The event “Decentralized Nations” was a great success with more than 160 registrations, and was also our first hybrid event. Because our speaker Michael Kolain was in Berlin at the time of the event, and a presence hub could be organized without much trouble, we also had some participants (under compliance with hygiene measures) on site. Thus, we not only linked the academic fields of law, democracy and computer science, but also the real and virtual world.
The insights from the talk and the results of the break-out rooms that followed were manyfold. The world of 2022 is globally and digitally connected and fractured by multiple crises. Questions of power, participation, and collaboration arise with particular urgency – and the younger generation is asking and seeking clear, effective, and participatory solutions.
While Internet platforms dominate the way “the Internet” is used, there is an ongoing debate about the decentralization of the digital world. The idea behind distributed systems and computing is to eliminate powerful intermediaries, make data flows transparent, and empower individuals. Combating authoritarian tendencies with the separation of powers and a vibrant civil society is also the core idea of modern democracies. The idea of subsidiarity and federalism is to make political decisions at the lowest possible level.