ca. 1999 --- Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, stands at a chalkboard where he has written notes on Web development.
--- Image by © Andrew Brusso/Corbis
recently gathered in San Francisco with other top computer scientists — including Brewster Kahle, head of the nonprofit
Internet Archive and an internet activist — to discuss a new phase for the web at the Decentralized Web Summit event.
and builders of IPFS, the Dat Project, WebTorrent, Tahoe-LAFS, zcash, Zeronet.io, BitTorrent, Ethereum,
BigChainDB, Blockstack, Interledger, Mediachain, MaidSafe, Storj and others presented their technologies and answer
Hosted by the Internet Archive, the first Decentralized Web Summit was a call for dreamers and builders to spark collaboration and take concrete steps to create a better Web. The event includes tech legends such as Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google,
and renowned author Cory Doctorow.
At the session on Tuesday, computer scientists talked about how new payment technologies
could increase individual control over money. For example, if people adapted the so-called ledger system by which digital
currencies are used, a musician might potentially be able to sell records without intermediaries like Apple’s iTunes.
News sites might be able to have a system of micropayments for reading a single article, instead of counting on web ads for
web is already decentralized,” said Berners-Lee. “The problem is the dominance of one search engine, one big social
network, one Twitter for microblogging. We don’t have a technology problem; we have a social problem.”
Doctorow gave the opening talk, “How
Stupid Laws and Benevolent Dictators can Ruin the Decentralized Web, too,” which was about the “Ulysses pacts“: bargains you make with yourself when your willpower is strong to prevent giving into temptation later when you are
tired or demoralized, and how these have benefited the web to date, and how new, better ones can protect the decentralized
web of the future.
Doctorow wrote at Boing Boing that EFF’s Jeremy Gillula and Noah Swartz — who were there to present Certbot, a tool that produces free cryptographic certificates — wrote up the afternoon, including my talk, and did a good job
He called on the audience to act now to make a Ulysses pact for the decentralized web, because everything
eventually fails or falls on hard times. If we want to make sure that the principles and values we hold dear survive, we need
to design the systems that embody those principles so that they can’t be compromised of weakened. In other words, we
need to build things now so that five or ten or twenty years from now, when what we’ve built is successful and someone
asks us to add a backdoor or insert malware or track our users, it simply won’t be possible (for either technological
or legal or monetary reasons)—no matter how much outside pressure we’re under.
After all, “The reason the web
is closed today is because…people just like you made compromises that seemed like the right compromise to make at the
time. And then they made another compromise, a little one. And another one.” He continued, pointing out that “We
are, all of us, a mix of short-sighted and long-term…We must give each other moral support. Literal support to uphold
the morals of the decentralized web, by agreeing now on what an open decentralized web is.” Only by doing this will
we be able to resist the siren song of re-centralization.
And what sort of principles should we agree to? Cory suggests two. First,
when a computer receives conflicting instructions from its owner and from a remote party, the owner’s wishes should
always take precedence. In other words, no DRM (that means you, W3C). Second, disclosing true facts about the security of
systems that we rely upon should never ever be illegal. In other words, we need to work to abolish things like the DMCA, which
create legal uncertainty for security researchers disclosing vulnerabilities in systems locked behind DRM.
The crowd’s response
to this passionate call to action? A standing ovation.
an information page with current projects, reading material and links to the Decentralized Web discussion groups and that all summit talks,
panels and Q&A sessions have been video streamed in real time, and the recorded stream is online at the Internet Archive
YouTube channel: Day 1, Day 2.
The Summit’s website has
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Chinese billionaire Jack Ma wants to pry the lid off China’s opaque charities. Ant Financial, the affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
he controls, is using the technology behind bitcoin to record transactions and improve the accountability of the country’s
The company began a tamper-proof ledger based on blockchain technology to record donations made by its more than
400 million users of Alipay, the online payments and investment service. Donors on its “Ant Love” charity
platform will be able to track transaction histories and gain a clearer understanding of where their funds go and how they’re
used, Chief Technology Officer Cheng Li said. That makes it tougher to alter records, and may help restore some of the trust
that’s been squandered over the years.
Chinese philanthropy rose 10-fold to $15 billion in the decade through 2014, accordingto the Xinhua News Agency. But the sector’s been plagued by scandals and mismanagement. In one high-profile instance,
the country’s anti-corruption watchdog investigated irregularities in the parent of Project Hope, the South China Morning
Post reported. The Red Cross Society of China came under scrutiny after a woman who claimed affiliation with the agency posted photos of her lavish lifestyle in 2011. The charity has
since denied she held any staff positions.
That’s where Ant, known formally as Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services
Group, comes in, Cheng said. The project kicks off via a tie-up with the China Social Assistance Foundation, as a number of larger charities consider clambering aboard. The company calls the initiative a milestone for Ant Love, which
has connected users with more than 1,000 charitable organizations and helped with donations of over 600 million yuan as of
the end of last year.
“We hope to bring more transparency to charity and blockchain technology’s decentralized nature fits
that purpose well,” Cheng said by phone. “It means that all the information and transaction history of funds will
be more reliable and can’t be easily tampered with.”
Alibaba founder Jack Ma unveils ambitious plan
Mission: 100 million new jobs
already runs the world's biggest online shopping company, but Alibaba founder Jack Ma is not satisfied.
The Chinese billionaire has unveiled an
even more ambitious plan to expand the company's reach across the globe, creating 100 million new jobs and transforming the
global economy to create a more equitable world.
It may sound pie-in-the-sky, but the goal forms part of mission statement
of the US$261 billion company's visionary executive chairman.
In a letter to shareholders, Ma outlined Alibaba's achievements of the
past financial year - including a gross merchandise turnover of more than $195 billion (1 trillion RMB), an "unprecedented"
figure - before looking to the future.
"We have more than 430 million annual active buyers, which means
one out of every three individuals in China has made a purchase on our retail marketplaces," Ma wrote.
But, he said, while proud of Alibaba's
online shopping achievements, "we want to do far more", saying that the benefits of globalisation had not been spread
evenly, but that "digital disruption will bring us closer to a level playing field for young people and small businesses".
are not merely trying to shift buy/sell transactions from offline to online, nor are we changing conventional digital marketing
models to squeeze out a little additional profit," he wrote.
"We are working to create the fundamental digital and physical
infrastructure for the future of commerce, which includes marketplaces, payments, logistics, cloud computing, big data and
a host of other fields."
The Alibaba group of companies, founded in 1999, accounts for 60 per cent of all
Chinese online sales, and this year overtook Walmart as the world's largest retailer.
It has made Ma the second richest man in Asia, with a net worth of US$28.5 billion.
THE NEW 'NATURAL RESOURCE'
It's through cloud computing that Alibaba aims to expand its reach, and the company has been investing in
the technology as part of a strategy that sees shoppers' data as the contemporary equivalent of mineral riches.
"Over the next 30 years, with computing
power as the new 'technology breakthrough' and data as the new 'natural resource,' the landscape of retail, financial services,
manufacturing and entertainment will be transformed," Ma wrote, forecasting a decades-long period of transformation.
"The internet revolution is a historical
inflection point, much like when electricity was introduced, and it may have an even greater impact," he predicted.
mission, he said, was to "empower merchants with the ability to transform and upgrade their businesses for the future"
and "help companies all over the world to grow".
"We believe, the commerce infrastructure we have created in China
- marketplaces, payments, logistics, cloud computing and big data, all working in concert - can be applied on a global scale
to lift up small and medium businesses and ordinary consumers around the world."
Eight years after launching, Alibaba Cloud
hosts 35 per cent of Chinese websites, while delivering cloud computing and big data services.
'100 MILLION NEW JOBS'
Ma said Alibaba was constantly adapting to the changing e-commerce environment,
as staying at the forefront of innovation was key to its continued success.
"In the coming years, we anticipate
the birth of a re-imagined retail industry driven by the integration of online, offline, logistics and data across a single
value chain," he said.
"With e-commerce itself rapidly becoming a "traditional business,"
pure e-commerce players will soon face tremendous challenges."
A shift to mobile revenue was one such
change, he said, with mobile climbing from a single-digit percentage to three-years of total revenue from Alibaba's Chinese
retail marketplaces, in the space of two years.
"This is why we are adapting, and it's why we strive to play a
major role in the advancement of this new economic environment," Ma said.
Innovations like Alibaba's Qianniu app,
which helps online businesses to improve sales and marketing while enhancing efficiency, were an example of the type of projects
the company aimed to focus on.
"In 20 years, we hope to serve two billion consumers around the world, empower
10 million profitable businesses and create 100 million jobs," Ma said, adding: "This will be an even more difficult
journey than the one behind us."
LISTEN : Newstalk ZB Political Editor Barry Soper speaks to Andrew Dickens on KPMG Early Edition
- who's worth around $50 billion - met with John Key in Beijing late yesterday. He made his money through founding the
online commerce platform Ali Baba.
Standing alongside the Prime Minister, he heaped praise on the country,
which he says is loved by many Chinese.
"At least 20 of my colleagues retired from Ali Baba. They're
all very young, in their 40s, they all go to New Zealand."
"I asked what they do
apart from the golf and green things and they say it's the people there."
It wasn't all
social, with the Chinese billionaire also talking business.
Jack Ma told the entrepreneurs luncheon Kiwi businesspeople
find it difficult to access the Chinese market.
Mr Ma said he wants to make that easier with his
"We have Ali Baba University. We would either have courses in
New Zealand or invite the entrepreneurs in New Zealand to stay in China for two weeks for training."
second is that we're going to open an Ali Baba business embassy next year in New Zealand."
is in China meeting business and political leaders.
Founder of Ali Baba commits his work for Chinese on internet to generate 100 million microentrepreneur
jobs in 2010s - who else would you vote at the centre of 100 million job creation leagues?
unlike oiher years spent with bangaldeshi inspired youth, i spent 2015-2016 mainly with a class of chinese
female students - what brilliant minds and tirelss sources of human energy - i hope this summary of why the whole world can
celebrate what jack ma is doing is near to the mark - but as always look forward to editing any errors which are mine alone
email@example.com washington dc text 240 316 8157
was english language tutoring
In 1995 he was sent to the usa on an exchange mission and encountered the worldwideweb - then unknown in China. He
determined the www would be the biggest job creating innovation of his (or his generations) life and hopefully of every Chinese
entrepreneur he could valuably link into.
Over the next 15 years his wizard coding teams went from something that
was little more than an electronic yellow pages for small businesses to conceiving sustainability generation's 2 greatest
retailing platforms china or the world may ever have seen..
the taobao platform is the most valuable job creating
concept retailers have ever mediated because it reverses the western trend of globalisiation of retailers, bankers and big
corporations squeezing out local and small enterprises from having a market; how taobao did that is an extraordinarily detailed
story but note how Ma was concerned to ensure even the most cut-off of Chinese villagers could start up on tao bao (rural
ecommerce is one of the innovations that Ma has led the www purpose to linkin)
His other mall was pitched at the
more usual high cost fashions of big global merchandisers. Because of complex property laws in chinese cities, most expensive
retailers are not much of a joy to shop in. So ali baba created a lifestyle -eg celebrate singles day 11/11 shopping virtually
rather than the physically exhausting interaction in The West's biggest shopping days of the year)
consumers of ali baba can choose who they value developing most with their purchasing power as well as searching merchandise
with global image or local cultural joy
Alibaba has become china's and probably the word's largest retailing channel.
It does this with next to no merchandise but brilliant coding so that every store front on its platforms delivers with equal
reliability. Hunting out exactly how Ma forms partnerships so that big data analysis benefits the smallest enterprises and
most local consumers ought to be a job of whomever is sustainability goals greatest economist.
ensure he could compete with the chinese internet companies that raced to co-create the www that Ma had opened space for in
china, Ma IPO'd Alibaba through a process 2010-2015 while developing his secret sustainability weapon under private ownership.
AlIpay is china's number 1 financial inclusion delivery system and maybe global youth most humanly productive coding achievement
Comparing china's top 10 internet properties with the west's is very interesting. Are the consuming behaviours
on ali baba more sustainable than those on amazon or ebay or paypal? Are the learnng behaviours on baidu more sustaining of
youth than on google or coursera or microsoft's linkedin. Time will tell but note how speaking english, chinese and coding
(as well as mother tongue) are probably what educators anywhere on planet earth should NOW be most valuing their global youth's
future freedom to thrive entrepreneurially around.
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