User:Thomas Lowenhaupt

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Thomas Lowenhaupt has been a Jackson Heights resident since 1981. Since 1991 he's described his home as being in, on, at, near, or behind:

  • 75th Street, near 37th Avenue
  • Western JH
  • Little India
  • (until several years ago): behind trade fair
  • just off 37th
  • not too far from Foodtown
  • a couple of blocks from the # 7 train.

Thomas helped start the Initiative.

Here's an excerpt from a Scientific American story that partially explains the types of concerns that motivated him to do so:

In summary, it can be said that we are now at a crossroads... Big data, artificial intelligence, cybernetics and behavioral economics are shaping our society—for better or worse. If such widespread technologies are not compatible with our society's core values, sooner or later they will cause extensive damage. They could lead to an automated society with totalitarian features. In the worst case, a centralized artificial intelligence would control what we know, what we think and how we act. We are at the historic moment, where we have to decide on the right path — a path that allows us all to benefit from the digital revolution. Therefore, we urge to adhere to the following fundamental principles:
  1. to increasingly decentralize the function of information systems;
  2. to support informational self-determination and participation;
  3. to improve transparency in order to achieve greater trust;
  4. to reduce the distortion and pollution of information;
  5. to enable user-controlled information filters;
  6. to support social and economic diversity;
  7. to improve interoperability and collaborative opportunities;
  8. to create digital assistants and coordination tools;
  9. to support collective intelligence, and
  10. to promote responsible behavior of citizens in the digital world through digital literacy and enlightenment.

Levels of Interest[edit]

There are two thrusts behind my work for

Technical Application[edit]

Having spent a career developing interactive technologies I have a wealth of knowledge, skills, and connections that could make it a state-of-the-art implementation of a neighborhood communications center.

Societal Governance Exploration[edit]

With its multiple cultures mixing in the world's capital city, in an era marked by the emergence of digital capabilities, the question arises as to what we might be adding to future organization of society. Superficially at least, there's a level of acceptance by the populace of difference. Might there be a combination or mixture of ideas that are expressed, with the assistance of digital tech, that change the way we live? Thomas Lowenhaupt (talk) 18:26, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

Coop Platforms[edit]

Notes from Platform Cooperative conference , November 11, 2017.

Sasha Costanza-Chock on Design Justice

  • Home cleaners networks
  • Union taxi
  • Non extraction
  • Governance

Debby Kaplan

  • Include users with all kinds of disabilities in designing the neighborhood platform
  • independent living is based on peer to peer relationships
  • Uber disrupted decades of work to get disabled access taxis

Developers of Up and Go

  • Home cleaning coop in NYC. Marketing is the biggest problem.

Back to games[edit]

I experienced a déjà vu last month, with 2017 feeling like 2002. Back then, after a decade's effort to create an engaging website for my community board, I discovered that nobody viewed engagement with the site as a worthwhile endeavor. My clue, one of the website's key features was a discussion forum - rare or even unique on an official government website back then - where I imagined the districts 175,000 residents would delve into the issues of the day, moving us toward a better world, or at least community district. Never happened. Nobody posted a meaningful comment or even a hello for over 3 years from the site's initiation. Nobody.

Realizing that my likes and inclinations were apparently unlike those of my fellow residents, I sought a more efficacious method to facilitate resident engagement, a splash of water to enliven the dry world of policy and governance. After some research I focused my explorations on games as possible third leg to my disheartening initiative.

Reaching out, I found Susan Seggerman, a fellow ITP alum, who was on a similar path. Ultimately I joined with Susan yourself and a couple of others to develop the Serious Games, Serious Issues conference in 2004.

But my focused engagement with the games movement proved short lived. In August 2005, while working on an improved engagement process centered on the redesign of a local park, on Democracy Island in SecondLife, I received a call from a fellow in Berlin urging me to reengage with the effort to acquire the .nyc TLD. (I'd introduced an Internet Empowerment Resolution in 2001 calling for the acquisition and development of the .nyc TLD as a public interest resource.)

I agreed to what I thought would be a short term diversion, but turned into a 10 year engagement that ended with the city acquiring the .nyc TLD and my organization having started a neighborhood communication center,, in November 2016. Now, after a year + of engagement, the déjà vu has kicked in and I'm returning to the conclusion that gamification and collaboration techniques are as needed in 2017 as in 2002.

So, what's it going to be called - JH The Game. Thomas Lowenhaupt 06:11, 4 December 2017 (UTC)


For more ponderings and issues I'm dealing with, see here