If decentralization were a person, it’s that friend you always meet at parties who drones on and on about the same systemic issues – no matter what the topic is – and yet you are glad that they are there and well.
MozFest has had a Decentralization Space since 2017, and in 2021 we are continuing the same conversations. How do we break up big tech? Where did the internet of the 90s go? How can we organize our distributed communities? And of course: how many blockchains does it take to change a lightbulb?
In our virtual, mid-pandemic version of MozFest, these questions are getting more and more urgent. Our dependence on technology powered by conglomerates is making us increasingly vulnerable to surveillance capitalism, online harassment, and influence campaigns. And yet, cries to “take back control” of our data and infrastructure never quite result in masses of people migrating to a new p2p platform or setting up their own servers. Why is that?
We want to explore this question with people and projects that go beyond technical implementation and protocol development. We rallied designers, artists, and social scientists to understand the barriers, and create a more people-centric alternative internet. We will both zoom in on issues around consent, moderation, and equity, but also ask how policy makers and economic movements can be allies in the bigger picture.
Don’t worry, we will also have sessions that make MozFest MozFest: a digital scavenger hunt through cybercultural history, how to DIY your online radio, and of course, zine making.
So there! It’s your old friend Decentralization, and we look forward to sharing our perspectives with you this spring!