Monday, January 26, 2015

Blockchain Consensus Models Increase the Information Resolution of the Universe

There is ample opportunity to explore blockchains as a new form of information technology, including what consensus models as a core feature might mean and enable. A key question is “What is consensus-derived information?” that is, what are its properties and benefits vis-à-vis other kinds of information? Is consensus-derived information a different kind or form of information? One way of conceiving of reality and the universe is as information flows, where blockchain technology helps to delineate three distinct levels of information:
  1. Level one: Dumb, unenhanced, unmodulated data
  2. Level two: Socially-recommended data. These are data elements enriched by social network peer recommendation, which has been made possible by networked Internet models. The quality of the information is denser because it has been recommended by social peers. 
  3. Level three: Blockchain consensus-validated data. Now a third level of data has been exposed, blockchain consensus-validated data, data’s highest yet recommendation level based on group consensus-supported accuracy and quality. Not just peer recommendations, but a formal structure of intelligent agent experts, have formed a consensus about the quality and accuracy of these data. Blockchain technology thus produces a consensus-derived third tier of information that is higher resolution in that it is more densely modulated with quality attributes, and simultaneously is more global, more egalitarian, and freer-flowing. The blockchain as an information technology provides high-resolution modulation regarding the quality, authenticity, and derivation of information.

Consensus data is thus data that comes with a crowd-voted confirmation of quality, a seal of approval, the vote of a populace standing behind the quality, accuracy, and truth value of the data, in its current incarnation effectuated by a seamless automated mining mechanism. The bigger questions are “What can a society do with this kind of quality of data?” or more realistically, “What can a society do with this kind of widespread mechanism for confirming data quality?

Thinking of the benefits of consensus-derived information only helps to underline that blockchain technology might be precisely the kind of core infrastructural element, and scalable information authentication and validation mechanism, necessary to scale human progress and to expand into a global and eventually beyond-planetary society. Further, blockchains are a system of checks and balances that might help to effectuate not only friendly Blockchain AI, but also the transition to a future world of multipsecies intelligence. The speculative endgame vision is that the universe is information, where the vector of progress means transitioning toward higher-resolution information flows. Information may be conserved, but its density is not. Even beyond conceiving of blockchain technology as a core infrastructural element to scale the future of human progress, ultimately it might be a tool for increasing the information resolution of the universe.

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