Make the human information system sustainable

The human information system

This paradigm shift concerns the human information system, the flow of information between humans that is vital for mankind. In this flow we generate, own and share information in our societies

Unconstrained flow of information essential

Flow of information free of constraints is essential for living systems.
To underscore the importance of unconstrained flow of information in human societies, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) recognizes the importance of freedom to seek, receive and impart information as a human right under Article 19. Also, the same is acknowledged in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Today: Centralized information systems - Proprietary information, filtered for money

Businesses found ways to make money from the human information system. For that purpose, the obvious design of the supporting information system was to centralize it - taking possession of people’s proprietary information from their flow of information and centralized it in large data centers.
Not only that: To pass information between users as “search results,” they filter out what they don’t want us to receive and amplify what they want us to see. This happens on a large scale in our most frequently used communications tool, the Internet.
By this process, the Web actually constrains sustainability of the human information system.

Paradigm shift required: Towards more personal ownership of proprietary information

Checking the human information system against the law of sustainability, Bernard Lietaer demonstrates that dispossessing and centralizing positions our human information system in the efficiency corner, making our society increasingly vulnerable to instability and political crisis.

To ensure sustainability of the human information system we need a significant paradigm shift -  to recover from this dramatic change in the use of information by third parties.

Awareness of this necessity is growing – but we need to reverse this trend to avoid paying a high price for the consequences of continuing in the wrong direction.

Two domains must join forces to bring this shift about:


Decentralized information systems

In the book, Bernard Lietaer calls Information Technology to bring information systems to a truly decentralized setup, ceding ownership of all proprietary information to the individual user, and

Legislation for personal ownership of information

calls governments to support information technology’s move with legislation for personal ownership of information.