We’re imagining, studying, and building public spaces and public goods on the internet.

79 Taking Stock of the Everything Store with Moira Weigel Reimagining the Internet

For our first ever episode talking about Amazon (somehow?), Logic Magazine co-founder Moira Weigel tells us what she learned about Amazon by spending years interviewing its third-party sellers. From hand sanitizer hoarding to Chinese vendors getting “dragon boated,” Moira gives us a fascinating look at a massive, unregulated economy. Moira Weigel is assistant professor in… Continue reading 79 Taking Stock of the Everything Store with Moira Weigel

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What is Digital Public Infrastructure?

The Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure studies, imagines and builds a new, more resilient Internet for the public good; an Internet guided by the values of users and their communities rather than those of corporations and investors.

What is Digital Public Infrastructure?
The Internet today consists of what could be described as accidental public infrastructure, including social media platforms like Facebook, advertising marketplaces like Google AdSense, or music distribution networks like Spotify. These infrastructures are only public insofar as they are open to the public and therefore host an increasing proportion of our civic life.They often exploit the private data of their users while restricting those users from contributing meaningfully to platform governance. 

At iDPI, we are building an internet full of spaces that are intentionally public, with economics and governance driven by their users. We aim to accomplish this by learning from successful examples of user-driven and user-governed online spaces as well as experimentations in building community-driven spaces at a small scale.

Can such spaces foster the accountability, safety, and stability needed to shape a healthy online public sphere? Can they connect users across divides of identity and ideology? Can they not only host communities that gather both online and offline, but help sustain those communities?

The ideas that animate iDPI have been outlined in a set of academic papers and articles in the popular press:

The Case for Digital Public Infrastructure
Building a More Honest Internet
What is Digital Public Infrastructure?