Us Now

Us NowA film project about the power of mass collaboration, government and the Internet. 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 organisations 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-organising 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 and closer to the mainstream of our social and political lives. Us Now describes this transition and confronts politicians George Osborne and Ed Milliband with the possibilities for participative government as described by Don Tapscott and Clay Shirky amongst others.

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Ratings: 8.17/10 from 6 users.

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Comments and User Reviews

  • Andrew C

    Great video, I really like the concepts talked about. I looked into a few of the community driven enterprises and I was quite impressed. I'd give this one a watch. You are seeing a very plausible future and a possible way out of the death spiral our current system seems determined to stay on.

  • V

    This was a good documentary, but I have to interject one thing...

    There is a flaw to benign intelligence, and this documentary practically displays this trait outright! As far as history goes, governments have never been progressive at all without the aid of scientific advancement and progression outsourced from the general populace. Moreover, they've always found a way to perverse a richly communal idea into a selfishly-oppressive means to serve their own existence at the cost of neglecting social progress. Many first world governments have already emplace Internet implementations against its citizens such as IP blocks, disclosed inside use of personal info without consent, and the neglect of our freedom of right to free speech by the way of persecuting individuals who placed viral videos of the abuse of law enforcement throughout the U.S., which I have no doubt will find it's practice soon in other countries as well.

    All I'm stating is that such great ideals, such as those presented in this film, are just going to be pervasively used by our government in the future for their benefit. People need to quit thinking that benign propositions of fairness between a government and it's citizen is ever going to work... reality check, it ain't! That's why the founding fathers of the U.S. established the Constitution as a medium and guide to regulate and check the power of the current government emplace. No amount of peaceful idealist measures and propositions aren't going to change one damn thing in regards to a arrogant fear-mongering group of people... George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson would definitely agree.

  • ez2b12

    So what do we do V?

  • Andrew C

    I agree V, but their view of a collaborative system can still work within the context of modern democratic governments.

    People would still find ways to game the system. BUT if you have a large collaborative group working together, it would be far more difficult to bribe enough people in the know.

    You would need checks and balances and the constitution would still be the core element, the foundation. That being said there is defiantly something here in this video.

  • duck

    Has anyone ever noticed that in history, the ones that initiate or create the benevolent, humanistic societies are usually the ones that turn them into a inhuman monstrosities??

    Putting money, land, material things aside, there are still people that do not like other people for a vast number of reasons and no amount of societal engineering can change that. These are the very people that would twist any system to their whims much in the same way that the altruistic dreamers are trying to reinvent society in their own image now. Some people cannot get along with their next door neighbor much less someone 12,000 miles away.

    Under a plan such as presented, all communication would have to be monitored, censured, and directed into a one thought precept or you would end up with what is posted on the various comments section of this and other sites.

    Venezuela's experiment where everyone shares in oil profits has had to take over TV communication because broadcasters were pointing out large holes in the new society. Internet use is blocked in so many areas it is mostly useless. Can't have someone showing the emperor has no clothes. Toe the line or else. The excuse that was used to take over the oil companies other than they are evil was that the companies were raping Venezuela's resources. Venezuela is now doing the same to their own resources and getting diminishing returns. They are now asking for the oil companies to come back because no one thought of acquiring the expertise keep things running. I think that Edi Amin had the same problem in Africa as did others.

    A big push is on now to find alternative energy. What is the Venezuela type countries going to do if that comes about. Arabia has asked for a percentage of the taxes that the United Nations want to levy on all producing countries. They have stated that it will be needed to protect them from the loss of oil income when a new energy source is invented/found... So, we will all be supporting the now oil rich countries in the matter that they have been accustomed to when a new energy supply is found. I doubt that their egos will survive being the recipient of world wide charity and probably will be another set of countries that will want to change the status qua...............

    Welcome to the new world order.....

  • Roan

    I think the main point of this documentary was to submit a thesis statement based on observations made about collaborative systems, not to start a revolution. To simply dump this hypothesis into the current established governments seems a little odd and highly unrealistic, anyone can see that. I believe the main point here is; that people are just beginning to find out that they are capable of successfully running complex systems collaboratively. Its only natural to question the evolution of such a trend, but its still only a poised question. To collaboratively govern is currently besides the point. There are far more realistic application this concept appears to offer.

  • Cliff

    This documentary could have been 10 minutes.

  • deepvoice

    smells like one world goverment philosophy here

  • Everriff

    Excellent documentary

  • ranii02

    agree, a very loooooooooong dry-ish documentary that states the obvious one too many times