We think and Us Now: the realities of a web transformed world

Logo of Us Now documentary film

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Yesterday I watched two videos about the realities of living in a world that has been transformed by the web. The first was a brilliant documentary made a couple of years ago called  “Us Now”.

This documentary challenged the way that we live, the way we interact with each other, the way our businesses are organised and most particularly the way that the internet has enabled us to really collaborate and make decisions together which challenges the present political system that we call “Democracy” but which is in reality just us having our say on events once in maybe four years and then delegating people to make decisions on our behalf.

There is an excellent section in the film which looks at a football (soccer) club called Ebbsfleet United which is not only owned by its fans but also effectively run by them in that they have gone down the road of having the fans pick the team for the coach and even decide on substitutes as the game goes on. Not only were the team successful when they shot the film but actually managed to reach the F.A. Trophy Final at Wembley and won it! To see about this amazing experiment in democratic ownership and decision making in a sports club see: http://www.myfootballclub.co.uk/

There was also a spotlight on Zopa which is effectively an internet collectively owned bank. They lend money to people based on contributions, some of them very small like £10, from individuals. They are not a mega-business yet but may well become a challenge to the established banks.

Overall it is a powerful and challenging film that shows how nearly every aspect of our lives has been transformed by the web revolution and like all good documentaries it asks questions about the future and in particular whether our political leaders have the courage to “let go” and allow a form of democracy always aspired to but never really reached, to take place.

The film does not shirk from the questions of security and relevance in an age where everything is potentially open and everyone can feel under a spotlight all the time. It deserves to be looked at though and in many ways I found it much more convincing and relevant than the B.B.C. series “The Virtual Revolution” .

The Charles Leadbetter video, “We Think” runs along similar lines to the “Us Now” video. It is animated and short but makes some important points. If you are a teacher and wanting to discuss the web revolution in your class then this may be the video to use…. it makes the important points about how our world has ben transformed by the web and how we cannot go back to the 19th century factory/mass production consumer led society that many of us still think we live in.

Both videos will challenge students to think and reflect… hopefully it will get them to decide their views on the world they have effectively grown up in and what direction they want to take our world when they have the chance to lead or collaborate in shaping its future.

 

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