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Research Bernoulli Institute Calendar

Colloquium Computer Science - Aral Balkan, Small Technology Foundation

When:Tu 11-06-2024 15:00 - 16:00
Where:5161.0041b Bernoulliborg

Title: Small Web

Abstract: The Small Web¹ is a web where each one of us can own and control our own places. At these places, we can choose to either be public or, importantly, communicate with each other privately.

This decentralised, peer-to-peer web of sovereign individuals stands in stark contrast to the Big Web we have today which – at least in the experience of most everyday people who use technology as an everyday thing – comprises a tiny number of centralised trillion-dollar corporate silos heavily influenced by the whims of a handful of billionaires.

As such, the Small Web is an effort to encourage a separate evolution of the web that empowers individuals (instead of corporations and governments) in an effort to safeguard human rights and democracy in the age of the global digital network.

In this talk, I will introduce you to the Small Web (including how it differs from the mainstream Big Web), explain its challenges and potential, and demonstrate how Small Web sites can be built using Kitten² and hosted using Domain³ (both experimental tools I’m developing at Small Technology Foundation⁴).

(Given how simple a development tool Kitten is to use⁵, please feel free to bring your laptops and follow along if you want to experience Small Web development first-hand.)

Finally, I will demonstrate an early version of Place – an implementation of a personal Small Web place where people can express themselves publicly as well as communicate privately with each other in a peer-to-peer topology using end-to-end encrypted messaging⁶.




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Aral Balkan

Aral Balkan¹ started programming at age 7 in the personal computer era. Four decades later, he is still at it, working to build the Small Web² at Small Technology Foundation³.

He is an accomplished speaker, having given several hundred talks at international conferences, as well as addresses to the European Parliament on the topic of human rights and technology. He is the author of the Universal Declaration of Cyborg Rights⁴ and the web0 manifesto⁵ and co-author of the Ethical Design Manifesto⁶ and Small Technology Principles⁷.

His academic background is in critical media theory and he holds an M.A. in Film and Media Production.