Gittip is not just another web app or start-up, it’s a new kind of company. I’m calling it an “open company,” and here are...
Net neutrality is an important feature of the Internet, but it is at risk. Net neutrality means that Internet service provides must not discriminate and must transport all traffic with same priority and quality. ISPs would like to be able to discriminate because this opens new profit sources for ISPs. For example, they can start asking various Internet services to pay them, or their traffic will have lower priority than some other competing web service.
Profit is not the only reason why would somebody like to discriminate traffic on the Internet. One more reasonable reason is that sometimes to assure good quality of service, it is better for ISP to prioritize, for example, latency sensitive VoIP protocol over bulk download of the movie. This means that you can still use high quality voice communication over the Internet, while at the same time consume your whole link for movie download.
But one can look at the issue from the other perspective as well. The issue of net neutrality is the issue of a power relation. Because ISP has power to decide on the traffic shaping policy, this power can be misused or at least used against end-user’s wishes. The solution is thus simple. End-user ought to be the one deciding on priorities of their traffic. ISPs ought to provide a protocol through which end-user can request how ISP ought to shape incoming traffic (outgoing traffic end-user can shape by themself). ISP can provide a default (high priority for VoIP), but end-user should be able to change those rules and add their own rules. If traffic shaping is done with the consent of the user then this is not discrimination anymore. But a feature, and it still serves the purpose of higher quality of service for the end-user and better user experience with ISP’s service.
Isn’t it interesting how music and dance are so widespread among human cultures? How music makes us move, how we feel that we should respond to music? But why we feel like that? Do other species have music and dancing as well? Not one which is hard-coded in their genes, but one where they can improvise, be creative, go crazy? Do monkeys sing? Is maybe music the reason why we shaped our language and intellect the way we have? To be able to sign together, to be able to create new music not yet made in the past and impress our peers? To move our body in new ways not really necessary for our survival, in a way maybe none of our ancestors ever moved?
I am envisioning a new global economic system1 where you do not provide service or goods to another person because they pay you, but because you evaluate how much, which and how they themselves have provided services and goods to others in the past. You announce your availability of a given service or goods to others, interested apply, and based on your values, beliefs, and information about their past contributions, you decide to whom you then provide given service or goods. Such economy promotes balance, is not impersonal and can properly award cultural, artistic, and sustainable services and goods.
If you know Couchsurfing, then this will be very familiar to you. In essence it is a generalization of Couchsurfing model, while thinking about necessary components to make it scalable and distributed.
It was written few years ago, before Bitcoin, which gives even more ideas how such economic system could be technically implemented.
The following was a class report done together with Valkyrie Savage where we compared my idea for voting described in the previous post with others similar ideas we found around. This idea is envisioned as a backend for the massive online collaborative decision making system already described. Please comment below if we missed something or understood something wrong.
We designed a voting scheme which allows a group of people to better decide on a common opinion about an issue. Currently, the most used approach is to simply count number of votes against and for, while not taking into account people who do not cast a vote. Our approach is to have each person define delegates whose votes will be counted when he/she does not vote him/herself. In this way we get a social network, a trust network, between users which can be used to transitively compute missing votes. We believe such a result better represents the will of the group.
One more old document explaining technical background of the voting system presented in the previous post. Historically it was made few years before the ideas of the previous post, so it does not describe all the properties needed for it. But it does explain how to achieve that just a smaller number of people have to vote and you can still have some understanding what is the opinion of the whole population of a group. This is a necessary property when you want to vote often and on many different topics. We cannot assume that all members of the group will have time and/or knowledge to decide on all those questions, but we believe that they at least know who in their social network is capable of making such a decision and at the same time share their values. So they can delegate voting on this particular questions to them.
I am publishing a longer document describing one my idea of a massive online collaborative decision-making system. I worked on this idea last year, but for now I put it on hold focusing on other projects. Still, I think there is some value in sharing it.
Crowdsourcing definitely has some issues we are not talking about enough. They are workers as any other workers. They are precarious as many others today. Who is thinking about their rights, worker rights? Who is making sure that they are payed and are not working in sweatshops or even slavery conditions? We really do need a 21st century concept of worker unions, for globalized and precarious world. All crowdsourcing workers, unite!
I do not understand why people have issues with sea levels rising. I think we should just take the opportunity. Cheaply build tidal power plants on what is currently easy to build on land and then just wait for sea to come and power them up. Cheap energy. For whole world. No more wars.