Progressively Peer-To-Peer: A Review of Future Perfect by Steve Johnson



Imagine gardens of roses located in every country or territory in the world. Then, imagine you are a bumble bee.

Bumble bee

Bumble bee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can go sample any rose anywhere in the world. There is no law that restricts you.

The catch? The only sense you have to detect a rose remains for sampling (i.e. the bloom has not been lopped off by a dead header and which is not occupied by one of your fellows bees) is a built-in antenna.

There is no collective hive. Information can be found in small congregations of bees, and individual bumble bees that…well…fly to his or her idiosyncratic drummer. You cannot fly to all these locations—your bumble bee body and wings have a finite capacity to fly. If you were able, you would spend most of your life searching for information or the bushes would have stopped blooming. No life-sustaining nectar either way. Poof! You land on the sidewalk and the local cat has a new play toy.

How and where does your antenna get usable information—information that is accurate, timely, and adjusted to your needs as a bumble bee in search of nectar, rather than information for a spider in search of insects for its next meal, or bushes that have been so fumigated that the nectar is not to your liking?

Future Perfect attempts to provide a methodology for answering this question. In Johnson’s book, peer progressives are the bumble bees. Each bee has information that is useful to another bee—the question is which bee?

If there was a collective hive, it would be a LeGrand Star. These frameworks are hub and spoke and if turned vertical are the hierarchical structures found in a lot of everyday life.

Peer-to-peer networks (bee-to-bee) also exist in almost every facet of life

** in government’s relations with other governments and citizens through apps and other modes of a citizen giving their opinion or reporting a problem, participatory budgeting, proxy or delegate voting, law enforcement car tag readers ,medical research and insurance exchanges;

** in journalism through the proliferation of blogs and on-line media resources,

** in the Internet through Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook (limited to the extent that it is a hierarchical company),blogs, websites, and other forms of social media and open source applications;

** in incentives through Kickstarter, Open Government Initiative, on-line competitions for the next development of the novel application, software, machine  or item;

** in the corporate world through innovative styles of management employed by Whole Foods, New Balance, Starbucks, and  Georgia Power

I bought Future Perfect thinking it would be more technically substantive, like Hello Avatar. The section of Kickstarter and like crowd funding sources was exciting as the virtual game reality in Hello Avatar.

Other than a bit on the soap box politically, which is natural given Johnson being a political junkie, I had no substantive complaints about the subject matter.

I would have liked to have seen Johnson’s take on peer progressive networks in healthcare, and the environmental causes as well as a more nuanced view of education networks. It would be interesting to read a subsequent edition of Future Progress.