Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Future: Ephemeralities running on Quantum Smartnetworks

The future could be one of pluralistic digital societies running on consensus-confirmed smartnetworks. There could be many kinds of entities, those with human-roots, technology entities, and any variety of hybrids. Blockchains could be the coordination mechanism between these entities, based on attestation variables like capacity and reputation. Further, eventually the digital societies of the future could be post-entity ‘entities’ or ‘whats’ – ephemeralities, presences, capacities, reservoirs, resources, like capacity in reserve: processing, memory, consciousness, ideas, associative processing, analysis, feedback, support, and critique. Perhaps all in the future is just capacity.

The ontological unit of intelligibility could be resident capacities in reserve, not resident entities already instantiated but available capacities, energy fields, potentialties. This is not even already-intentioned propensities (as contemplated by Popper ), but the uncollapsed waves and particles of quantum mechanics catalyzed into reality through intention, need, interaction, and imagination. Ephemeralities could automatically coalesce into actuality from virtuality to respond to a purpose, and continually meta-self-evaluate to monitor for ongoingness and finality of purpose.

Like photons, electrons, and maybe gravitons exist as wave packets at more than one place and time, only manifesting into reality when an observation is made, and the concept could be extended so that capacities too might coalesce into reality when an observation, conscious choice, or other motivator to action is made about the need for the capacity.

Quantum Smartnetworks
The notion of Quantum Smartnetworks is twofold. First, there is conceiving of some model, like blockchains, as a universal mechanism for measuring, administering, exchanging, tracking, monitoring, recording, finding, and interacting with all manner of granular quanta of anything; any entity that is dividable into essential quantized constituent building blocks. Second, there is the application of quantum principles to smartnetwork instances, in the sense of quantum smartnetworks as the orchestration of post-entity capacities or energies existing in potentiality (Deleuze’s virtuality) into reality.

Science fiction examples can lead the way, for example Accelerando features distributed trust networks and reputation markets, where one use of blockchain models could be digital copies “watching over their originals from the consensus cyberspace of the [smart] city [2].”

[1] Popper, K.R. (1959). "The Propensity Interpretation of Probability" The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 10, 37, 25-42.
[2] Stross, C. (2006). Accelerando. London: Ace.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Post-entity Society of Instances

In digital smartnetwork societies, entities wanting to conduct smartnetwork operations will likely need to be independently confirmed and validated through mechanisms like consensus trust. Consensus trust and reputation structures have been conceived as grounded in a fixed and persistent entity.

However, there is the possibility of progressing to a post-entity society. Humans are currently constrained to an embodied form, but this may not be the situation in the future, and there is no such requirement for technology entities in the realm of digital identity. Digital identity might become so distributed, portable, copiable, open-sourceable, sharable, malleable, and shardable, that it no longer makes sense to think in terms of entities.

The question would then be how to enable smartnetwork operations in a post-entity society, perhaps one in which ‘ephemeral instances of capability and creativity’ have replaced identity-bounded entities. The answer is that reputation could still matter. Even if not a full-fledged identity-entity, any instance, any measurable quantum, any participation no matter how ephemeral could still have a reputation.

Reputations could become a lot more complicated, measuring different levels like actor, action, and intention, and also line-item credit for contributions and new ideas; and calculate composite team reputations for sharded cloudmind group participations. All this is could be possible because blockchains give us much more granularity in record-keeping.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Antidote to Holacracy: Blockchain Smart Assets

New Strategies needed to Meet Group Needs in Holacracies
The failings-to-date of holacracy have to do with career growth, compensation, and capacity (in the sense of codification and deployment group knowledge). This is exciting news for learnings in prototyping decentralized flat governance models in groups. After the fact, it is quite obvious that career growth and compensation would need to be redefined in a holacratic model since they are still in the mode of the old structure. The needs behind these areas need to be elicited and addressed via other means. For example, the needs behind career growth could be learning, variety, and contribution, where previously career progression was a strategy for meeting these needs. Now, the needs are still there, but different strategies for meeting them in decentralized models need to be innovated, such as switching responsibilities with some frequency and the ability to learn about and contribute in new ways. Similarly with compensation; the underlying needs could be financial security, status, and being acknowledged, and now in holacractic models, these would need to be met differently. This would also be trued for the codification and deployment of new capacities emerging from the group operations.

Group Needs registered as Blockchain Smart Assets
One great benefit of blockchains is their potential agility in coordinating soft processes like ongoing group orchestration in a flat collaborative model. Blockchains can be a heightened level of holacratic operation that attends to the fundamental needs underlying group operations. Once elicited, registering group needs as blockchain-based smart assets can be a way of keeping the needs of the group alive on an ongoing basis. Participants could anonymously vote community token as to what group needs are being met/unmet and these addressed in the community meeting. Each group need, (like autonomy, collaboration, agreeing to the same rules, privacy, and creativity), could be registered as its own smart asset, with an address, thus community token could be anonymously voted to this address to indicate groups needs met/unmet.

Group needs as blockchain-based smart assets is an outgrowth of the Convergent Facilitation model for effective group operation. Convergent facilitation is a model for collaborative decision-making, a way to correct the paradigm of ‘no one makes a decision’ or ‘someone makes a decision for everyone else.’ The reason that convergent facilitation can an effective means of collaborative decision-making is both 1) quick and efficient use of everyone’s time in making initial decisions and 2) the quality of buy-in that keeps decisions sustainably alive in facilitating the group’s operations after the decision is made. This is because each person is encouraged and empowered to take stewardship and ownership of ‘our needs as a group.’ Instead of a begrudging compromise (‘it wasn’t really my decision’), this leads to a willingness to stretch to meet our group needs in empowerment because ‘it was my decision.’ Convergent facilitation helps us as a group to get into the highest mode of why we are here, to create something together that matters to all of us. It is a process based on principles that allows groups to make decisions together in cooperative manner, not win-lose, majority wins, or unwilling consensus.

One part of convergent facilitation is transparent decision-making. Probably not everyone wants to participate in every decision, but everyone might want to know what is going on. Thus, all decisions that need to be made can be listed, and community members can indicate their interest in leading, participating, and not hearing about different decisions (Figure 1). In this way, transparency, and trust in community decision-making are created. Everyone knows what is happening.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Smart Contract Cryptolaw to accelerate the Automation Economy

Smart contracts are agreements between parties posted to the blockchain, possibly for automated execution. The agreements can be and among humans and technology entities (like machine to machine communications). Smart contracts don't make anything possible that was previously impossible, but rather, allow solving common problems in a way that minimizes trust. Minimal trust often makes things more convenient by allowing human judgements to be taken out of the loop, thus allowing complete automation. Ethereum and Eris Industries are open-source software projects developing smart contract platforms. Some examples of smart contracts are betting on the high temperature tomorrow, without an intermediary, automated mortgage rate resets, inheritance payouts, and peer-to-peer insurance.

Economy Outsourced to Smart Contract DAOs/DACs?
Smart contracts bring up the distinction between technically-binding and legally-binding frameworks, where code contracts run inexorably even if conditions have changed whereas human contracts are more flexibly binding. The quintessential example of a smart code contract is a vending machine. If the vending machine is not broken, every time you put in money, you get your selected item. The machine is not thinking of when or how to comply with your request, there is no discretion, the machine always complies. The key shift is that we want to be aware of is that we are starting to have a world not just where we have vending machines, but where smart contracts might be running big sectors of our economy, for example the whole mortgage industry.

Cryptolaw: intersection of Technological and Legal Frameworks
Cryptolaw then is the intersection of technological and legal frameworks. One key question is whether we want a separate legal system for smart contracts since they may be unenforceable in our current legal system. For example, a decentralized program already launched and running is difficult to control, regulate, or sue for damages. Further, smart contracts impact not just contract law, but the notion of the social contract within society more generally. What kinds of social contracts do we humans want with technological entities?

Compliant and A-compliant Smart Contracts
As with blockchain applications being in two modes, enterprise and individual, the thinking is that there may be two modes of smart contracts: compliant and a-compliant. Compliant smart contracts would have the four parameters of mutual assent, consideration, capacity and legality, and features such as a kill switch, automated consumer protection, assurity funds escrowed, and identity transparency. The other mode, a-compliant smart contracts, would be operating outside but not necessarily in opposition to, the current legal structure. Another way of looking at this is by the counterparty, are these human-human, human-entity, or entity-entity contracts? We may have a future world where there are new forms of legal entity status like personhood granted to smart contract entities like with corporations.

Material inspired by: Primavera de Filippi and Gavin Woods.
More Details: Cryptocitizen: Smart Contracts, Pluralistic Morality, and Blockchain Society