In this talk from the 2015 Network Society World Congress, Gabor Kiss Chairman of ENVIENTA Association, UBIE member, basic income activist talks about the ENVIENTA & Qetema projects as a holistic approach to open source ecology.
Venue: Innovation Center, Intesa World Headquarters, Turin, Italy.
My name is Gabor and I was invited to talk about our ongoing projects here. I’m representing almost 50 people from our teams. Visionaries, futurists, inventors, engineers, architects, gardeners, IT & social media experts, enthusiastic volunteers. We have more than two thousand registered members in our online communities and actually millions out there – if I’m correct – with the same thinking.
We confronted with the facts: the end of social safety and infinite growth, huge inequality, collapse of the market economy, political and immigrant crisis and above all the climate change. I think we all know these issues here. But for now we become more conscious about the situation to make some changes and we have an ability to work out a new paradigm of living. A different way of growth, if you will.
We are not alone in this. Few weeks ago the UN presented the sustainable development goals. The SDGs aim to build a better planet – from eradicating hunger to preserve the ecosystem. While these goals are great, many people are very skeptical about the realiziation. These issues can’t be solved on global or national level of governance alone, especially in a market economy.
POLITICAL SYSTEM & MARKET ECONOMY
Why? Governments can create comprehensive laws for our benefits. But that’s not enough without wide understanding the world’s complexity. The problems are connected but locally different. And affluent special interests have too much power in politics and the public has too little. As a Gallup survey shows this year, government is the Nr.1 US problem before the economy and unemployment.
Then let’s take market economy. It’s inherently unsustainable. In recent decades the volume reached the peak levels of our planet’s ecosystem. The lack of the feedbacks became obvious. It could ensure the re-producing of the finite natural resources on the long run to work. The standard capitalist theory is virtually silent on the close relationship between economic activity and sustainibility.
But, there is a new way of thinking that has brought together previously distinct fields – chemistry, biology, engineering, architecture, urban planning, IT, social science – and now it’s challenging the standard economic theory. It is defining Earth as a complex, symbiotic system.
There are three pillars in order of importance from this higher perspective. The environment, the society and the economy. Our responsibility is to detect if we reversed these dependencies. Today the economic interests stand in front of the society, the environment is only externality. In a sustainable world we have to adjust the social conditions to the environment, just like economic policies, which able to serve the needs of the society.
Based on the trend analysis, we can say that if we want to save our civilization, then we must gradually return to a harmonic, stable, science-based, inherently sustainable socioeconomic model. This, like all the previous economic revolutions, can emerge only as a grassroots initiative, with a prominent role of informing people and shaping the values.
Now let’s take a look at the ENVIENTA project. It’s not a radical new invention, but an obvious solution for many issues. Sometimes a bigger impact can be achieved by simply connecting the dots. It’s especially true if it meetsbasic human necessities. ENVIENTA is a fast growing, sustainable, cost-effective, non-profit, decentralized andholistic socioeconomic model.
ENVIENTA – ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLE
If it’s too abstract, we simplified it to understand by anyone. We figured out a new lifestyle, focusing on households. A laterally scaled socioeconomic model begins at the tiniest piece of our society: the individuals and the families. To make our model time and cost-effective, we bring domestic developments under one roof.
In modern times – especially in large cities – to get food and water, energy, household objects, furniture and so on, in a reliable form subject to a lot of conditions. ENVIENTA was born as a Do it Yourself, community-based solution package for the 21st century, which provides share of know-how, resources, products, food and water for the members.
And as an open source model, it offers business plans to anyone for free, as well as full transparency.
Why open source? You can ask. If anyone can participate in development, our community can easily grow, technological breakthrough appears way faster into our daily life, instead of patent-protected R&D environments.
There were lots of pioneers on this road, of course. We have to mention the first open source ecology project by Marcin Jakubowski, the Arduino platform by Massimo Banzi, the open source software movements back in the 80’s and later the creative commons by Lawrence Lessig, the list goes on.
In an open source model, members give their own resources, creativity and experience to the commons, which is a way of self-expression. No one owns the project or the output, it’s free for anyone to use. This kind of social production is based on cooperation and mutual help.
We asked ourselves: what if we’re calling people from different fields of life working together to open source almost everything in a household? With holistic approach, it’s obvious to have few key areas merged into the system. Let’s see few examples.
WE ARE FOCUSING ON…
…the housing problem. Growing number of people with job and income, can’t afford appropriate housing. In other cases we just looking for new inventions. Either way, ENVIENTA provides cheap and well designed living for individuals or families. Collaborative architects make it simple to customise the blueprints, that we can share for free. We look very excited to the evolution of contour crafting, as the future of home constructing.
We establish common interfaces and APIs in a smart home space that is still fragmented. We need easy to use, web-based, cross-platform interfaces for any device to serve our needs of ease, security and energy efficiency. Our partners are collaborating with ENVIENTA, through open source division of products and services.
Renewable technologies right now tend to go open source. Good examples of it are the printable wind turbines and few solar flower projects we engage. It may be a good time to go solar or wind to reduce your consumption. My company is supplying the project with a nanotech product called AkkuFresh, that raises the charging ability of the Li-Ion batteries, and maintains an optimal battery life.
Today we can spend less on food with homegrown vegetables and the same time we can reduce the amount of soil and water usage. A smart hydro- and aeroponic garden monitors and tracks the environment. A mobile app give your plants a voice, make care recommendations and send you reminders. I designed a 3D printed aeroponic system, just like our partners they’re developing high efficiency, intelligent, modular, indoor gardens.
New 3D printers are capable of printing in different shapes and sizes and provide a tremendous benefit to interior designers and individuals to furnish their homes. There are millions of free available 3D models on the web and agrowing number of printable products. Our goal is to make them available for home owners, help to customize with open source softwares and printers.
Huge economic, environmental, health and security benefits are expected from the coming sensor age. Big data, useful insights, as we know. We have cooperation with startups which developing open source health diagnostic devices for everyone. We have connections to universities in Europe involving them into water and air pollution measurements in urban and rural areas, using open source eletronics.
The project is also focusing on Open Source hardware that may be useful in robotics applications and research. There are three directions of household robotics: entertainment, home appliances and education. The robots will not move around the house tomorrow, but they are getting better and smarter every year. We can start small and build step by step.
My company in South Korea plays a very active role in the field of nanotechnology with household applications from clothing, cosmetics to even surface coating. The open-source paradigm can both accelerate innovation and public investment into the field. In this way, the full potential of nanotechnology will drive the next industrial revolution, where matter can be manipulated as easily as software today.
Growing like cells, connected to each other, sharing experiences, new communities can be included in our system, which can provide for energy to each other, can do barters, can try individual systems of financial settlements, even in large distances, in different countries. We need a distributed database for financial transactions similar to bitcoin to enable private blockchains with managed permissions.
On our new website we’ll share the planning process, with version tracking. Searchable building techniques, collaborating experts, constructors, 3D printer hubs according to your location, all of these, with calculating the cost of your investments will be available on mobile, to propose the lists of available solutions in your region. It can be also a project organizer for groups.
The open source model has certain legal risks. An idea may be later taken, patented and sold for profit. As part of our purpose, we grant a non-exclusive license in all parts of this intellectual property. We do this through theCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 ShareAlike License. If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same licence as the original.
INTERNET OF THINGS
Let me tell you, right after we published our ideas, the ENVIENTA project immediately grabbed the imagination of people, including companies. Some of them has a clear view about the third industrial revolution, but only few of them know, how to engage to make a reliable profit. We think there is enough room to expand business interests in the new era, especially with an exponential thinking. But let me quote from Jeremy Rifkin:
“The Internet of Things is already boosting productivity to the point where the marginal cost of producing goods and services is nearly zero, making them nearly free. As a result the corporate profits are drying up, the property rights are weakening and an economy based on scarcity is slowly giving way to an economy of abundance.”
Our collaborating partners recognized it and adapt their business model to these changes.
Will there be an independent self-regulation above states in organized production-based communities? Perhaps, since we’re developing liquid democracy softwares for these communities. Some issues can not be solved with autonomous self-interest, but with deep collaboration in networked commons, playing an ever-greater role, complemented by government and market forces.
Gandhi envisioned an ideal economy 70 years ago based on self-sustainable villages producing tools and foods. The real revolution comes when things we produce and the villages connect to the communication, energy and logistics Internet, which makes every village a mini-IoT infrastructure that connect communities across regions. And when that happens, the economic paradigm changes. That’s the goal of ENVIENTA project.
ENVIENTA now is a registered non-profit association in Spain on Canary Islands. As we’re heading to a new economic paradigm based on abundance, that’s the right business model or legal form we think. Our project centers’ vision to create commons-based peerproduction, distinguish ENVIENTA from regular companies. It requires less finance and more social capital and the principles of commons management.
We are also in cooperation with local governments and residents. In our case we have an agreement with the owner of the land to share resources, like water, food, tools, products and know-how with each other. Just like energy we produce from renewables. The use of our electric car charging station is also free for anyone in the surroundings. It is also a next generation sharing economy model.
The manufactory where we produce almost everything we need is extended with a design studio, a 3D printing hub, a chemical lab and of course an education center with local and online trainings, MOOCS trainings. We’re planning to operate the projects centers as tech startup incubators for local or global initiatives.
The financing can be done through EU tenders, donations, private investments or crowdfunding campaigns of course. In this case of microinvestments, we can offer one week course to engage in the process of self-sufficient gardening, 3D printing, smart home design and many more.
For investors, collaborating partners and visitors arriving on our courses, the accomodation is granted at our guesthouse section. So it can be an eco holiday for you, for your friends or for your partners.
As you seen the slides before you probably think that ENVIENTA project could be a forerunner of something even much bigger thing. Right. As we created the open source ecology project it seemed obvious to apply the same solutions on a bit larger scale by calculating a suitable population of sustanibility and democratic control in a given area.
Building up project centers like ENVIENTA in a relatively short timeframe can help in modelling, developing well usable solutions for cities. In addition to a lot of advantages, now ENVIENTA became the open source division of Qetema smart city project.
The concept of the Internet of Things – to increase efficiency and productivity – suddenly begin to make sense in a city that is smart in its environment, people, mobility, economy, governance and ultimately living.
Hundreds of new cities are expected to be constructed by 2050 to house about three billion of the world’s populations. By displaying a high quality of life based on sustainability, we believe that the existence of Qetema can set a strong example that impacts the sustainable development of future cities.
Qetema.org is where we gather to decide and discuss about almost every aspect to this city’s infrastructure in society, before we start the building process. At this stage our goal is to reach 50,000 registered users prior to the platform launch.
Financing is the same like ENVIENTA, crowdfunding or contributions from wealthy individuals who wish to seemajor sustainable changes in the system. Also governments can support Qetema with respecting our desire foralternative governance and economy.
The forecasts shows that billions of people expected to move into cities in the next decades. In the current conditions, it would be a huge disaster to the Earth. But the existence of small, decentralized hubs like ENVIENTA and smart cities like Qetema growing from it, can prove that large scale cooperation and hard work can create places where everyone is valued and the environment is protected.
Thank you very much.
IN THIS DOCUMENT’S FIRST PART WE’RE INTRODUCING THE ENVIENTA PROJECT. IN THE SECOND CHAPTER WE’RE EXAMINING THE WIDESPREAD OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDIVIDUALS, COMMUNITIES, EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, COOPERATING BUSINESS PARTNERS AND INVESTORS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROJECT.
The Network Society Project
The Network Society World Congress is the main yearly event of the Network Society Project, allowing delegates to discuss in person its themes, plan actions for the following year, and to meet with stakeholders from government, industry and associations with similar interests.
The Network Society World Congress is about the decentralization and distribution of the fundamental pillars of the nation state and the consequences for economic activity and social organization. Leading speakers analyze the technologies that are at the basis of this fundamental shift. Debate strategies need to adapt to the unstoppable changes that are rapidly arriving.