Welcome to 'The Tools We Need'

This is a blog about the gap between the present and what I think the future will look like. Since I'm just one person and not particularly knowledgable about any one thing, my hope is that those of you interested in this premise will contribute and make my ideas here better.

To give you an idea of what kind of things you might read about here, let's go over some of my big assumptions about the future:

  • People should, and will, own the data that they create.
  • A decentralized internet, and economy, is inevitable.
  • Technology will eventually redistribute wealth to the masses

While I don't feel like a radical or an optimist, some of my claims may sound like I am. I just see forcing functions at play that convince me that these are eventualities. It's not to say that the transition will be smooth or bloodless, but just that we will eventually get there as a civilization and as a species.

The forcing function's inner workings are not clear to me, but its results are the clash we're seeing between our large data companies like Google and Facebook, and a growing sense from the public that their business models are not only creepy, but unfair.

Very few people think about getting paid for simply having a preference, or going about their daily life, but Google and Facebook's wealth is built on exactly that data. Why should you not get your cut of the money?

The reason you don't get paid for your data is because there is no infrastructure in place for you to harvest it and sell it yourself. You could think of it as the tool makers collecting all the value of your labor, but in this case the tools are also directing your labor to be more profitable for them.

The Tools We Need is about how we reverse the power dynamic. I'll do my best to surface helpful tools that are out there already, and also outline the contours of the tools that need to be built. Much of the focus will be about online privacy and anonymity, but that's really just the first step in taking control of your very valuable data.

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Also read: Why I Started 'The Tools We Need'

Cover image by Zak Sakata on Unsplash

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