A group organized without an organizer, coordinated without a coordinator, and led without a leader. Such structures exist in decentralization where many equal parties work together following an internal system. The social system depends on the cooperation of the whole in order to work and function as intended. Decentralized systems are becoming more apparent within our social structures however they are not always recognized. Our society leans towards a centralized way of thinking and sees the whole pattern of a system. Patterns lead to the idea of some sort of organizer that orchestrates the pattern. Things have a cause, and therefore a controlling factor. The centralized control mindset seemed to lead scientific theories until recently. Centralized systems seemed to be the only ones existing and the only ones that provided a solution. Bird flocks used to be thought of as having a leader the controlled the path of flight. People have relied almost entirely on centralized strategies, ignoring the decentralized approach.
Mitchel Resnick states that we have entered an Era of Decentralization. There is a trend that shifts toward decentralized structures, abandoning centralized hierarchies. Scientists have found more and more evidence of such structures in the systems with every scale from political structures dealing with a whole nation, to microorganisms.
The text states (pg 7)
“[…]neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it … he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his invention.” Adam Smith
This paragraph reminds me of the Prisoner’s Dilemma in a way. Two neighbors might choose to share resources in order to have less, but stable income. If one tries to use up more land (resources) then they come out on top, but have income for a shorter amount of time. As in the quote, if every individual “intends only his own gain,” than that implies that between the two neighbors sharing resources would not happen but rather each would only worry about their own income.
So far we had gone through a lot of exercises that applied decentralized models and have visited a couple of places that apply this structure. Meerkat and WOW follow a decentralized system with success. Do you think this is the right model to follow in order to enforce collaboration?
Can you think of an example where a centralized approach took place, but a decentralized one might have worked better? Or the other way around.
What is necessary to support a decentralized module? What factor does communication play?
Viki & Gus