Evolution of Government:
To understand the future of government, we first need to understand how governments evolved into what they are today.
Thousands of years ago, the most primitive people grouped together in hordes. These small groups of people slept, ate, farmed, hunted & lived together.
In the days of the horde, leadership was provided by informally chosen individuals.
As more children were born, families began to displace the horde system. Large families turned into clans, and tribes took place as the main social unit.
Through the grouping of families, the foundations of government were established.
Families became united by blood ties in clans, and groups of clans evolved into tribes, or territorial communities.
Intermarriage was the next step in group enlargement, which resulted in complex tribes.
From these complex tribes came the first real governmental body – the council of the elders.
This group was composed of old men who had distinguished themselves in some manner.
Wisdom and experience were appreciated even by early man, which led to a long age of the domination of the elders.
In the early council of the elders you can find the framework of all governmental functions: executive, legislative, and judicial.
When the council interpreted the rules of society, it was a court. When establishing new rules, it was the legislative branch. When these things were enforced, it was the executive brand.
This reign of the oligarchy (rule by group of influential) gradually grew into a patriarchal form of government through the vehicle of war.
The absence of a common language made it very hard to keep the peace between clans & tribes, but money & trade had become the universal language of society. For a long time, trade & commerce held these tribes together with some degree of internal peace.
It’s been hard for humanity to learn that neither peace nor war can be run by a debating society.
Primitive debates were rarely useful.
These early people learned that an army commanded by a group of clan leaders (oligarchy) had no chance against a strong army commanded by one man (patriarchy).
At the end of the day, war has always been the deciding factor in power & rule.
The transition from Oligarchy to Patriachy began when “war chiefs” were appointed by the council of elders.
These individuals appointed to run the army and were granted extra power and control when military action was necessary. They were also suppose to relinquish some of their authority during peacetime.
Gradually, the war chiefs began to shorten the peace intervals, continuing their rule from one war to the next.
As you can imagine, early war lords were not fond of peace, as it threatened their power.
Slowly, these war chiefs began to use their influence to create larger than life personas.
These “rulers” “kings” “pharaohs” and “emperors” were the patriarchs of the most elite and wealthy families, and were at the top of the social class system.
This division of wealth & class gave rise to the first political parties – “the strong” vs. “the weak”
Typically, a change of rule only followed war & revolution, or proof that “the weak” had in fact become strong.
In those times, war was a vehicle to institute social changes and facilitate the adoption of new ideas.
The downside to this rapid social change was that society was temporarily thrown back into savagery. While war can cure certain social problems, it can also destroy a society.
It’s obvious that war has had certain evolutionary values, but like slavery, it should be abandoned as civilization advances.
Hundreds of years ago, war promoted travel and cultural intercourse. It strengthened nations, and promoted organization & efficiency. War helped push civilization forward.
War served many valuable purposes in the past, and has been an indispensable scaffolding in the building of civilization, but today it is culturally bankrupt.
It no longer produces the dividends of social gain necessary to justify the terrible losses generated from its implementation as a vehicle of change.
From “the strong” and “the weak”, a social class & caste system began to emerge. This gradually led to the rise of secret groups & societies, starting as religious & spiritual communities but quickly evolving into much more.
With time, these organizations would become churches, nonprofit organizations, and international brotherhoods.
One of the biggest problems for kings & rulers at the time were the collection of taxes. If you think about it, there was really no easy way to organize the collection of this money.
Often times, kings & rulers would use these secret societies / organizations to enforce the collection of taxes across the community.
While taxes are looked down upon today, they are actually a great feature of government.
The primary function of government is to provide security and improved comfort for a collective organization of individuals – the society.
Projects that were too expensive for one or even a small group of individuals to pay for, but was still beneficial to society as a whole, were funded by the government by pooling a small portion of everyone’s resources.
The idea behind this was that if citizens merged ideas, labor, and capital, they could achieve higher levels of output with lower levels of input.
They were able work less & get more by balancing the communities interests with their own.
From this idea of taxes, and the industrial revolution, we have built an incredible infrastructure.
Having a governmental body was critical in setting up hospitals, roads, public transportation, schools, police, firemen, garbage trucks, and everything else that makes our things run smoothly on a day-to-day basis.
Government is also extremely important in helping us move forward with medical research, space exploration, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, cryptography (thats you, NSA) and tons of other interesting future technologies.
Our taxes fund all of this, and one of the governments main functions is to distribute our money in an efficient way in order to drive the most value back into society.
Every dollar spent from taxes should have a ROI in the form of an increase in quality of life for the citizens of that society.
Another more recent role of government is to ensure that the economy is stable and that we have a currency which acts as a store value.
In human terms, money is essentially a way of showing who’s winning the game. An accumulation of wealth means you’re doing things correctly, or at the very least you’re doing things that for some reason or another makes other people want to give you their money.
The problem is that from the inside, human government can be manipulated, pretty easily, if you figure out the rules underlying the existing legacy system.
Instead of continuing to build on this broken legacy platform, we should look at, or at least entertain, the possibility of an entirely new platform for government.
We have the technology to execute an ideal system today – there is no reason we shouldn’t experiment to see if something better can be created.
One of the best ways to measure a civilizations technological advancement is to calculate the total amount energy they are able to utilize. This is called the Kardashev Scale, and it has three distinct categories for civilizations: Type I, II, and III.
Type I civilizations are able to use all the available resources on their home planet. Type II harness all the energy of their star, and Type III harness all the energy of their entire galaxy.
Currently, Humanity is about .7 of the way to becoming a Type I civilization. Kinda close, but not really.
In order to transition into a Type 1 civilization, we need to come together as a species and become a global family.
Every human starts at zero.
As we move through life, we take in different experiences and connect the dots between everything we’ve ever known to form our unique lens of the world.
Everything we experience is pushed through our lens, and our ideals compound as they are reinforced by our existing view of the world.
Our lens of the world is dynamic, and changes constantly. Every second we’re experiencing something new, and depending on certain conditions some things impact your lens more than others.
The truth is nobody knows the rules to this game we call life, and at the end of the day, we’re all the same.
We’re all lost, and no matter what anyone says, they don’t have the answers.
Life is a crazy ride that nobody understands – we don’t know where we’re going, or what it means. We do know that it will end at some point but we have no idea when, or what happens, if anything, when it does end.
Understanding and embracing the confusion of life, and merging that into the lens of ones world is a key concept that our collective conscious needs to embrace before we can move forward as a species.
We need to humble ourselves and think about what’s really going on.
We’ve learned from our ancestors, slowly, through the passing down of information, what works and what doesn’t.
Each generation has built on top of the scaffolding they were born into, learned the system, and then made an effort to try and make it better.
The group of humans who started this process of government are long gone – only their ideas exist, passed through the generations, iterating slowly into the system we have today.
It’s like one big game of telephone.
The problem is our government has become too slow, bloated, easily abused, and inefficient. The system fails.
It’s like we’re trying to fix an outdated platform from the inside. Tweaking things here and there isn’t going to change the framework of the system.
We’re trying to figure out ways to make the telegraph better when the future is the cell phone.
A government of the future should enable its people to work towards a similar goal, together, instead of wasting time fighting against the system that’s designed to make things more efficient.
We are quickly entering an entirely new world of technology. A paradigm shift, if you will.
Technology is still a pretty recent invention, and we’re just starting to get the hang of it.
It’s clear that our governments no longer provide the efficiency and protection they were originally intended to generate.
Todays governments cause fear & panic in order to tighten their influence on society. They piggyback on hot social issues like drugs, war, and terror in order to pass policies which increase their control.
It’s an underlying and cyclical pattern that has existed for thousands of years.
This also isn’t the fault of any one person, but of humans in general. We’re egotistic, and look out for ourselves before others.
If there’s an opportunity to make easy money or gain power, there is certainly a section of the population who will sign up and do whatever they can to get it.
Unfortunately, the system we have naturally filters out people who don’t conform to the existing ideology. If you’re not willing to over estimate projects, or compromise ethical code, your boss won’t like you, won’t promote you, and won’t help you succeed. These people are weeded out.
The ones that make it through the system are the ones who were willing to compromise their ethical code and do whatever it took to get the job done and make their boss happy.
By the time they’re in charge, they’re the ones giving orders to pad estimate and compromise ethical standards.
The problem were facing is not some entity called “the government”, rather a collection of individuals, knowingly or unknowingly, working for their own ego, power, and greed to get whats best for them.
“Government” is the umbrella word we use to codify the actions of all the individuals making decisions for our society.
The combination of human nature + the legacy governmental system we have today has lead to abuses of power, influence & spending across the board.
We have inspectors inspecting inspectors and middle men for middle men. Everyone needs to take a little cut, and this creates a very inefficient system.
There are countless problems with the government as it stands today – it’s an outdated system and we’re living in the 21st century.
Things can be MUCH more efficient than they are today. We’re living in the fucking future – the technology we have is magic. We can make it happen.
An Ideal System:
In the USA, we have a “democracy”, which is a form of government where all eligible citizens participate equally – through elected representatives – in the proposal, development, and creation of laws.
A variant of the standard “democracy” is a “direct democracy” which differs by having the people directly represent themselves. The people vote directly for new laws and policies, instead of a congress or senate of elected officials.
There is no single body in charge, and the responsibilities are distributed equally across all the people in the community.
At the time we were creating our democracy, it would not have been possible to execute a direct democracy.
Let’s say there are 20 new things to vote on per day – every time a new law would be proposed, you’d need to organize everyone across the country, collect votes, tally them up, enact the policy, spread news, etc.
Every citizen would be spending a huge chunk of their time voting for stuff, and even then you’d still have to figure out a way to go across the country and collect everyones votes every day.
They also didn’t have computers back then, so none of this was really possible or even an option to consider.
What we did instead of a direct democracy was appoint a few people who’s job it was to handle the voting stuff so the rest of us could get on with our lives. We’d pay them with the money collected by taxes.
That’s how we ended up with a democracy and not a direct democracy – it wouldn’t have been efficient or even plausible to execute a direct democracy when we first started our government.
Today, with the proper organization, we can run all the systems of a government with an open source algorithm that doesn’t lie, cheat or steal. It would have no ulterior motives, and simply do what it’s programmed to do.
Simple Society: a Decentralized, P2P, Open Source, Anonymous, Data Driven Society.
Let’s break that down.
Decentralized & peer to peer means that no single person or entity has control. Instead of having one central authority who secures and controls the functions of government, the work is spread across the entire network.
All the people participating in the network are helping to collectively perform the functions that a government would normally perform. These people are collectively “the government”.
Open Source means anyone can see, copy, use, or build on top of the code running this system. It’s completely free, and every line of code is visible to the public. You can be 100% certain you know exactly whats happening with your information, where it’s stored, how it’s used and how the system at large works.
Anonymous means that your activities can’t be tracked back to your actual identity unless you opt-in.
Data Driven means we analyze the data collected by society and use that to make optimization decisions moving forward.
The core application that is essential to a direct democracy is some way to easily and quickly collect votes. It also requres that every person only gets 1 vote, in order to keep everyone equal.
This would enable us to directly vote & decide things as a global community, and then instantly put these decisions into action.
In order to ensure the system can’t be manipulated by any one party, consensus validation would be distributed, and decentralized.
Much like how Bitcoin uses a block chain to generate a transaction consensus across a distributed network, this system would need to work on a similar principal, although a bit more complex.
In this system, anyone could propose a vote to change an existing policy, propose a new law, or vote on current issues.
We could create a non-biased voting platform where we first educate the voter on the subject they’re voting on, making it mandatory to read about both sides arguments. These arguments would be presented in plain text, so theres no bias for having good pictures or visuals. Just the facts.
If an issue reaches enough votes, the code associated with the winning side would be integrated into the system as a “law”.
This system wouldn’t just be used for laws, it could also be used to fairly distribute our taxes. This decentralizes spending decisions for education, healthcare, medical research, space exploration, etc. and allows the people to decide where their money should be spent.
Using a crypto currency like bitcoin, taxes could be automatically collected by the system and pooled in an account which only the open source distributed voting algorithm has access to.
Money would be allocated from this pool on a recurring basis, by the algorithm, to the institutions receiving funding, only once a consensus vote was decided on the amount of money they would receive.
If any of these institutions were to be found spending the money in an inappropriate manner, the people could vote to reduce funding.
All this spending data would be public information, accessible by anyone at any time. Since the money is a crypto currency, we could track any coins spent by public institutions, and track them through their entire lifecycle.
From that data we can reconstruct a model of where all our money is going, and being to optimize our spending to get the most social output.
We could also use the taxes pool to implement a universal basic income system, whereby every human gets a certain amount of money to cover basic human needs (food, water, shelter).
Another interesting concept would be to increase the weight of a persons vote based on the amount they contribute in taxes. The more you pay, the more your vote matters compared to someone who’s relying solely on universal basic income.
Bounties could be set for certain “governmental” jobs by the community, and the person who best executes that job would get the votes necessary to collect that bounty.
Imagine garbagemen & bus drivers. The community would decide the bounty allocated to each of those jobs ($150 / day), and then anyone who wants to collect that bounty can do so as long as theres still a bounty out for that job. Once the job(s) are filled, the bounty is pulled.
People working on bounty would automatically earn their money based on performance, which is determined by the bounty terms and tracked as you do your job. If you’re bad at your job, the people will see that, and revoke your ability to participate in that bounty (and probably add a flag to your account).
Bounties could even be an interesting way to crowd source police and firefighters (paid for by the global tax pool).
Imagine if every time there was an emergency call to 911, a bounty was released to the community saying that someone at location A needs help.
This message would go out to everyone subscribed to the police bounty, and each responder to the scene would participate in a fraction of the bounty.
One interesting concept would be to hold police officers to a level of accountability while working on bounty – everything they do while working for the public is tracked & recorded. When they’re off the job they can go back to operating anonymously.
The extra authority a police officers has while on duty should be traded off by completely losing their right to privacy while on the job. Everything they do is, can, and should be tracked & monitored by the people.
Individual outliers will be caught, and removed from the system.
This could be extrapolated further, and make it so that anytime a person is participating in something funded by the public, they would need to release their anonymity and their data would be tracked & shared w the public.
For the most part you can stay anonymous. If you choose to do something that has to do with the public, for example, ride the bus, or collect a public bounty, you would automatically opt-in to being identified for that period of time.
This data is then collected and sent back to the distributed, open source network / block chain, and becomes part of the public record.
If anything bad happens, like a robbery, the public record would give “society” the data necessary to properly deal with the problem.
Through the voting system we could also create a way to deal with criminals – deciding who’s guilty and innocent based on data. This would also help keep jail times consistent with the crime a person commits, and not increase / decrease sentences based on any biases of race or notoriety.
One way I think we can execute this decentralized, p2p, open source, anonymous, data driven society is with a distributed, cryptographic, biometric login system.
From this login system we could build a core voting system, a way to distribute taxes, monitor government spending, propose, change & pass laws, and pretty much every other system needed to run a direct democracy.
A Decentralized Global Login System.
A critical problem in cyberspace is knowing who you’re interacting with. Currently, there are no ways to precisely determine the identity of a person in digital space.
Even though there are attributes associated to a person’s digital identity, like social profiles, they can be changed, masked or dumped very easily.
What we need is a system to uniquely identify humans and also protect against hackers. The critical attack to defend against in this system is a sybil attack, where a bad actor is able to create multiple accounts and gain an unfair amount of influence.
Biometrics are an interesting way to solve this problem. Every person has unique identifiers within their body, and these identifiers stay unchanged throughout their life.
For example, fingerprints remain constant throughout life. In over 140 years of fingerprint comparison worldwide, no two fingerprints have ever been found to be alike, not even those of identical twins.
There is also no known way to replicate a retina. As far as anyone knows, the pattern of the blood vessels at the back of the eye is unique and stays the same for a lifetime.
These systems work by analyzing a picture or scan of your human body and identifying key features like ridges and blood vessel location. An algorithm turns your unique features into numerical strings which are then combined together into a single code that uniquely identifies each person – a biometric template.
There are several types of biometric systems which could work for identity verification, but none are sophisticated enough on their own to defend from a sybil attack. Most biometric systems can be reverse engineered or hacked in some way.
With a clever system, I believe we can stop a sybil attack using biometrics, and nullify any biometrics hacks by obfuscating sensitive information.
Decentralized, Global Login System:
1. The system would first ask for your name / address, and require that you don’t use a proxy.
2. You would then enter a 30+ character pass phrase.
3. Iris Scan using your webcam.
4. Fingerprint Scan using your webcam.
5. Create voice template from 25 common word pool.
6. If everything is unique, your account is created!
Creating an Account (Verification & Encryption):
To create a new account, the system would first ask for your name and address. It also requires that you not use a proxy, and be at your registered residence when creating your account.
The first step is to validate that your name and address have a history together. If that passes, it takes your IP address and uses geolocation to verify that you’re currently at the previously verified address.
After your personal information is verified, it is deleted and a secure token is generated.
This token is “proof” that your name is attached to your address, and that you’re currently at that location. The token is used to decrypt both the fingerprint & iris templates in the block chain in order to check your templates against all existing fingerprint & iris templates in the network.
It’s important to note that fingerprint & iris templates used for account creation are encrypted and stored independently from each other on the block chain. This means that there’s no link or relationship between your fingerprint and your iris templates in the block chain.
A user would then choose a secure 30 character pass phrase, and write it down so they don’t forget it. This pass phrase acts like a brain wallet and is the first step in authenticating a login.
The user would then scan their retina and fingerprint using their webcam.
The system would create a fingerprint & iris template, and run a query to see if any fingerprints or retinas with the same pattern already existed in the system. If there is an existing match, the new account cannot be created.
After successfully passing the biometric uniqueness check, the user would be prompted to setup a voice password. This is a collection of 25 words which are the same for every person signing up.
Users would say these 25 words out loud, one at a time. Your microphone would record your voice pattern and create a unique template.
There are a few reason to have users say the same 25 words as opposed to a unique password. The first is that your voice template+token are stored on the block chain unencrypted. We don’t want someone scraping the block chain for voice templates and then reverse engineering peoples voice passwords.
With a unique voice password someone could also overhear you when logging in, record it, and use that to get past the voice layer of security.
Using a pool of common words, each time you log-in you’d be presented with a different combination of the 25 words.
There are thousands of permutations for the word combination you could be presented at any given login, so without having all the words you can never be certain you’ll have the right combination.
A hacker trying to gain access to your account would need to social engineer their way to get voice recordings of all (or most) of the 25 words in order to successfully compromise your account, and thats just the voice layer of security.
Even if a hacker were able to reverse engineer voice models from the voice_template data stored in block chain, they would get the same data from every user, and they wouldn’t know which accounts the voice models were tied to, making it pretty useless.
After your voice_template+token are generated, your account is ready to be created.
Your “account” is an encrypted hash that’s stored publicly in the block chain.
This hash is a nested encryption algorithm which is a combination of your password, your voice template, your fingerprint template and your iris template.
The basic equation to illustrate this encryption process would be:
(Password_SHA256 (Voice_template_token(Iris_template + Fingerprint_template))) = Your Account Hash.
What this means is we start by combining your iris and fingerprint template data and encrypt them using the token associated with your voice template.
This hash is then further encrypted by a SHA-256 key generated from your 30+ character password.
The resulting hash is stored publicly in the block chain. To people looking at the hashes, it means nothing. In reality, its storing a massive amount of information which can be accessed through various methods of biometric authentication & decryption.
How to Login (Decryption):
1. Enter Password.
2. Speak the combination of words that appear on the screen.
3. Scan Eye on Webcam.
4 Scan Fingerprint on Webcam.
Behind the scenes, a lot of things are happening to keep the system secure.
In order to login, we need to decrypt your account hash. First we take your 30+ character password which acts like a brain wallet and find the associated SHA-256 key.
This key is used to find & decrypt your main account hash into another encrypted hash, consisting of your fingerprint and iris templates encrypted using your voice template token.
The next step after entering your password would be to use your voice and say the combination of words that appear on the screen.
That voice is then used to generate a template, and then the corresponding template+token are found in the block chain.
Once it finds the template, it uses the unique token associated with it to decrypt your fingerprint + iris hash. This decryption leaves you with a clean fingerprint template and iris template.
You then use your webcam to scan your finger and scan your iris. If your scans match the templates from the decrypted hashes, login access is granted.
The dynamics behind how all the information and hashes relate to each other is complicated, but for end users the system would be pretty simple and easy to use.
Ideally, the system would be built so that at any time, if a voting consensus is reached, the mode of biometric verification or identification could change.
This is important because if a flaw is found in retina scanning, we can flip over to palm scanning, facial scans, or even DNA if we have easy access to the hardware.
An important issue in building a system like this is to build it in a way that makes it easy for others to adopt it.
The first step is to open source the software so everyone knows what it does, and the community can help build it.
The second is to integrate ways for existing governments to utilize this software – work with them instead of against them.
By integrating a “choose your territory” option, users can designate themselves as part of a certain country. This would allow the US to potentially piggy back on this open source software and adopt it as their own voting system. This would be the first step in converting over to a new system.
Choosing a territory would require further authentication, like entering your SSN & scanning your passport.
If a user chooses not to associate with an existing territory, they would be listed as a sovereign individual.
Another way to boost early adoption is to utilize merge mining for distributed block chain validation.
A huge part of this system is having the distributed computing resources to validate everything thats happening across the network.
Merge mining is a concept where you piggy back on the algorithm of an existing system, and allow miners to validate your blockchain without any increased electricity cost or work for the miner.
For example, Bitcoin uses a SHA-256 encryption algorithm. Users who are mining bitcoins are essentially using computers to generate thousands of hashes per second hoping that one of the hashes is correct and decrypts the block.
Namecoin is another crypto currency which uses SHA-256, and can be merge mined with Bitcoin. What this means your computer takes the hashes you’re generating for the bitcoin block chain and also uses them to test the namecoin block chain. Since they’re using the same encryption algorithm, they are cross compatible. With merge mining, you’re getting 2 for 1, and it costs no more electricity or work to mine both at the same time.
Ideally, this proposed decentralized login / voting system would piggy back on the algorithm of the most popular crypto currency in order to quickly gain the computing resources necessary to validate the network.
If a down the line a new crypto currency algorithm begins to gain popularity over another, a vote could be proposed to switch the mining algorithm from SHA-256 to another algorithm.
I’d like to build this future. If you’re interested in a similar vision, contact me.
Update #1 – Interesting idea stemming from a conversation on Reddit: http://cl.ly/image/3v2g3O21163x