– Sharing Economy
– Mobile Computing
– Global Payments (crypto currencies)
– Block-Chain / Byzentine Generals
– Sensors, IoT, Big Data
– Additive Manufacturing
– Virtual Reality / Entertainment
– Sociological Changes
– Ideas for Transition to Post-Carbon Society
– Decentralized Media
– Decentralized Education
– Decentralized Politics & Government
Humanity is at a turning point in its lifecycle where our collective actions will directly engineer the fate of our planet, and our place within it.
Systemic problems from legacy systems leave us with a rotten framework economically, politically, and sociologically.
Moving forward into a bright future requires manual action to stop and repair the damage we’ve created reaching this point in our history.
The way I see it – technology, commerce, the economy, politics, and ultimately reaching a transcendent society are all interconnected.
As new paradigm shifting technology is integrated into society, a ripple effect is carried out, affecting all the mentioned topics (and more).
By exploring the technologies we have today that are in their infancy, too expensive or unpolished for the mass market – we can extrapolate which technologies will likely be the most disruptive in the next 5-10 years.
Rise of the Sharing Economy, Mobile & Global Payments:
Industry Stats: http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2013/07/27/collaborative-economy-industry-stats/
Our current economic structure can be categorized as a hyper-consumption economy (Milton Friedman) which is ultimately unsustainable.
The internet has made our big world small, and transformed our vast planet into a local community.
Today 34% of humans are online, and we’re seeing a yearly growth-rate of 566% in overall usage World Internet Usage Stats, Aug 2013
With the rise of the internet, we’re beginning to see a shift from a consumption based economy to one built around sharing.
The sharing economy, or collaborative consumption, is a socio-economic system built around sharing assets and services.
Many privately owned assets sit unused for long periods of time, their value going unrealized. The sharing economy allows individuals to extract additional value out of their existing assets by sharing them with other people.
Similar to how p2p businesses like eBay & Craigslist allow anyone to become a retailer, new sharing sites let individuals act as an ad hoc taxi services, car-hire firms or boutique hotels as and when it suits them.
The growth of the sharing economy is most obvious through companies like AirBnB (house rentals) and Uber (ride sharing) who have expanded tremendously the last few years.
“By 2020, there will be 31 million members of car-sharing programs worldwide.” – Taskrabbit Slideshare, June 2013
It’s also interesting to note that car ownership in the USA peaked in 2006, “…in examining trends between 1984 and 2011, an UMTRI study shows the rate of vehicle ownership on a per-person, per-household and per-licensed-driver basis actually peaked years earlier in 2006.” – Scientific American, July 2013
Though we have a few early winners, the sharing economy stretches much further than just houses and ride-sharing.
People are selling / sharing digital assets (ebooks, 3d printing files), services (car wash, paint garage, hair cut), and even content.
For some people, Youtube is a form of collaborative consumption – creative content generates views, which they get paid for.
Forbes estimates “The revenue flowing through the share economy directly into people’s wallets will surpass $3.5 billion this year, with growth exceeding 25%. At that rate, peer-to-peer sharing is moving from an income boost in a stagnant wage market into a disruptive economic force.” – Forbes Jan 2013
The most interesting aspect to me is what’s driving this change:
“Adults under 35 are the most digitally savvy and, therefore, the most likely to have participated in sharing or renting online rather than owning. Most people (77%) see the sharing economy as a great way to save money, but among those who have actually tried it, the plurality, 36%, said their motivation was philosophical, not financial. Listing extra goods or a spare room online was seen as a way to help others and, for one in four, to promote sustainability as well.” – Fast Company/Wall Street Journal, May 2013.
A deeper analysis can be found here, although I will outline it below: http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2013/05/09/the-three-market-drivers-causes-for-the-collaborative-economy/
The main drivers for the shift to a sharing economy are broken down into 3 buckets – Social, Economic, and Technological.
The main social drivers are:
– Population Density
– Mindset of Sustainability
– Lifestyle Trend Among Youth
– Altruistic Mindset
– Independent Lifestyle
The main economic drivers are:
– Increase in World Population
– Strained Resources
– Economic Disparities
– Excess or Idle Inventory
– In-accessable Luxury
– Influx of VC Funding
The main technology drivers are:
– Social Networks
Mobile devices are becoming more dominant, and the hardware that shapes our view of ‘mobile’ is going to change quickly.
Mobile computing allows us to take our technology with us on the go – and gives us all the information we need, wherever we are.
Mobile phones are becoming very common among many humans: In China 73 of 100 people have a mobile phone – US 93, UK 131, India 72. – World Bank, July 2013
The devices we consider ‘mobile’ today will quickly become outdated as new hardware interfaces are developed.
Today we have mobile phones, tomorrow we’ll see wearable interfaces like watches and google glasses.
Further in the future we will likely see even more seamless integrations, like a contact lens, or potentially some sort of implant.
As hardware becomes more seamless, we will see a drastic change in the ways we control the computer interface.
Today we use a keyboard to type, and a cursor to navigate, but these are too bulky, and probably won’t stay around forever.
We’re already seeing the move away from a keyboard and mouse to voice commands and gesture tracking (google glass, leap motion, etc.)
The final interface would likely be something that reads brainwaves and translates that into text and or movements automatically.
The Empotiv Epoc is a brainwave headset that you can buy for $300, and achieves pretty satisfactory results. It’s big, clunky, and makes you look like an alien.
Projecting 10 years into the future, it’s not hard to imagine this technology getting a lot smaller, and a lot more powerful.
Another trend which is aiding in the spread of the sharing economy is payments.
It’s become easier than ever to process payments online, but this comes with significant drawbacks that leave the payments industry ripe for disruption.
Currently, its far too expensive and risky to accept payments online (at scale) via traditional methods (cc, debit, bank).
There are two main issues here – cost and fraud.
The cost of processing a payment is extremely high compared to the amount of work being done. Typically a cc processor will take 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.
For an e-commerce company whos’ margins are 5%-10% per sale, giving over half to the payment processor makes it extremely difficult to build a profitable business.
Similar to the music industry, the payments industry may quickly find that there is no business model behind what they’re doing. New technology does this for free.
100 years ago it maybe would have made sense for a $35 transfer fee on $1000 because some guy had to get on a horse ride 3 days to get the memo to another bank.
Today it’s just data flying across servers – and people will quickly be unwilling to pay when there are free alternatives.
The second major issue is fraud.
The plastic cards we use are not secure, at all, and the merchants accepting payments online are the ones shouldering this unfortunate risk.
It’s pretty trivial to find stolen credit card information online if you’re intent on finding it.
From a purely transactional standpoint, this is where crypto-currency payments solves a lot of problems.
Developers building new commerce platforms tasked with processing payments and combatting will turn to crypto currencies as a potential solution.
Initially, merchants will likely offer both traditional payments as well as crypto currency payments, but as adoption grows for crypto currencies, merchants will incentives their customers to buy with them because it helps their business tremendously on the backend.
That said, the consumer side hasn’t fully accepted crypto currencies yett, so its a classic chicken and egg problem, but adoption is growing quickly.
The BlockChain, Decentralization, P2P:
The most interesting thing about Bitcoin in particular is not so much the digital currency aspect, but the invention block chain.
The block chain, or the mechanism behind the scenes that makes bitcoin actually work – was a genius solution to a long standing mathematical problem called the byzentine generals problem.
For an explanation of the byzentine generals problem and how it relates to bitcoin / blockhain it’s best to read from Satoshi Nakamoto himself: http://firstname.lastname@example.org/msg09997.html
“A number of Byzantine Generals each have a computer and want to attack the King’s wi-fi by brute forcing the password, which they’ve learned is a certain number of characters in length. Once they stimulate the network to generate a packet, they must crack the password within a limited time to break in and erase the logs, lest they be discovered. They only have enough CPU power to crack it fast enough if a majority of them attack at the same time.
They don’t particularly care when the attack will be, just that they agree. It has been decided that anyone who feels like it will announce an attack time, which we’ll call the “plan”, and whatever plan is heard first will be the official plan. The problem is that the network is not instantaneous, and if two generals announce different plans at close to the same time, some may hear one first and others hear the other first.
They use a proof-of-work chain to solve the problem. Once each general receives whatever plan he hears first, he sets his computer to solve a difficult hash-based proof-of-work problem that includes the plan in its hash. The proof-of-work is difficult enough that with all of them working at once, it’s expected to take 10 minutes before one of them finds a solution and broadcasts it to the network. Once received, everyone adjusts the hash in their proof-of-work computation to include the first solution, so that when they find the next proof-of-work, it chains after the first one. If anyone was working on a different plan, they switch to this one, because its proof-of-work chain is now longer.
After about two hours, the plan should be hashed by a chain of 12 proofs-of-work. Every general, just by verifying the difficulty of the proof-of-work chain, can estimate how much parallel CPU power per hour was expended on it and see that it must have required the majority of the computers to produce in the allotted time. At the least, most of them had to have seen the plan, since the proof-of-work is proof that they worked on it. If the CPU power exhibited by the proof-of-work is sufficient to crack the password, they can safely attack at the agreed time.
The proof-of-work chain is how all the synchronisation, distributed database
and global view problems you’ve asked about are solved.”
It’s likely that many of our future technologies will be built on top of this decentralized, peer-to-peer system.
We’re already starting to see p2p asset exchanges, smart contracts, decentralized organizations, voting, and data storage all built on top of this decentralized framework.
Internet of Things (IoT), Sensors & Big Data:
The internet of things (IoT), sensors, and big data will also play a huge role in our future economy.
Sensors are becoming more and more abundant as they continue to get smaller, cheaper and more powerful.
We will quickly see sensors fold into both our surroundings and our bodies.
Combined with new mobile devices, we will see the next paradigm shift in seamless integration between our technology and our environment.
Gartner estimates that the IoT will include 26 billion units installed by 2020, and by that time, IoT product and service suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion, mostly in services.
What this will do is take our eyes off the phone in our hands and back to the environment in front of us.
Wearable sensors will act as sensory prosthetics – giving humans new ways to process ambient information in our environment.
Almost like an extension of our nervous system.
We will, for the first time, be able to see connections between things we never thought were connected.
Having this data will give us increased feedback loops and allow us to further optimize everything about ourselves.
In urban environments a human is surrounded by anywhere from 1,000 – 5,000 trackable objects.
The internet of things would connect together 50-100 trillion objects, and be able to find relationships between them all in real time.
“IoT deployments will generate large quantities of data that need to be processed and analyzed in real time,” said Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner. “Processing large quantities of IoT data in real time will increase as a proportion of workloads of data centers, leaving providers facing new security, capacity and analytics challenges.”
This MASSIVE amount of data communication will require a more efficient way of storing and sharing information.
This is where the BlockChain technology developed by Sataoshi Nakamoto could come in handy.
The real magic happens when we have a protocol that enables IoT hardware devices with sensors to freely exchange data between each other.
This may be possible through a decentralized mesh network created on top of bluetooth LE or some other technology paired with sensors.
The ideal build here is a decentralized, open source protocol for hardware devices with sensors to share their data between each other.
Instead of having one company shoulder the burden of storing this data – and also giving them ownership of it – we can spread the work of storage across the entire mesh network, like bitcoin.
“IoT threatens to generate massive amounts of input data from sources that are globally distributed. Transferring the entirety of that data to a single location for processing will not be technically and economically viable,” said Mr. Skorupa. “The recent trend to centralize applications to reduce costs and increase security is incompatible with the IoT. Organizations will be forced to aggregate data in multiple distributed mini data centers where initial processing can occur. Relevant data will then be forwarded to a central site for additional processing.”
With mass sensor technology, we’ll be able to collect and alayze smart things data to discover untapped knowledge about human life, environment interaction, and social connections / behavior.
3d printing is a fast growing technology in its infancy that we can expect to spawn some very disruptive products.
Additive manufacturing is the process of making 3 dimensional objects through successive layers of material laid down under computer control.
Today the things you can print with a desktop 3d printer are cool, but still very limited.
The main printing material is usually ABS or PLA plastic, however we’re starting to see experimentation with other materials like wood composite, metal, concrete, carbon fiber, rubber, and even food.
As we see this technology evolve, I believe we will see 3 major things happen.
The first is we’ll see a huge range of printing materials emerge – some mass market (wood, metal) and some more niche (lost investment casting, rubber, glow in the dark, etc.)
Printers will be able to (and already can) print with multiple different materials in a single build.
The combination of wood and metal would allow for the printing of a kitchen knife – rivets & handle included.
The second thing we’ll see is printers get bigger.
We’re already seeing houses being built with 3d printers using concrete layers and robotic arms to insert metal rods.
This is very interesting, as it may become trivial to build shelter if the raw materials are available.
There are projects like wikihouse.cc that have created open source plans for building your own house, if you have a 3d printer or CNC machine that can cut the parts.
This is critical not only for bringing the 3rd world to the first world, but also for bringing to first world to new frontiers in space. Setting up a colony on mars gets that much easier when you can print out a house when you get there.
Really advanced printers that utilize rubber, metals, wood, at the same time – could potentially print out a fully functional automobile.
The third major step we’ll see is 3d printers getting smaller – much smaller.
On a micro scale, we can use this additive manufacturing technology to build molecular assemblers.
These devices would be able to construct objects at the molecular level – similar to how the ribosome’s in our bodies work, except this process would be manipulated by computers (mechanosynthesis).
These molecular assemblers would allow us to position molecules with atomic precision – adding each element as and where it’s needed to construct specific objects of higher order.
Depending on the size of these molecular assemblers, they could exist inside the nozzle of another 3d printer – using the assembler as a means for turning raw materials into useful molecules, and then using strings of molecules to build a physical product.
We may be able to engineer viruses to fight diseases, or print medicine from the comfort of our own homes.
Another interesting application of 3d printing could be the food industry.
In vitro meat, or cruelty-free meat, is an animal flesh product that has never been part of a live-in animal.
From an efficiency standpoint – raising a cow to slaughter it for it’s meat is the worst, regardless of how un-ethical it may be.
First, the cow starts as a baby, eats grass, runs around. During these years, it’s absorbing energy from the environment and converting it into body mass.
That entire lifecycle is too much work just to get to the dead meat of an animal – we’re taking the realllly long road on this one.
The alternative would be to simply construct the meat we’re extracting from this animal directly.
Take the cells of a cow and print them in successive layers to create our own cow meat.
While this may seem farfetched – we already have the technology to do it. I think it’s mainly a sociological issue (after the technology is perfected and costs are lowered).
In medicine, over the last few years we’ve been able to 3d print working organs like ears and soon hearts, which are fundamentally the same thing, if not more complex to accomplish than printing out muscle tissue.
The time it takes to print out a single ‘steak’, and the cost are two temporary barriers, but the major issue seems to be sociological..
A huge number of people will be creeped out by the notion of eating meat that wasn’t ever alive.
One way around this is either to roll the tech out in a place where people would be happy to eat any sort of meat, regardless of where it comes from. Make a small mom-n-pop “meat printing farm” in the desert.
Another way is to start printing other animal products from cells and integrating them into society first – like leather.
Once people have a 3d leather printed wallet (cow skin), it may be easier to ease into 3d printed cow meat.
While most people see virtual reality as the next generation of ‘gaming’ – I believe it to be much more disruptive than that. Games are just the tip.
Socially, humans want to and are encouraged to have friends. It’s a good thing.
Currently, that process is dictated largely by geolocation – or where your parents bought a house and put you into school.
The internet has helped bridge the gap in connecting like-minded individuals, but a video call on Skype or a IRC chat does not equal an in-person meeting.
The same goes with shopping online – it doesn’t feel the same as walking through a boutique.
You can watch a livestream of a conference, but it doesn’t match the experience of actually being at an event.
The internet is great at connecting us and our information – but it doesn’t re-create the experience.
VR technology will obliterate the distance gap – making the experience from VR just as good as being somewhere in person.
There are tons of people out there with similar interests to one another, and thanks to the internet they can probably find each other now, but they can’t experience things together unless they’re in the same location.
Instead of flying to a tradeshow in Las Vegas, you could simply hold a virtual tradeshow, in huge conference hall, with vendors setting up their booths in virtual reality. People would be free to walk around at their own pace, talk to vendors, exchange business cards, and maybe even walk a few blocks away to have a coffee, all in a virtual environment.
Another aspect of virtual reality that will be transformative is its use in commerce.
Imagine a grocery store where you can virtually walk through the aisles, pick out what you want, and have it delivered to your door by the end of the day.
Need to run over to the hardware store for some parts? No problem, just pop on your VR goggles and your good to go.
Need a new dress? Quickly scan your body with your webcam, and walk through an infinite showroom of products from stores all over the world, testing out clothes and seeing how they ‘fit’ on your actual body dimensions.
With the touch of a button you can try on that new dress, and with another click you’ve been charged and the is on it’s way to your house.
People want to consume content with other people, but doing so via the internet isn’t anywhere near being with someone in person.
Watching a movie online, but watching it from the perspective of sitting in a theater, next to your friend is much more immersive.
You can look at each other during dramatic parts of the movie and make faces. These interactions are lost when watching a movie on the internet today.
Sports will also be a completely new experience. You may be able to take the perspective of any athlete, or run around the court as if you were in real-life spectator mode.
Take a virtual skydive, or go explore the ocean, all of these mind expanding experiences are just a download away.
Science & Learning:
Learning through virtual reality will prove to be extremely interesting.
Instead of reading text and looking at pictures of atoms in a book, imagine standing inside of an atom, watching the electrons rotate around the nucleus.
Instead of learning chemistry, you can actually stand right next to a molecule and build different compounds by moving elements towards each other and watching the interaction happen in real time with your eyes.
Go visit a distant star and see what it would look like from the 6th planet of a red dwarf star.
These insight will give kids & adults a new perspective on life and whats important.
Overally, VR technology is likely to be a double edged sword.
It gives us an extreme amount of power and flexibility, but it could very easily lead to general laziness when it comes to ‘real’ life.
In a perfect world for VR, everything can be done from the comfort of your own home.
In this scenario, does everyone turn into a fat slob who doesn’t ever move?
Or do we realize that with this technology comes responsibility and in order to not self destruct, we have to proceed with caution – like a drug.
Some people find drugs to be mind expanding tools, while others get sucked into a spiral and can’t get out.
VR may be our drug of the future.
On the bright side, this level of global immersion from the comfort of our own homes may lead to less long-distance traveling (economically, trade shows may be better on VR, same with business meetings, talking with family, etc.).
Short distance transportation may decrease as well – if you don’t need to go anywhere to buy things.
Environmentally, this would be great.
It would also probably free up a TON of real-estate, as people move from brick and mortar businesses to owning virtual storefronts, selling products to people globally, with no overhead.
Once the tables turn and a critical mass is reached on these virtual platforms, it’s an arms race away from physical real-estate into carving a territory in a virtual space.
Entertainment is a huge part of humanity. We crave entertainment, and are constantly bored. The more stimulation the better.
At it’s core, entertainment is a form of storytelling. Whether it’s a play, a movie, a book, dance performance or a game – everything relates back to connecting people through a narrative.
Since the beginning of time we’ve needed things to occupy our minds, and time and time again stories seem to be an underlying structure that instantly engages us.
In order to keep up with trends, hollywood and the movie industry will need to go digital.
It’s possible that we see a crowd funding movement where indie entertainment producers begin to flourish by appealing to the community and getting their project pre-funded (sharing economy).
Distribution and piracy are other huge issues which will see many potential solutions in the next few years.
The entertainment industry is going to need to figure out a way to get their content seamlessly to users, when, where and how they want it.
Until they do that, piracy is going to eat away at their business model until there isn’t one anymore.
This happened to the music industry in a huge way – most artists don’t make their money from actual music sales anymore.
There’s no money in streaming or $.99 downloads, especially when everyone just goes and rips it from youtube anyway.
They wait works now is that the music is simply a distribution technique to onboard / acquire users (fans) in order to sell them concert tickets, t-shirts, perfume, apps, etc.
The money isn’t in the music – it’s in the peripherals.
On that note, I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot more people becoming ‘internet famous’, which will quickly just become ‘famous’.
There are people on instagram with 500k followers who do nothing but have a lot of tattoos or share cool recipes. People are finding their niches, and starting to dominate.
As part of the sharing economy, I think we’ll see a huge trend towards monetizing social influence.
If you have a large audience, eventually you’re going to want to make money from it.
Having 500k followers retweeting you is cool, but unless there’s some sort of end-game then it’s really just numbers on a screen.
One interesting movement following this trend is ‘tipping’ – where communities voluntarily give people ‘tips’ for creating extraordinary content.
Gittip is being used to distribute money to coders who contribute to open source projects, and there are tip-based solutions popping up for every niche.
Once the ’sharing economy’ is fully realized with regards to indie content monetization – growing a following becomes your job, and the best way to grow your following is to do cool things and make great content.
Jobs will not look the same today as they will in the future. Automation is going to take over a lot of the jobs we see as obvious today.
The tasks left to humans will be mostly creative works.
I see a huge portion of the jobs actually coming back to entertaining other humans. People are willing to pay for that.
In an ideal world, entertainment, and education would be intertwined.
People will begin to monetize the knowledge they’ve acquired through their life experiences.
Sites like SkillShare allow you to setup a course and teach people (live video) for a small fee.
Education in general is going to be disrupted heavily in the next few years, and this opens an opportunities for ‘indie teachers’ to monetize the quirky things they’ve been passionate about acquired vasts amounts of knowledge about through heir life.
The crux of the issue we’re tackling is education – if people actually realized what was going on, and fully understood the gravity of the situation were in, then any rational mind would conclude that we need to stop what we’re doing and fix everything.
We currently don’t onboard humans into life correctly – the education systems don’t teach kids what they need to know to become responsible humans, care for one another, problem solve, and work towards creating a better world.
Through the internet we’ve seen huge amounts of information curated by people sharings ideas and building on them collaboratively.
It seems that likeminded groups are forming together – and the vast majority of people are kind, generally good people. We want to be good, we’re just all not in sync all the time. Shit happens.
The general population of people are bogged down by constant problems – everywhere they turn problems happen.
This is a result of them not realizing exactly how their actions – past and present, work together with a zillion other factors to build their future.
If people had no problems – and they could start from 0 every morning, I think people would have a generally more optimistic outlook on life.
This is an up-hill battle, but there are definitely tools we can teach kids that will broaden their mind and allow them to think through problems on their own and work their way towards not having recurring life problems.
Teaching psychology, philosophy, critical thinking skills, and the raw truths about life are extremely important for the feedback loop of a developing mind.
Not knowing is the hardest part of anything. The unknown is scary, because we have no control over it.
If you know vaguely what to expect, you can begin to mentally prepare, and this coping mechanism seems to help tremendously in rebounding from an event that would otherwise leave a lasting scar.
“We need to get rid of the thinking that everybody has to earn a living. It’s a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. We keep inventing jobs because of the false idea that everybody has to be employed. So we have inspectors of inspectors, and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people is to learn & think about whatever it is they were thinking about before people came along and told them they had to earn a living” (-Buckminster Fuller).
There are four necessities in life. The first 3 are shelter, food, water, but after the first 3 are met, humans need something to do with their time.
As we get closer to resource abundance and reach a proto-post scarcity economy, money and it’s grip on society will likely fade away (great article: https://medium.com/@RickWebb/the-economics-of-star-trek-29bab88d50)
The point of life in a post-scarcity society would likely be to contribute your intellectual creations to the collective conscious. This basically means that intellect, imagination, and creations stemming from them would be most valued by society.
We may transition from a commodity based capital to an intellectual based capital.
Things are not valuable, everyone will have them. Your brain and perspective is unique, and is where you pull value.
Creativity and imagination would be the daily job of a normal human. You’ll be free to do what you want / love / are passionate about: Dance, Music, Science, Sports – just be the best human you can be – optimize.
Instead of money, recognition would be your main reward. By creating things that others enjoy (music, paintings, games, websites, etc.) you can spend your time doing what you love.
As you move through life doing what you love, likeminded people join you on your journey – a simple click of the “follow” button. If you do things that interest enough people, then you’ve succeeded, and the tools will be there for you to monetize your hard work.
We’re a long way from this ideal framework, but it doesn’t seem impossible. One interesting solution to experiment with may be some variation of a basic minimum income.
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.
In my eyes, an ideal structure would be where the top 10% of ‘winners’ are cut significantly to support the lower 90%.
Children of the future wouldn’t have to learn useless things for a pointless job – everything in your life (food, shelter, etc.) would be paid for by the great inventors and business men of the previous generation.
As you fumble through life, doing things you love, one day you hit on something great, and you too join the billionaire club.
But – your billion quickly turns into a few million as a huge portion of it is taken away for ‘taxes’.
Now you go from a billion to a few million – but that doesn’t really matter because the upgrades you get from going from ‘normal’ to ‘rich’ are marginal.
The recognition you get is likely what will set you apart – instead of feeling cool because you have a cooler car, you’ll be cool because people love you for carrying humanity on your back.
With an algorithmic government (a political system powered by a distributed, open source algorithm), this re-allocation of funds could be carried out automatically through various demurrage processes.
It probably wouldn’t be advisable to give each kid and adult cash, so one way the system could work is that each person gets a certain basic allocation of resource consumption per year.
When they go to get breakfast and order food – the restaurant would pull X from the subsidy pool (funded by the 10%), and the consumer would subtract X from their yearly allocation.
Everything would be free, but It’s all tracked so nobody goes over what’s been pre-determined as fair.
The main issue here is that there’s NO way existing generations would agree to this. It’s a bad deal all around for them.
The existing top 10% have worked hard for their money, and saying “Hey we’re taking 90% of that, sorry” will never fly.
One potential way to implement something like this would be to essentially start over – find a group of 10%ers who agree that this system would benefit the whole.
For the following generations growing up in this system, the incentives align perfectly – the main issue is the transition phase.
As a child growing up in this system – you grow up in ‘comfortable class’, just like everyone else, with everything paid for.
I imagine it to be a little like college – everything ‘seems’ free because your parents paid for everything, and all you need to do is swipe your campus points card to get food, services, etc.
One day you end up being one of the million people who comes up with a groundbreaking invention. You become rich overnight, as every company that exists is going to use your product.
In this scenario, you’re not pissed you lose 90%, because everything in your life has already been free. Now you’re paying it forward, knowing that your money is going to fund kids just like you.
You can’t really buy much more things now that you’re rich, but everywhere you go people know your face as “that guy who did X”, which may prove to be an even better incentive than money / cars / clothes.
Sociologically we have to switch from thinking of ourselves as “Amercians” or “Black” or “Christians” and start thinking of ourselves as “Humans”.
Nationalism is a problem because it causes us to take pride in accomplishments of other people simply because they were born in the same location as us. This frames one group against another, which is a problem waiting to happen.
We’re all equal – skin, religion, geography, eye color, all that.
Barriers, Go-To Market & Post-Carbon:
The problem is the existing systems are slow moving, and don’t want to give up all their power.
The most proactive thing to tackle in my mind would be to build a clear framework for how all these ideal future systems would be built and how they would interact / connect / influence each other.
In my eyes, the key aspects of this framework would be:
Decentralized / Distributed / P2P
Integration with Existing Legacy Systems
The goal is to figure out a way to build a decentralized platform that does certain aspects of government better than the existing way.
The pitch is that it saves time, money, organizes data, is open source, and free.
Grassroots growth is key because it’s unlikely anyone will be able to pitch something like this to the US government. This has to start somewhere where a leader sees an opportunity to fix an existing problem with new software.
As the project grows, it should be able to grow and integrate additional features, slowly executing its greater vision.
The go-to-market strategy is to pick low hanging fruit – big problems, easy fixes. This is how we inject our technology to adoption.
One potential: DMV / Court System is so broken it makes your head spin.
Drilling down there are tons of things to consider, but from an organizational perspective, if all the info was in a computer, lives would be easier.
You could pay tickets online, meet with a judge via video chat which is recorded and stored in the case file.
All the data would be neat and organized.
The video from the police camera of your traffic stop would be automatically uploaded to the decentralized server, and a case would be generated. All further data relating to this case would also be stored with the other data for that case.
Since the police officer is working for the public, paid for by tax payers dollars, all the data collected while on duty is public property.
This means all GPS, video camera, dispatch recordings, and sensor data are all automatically uploaded to the decentralized p2p server in real time and organized by case.
Court appearances could be video taped, recorded, and auto-uploaded to the case file as well.
Any disputes would easily be resolved by a competent panel reviewing the data in the case file.
Public would be able to see all relevant data from the case (audio in cop car before / during traffic stop, etc.)
By simply organizing all the data through these unconnected processes (traffic stop, court case, appeal, etc.) we can make the process much more efficient, save money, time, headaches, and check another problem off people’s lists.
Media is huge – it is our perception of the world. Things are perceived as important because they’re talked about frequently in the media.
We’re extremely susceptible to manipulation from media – we trust it.
It seems like it’s time for a crowdsourced, decentralized media network to push forward an unbiased, fact based news.
1. Decentralized like the block chain – nobody owns it, nobody controls it.
2. Layers of Curation – News stories get submitted, and “voted up”, like on reddit.
3. Trusted, Anonymous Sources – Users are fully anonymous, but their accounts have a trust score associated with them.
A new user has a trust value of 0 – users with 0 trust score can consume content / data, but cannot submit any stories.
Only users with a trust value of 1 may submit stories.
To get a trust value of 1, an existing user with 1+ who fully trusts you must co-sign your account.
They may remove their co-sign at any time, which will bring your trust back to 0.
If for at any reason a user with a trust value of 1+ user submits spam / fake news, or is deemed to be trolling by the community, they will be voted out by the network.
If user X gets voted out – all of the people who co-signed him will also loose all of their trust.
Example: If user V has 30 co-signs of his own, but he was one of the people who co-signed user X (the spammer), then user V’s account is de-activated as well.
The zero strike policy is to enforce that sources are highly trusted to the point that someone their willing to risk all of their own reputation for each person they co-sign.
To curate what news is important, sources with +1 trust and above can vote stories up / down.
Open Source, Decentralized Education:
A solar powered, mobile computing device for the 3rd world.
I think it would be interesting to try and subsidize a small, solar powered mobile computing device for the 3rd world by finding a way to extract at least $100 or more from the data on the device as it’s used.
The device would cost around $100 to manufacture (high quality), using a raspberry Pi as the base ($35), a SD Card, 6v Solar Panel, and TFT TouchScreen.
It would be interesting to position the device in a way that provides some business at least $100 or more in data on the backend. A partnership with this organization would allow us to subsidies the hardware costs and get information to people much faster.
This mobile device could have an built in education center, and give 3rd world kids the tools of information abundance.
Prototype (v1): http://juliansarokin.com/how-to-build-a-solar-powered-raspberry-pi/
Politics & the Future of Government:
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ― Richard Buckminster Fuller
There are many moving parts in righting our ship and building towards a post-carbon future.
Using the trends above and further outlined, we can begin to form a strategy to execute our visions.
Our goal should be to identify key technology combinations that we can hack together today.
Once we have a prototype, we should identify the key barriers in bringing that prototype to mass market (cost of chips, efficiency of solar panels, additional development, etc.).
Having a demonstrable prototype 1. makes it easier to raise funds and 2. shows the world that change is possible.
In addition to a prototype – demo videos are a great tool we can use to market futuristic ideas.
As technological milestones are hit (i.e. someone develops more efficient solar panels) key bottlenecks preventing us from moving into production on various projects are unlocked.
Having a pipeline of prototypes / products / visions ready is important as every idea has a different lifecycle – some can be built today, but sociologically the world may not be ready to accept it – while others may be accepted instantly, but are missing a key technological breakthrough before it’s ready for use.
We have to stay agile and adapt with the world as it changes. The best way to do this is to predict the future, and insert ourselves wherever we see the potential for disruptive change.