Collaborating radically at MyData 2020 Conference and beyond

Artikel by André Kudra on Linkedin.

In the light of the MyData 2020 Online Conference happening next week I am issuing my first LinkedIn post! It is related to the conf motto Radical collaboration for designing the new normal and a quick read. To adequately prep I have thought through what radical collaboration means for me and esatus AG, the company I have the honor and pleasure to be with. I am summarizing my theses here so that everyone can participate in the discussion.

Collaboration without boundaries works!

To perform successful collaboration for solving global problems we must leave our “own shop” thinking behind. Luckily, there seem to be more and more people who are ready for this. This year has proven that those believing in the same values and having common goals can achieve great things together.

All this works even without personally meeting one another. Ok, it requires discipline and patience. And everyone is craving for meeting in the physical space again, that is for sure. Interesting to note that the fears of the early internet days are the exact opposite from today’s reality: Online afficionados are not alienated from real world interaction at all.  

There are many examples demonstrating that crowdsourcing useful things for mankind from many different nations, organizations and communities works well. My personal highlights are MyData with the MyData Operators initiative, Trust over IP (ToIP) Foundation and its six active working groups, Sovrin with its extensive transition program, and COVID-19 Credentials Initiative (CCI) and its workstreams with tangible use case implementations (e.g. esatus Simple2Proof).

Using data requires semantics!

Leveraging data means understanding what data means, i.e. having a semantic definition for each data item at hand. To connect systems and processes without media breaks in a true digitalized fashion, we require semantic interoperability.

Collaboratively developing standardized data schemas will be the next big joint effort and a major challenge for many. Today absorbing, handling, correlating, analyzing, understanding, and interpreting data is mostly done by “Big Tech”. In fact, data schemas may be a market of the future, and we must strive for it to be a more open one.

I am very happy to have colleagues and friends over at the Human Colossus Foundation. With ample professional experience in highly data-driven and heavily regulated industries, they developed a Dynamic Data Economy concept and are the definite experts in this field. They produce valuable i.e. practically relevant components like Overlays Capture Architecture and are deeply involved in the ToIP Decentralized Semantics working group.

Technology must serve people, not technologists!

We have many thrilling new technologies at hand which can be used for the betterment of mankind, when applied ethically right. Exploitation by “Big Tech” may have brought great benefits, but it still is what it is: Surveillance capitalism and exploitation.

Technologists are usually very good at inventing technology and only then start looking for problems it can solve. Everyone for sure is reminded of “Blockchain” which was (is?) evangelized by technologists as the silver bullet solution to anything and everything. For improving mankind’s situation, developing technology is not an end in itself. Setting it into perspective of its application and use is key, as rightfully promoted by MyData with its BLTS – business, legal, tech, society – paradigm.

Powerful technology is often complex and hard to understand even by experts, hence complexity must be shielded. People love great user experience (UX) and usually prefer the most convenient solution. We must recognize that “Big Tech” is just excellent at UX. It is up to us to make more freedom- and privacy-preserving solutions excel at user-friendliness. We at esatus AG are already at it in the Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) space which can be experienced first hand in our session SSI in action: Real-World Use Cases.

In a fully digitalized world, I consider obtaining and applying (at least basic) tech competence vital and cordially invite you to the session Making Data Literacy Happen! I highly appreciate the fascination of creating and using technology for fostering one’s own tech competence. I am the biggest proponent of honing and demonstrating own skills, a trait which has been perfectioned by the computing subculture Demoscene.

Join the community conversation!

I had the opportunity of presenting and discussing the essence of these thoughts in a MyData Conference pre-event this week. I felt I am hitting the right nerves. Let me know what you think, either right here or in the MyData Slack channel #mydata-online-2020-conference, and meet us next week at MyData 2020 Online Conference in our sessions and the esatus virtual booth!