alberto cottica

alberto cottica.png


“When people are sharing a space, there is a strong and visible incentive to produce public goods, because they do not go scarce.” On place-based innovation and going solarpunk.

Original Tweet:

 Instead of advocating for employers to give employees full freedom on whether to show up for work or not, I can myself start a company that does this.

imagine that thinking on a more ginorm/small scale.. ie: rather than choosing an issue you care about.. each of 7bn people start each day w a focus on their curiosity (ie: self-talk as data) allowing for global equity: everyone getting a go everyday

Activism entails a cost that must be balanced against other *needs (income, security, professional realization…), whereas, if you align financial incentives with the “change you want to see in the world”, your path becomes clear and peaceful.

imagine only *needs we focus on are authenticity and attachment (maté basic needs).. and trust the emergence that would follow from such an undisturbed ecosystem

What we are seeing, roughly, is two things. One is an intense desire to claim, extend, deepen and beautify public spaces.

city sketchup ness

..The other one is a strong utopian drive. We see a strong aspiration to a full redesign of everyday life starting from first principles, to making one’s own rules. It’s a sort of “intentional communities redux”.

rev of everyday life

We had the first breakthrough in 2014, with the unMonastery in Matera; we prototyped a “non-religious monastic order for living and working together, in the service of a local community”


As soon as Matera won the title, it fell prey to re-organisation and political squabbling. Activities were dropped. Momentum dissipated. Eventually a group of former unMonasterians found their way to starting their own organization and moving to the Athens area, where they continue to develop the concept at a much slower pace. This made us very wary of doing this kind of work within funded project cycles.

graeber grant law and graeber min/max law

We started making temporary homes in regions where we do some work, and are interested in staying. The first such place was in Kathmandu in 2015. Two people from Edgeryders lived there during six months, and there was an extra room that would be given to people in the community that were curious about what we were doing, no strings attached.

In early 2018 we did the same thing, on a larger scale, in Northern Africa. We rented a villa in Sidi Kaouki, on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, and launched a program for people in the MENA region to develop open source projects together.

The Sidi Kaouki house turned out to be “too artificial” to be sustainable.

Also, local authorities were quite suspicious of these weird foreigners. We then shifted to supporting a community member from Tunisia, a young woman called @Yosser , who dreamed of a space in her own city, Medenine.

*imagine starting in her/his own room.. everyday.. yet still.. in the city.. and.. as the day

In 2017, we took it much closer to home – in our home, in fact. Edgeryders is based out of a compound in Brussels we call The Reef, after coral reefs offering a scaffolding for many species to interact within an ecosystem with no central control. The Reef consists of two duplex lofts joined by a courtyard

Coral reefs string together thousands of species in a complex ecological web that results in incredibly abundant and diverse life in the most nutrient-poor waters on the planet. He can see many equivalents in the social world, including the Internet and, yes, certain shared spaces.

the whole awkward, even painful discussion about who gets what from the value produced in common is sidestepped. Everyone can have everything!


To the extent that finance is needed (not always, not for everything), finance needs to be patient, well beyond the political cycle.

not common\ing

money/measure is distraction/disturbance to common\ing / undisturbed ecosystem


(2012) Designing Collective Intelligence: Alberto Cottica at TEDxBologna


Economist, expert on collaborative public policies and online participation. He works at the Council of Europe and at the University of Alicante. It is committed to making the action of government more open and intelligent, using the Internet to draw on the collective intelligence of citizens. Passionate about the mathematics of networks to learn how to design emerging social dynamics. He was also a rock musician, but he’s trying to stop.

notes from talk

3 min – if we wish to solve these problems.. perhaps we need tools at same scale as problems they are meant to solve..

4 min – on democracy and rep ing.. even smartest.. best meaning.. hardest working of rep’s cannot hope to incorporate in her mental maps..  all of the wealth of info/skills/passion of citizens.. so almost all of available brain power is lost at step 1

today we have means (as it could be..) to listen to all the voices.. sans representation ness..

so let’s.. because what we need most is the energy of 7bn alive people

then that person makes decisions that are implemented thru admin processes.. a transmission mech designed to be a simple relay of decisions made at the has a lot of advantages but one of them is not that it deals well w the unexpected.. and that includes.. it can’t really process any unsolicited info/advice coming from as you can see in rep democracies you really have not very many people making decisions.. and the people that are.. can’t really interact freely because most of them are locked into place in a hierarchy

decision making.. thru too much admin ness

so.. not enough people.. not enough interaction.. no emergence..  you are still at the individual level..

indeed.. the dance will never dance.. till we find a means to listen to all of us .. has to be all of us

5 min – there is another way we might cook up collective action.. it’s called participation.. in a participatory democracy.. citizens find an issue they care about and join a discussion about it

imagine doing that daily.. w/7bn people .. ie: a mech to listen to daily self-talk ..using that as data to connect people locally

but rather than ‘finding an issue’ they care about.. just listening for and facilitating curiosities

no info is lost

really..? i’m wondering if we’re losing the essence of what we need for the dance.. ie: curiosity.. if we don’t start with self-talk first thing each day.. just like rep ing is a compromise.. so too is having people ‘finding issues’ (seems to me like spinach or rock rather than all the possibilities that curiosity offers)

so might expect emergence.. but problem is that participation does not scale.. as number of participants increases.. so does the complexity cost of participation.. process becomes unmanageable and breaks down.. so.. can use it to run a village but not whole planet.. it is powerless in face of global problems

let’s a try a process to facil the chaos of 7bn truly free people.. ie: 2 convers.. as infra

6 min – now we have internet and mass participation looks like a serious possibility.. ie: wikipedia..

works because of self selection and social networks

again .. imagine if it’s not self selection.. but self revelation/uncovering ness.. ie: eudaimonia

8 min – the products of that interaction are emergence.. but rules of interaction are designed

9 min – edgeryders is a distributed thinktank.. is edgeryders scalable..? .. i can measure that..


10 min – first i model edgeryders as a network of commons.. individuals are connected when they come into each other’s contact.. then i run an algo that looks at connectivity structure of this network and breaks it down into sub communities.. a sub community is defined by its members being more connected w each other than w the rest of the network

let’s try this: 2 convers.. as infra

11 min – as numbers increase.. not increase in noise.. rather .. increase in specialization

14 min – we need to get over issues of representative ness.. we need to lead by example

graeber model law



find/follow Alberto:

link twitter

Economist, musician, European citizen online. Runner. Data scientist-in-training.

bruxelles, belgium

founder and chief researcher of edgeryders


sci fi econ lab