P2P and Human Evolution: Peer to peer as the premise of a new mode of civilization

Summary of: P2P and Human Evolution: Peer to peer as the premise of a new mode of civilization

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More than just a technical architecture or an organizational format for knowledge exchange or collaboration, Peer to Peer keeps appearing as a model in many arenas, from technical to cultural, to social and political, and it is ultimately leading to the establishment of a new civilization.

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Findings

  • Peer to Peer involves free participation of equipotent resources within a network. It is emerging as a communication, collaboration, and production format.
  • It comes as a natural evolution resulting from advances in the technologies of collaboration, and as a reaction to hierarchical methods of command and control that were introduced as a way to overcome complexity and were exacerbated after the industrial revolution, when individuals lost ownership of their craft to become dumb extensions of the machines in centralized organizations.
  • P2P is now being utilized beyond the design of technical architectures to organize human interactions in the social, cultural and ultimately the political fields, with an impact on the Economic world because profit is no longer the primary motive for contributing. P2P has become a social practice in response to social needs. Ultimately it is becoming a way of thinking.

Peer to Peer is network of decentralized resources collaborating freely to producing a result. Early manifestations of this format can be found in tribes, where individuals choose to contribute their skills to the group for the better good of all within the group. However P2P has limitations that are linked to the ability to communicate information to all, and throughout history the increasing complexity of organizations has lead towards integration into centralized institutions, with hierarchical mechanisms of control and command. The evolution of communication and collaboration technologies, starting from the paper press and all the way now to the internet and mobile phone networks are empowering individuals and help overcome the need for central authority. In the Production world, P2P manifests itself for exemple in Open Source Software Development, where applications are built to be shared. With the adoption of this P2P format, the product is not the result of an effort from internal resources only, but rather the result of a collaboration between both developers and the end users, with feedback mechanisms that allow the use of a resource to become participation into the production of this resource. In the Economic world, this translates into the fact that the primary motive is no longer profit, but rather the continuous surpassing of oneself. The collaborative effort evolves from a neutral relationship to a synergetic relationship and the concept of "value" evolves from "exchange value" to "potential use value". In the Political world, P2P networks allows the creation of temporary coalitions that are formed on an ad-hoc basis depending on an issue. This political practice comes from a need to de-monopolize power, and it creates a Protocollary power instead. With the adoption of the P2P format, Collective individuals become Commons, where all are immediately and automatically included. Similarly the P2P model is also used in the Social and Cultural arenas. Ultimately, the manifestation of P2P in technology is a symptom of changes in our culture, and we should now to build on P2P as fast as possible, by building Commons and protect them from privatization. The Foundation for P2P Alternatives created by the author wants to be the central binding point for all the current commons movements and projects that are trying to drive change towards a P2P based civilization.