In his student flat in Colchester, Jack Howe is staring intently into his computer screen. He is picking the team for Ebbsfleet United's FA Trophy Semi-Final match against Aldershot . Around the world 35,000 other fans are doing the same thing, because together, they own and manage the football club. If distributed networks of people can run complex organizations such as football clubs, what else can they do? Us Now takes a look at how this type of participation could transform the way that countries are governed. It tells the stories of the online networks whose radical self-organizing structures threaten to change the fabric of government forever. Us Now follows the fate of Ebbsfleet United, a football club owned and run by its fans; Zopa, a bank in which everyone is the manager; and Couch Surfing, a vast online network whose members share their homes with strangers. The founding principles of these projects -- transparency, self-selection, open participation -- are coming closer ... Written by
Us Now Official Site
"There's a whole new model emerging whereby we - the public - become part of the government."
Using eloquent and inspiring interviews interlaced with slick aerial, urban, and animated footage and backed by a deep soundtrack of warm strings, Gormley's superbly paced and cohesive film clearly demonstrates to us the massive democratic potential held by the internet.
"Opacity hides things, but it also helps build the scandals that cause politicians masses of trouble." A significant remark considering, say, the expenses scandal that swept through British politics in 2009.
The film's subject matter is incredibly relevant to the rapidly evolving role of the internet in our lives today, and the optimism generated in the viewer over 59 minutes is rare and uplifting.
"We've seen lots of changes in the past that could POTENTIALLY lead to a better world, but which have resulted in, say, First World War trench warfare or genocide in the Second World War. We should, therefore, be careful about having too Utopian a vision for how these changes will play out."
As an important benchmark documenting the contemporary circumstances and laying bare huge arenas of unexplored potential for powerful collaborative use of the internet in what are fast-changing times, this succinct, observant film will no doubt be as fascinating retrospective viewing in years to come as it is today.
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