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The internet was invented for the purpose of redistribution: to move computing power from one place to another. Today, the cloud both has and has not fulfilled this dream. On the one hand, users anywhere can borrow cycles from servers deep in the forests of Oregon or high on the mountains of Guizhou. On the other, those servers belong to just a handful of companies. Data analytics and machine learning have made it possible to optimize supply chains linking every part of the world. But they have not spread production or profits evenly. As blockchain evangelists aim to distribute trust, and distributed-cognition theorists describe a world of matter vibrating with consciousness, this issue will explore the distributive aspects of digital technologies. New futures are always arriving; they are never evenly distributed.
Futures are always arriving. They are never evenly distributed.
Redundancy and resilience at the US Postal Service.
An argument for bioreactor-brewed meat.
Parliaments of the Earth
The electric possibilities for democratic power.
Mutual Aid Stations
An analysis of tech worker organizing in the Global South.
What we talk about when we talk about data.
Time to Death
A report on algorithms that predict mortality, and breed inequality.
On seeing poverty as a technological problem.
Don’t Call It a Throwback: Keolu Fox on the Past, Present, and Future of Genetic Data
A conversation about digital genetic data and equity.
From the Bottom to the Top: Mai Ishikawa Sutton on the Decentralized Web
Who has power in the distributed web?
What it’s like to build a union inside a trillion-dollar tech company.