Posts I Like

Presentation of PeerLibrary at iAnnotate 2014 conference in San Francisco. Including the demo of current version in development, 0.2.

Are corporations a new form of slavery?

It is interesting to think about the whole concept of shareholding and corporations. It seems like a modern form of slavery. Because you cannot own a person anymore we developed a concept of corporate personhood, which we can own, sell, resell, split, merge, while it is doing work for you, its owner.

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Data-flow society

I have proposed a new global economic system which, instead of trying to reduce transactions between people to one numerical value (money), stores all information about the transaction itself so that then later on everybody can assign a personalized value to the transaction.

An interesting observation is that we can see people as nodes in a network and transactions between them as connections (edges) in the network. The question is how we define these edges. Do we assign an edge a precomputed simple value, a number, which is made at the moment the edge itself is made. (This is what we currently do.) Or do assign context of the edge to the edge, so that anybody can evaluate the edge by themselves. (This is what I am proposing.)

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Proactive federation of commons is better than just federation

For PeerLibrary project we had discussions on how much distributed or centralized should we make it. It is a cloud service and centralizing (unifying) user base and content has clear benefits for both end users and developers. End users have better user experience and ease of use, all content is available quickly and easily, and all other users are there, making social experience better. For developers, code can be much simpler and maintenance of only one instance makes it easier to deploy new versions and push security fixes quickly. It is easier to collect statistics and do A/B testing on a large sample. On the other hand, having multiple instances of PeerLibrary distributed around the world makes whole system more robust, specialized instances could be offered, privacy of users increased. Having PeerLibrary distributed would make forkability easier, encouraging more community control of both the project and the content (commons), preventing corruption of the main instance or core project.

I argue that what if we want a distributed system, what we in fact want is what I call “proactive federation” and not simple federation.

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Universal basic Bitcoin income

I have a proposal for a double social experiment, merging two disruptive ideas. One is that Bitcoin technology is removing government from the equation of controlling and taxing money flows, which is arguably better because it allows people to freely decide how they want their money to be spend and not be forced by others. The other is universal basic income, a system of social security where everybody regularly receives an unconditional sum of money. Let’s create a way for all Bitcoin users to voluntarily add Bitcoins to a common wallet from which all users would then unconditionally get a regular and equal payment.

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Wikiprogramming – editing a program from the program itself

I am still waiting for somebody to create a programming framework where user could edit the program itself while it is running. Each user interface element would contain an “edit” button and by clicking it you would get source code editor for all code related to that element. Edit it, try it temporary, click save, and you have a new version of the program.

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In gift economies, Mauss argued, exchanges do not have the impersonal qualities of the capitalist marketplace: In fact, even when objects of great value change hands, what really matters is the relations between the people; exchange is about creating friendships, or working out rivalries, or obligations, and only incidentally about moving around valuable goods.

As a result everything becomes personally charged, even property: In gift economies, the most famous objects of wealth - heirloom necklaces, weapons, feather cloaks – always seem to develop personalities of their own.

The basic biological answer is that local cooperation benefits global competitiveness. But that depends on the definition of local, either actual or perceived!

As the Chinese say, in times of small trouble go to the city. In times of big trouble go to the countryside. The rest is commentary!

Answer by Robert Dudley to my question which is more evolutionary “natural” for humans to do, cooperate or compete.

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Net neutrality and traffic shaping

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.

Evolutionary reasons for music and dance

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?