It’s super lovely that Berlin has a lab which does these kind of user tested innovations on city processes. The work that needs to be done is written up here and it’s relatively straight-forward (there are just no short-cuts).
What we need with the Bürgeramt though is not 10% more appointments but the automation of at least half of the processes there to no longer need human intervention. We needed that 10 years ago.
One state, BW, in Germany took the opportunity with the reform of the property taxes to implement something like a Land Value Tax (at a very moderate 1.3‰ rate) and it is doing exactly what it should be doing.
The man crying for sympathy in the video is sitting on a plot of land worth €2.5M.
The next bit of insanity has to do with the German Datenschutz nutters. This is a small but virulent group of people who have blown up privacy issues to the point where most of Germany is still afraid to use the internet.
It started with this:
A bunch of schools in Karlsruhe were attacked by ransomware and their servers had to be taken offline.
Now the first question that comes to mind is of course: Why does a school have servers? Don’t all schools run in the cloud these days?
Well, in Germany they don’t. There are lots of agencies and levels of decision makers all of whom are too busy covering their own ass and none of them will say: “Schools can use cloud solutions.” People and organizations being as risk averse as they are in Germany, nobody will use cloud solutions without such a declaration.
So what do they do instead? They have to get servers and people to install and maintain barely useable non-cloud collaborative software tools. Nobody in their right mind would use these tools and kids in private schools of course don’t either, but this dysfunctional ideology is foisted upon kids who have no other choice.
These tools are not usable in any way, barely work even in the best of circumstances, are tremendously costly in maintenance and then break like in the news above. If you ever get to see from the inside how a normal organization manages their IT (i.e. poorly), from that point on you will beg, plead and scream to have everything put in the cloud.
I agree with their core point that critical infrastructure should be protected better and in just doing that they’ll generate more than enough work for all the security consultants in their network. Just stop scaring normal people because you benefit from the widespread climate of fear and hands off the kids.
Important prototyping work to show how German government forms can be much better and much friendlier than what’s out there right now.
Getting anything like this to production will be very very difficult without a lot of systemic changes and groundwork done first.
Here’s one of many possible takedowns of Luhmann’s work that should give you a good taste of how useless it is without having to read any of the works themselves. Imagine living in a society where they got this instead of ANT.
The block quoted below for instance is exactly the same vibe as Rudolf Steiner’s nonsense.
Durch diese Beschreibung ziehen sich auch die Funktionssysteme, also Wirtschaft, Wissenschaft, Politik usw. über die gesamte Welt. Ihm fällt dabei allerdings schon auf, dass es gewisse Bereiche gibt, die scheinbar mehr Einfluss auf das Weltgeschehen ausüben als andere. Vielleicht, um eine zu vertikale Formulierung zu umgehen, die er nur für die Feudalgesellschaften vorsieht, nutzt er für dieses Ungleichgewicht die Unterscheidung nach Zentrum und Peripherie (Luhmann 2005: 249). Dabei sind wir, die aufgeklärten und fortschrittlichen Länder des Westens, natürlich im Zentrum.
For my notes, a bunch of receipts about just one of the dark pasts of the German Green Party.
The past couple of weeks I had a bit of a weird feeling because there weren’t any new episodes from Piratensender Powerplay. Then I found out Friedemann is out sick but also that they have a Patreon with extra episodes.
I immediately reallocated some pledges and am now supporting them. This is one of the best German podcasts and at times its level is up there with the top US podcasts I’ve listened to. Coming from me this is absurdly high praise.
Love to see these updates from the German Digital Service. Not sure everybody knows that that organization exists now and what they’re busy with.
The work they’re doing is really good but what’s really staggering is how much of a gap they have to bridge here. These are basic buildings blocks of digital transformation that advanced societies tackled 10-20 years ago.