Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How Does the "Internet of Things (IoT)" Bear on Global Peace Work?

Peace technology ("peacetech") will make its greatest contribution by applying the concept of Internet of Things (IoT) to global peace work, I believe.

Several months ago, I observed:

That part about "we're getting networked" is not just talk - I've learned more and more each day about the way people worldwide are using technology to connect the disparate parts of the peace community.

"I☮T" - Internet of Things for Peace
In my own work, I've been particularly interested in the role of web communications (think: blog posts about protests against drone warfare or protests against torture or protests against the occupation of Palestine or protests for fair wages or protests against nuclear weapons or . . . you get the point) in helping people connect across time and space. With this little thing called the Internet we are able to find each other and connect, even when we're not focused on the exact same task in the exact same place at the exact same time.

I see a connection between this phenomena and what technologists have come to talk about as the "Internet of Things (IoT)." The idea, as best I understand it, is that we recognize the immense power of connectivity, and use the devices available to us to shift the paradigm:


do something
  ( then maybe remember to tell the story )
   (( then possibly get heard ))
     ((( and influence the person doing the next thing ? )))


do something and simultaneously transmit the story, simultaneously getting heard (and influencing?) others

(You can read a more formal definition of the "Internet of Things" on Wikipedia.)

Often we think of IoT in terms of the "T" - things like toasters that can talk to your alarm clock to make sure your breakfast is the perfect temperature when you reach the breakfast table. But I tend to think that the peace movement will find it useful to go up one level of abstraction and think about objects in a more conceptual sense -- "peace objects," if you will. That will enable us to see the information architecture, and from there it will be an easy matter to connect devices.

A peace object can be a demonstration, an essay, a poster, an act of civil disobedience. (For starters, we can include all 198 items on Gene Sharp's list of Methods of Nonviolent Action.)

We've already begun to see how Internet practice connects disparate peace objects. How many of us have used the hashtag #NoDAPL during the Standing Rock protests to connect with others?

A case in point: in 2017, people all over the world will be working in a concerted effort to realize a global ban on nuclear weapons. Will the IoT be harnessed to catalyze those efforts?

There is much more to be worked out about how the IoT can be used to spur the global peace work.

MORE: A Globally-Connected Peace Movement: What's Stopping Us?

Related posts

The strategic challenge we face is to wake up to the fact that -- globally -- we are pursuing peace work in diverse ways . . . and then figure out a way to take advantage of the inherent strength in the existence of these diverse approaches.

(See Global Peace Movement: Big, Networked, Diverse)

It is a stunning lesson in global civics to observe who voted "YES" and who voted "NO" (and also who abstained) on L.41 - "taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations."

(See Who would possibly vote "NO" to banning nuclear weapons???)

What I'm feeling particularly energized about is the potential for the thousands of people who have already signed on as supporters of World Beyond War -- as well as millions more who are expected to do so soon -- to become active participants in spreading this good news.

(See News Worth Spreading: "There IS An Alternative to War!" )