Monday, March 30, 2015

Blockchain Thinking: The Brain as a DAC (Decentralized Autonomous Corporation)

Blockchains are a new form of information technology that could have several important future applications. They could be an explosive operational venue for new kinds of autonomous agents like DACs, distributed autonomous corporations. A DAC is a corporation run without any human involvement through a set of business rules based in software code. It is called a ‘corporation’ because it typically engages in corporate operations like fundraising, providing services, and making profits for shareholders. Blockchains are a software protocol upon which digital cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin run.

One potential application is blockchain thinking, formulating thinking as a blockchain process. This could have benefits for both artificial intelligence and human enhancement, and their potential integration. Blockchain thinking could be conceived as an input-processing-output computational system with several features whose benefits might include the ability to orchestrate digital mindfile uploads, advocate for digital intelligences in future timeframes, implement smart-contract based utility functions, instantiate thinking as a power law, and facilitate the enactment of Friendly AI.

Top 4 Killer Apps: Brain as a DAC:
  1. Friendly AI – Digital intelligences will likely not be running in isolation, they will want to conduct operations on smartnetworks that are possibly managed by consensus models or other mechanisms. Any agent wanting to conduct transactions on a smartnetwork will need to be in good reputational standing to do so. Smartnetwork operations could include accessing information and other resources, fund-raising, entering into contracts, and offering services. The consensus only validates and records bonafide transactions from ‘good’ agents. Thus only friendly players would be able to have their transactions executed, and that is how friendly AI could be enacted. There are some objections to this argument, but the key point is that blockchains are a checks-and-balances system that could potentially encourage certain kinds of behavior.
  2. Blockchain Deep-Learners: A crucial moment in AI research was finally having large enough data stores over which to run machine learning algorithms. Google demonstrated this with news, translation, and most recently image recognition of cats in YouTube videos. A similar ‘big data’ argument can be made for thinking where large databases of personal connectome files might lead to an understanding of how thoughts are actually represented in the brain. This understanding could inspire new classes of AI applications. As is currently being explored for EMRs and personal genomes, blockchains could be a useful privacy and access control mechanism for permissioning different parties to the large and sensitive data files more granularly Personal connectome files could also be orchestrated by blockchain processes.
  3. Blockchain Advocates - One of the great potential benefits of blockchains could be instantiating smart contracts as your independent third-party advocates in uncertain future timeframes. An element of the business model that needs to be established is trustworthy oracles for confirming information. The Wikipedia of the future could be a blockchain-based oracle service to look up the current standard for digital mindfile processing, storage, and security as these standards would likely be advancing over time. “You are running on the current standard, Windows 36 and a Lloyd Quantanium 3,” your smart contract valet informs you. Thus, blockchain smart contract advocates could help digital intelligences and AI DACs feel more secure in their future survivability and also humans more comfortable in uploading their digital mindfiles.
  4. Digital Mindfile Services – Already there may be many different representations of you online, and your digital identity. Over time these could become more explicitly a full and fidelitous ‘digital you’ for backup purposes (like stroke rehabilitation) or otherwise. There are already some existing online mindfile services like LifeNaut and CyBeRev. Presumably machine-learning and deep-learning algorithms will eventually crawl the web to assemble ‘digital you’ files in an automated manner, aggregating social media, photos, linkedin profiles, forum comments, academic or other published writings, etc. into a composite you, including with imputations about your value system and goals. Later brain scans and personal connectomes can be added to this data store, as well as real-time lifelogs, memory logs, idea logs, and EEG brain activity logs from quantified self EEG rigs. This could lead to being able to instantiate your mindfile as a DAC and personal thinking blockchains, enabled to carry out digital tasks on your behalf.

Beyond these killer apps of Blockchain Thinking, there could be more sophisticated uses of blockchains for computational thinking. One could be logging all of an agent’s memories and ideas as discrete units that are encoded, stored, and universally-accessible, perhaps with multiple copies and versions (such as the soft-hashing of ideas in development) that are then deployed in smart contract DACs. Another is that processing might be instantiated in a massively distributed architecture that is not available in human brains, yet still comprises the non-linearity of human thought. Third, blockchain thinking might give rise to new forms of consensus models such as self-mining ecologies and proof of intelligence, and make use of demurrage principles to redistribute brain currencies like ideas and long-term potentiation. Blockchains and blockchain thinking might be not just a tool for the immediate progress of intelligence, but also for the longer-term transition to a world of multispecies intelligence living cohesively and productively in digital societies.

More details: Texas Bitcoin Conference Presentation, Paper, Video

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