Author Archives: Philip Sheldrake

Are you human? Or a mere user?

hi-project network society blog post

Data is the new crude oil. That is well known. And refining it to form information, then knowledge, and perhaps wisdom if we’re lucky, is tantalizingly nascent courtesy of the World Wide Web and related technologies. Except it isn’t.

Power resides with those with the servers.

Historically complex and expensive to acquire, configure and maintain, servers have been the domain of Big Gov and Big Co. Yet such organizations could derive more value by empowering each citizen, each customer, each employee, etc. with similar capability, particularly as servers are much transformed from those of old. Indeed, it’s one of those delicious situations where one gets richer by giving something away.

We have a way of looking at this we call the human interface.

The hi:project pioneers the human interface (HI), the successor to the user interface (UI). We celebrate the human not the user, the individual not the worker, the person not the consumer, helping everyone contribute more value to and derive more value from society and the organizations in their lives. The architecture this creates improves aspects of our use of the Web including privacy, decentralization, digital inclusion and accessibility. It’s empowering. It helps inculcate a citizen-centric Internet of Things rather than some Skynet dystopia.

Most importantly we’re not asking anything of individuals, for that would lead to very slow and far from universal adoption; witness the failings of personal data stores in recent years. Rather, the hi:project is designing an architecture that places new emphases on existing technology and Web standards to deliver advantages to organizations as they deliver the advantages of the human interface to the individuals important to them, most obviously their customers.

Here’s a presentation that gives you an overview. Do join our project – we’re open, decentralized and non-profit.

This post is by Philip Sheldrake, UK Ambassador of Network Society, architect of the hi:project.