippi

Primavera De Filippi believes in a more decentralized world. As one of our 2015 Fall speakers, this “Techno Revolutionary” got her start in grassroots communities such as Creative Commons and Open Knowledge. After watching such communities grow organically until they reached a scale that forced them to restructure, Primavera put her mind to thinking about how we can efficiently coordinate without hierarchical organizations.

Primavera De FilippiAs a rule, people give up freedom and autonomy in the name of better coordination, efficiency and convenience. In such a centralized system, it is easier to control information and to monitor communications, and harder to collaborate in scalable and sustainable ways. This leads to a great deal of friction between what people want to do and what they can do. Lots of research has been done on how to innovate beyond the traditional hierarchical structure. Yet, no working mechanism has been found to enable large-scale decentralization collaboration.

Primavera’s big idea came thanks to modern blockchain technologies, in the ability to have a distributed database of records that avoids the need for centralization. Interacting on a peer-to-peer basis toward large-scale collaboration without the need for an intermediary requires at least three things: the right technical infrastructure, protocols for evaluating contributions and a new strategy that devalues competition. Just like the Internet enabled people to communicate with each other on a peer-to-peer basis, the blockchain enables people to organise themselves by indirectly coordinating one another.

It may seem odd that Primavera’s proposed means to more frequent and positive human interactions is a technology, but she sees it as something that can enhance or support how people self-organize for the better. We can’t wait for Primavera to share more about her ideas and outlook on our 2015 Fall stage.