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Alexandre Leforestier, founding father of Panodyssey: “The tech business is the Silk Highway 2.0”

Panodyssey, the European social community devoted to writing, needs to develop a substitute for at the moment’s worrying digital surroundings.. Voxeurop met with its founder, Alexandre Leforestier.

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

Voxeurop: In a number of phrases, what’s Panodyssey?

Alexandre Leforestier: Panodyssey is a social community devoted to collaborative and artistic writing. It’s a digital area the place beginner {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 be capable to handle their algorithm and personalise it.

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Why ought to authors and media be inquisitive about Panodyssey?

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

It’s additionally vital 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 manner 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 will encourage – and even industrialise – the collaborative move. The expertise is there, the initiatives are there, however what’s lacking is the device that channels these initiatives, needs and abilities into inventive, collaborative initiatives, 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 Basic Information Safety Regulation (GDPR), and the Digital Companies Act (DSA). By that, you imply that you’re cooperating with European rules?

Precisely, and I’d even say that we didn’t look ahead to these new legal guidelines to incorporate the brand new requirements in our mission. 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 wish to be a mannequin. From the start, we built-in extraordinarily sturdy components into our mission and its technical working.

For instance, certifying the id of individuals publishing, and putting in 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 sport, which is a distorted numbers sport: pretend profiles, pretend information, pretend feedback, pretend likes, pretend views… For my part, this pretend kingdom alerts the top of the web as a public sphere, 20 years after it emerged.

Emotion is at the moment integral to those purposes, however we don’t should stress individuals out. That’s the reason we made a agency, daring choice: no promoting on our social community. Meaning which you can select your individual algorithm, as a result of it capabilities independently of our financial mannequin. And that adjustments every part.

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. Right this moment, what we wish to know is how, within the digital industrial panorama, we will develop a European tech business. As a result of that’s what is at stake – we clearly discuss concerning the automotive business, agri-food and all types of different issues, however now we have to understand that the digital economic system is a everlasting and quickly increasing a part of the world economic system. It’s crucial that we begin laying the foundations of European tech initiatives.

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

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

Do you suppose that the DSA will assist to re-establish a steadiness between American and European corporations?

I hope so. We are going to want one, two, possibly 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 extremely troublesome to develop European digital gamers – it’s one thing that France has undeniably didn’t do, and Europe has realised. Content material is the uncooked materials of the digital economic system – even earlier than knowledge – and regardless of the sector, all of that has left for the suburbs of San Francisco. We urgently have to give attention to European sovereignty, as a result of if we don’t, there isn’t any level in worrying concerning the social, societal, or financial injury. We are able to solely act at a European degree on this continent, and now we have to do it rapidly 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 valuable possessions, and that raises a query of safety. Is investing in a European digital business 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! Info, espionage and crowd manipulation are on the centre of our societies and the geopolitical stakes of digital know-how. The tech business is the brand new Silk Highway! 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 notably harmful – a device that’s all the time on us and that may have an affect on the emotional state of its customers at any second.

Panodyssey claims to be a substitute for GAMMA – Google, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, Amazon. What does it imply to be a substitute for at the moment’s nearly all-powerful monopolies?

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

Do you suppose that sooner or later there will probably be a large number of smaller gamers, slightly than a number of giant ones?

Positively – and in any case, historical past typically repeats itself. There are moments of focus, and moments when the focus dissipates. Such a system can solely proceed if there are extraordinarily sturdy 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 will create an alternate. We name ourselves various as a result of Panodyssey sees itself as a constructing block.

By transferring towards a digital area with out monopolies and with extra separate, horizontal social networks, contracted for smaller communities, aren’t we transferring towards a world with populations which might 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 have to be higher related, that’s important. We’ve got gone in a path that, personally, I discover worrying – prior to now we talked about synthetic intelligence, now we’re speaking concerning the metaverse, however what’s subsequent? Will issues get even worse? The European Fee completely should develop new regulatory devices for these new phenomena.

Right this moment we’re seeing an entire 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 progressively broaden; that’s why it’s vital to have initiatives that show that an alternate is feasible. Above all, the web can not stay this Monsanto-style business.

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 development, now we have to create a phase the place we will breathe. The place we will stay. The place know-how serves people, and never the opposite manner 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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