Alexandre Leforestier, founder of Panodyssey: “The tech industry is the Silk Road 2.0”


Panodyssey, the European social community devoted to writing, needs to develop an alternative choice to right now’s disturbing digital setting.. Voxeurop met with its founder, Alexandre Leforestier.

By its Inventive Room European Alliance, a bunch of 9 European companions – Voxeurop amongst them –, Panodyssey goals to increase all through Europe, to the advantage of authors, creators and media actors

Voxeurop: In just a few phrases, what’s Panodyssey?

Alexandre Leforestier: Panodyssey is a social community devoted to collaborative and inventive writing. It’s a digital house the place novice {and professional} authors and writers can write, publish and monetise content material in an built-in digital portfolio, reaching their audiences organically, and audiences will have the ability to handle their algorithm and personalise it.

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Why ought to authors and media be enthusiastic about Panodyssey?

There are a number of causes. The primary, most typical purpose is the fatigue induced by the algorithms that we expertise and endure on social media, that prohibit us, stress us, bombard us with commercials. Digital content material is turning into increasingly exhausting, and there’s a place for the creation of various experiences which can be calmer and extra accountable.

It’s additionally essential to grasp that these algorithms strongly influence our range and creativity by pushing us to purchase into their system if we would like our work to be seen. Creativity takes time, and a sure means of doing issues. This social community is constructed, designed for creators, to foster that collaborative imaginative and prescient, to permit them to take their time, and to guard their creations.

We’re unquestionably the primary social community on this planet to instantly give attention to respecting and defending mental property, and contemplating how we are able to encourage – and even industrialise – the collaborative circulation. The expertise is there, the tasks are there, however what’s lacking is the instrument that channels these tasks, needs and abilities into inventive, collaborative tasks, and brings them naturally to their audiences.

In your web site you additionally point out complying with the European Fee’s standards for the safety of on-line shoppers, the Common Knowledge Safety Regulation (GDPR), and the Digital Providers Act (DSA). By that, you imply that you’re cooperating with European rules?

Precisely, and I’d even say that we didn’t watch for these new legal guidelines to incorporate the brand new requirements in our undertaking. You point out the DSA [which regulates digital platforms]. These rules don’t apply to Panodyssey, as we’re at the moment a small firm, however we need to be a mannequin. From the start, we built-in extraordinarily robust parts into our undertaking and its technical working.

For instance, certifying the identification of individuals publishing, and setting up mental property registers to determine who does what. With these efforts, we hope to instantly – and in the long run – improve the creativity of the content material disseminated. We don’t have to purchase into the social media recreation, which is a distorted numbers recreation: faux profiles, faux information, faux feedback, faux likes, faux views… In my view, this faux kingdom alerts the tip of the web as a public sphere, 20 years after it emerged.

Emotion is at the moment integral to those functions, however we don’t must stress individuals out. That’s the reason we made a agency, daring choice: no promoting on our social community. Which means which you could select your personal algorithm, as a result of it features independently of our financial mannequin. And that modifications all the pieces.

Is a DSA a step ahead for European shoppers?

Completely. This growth adopted the GDPR – in a way, we took care of customers first, their privateness, their knowledge, earlier than turning to content material creators. At the moment, what we need to know is how, within the digital industrial panorama, we are able to develop a European tech trade. As a result of that’s what is at stake – we clearly discuss in regards to the automotive trade, agri-food and every kind of different issues, however we’ve got to understand that the digital financial system is a everlasting and quickly increasing a part of the world financial system. It’s crucial that we begin laying the foundations of European tech tasks.

The elephant within the room is the omnipresence and the quasi-monopoly of American “Large Tech”.

Sure, and that’s why we’ve got to work along with them. These firms are taking sluggish, timid steps in direction of turning into ”cleaner”, however we have to intensify these parts of regulation by creating new requirements and financially supporting long-term tasks. These should not tasks that may develop into worthwhile with a short-term imaginative and prescient, given the investments that should be made and right now’s excessive industrial stakes.

Do you assume that the DSA will assist to re-establish a stability between American and European firms?

I hope so. We are going to want one, two, perhaps three DSAs… It’s step one on an extended street, as a result of financial warfare is extraordinarily violent and fully with out pity. It is rather troublesome to develop European digital gamers – it’s one thing that France has undeniably did not do, and Europe has realised. Content material is the uncooked materials of the digital financial system – even earlier than knowledge – and regardless of the sector, all of that has left for the suburbs of San Francisco. We urgently must give attention to European sovereignty, as a result of if we don’t, there isn’t any level in worrying in regards to the social, societal, or financial harm. We are able to solely act at a European stage on this continent, and we’ve got to do it shortly and with important funding.

Le niveau européen est le seul niveau à pouvoir le faire sur ce continent, mais il va devoir le faire vite et avec des moyens très significatifs.

There are additionally problems with democracy at play – knowledge is among the citizen’s most treasured possessions, and that raises a query of safety. Is investing in a European digital trade additionally defending the inhabitants?

All of the centres of data, espionage and crowd manipulation are on the coronary heart of our societies and the geopolitical stakes of digital know-how. 

Undoubtedly. We aren’t simply speaking about financial warfare! Data, espionage and crowd manipulation are on the centre of our societies and the geopolitical stakes of digital know-how. The tech trade is the brand new Silk Street! The state of affairs in Ukraine has demonstrated that the echo chambers right here and the opposite aspect of the Russian border are in no way the identical, and that the web has a agency grip on our hip pockets and our brains. It’s significantly harmful – a instrument that’s at all times on us and that may have an affect on the emotional state of its customers at any second.

Panodyssey claims to be an alternative choice to GAMMA – Google, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, Amazon. What does it imply to be an alternative choice to right now’s virtually all-powerful monopolies?

Being an alternate implies that Panodyssey is the seed of  a special ecosystem. Being an alternate means taking the primary steps in direction of range within the social functions of this digital house, with values that aren’t the identical as these of our friends and functionalities that work in a different way. Our driving drive is totally different, as a result of our goal is totally different. What unites us is range in all areas. That’s what it means to be an alternate: not being pressured to dwell in a homogenous world the place there are one, two or at most three gamers. That’s unacceptable. That’s the place we are able to suggest an alternate, in the long run.

Do you assume that sooner or later there can be a mess of smaller gamers, quite than just a few massive ones?

Undoubtedly – and in any case, historical past typically repeats itself. There are moments of focus, and moments when the focus dissipates. The sort of system can solely proceed if there are extraordinarily robust societal fundamentals. We should create a range of operators, an financial system with stakeholders, creators, operators, applied sciences… and that’s how, in the long run, we are able to create an alternate. We name ourselves different as a result of Panodyssey sees itself as a constructing block.

By shifting towards a digital house with out monopolies and with extra separate, horizontal social networks, gotten smaller for smaller communities, aren’t we shifting towards a world with populations which can be much less related, however higher related?

I’m undecided they’d be much less related. In any case, I feel that there are people who find themselves sick of being related. They should be higher related, that’s important. Now we have gone in a route that, personally, I discover worrying – previously we talked about synthetic intelligence, now we’re speaking in regards to the metaverse, however what’s subsequent? Will issues get even worse? The European Fee completely should develop new regulatory devices for these new phenomena.

At the moment we’re seeing a complete vary of industries return to their roots – connecting higher is a part of that motion. For the second, it’s a small a part of the inhabitants, which can regularly increase; that’s why it’s essential to have tasks that show that an alternate is feasible. Above all, the web can not stay this Monsanto-style trade.

Spend money on digital to flee digital?

Each are important. Consider the time spent on digital gadgets within the final two or three years, it’s rising on a regular basis, and it’s solely going to proceed. With such loopy progress, we’ve got to create a section the place we are able to breathe. The place we are able to dwell. The place know-how serves people, and never the opposite means round.

Voxeurop is a member of the Inventive Room European Alliance (CREA), headed by Panodyssey and supported by financing from the European Fee.

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