Mozilla Foundation Responds to Net Neutrality Threats with Daring Open-Web Initiative
Nathaniel James, Community Engagement Specialist at the Mozilla Foundation, spoke at American University yesterday about Mozilla’s “disruptive” plans to keep the internet open and accessible -- plans that could change how we think about everything from journalism to education. In a guest post, AU graduate student Trina Stout reports on the talk.--Matthew Nisbet
What is the Mozilla Foundation?
Mozilla is perhaps best known for Firefox, its web browser. Firefox is a product of the Mozilla Corporation, which is owned by the Mozilla Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is “to promote openness, innovation, and opportunity on the web.” As such, both Firefox and Mozilla’s email client, Thunderbird, are open source (anyone can contribute to the code) and free.
Mozilla believes that the open web is “the most powerful communication tool in the history of humanity,” and is concerned about growing threats to net neutrality. So the Foundation recently asked itself: What can we do, beyond offering a web browser, to keep the internet open and free?
Their answer is Drumbeat.
James describes Drumbeat as “a start-up/philanthropy hybrid within Mozilla” that seeks to connect people of various skill levels -- artists, teachers, lawyers, plumbers, coders -- to creative projects that serve to keep the web open and accessible to all. Drumbeat provides support for the projects in the form of free coding, publicity, and sometimes funding.
The goal, says James, is to make the web more “hackable, mashable, and shareable.”
Drumbeat: From Culture-Spanning Videos to Free University Education
As an example, James cited the project Universal Subtitles: an open-source tool to easily add captions to any video on the web. A barista in Chicago will be able to pull up a video, type along in the language of her choice, and then submit her subtitles.
Like Wikipedia, these captions will be editable, so if the barista misheard a word, the next user, perhaps a dentist in Tokyo, could correct it. The outcome is a searchable (because the words are now text) video that can be shared across cultures and languages.
Wikified video captioning may seem like just a neat novelty, but Mozilla intends to bring their open-source philosophy to bigger spheres, such as the arts, journalism, and education.
For education, classes have already begun at Drumbeat’s Peer 2 Peer University, where anyone, anywhere in the world, can learn college-level computer science skills for free from volunteer web developers. And anyone can suggest a course, meaning that P2PU could move faster than programs at traditional institutions. James admits that there are kinks to be worked out, such as the problem of accreditation, but hopes that P2PU will nonetheless open -- and improve -- the web.
What do you think of the idea of open-source education? Will it ever rival conventional education in the United States? What about in other countries?
--Guest post by Trina Stout, a graduate student in Public Communication at American University's School of Communication in Washington, DC. Before graduate school, she worked for the environmental news and humor site Grist.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."
- A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
- In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
- The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.
Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.
Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.
- Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
- Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
- But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.