Radivis.com http://radivis.com Radical: Futures. Philosophy. Vision. Fiction. Solutions. Sun, 13 Aug 2017 15:56:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 My Personal Progress Report for 2015 http://radivis.com/personal-progress-report-2015/ http://radivis.com/personal-progress-report-2015/#respond Sun, 03 Jan 2016 22:42:34 +0000 http://radivis.com/?p=364 Last year I’ve neglected my personal blog quite a bit in favour of the Fractal Future Forum. Still, I want to use this blog for presenting my most important thoughts, articles, as well as my personal journey and progress. The last year has been significantly different for me. But to give you a better view of my progress, I also add the last three months of 2014 to my personal progress report. So, let’s review what happened:
2014
October

The post My Personal Progress Report for 2015 appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
Last year I’ve neglected my personal blog quite a bit in favour of the Fractal Future Forum. Still, I want to use this blog for presenting my most important thoughts, articles, as well as my personal journey and progress. The last year has been significantly different for me. But to give you a better view of my progress, I also add the last three months of 2014 to my personal progress report. So, let’s review what happened:

2014

October

  • During this month I recovered from an uncomplicated fracture of my left collarbone that happened at the end of September while I was riding my bike through the forest. Getting into a sharp downhill curve covered with wet leaves turned out to be a really bad idea. Anyway, the fracture was more annoying than painful.
  • Unfortunately, this injury has had a negative effect on my general motivation, so I didn’t manage to do anything really noteworthy that month.

November

  • I made the blog post titled Quantified Prestige – Making Intellectual Property Obsolete, which included the second YouTube video that I have ever made.
  • I also cut out the antidepressant that I have been taking for years to deal with the negative psychological symptoms coming from ME/CFS, because I felt like I didn’t really need it.

December

  • During the last month of 2014 I created the Social Future Metanet, which would later be rebranded into the Fractal Future Network. The Social Future Metanet started out with a simple PHP-based Simple Machines Forum: the Social Future Forum. It was intended to become a place for the technoprogressive / social futurist community, since I was convinced that Facebook and blogs weren’t enough to support serious discussions and projects.
  • During the same month, I also did an internship in a small company.

2015

January

  • I migrated the Social Future Forum to Digital Ocean and then restarted it as Discourse forum.
  • During this process I learned a few things about managing VPSs (Virtual Private Servers).
  • And I continued my work in the small company mentioned above with a minor part-time job.

February

March

  • My general energy level has dropped significantly. This made me feel like my general recovery from ME/CFS was in peril.

April

  • I decided that I needed to do more to fix my health issues and started my “antioxidant carpet bombing” experiment: To get oxidative stress under control I started maximizing my intake of antioxidants. Besides my general supplementation regime, I’ve taken vitamin C (several g per day), OPC, Q10, astaxanthin, and several “superfoods”. That hasn’t really restored my energy level, but at least it seemed to have provided a good basis for further health stabilization methods, most importantly trying to stay relaxed under all conditions.

May

  • I joined the newly founded UK Transhumanist Party as official member.
  • In a trial-and-error process I managed to migrate this blog to Digital Ocean.
  • Then I rebranded the Social Future Metanet as Fractal Future Network. I did this in the hope of getting people into the network which previously seemed to have been unhappy with its previous name. In the end, this hope turned out to be unfounded.
  • For Transpolitica I’ve written a chapter titled “Voluntary Basic Incomes in a Reputation Economy”. It was published in the second Transpolitica publication Envisioning Politics 2.0.
  • Finally, I’ve also gotten in touch with the Transhumanist Party Germany precursor group and supported their work by providing it a discussion space within the Fractal Future Forum.

June

  • Apparently, my energy level has recovered and was surprisingly stable.
  • I’ve finished my post series “Presenting the REPDEV Network“, which explains how a new kind of economy based on reputation incomes could be bootstrapped with a new form of organization structure.

July

  • Found out that doing long biking tours improve my digestion and make me sleep much better!
  • Got into contact with a movement supporting the global basic income idea.

August

  • Motivated by complex philosophical conundrums, I shifted my primary personal goals to obtaining wisdom and strength!

September

  • Started with a new morning routine, consisting of:
    1. Quick bodyweight exercises and stretching
    2. Taking a cold shower
    3. Drinking a glass of water with 1 g vitamin C
    4. Meditating for 20 minutes
    5. Drinking a cup of decaf coffee (with added cocoa powder)
  • Increased the working time of my part time job in order to get some more money.
  • Released the 3rd version of the documentation of my Quantified Prestige system.
  • Became a founding member of the Transhuman Party Germany (TPD).

October

November

  • Coded a Fractal Generator web application that can make nice IFS fractal images with (vanilla) JavaScript.
  • Generalized my conceptual virtual currency called Fluido (part of my Quantified Prestige framework) to the versatile concept of flux currencies.
  • Verified that I can effectively suppress most symptoms of trivial infections with vitamin C megadoses and other supplements!

December

Overall Progress of my Health

What is exceptional about my last year is that I had the energy to do a lot of constructive things. That is unusual, since previously I would crash even after doing something only moderately difficult. In hindsight, it’s my “antioxidant carpet bombing” strategy that most likely stabilized me nearly completely, so that I wouldn’t suffer from those debilitating energy crashes. So, this is the first year that I got my health issues basically under control, even though I don’t feel really very good. There are still many symptoms that indicate that I have a chronic health problem, but the big difference is that I am reliably basically functioning now, which is something I can’t really claim for my previous years.

Keep on Trying!

I did many different things last year, but none of them transformed into any kind of big resounding success. I’ve become acutely aware about how difficult it is to get people really interested and engaged in anything really worthwhile. Even the best ideas, projects, and products are worthless, if they fail to set people ablaze with passion. Connecting with people on an emotional level about something that is intellectually sophisticated is harder than I had expected. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. Real progress is possible, but we need to give everything we have for that purpose, if we even want to have a chance.

The post My Personal Progress Report for 2015 appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
http://radivis.com/personal-progress-report-2015/feed/ 0
The REPDEV Network Operating System http://radivis.com/the-repdev-network-operating-system/ http://radivis.com/the-repdev-network-operating-system/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:01:06 +0000 http://radivis.com/?p=348 Note: This post has first been published on the Fractal Future Blog.
This is the third and final post in the following series:
Presenting the REPDEV Network

What is the REPDEV Network?
The REPDEV Network Eco Transformation Strategy
The REPDEV Network Operating System

Writing this post took me quite a while, because I had to read and evaluate two books to get the necessary understanding to come up with an innovative and promising structure for the REPDEV Network. ...

The post The REPDEV Network Operating System appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
Note: This post has first been published on the Fractal Future Blog.

This is the third and final post in the following series:

Presenting the REPDEV Network

  1. What is the REPDEV Network?
  2. The REPDEV Network Eco Transformation Strategy
  3. The REPDEV Network Operating System

Writing this post took me quite a while, because I had to read and evaluate two books to get the necessary understanding to come up with an innovative and promising structure for the REPDEV Network. These two books are Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux, a seminal book about surprisingly successful organizations with effective self-organization of workers, and Swarmwise by the founder of the Swedish Pirate Party Rick Falkvinge, the guide to change the world by creating and leading swarm organizations. Reviewing these books in detail is out of the scope of this post. Suffice to say that both are quite brilliant and important books which together form a large part of the basis of the REPDEV Network Operating System.

Different Scopes of Reinventing Organizations and Swarmwise

It is important to be aware that Reinventing Organizations and Swarmwise have different scopes. While Reinventing Organizations focuses on for-profit and non-profit companies, the methods of Swarmwise are appropriate for activist networks, as exemplified by the Swedish Pirate Party. Trying to apply the methods and structures from one book to the scope of the other is at least slightly inappropriate, because they apply to basically two different situations. What works for an organization run only with full-time or part-time workers won’t necessarily work for a network of volunteers who basically work for free and invest very different amounts of their time and energy into the network – and vice versa.

REPDEV as symbiotic reputation swarm network

What is the REPDEV Network then? Is it supposed to become a formal company or a swarm network? It’s mainly the latter, but with a twist: It shall become a symbiotic reputation swarm network that works together in collaboration with certain organizations, which can optionally see themselves as part of the network! The term “reputation swarm network” is one that I’m coining in this post (the adjective “symbotic” will be explained in the following paragraph). It refers to a network of self-organized volunteers that uses an internal reputation economy to distribute incoming resources. So, to actually work properly, a reputation swarm network already requires a working internal reputation system. In the case of REPDEV this means that there is a bootstrapping problem: REPDEV will have to create the reputation system that it will use for its own operation. Therefore, REPDEV has to start out as “normal” swarm network until it will have created its internal reputation system, at which point it can transform into a real reputation swarm network.

Company swarm symbiosis

Let’s take a step back at first and take a look at how REPDEV should operate in general. The ideal is a symbiotic relationship between the swarm of REPDEV supporters and organizations that collaborate with that swarm network, whether they see themselves as part of REPDEV or not. What counts is the common contribution to the mission of establishing a flourishing reputation economy ecosystem. While volunteers work for the swarm network directly, companies provide reputation economy related services for all kinds of organizations – and of course for REPDEV itself. Both parties can collaborate on common projects, for example the basic software on which the reputation economy should run, which of course must be open source. This will help companies to provide better products and services. In turn, those companies should provide infrastructure, software, services, or a share of their profits for the swarm network. From this arrangement, both sides benefit a lot, so alignment with common goals and practices should be maintained at all times to provide a reliable foundation for the symbiosis.

This means that REPDEV will be more than a “regular” reputation swarm network; it will be a symbiotic reputation swarm network that leverages the collaboration between the reputation swarm network and collaborating organizations. This can be visualized the following way: Imagine a spider web that represents the swarm network. Now visualize snow flakes (each very unique and individual with its own structure) that stick to the spider web which represent the symbiotic companies that collaborate with the swarm network. We can add one last part to the image to make it more complete: The central hub of the spider web that represents a non-profit organization which has vital coordinating and supportive functions for the whole symbiotic reputation swarm network.

A hub non-profit organization for network resource allocation

An effective swarm network should be able to attract and allocate money effectively. There are different strategies for that in the for-profit and non-profit sectors, but a non-profit approach is certainly a good foundation for a swarm network. So, it makes lots of sense for the swarm network to create a dedicated non-profit organization (NPO), or even multiple NPOs within different nations, as hub which can accept donations that are then forwarded to the swarm. What makes this setup interesting in the case of reputation swarm networks is how these donations are forwarded to the swarm network: The members of the swarm use an internal reputation system with which they determine who should get what fraction of incoming donations. If totally decentralized reputation systems can’t be used yet, the hub NPO will host the reputation system of the swarm.

By using a reputation system to allocate donations, the need for creating budgets is minimized. Of course, the hub NPO will have to use a part of the incoming donations to finance its own operation, but everything else should be forwarded to the swarm members. If there is a need to bundle monetary resources, then this can happen in two ways: Firstly, organically on the reputation level. People who have a rather high reputation will get a large fraction of the money. Secondly, the members of the swarm networks can decide to use use their own monetary resources for specific projects that need them. For all regular practical purposes, these two mechanisms should suffice. If there’s still not enough money, then fund-raising campaigns need to be initiated.

There may be legal complications involved since distributing donation money with a reputation system to the members of a rather open network is a pretty unprecedented practice. If these complications appear to be intractable, they would need to be circumnavigated by applying a more traditional money distribution system – at least until the legal issues can be finally resolved.

Commonalities of Reinventing Organizations and Swarmwise

It is quite intriguing that not only Reinventing Organizations and Swarmwise present radically innovative structures for different areas, but that there are striking commonalities between them. The focus on Reinventing Organizations is on so called teal/evolutionary organizations (or teal organizations for short), and that of Swarmwise is of course the (activist) swarm. Nevertheless, there are operating principles that both structures have in common:

  1. Dynamic self-organization is applied, but with clearly defined procedures.
  2. People are free to do what they think is in the best interest of the organization, and can act in the name of the organization, if they adhere to some simple agreed on rules.
  3. Formal or informal leaders provide the vision and act as role-models for the organization.
  4. Trust and a positive vision of human nature are crucial.
  5. The mission is the most important thing around which humans congregate (not leaders, or power, or money, or structures).
  6. Team sizes are important. Teams or groups which become too large become dysfunctional.
  7. Don’t be afraid of things going wrong. If they go wrong, take that as chance to learn from your mistakes.
  8. Voting is not seen as good decision making mechanism. Instead, people act on their own, intuitively using the self-organization principle of stigmergy, often after talking with others about their plans, or they use consensus mechanisms, or conflict resolution strategies.
  9. People don’t command others around. Instead self-appointed leaders say “we’ll do it like this”. People are free to follow or not to follow the suggestions of others.

What may be most amazing about these principles is that they not only work in practice – they actually work surprisingly well! In fact, teal organizations make significantly more profits by applying these principles than if they relied on more traditional approaches. Also, Pirate parties all over the world have been astonishingly successful within a very short frame of time. These underlying principles, let’s call them “teal principles” from now on, enable organizations to operate on a significantly higher level of performance.

Teal principles for REPDEV

As highly innovative network, REPDEV should embrace teal principles as much as possible. This doesn’t mean that all collaborating organizations are required to use teal principles, but wherever new organizations are created for REPDEV, they should already start out as teal organizations. Work is ideally done in small teams, which may even bridge the gaps between different organizations within REPDEV.

At this early stage I don’t want to define the explicit implementation of the teal principles in the REPDEV network, because it’s both too early for that, and they need to develop in an evolutionary fashion to adopt to the specific requirements. In practice, all teams and organizations involved in REPDEV will be free to organize themselves as they please, but they should ideally subscribe to certain sets of guidelines which are to be defined and fleshed out in the future. These guidelines will be inspired by the books Reinventing Organizations and Swarmwise, so these books are suggested reading material for REPDEV members.

The REPDEV components layers

How is the REPDEV network structured exactly now? Well, it consists of three different layers:

  1. The swarm of individual REPDEV supporters (the most basic layer, since without people there is no organization)
  2. The hub NPOs which provide some basic infrastructure, collect donations, and allocate them to the swarm network
  3. Collaborating organizations which provide services, software, infrastructure, and may optionally contribute to REPDEV with a share of their profits (if they make any)

REPDEV supporters can of course belong to multiple of these components. Some overlap is certainly expected. It is certainly possible to get paid for your contributions in any of these components, at least once they are all fully established.

1. The REPDEV swarm

This is the most crucial part of the network, because it consists of actual people who decide to support REPDEV. I explicitly choose the word “supporters” here, because I don’t want to overemphasize the idea of “membership”. Whether a REPDEV supporter sees herself as REPDEV member or not is not the most crucial aspect. What really matters is that the core mission of REPDEV is actually supported through actions, which can of course include work, donations, or merely talking about REPDEV. Therefore, the boundaries of the REPDEV swarm is not clearly defined. Everyone who supports REPDEV could be seen as part of the swarm.

2. The REPDEV hub NPO(s)

As global network, REPDEV needs a NPO with branches in different nations, or multiple different NPOs, to accept donations that are exempt from taxes. It will certainly take some time to set up these NPOs, but once they are in place, REPDEV will be in an ideal position to establish a flourishing reputation economy ecosystem as effectively as possible. The temptation to confuse REPDEV with these NPOs will be great however. They are an essential component of REPDEV, but all three layers of REPDEV are important and constitute the REPDEV network collectively.

By using reputation systems for the swarm network members (membership could formally be defined by being subscribed to such a reputation system), the hub NPOs turn the REPDEV swarm network into an innovative reputation swarm network. And, of course, the hub NPOs will be teal organizations.

3. The organizations collaborating with REPDEV

Some REPDEV supporters might want to create their own organizations within the REPDEV network. They can be NPOs, or for-profit organizations, or something in between, or even for-reputation organizations (as presented in the second part of this series), once a functional reputation economy is already established. These should ideally be teal organizations. Additionally, already existing organizations, whether they are teal or not, can decide to collaborate with REPDEV in any way. The task of all of those organizations is to provide services, software, infrastructure, and products for the emerging reputation economy. Because of their important role, they represent a layer that actually belongs to the REPDEV network.

The reputation incentive system for early supporters

It is important to note that early REPDEV supporters can hope to be highly rewarded in the case of eventual success of establishing a flourishing reputation economy ecosystem. How would that work? It’s simple actually: Early supporters can make themselves known as such by supporting REPDEV openly. The data about what they have contributed, and when, would be stored somewhere on the internet, first in centralized databases (in which case some redundancy should be applied), later in decentralized data storages. With this data, reputation can be allocated to those early contributors once the reputation economy has matured, as appreciation for their efforts to bring the reputation economy into existence. This reputation would then provide great rewards for contributors, probably the more the earlier the contribution happened and the larger it has been.

So, supporting REPDEV openly can be seen as long-term investment in one’s reputation. Also, early support helps establishing a reputation economy faster, and with a higher chance of eventual success. Even small amounts of early support can bear large reputation fruits later on. Of course, also late supporters will be rewarded with reputation, but probably to a lesser degree. And there is no guarantee for this reputation reward to happen at all, because reputation is rewarded by people based on their subjective preferences – and not due to some fixed algorithm that would take into account contributions and assign values to them.

Note that this reputation incentive system assumes an already established global reputation economy that eventually becomes more important than the reputation networks or the hub NPOs. Although it might be possible to use the reputation incentive system with the hub NPO reputation network, it would be an improper use of that reputation network, which is supposed to be used to reward actual work instead of donations.

Summary of the REPDEV Network Operating System

The REPDEV network has three main layers: The swarm, the hub NPOs, and all the collaborating organizations. It will operate as symbiotic reputation swarm network applying teal principles wherever possible. Suggested reading materials are the books Reinventing Organizations and Swarmwise, because they provide the basis for the REPDEV guidelines, which will be developed in an evolutionary manner. Finally, early REPDEV supporters can have reasonable hopes to be significantly rewarded for their contributions sooner or later.

If you want to support REPDEV in any way, please share this blog post series or contact me through any of the following channels:

The post The REPDEV Network Operating System appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
http://radivis.com/the-repdev-network-operating-system/feed/ 0
The REPDEV Network Eco Transformation Strategy http://radivis.com/the-repdev-network-eco-transformation-strategy/ http://radivis.com/the-repdev-network-eco-transformation-strategy/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2015 16:46:03 +0000 http://radivis.com/?p=342 Note: This post has first been published on the Fractal Future Blog.
This is the second post in the following series:
Presenting the REPDEV Network

What is the REPDEV Network?
The REPDEV Network Eco Transformation Strategy
The REPDEV Network Operating System

In the last post I presented the main goals of the REPDEV Network. But how are those goals achieved? To answer this question, I propose a strategy for finally transforming the economic ecosystem and creating a flourishing ...

The post The REPDEV Network Eco Transformation Strategy appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
Note: This post has first been published on the Fractal Future Blog.

This is the second post in the following series:

Presenting the REPDEV Network

  1. What is the REPDEV Network?
  2. The REPDEV Network Eco Transformation Strategy
  3. The REPDEV Network Operating System

In the last post I presented the main goals of the REPDEV Network. But how are those goals achieved? To answer this question, I propose a strategy for finally transforming the economic ecosystem and creating a flourishing reputation economy: The Eco Transformation Strategy. This strategy involves several overlapping phases:

  1. The theory phase
  2. The networking phase
  3. The software development phase
  4. The research and exploration phase
  5. The economic ecosystem phase.

Keep in mind that these phases actually do overlap and that multiple activities are pursued in parallel. What is different in each phase is the focus of activity. Also, please note that the Eco Transformation Strategy is the initial strategy pursued by the REPDEV Network. Like all strategies, it needs to evolve over time by adapting to the actual circumstances, and by being worked upon collaborative by the members of the REPDEV Network.

Phase 0: Theory Phase

There is a reason why this phase has the number 0: It has basically been completed by me having finished the second version of the Quantified Prestige documentation in 2012. Yes, that was three years ago! So, what happened in the meantime? Well, I tried turning my theoretical reputation economy system into a web application, but I had to fight two problems: The first, minor problem, was that I didn’t have sufficient programming experience to pull that off easily. In theory, I could have solved that by learning how to program well by using all the learning resources out there. Unfortunately, the second problem was a real show-stopper at that time: I was suffering from ME/CFS, a still badly understood chronic disease that minimized my energy levels. Under those circumstances I couldn’t finish my software project. And I decided that it was necessary to focus on regaining my health. Otherwise I wouldn’t be to help a reputation economy based on Quantified Prestige come into being.

Now, I’m not really cured, but at least I have learned to manage that disease so well that it has been reduced to a rather moderate problem. So, what was the theory phase all about? In late 2011 I developed the first version of Quantified Prestige (which was called “Repo Fluido” back then). In 2012 I’ve released the second version of the documentation, which is still the current version, even though it has some minor insignificant mistakes that force readers to read carefully! 😉 I’m planning on releasing an improved third version of the QP documentation in July 2015. This third version will have some minor modifications which are mainly aimed at making it easier to turn QP into a working piece of software. There won’t be huge changes regarding the core theory (apart from the wording), because the second version is already sufficiently advanced when it comes to the theoretical basics of a reputation economy.

I haven’t spread the QP documentation widely during the previous years, because I was still quite anxious and energy deprived at that time – and because I was unsure about how to proceed with setting up a reputation economy. Only recently, I developed the Eco Transformation Strategy that presents a rather clear path towards a real reputation economy ecosystem.

Phase 1: Networking Phase

This is the current stage of the REPDEV Network Eco Transformation Strategy. It is the stage in which REPDEV really get set up as functioning network of people and organizations. The networking phase is all about creating awareness and recruiting supporters for REPDEV.

Creating awareness

Thus far, “reputation economy” hasn’t been much more than fuzzy buzzword. People need to learn what it really means, and which promises lie behind a fully mature reputation economy. Awareness needs to be raised about:

  1. The concept of a reputation economy
  2. The prospects of a reputation economy realized with Quantified Prestige or similar reputation systems
  3. The REPDEV Network
  4. The Eco Transformation Strategy
  5. How the world would be better if there was a mature reputation economy ecosystem
  6. How people can profit from a reputation economy personally

Once many people understand what’s really at stake here, they can be motivated to become active supporters for a broad reputation economy movement driven by the REPDEV Network.

Recruiting supporters for REPDEV

Of course, many people can achieve much more than few people – at least everything else being equal. The more supporters REPDEV has, the more the REPDEV Network is taken seriously, and the easier it will become to get more people and organizations on board. This is because the idea of a reputation economy hasn’t caught very much publicity, yet. People won’t join a network when they don’t know what it’s really about. Once the reputation economy idea has become popular, or even viral, many people and organizations will want to come on board; both because it’s a cool idea that is worth working towards, and because it promises personal profits for those who develop or use it.

During the networking stage it is most important to spread the word. So, everyone can become a valuable supporter of the REPDEV Network simply by talking with others about REPDEV and the advantages of a reputation economy. No special skills are required for that, although the following skills and activities would be particularly valuable:

  1. Being able to develop a deep understanding of a possible reputation economy
  2. Pitching the idea of a reputation economy to others (we need good “idea marketers”)
  3. Reaching a wide audience and engaging with it actively
  4. Explaining to others how a reputation economy works
  5. Inspiring and motivating people to join the REPDEV Network

Phase 2: Software Development Phase

Hopefully soon after the initial networking phase, different teams will start developing software implementation of Quantified Prestige, and possibly similar reputation systems. For brevity’s sake, I will refer to both options by “QP”.

Now, why is there a need for different teams? Why wouldn’t one single team suffice for all matters QP software? Because QP needs to be everywhere, and not only in one single company, or on one single web platform. Remember: The goal of the REPDEV Network is to have a reputation economy ecosystem, not merely a monolithic reputation economy system. Ecosystems are much more robust than singular entities living within those systems. A flourishing reputation economy needs to be widely spread and robustly embedded within the global economy. There must not be a single point of failure that could be attacked or subverted. The reputation economy should remain highly functioning even in the case that some critical supporting organizations fail.

When it comes to developing QP software, the key question is “what kind of software?” The most important consideration is not what programming language it is programmed in, but what architecture it is based upon. There are three different basic architectures:

  1. QP as “reputation module” within other applications
  2. QP as standalone application that is centralized
  3. QP as decentralized application

Reputation module

There are many kinds of applications out there in which QP could be integrated to have an internal reputation system or an internal reputation economy:

  • Social networks
  • Community sites
  • Intranets
  • Online games
  • Virtual worlds
  • Blogs
  • Bulletin boards
  • Wikis

In all of those applications, people interact with each other on a regular basis and might profit significantly from having a possibility to see and influence the quantified reputation of other users. It wouldn’t be very hard to add QP as modules to such applications, because they already have the basic architecture to support peer to peer reputation networks.

The advantages of this approach would be quick development, and already having a relatively large user base. It’s good for experimenting with reputation systems and reputation economies on a small to medium scale.

An obvious disadvantage of QP merely being implemented as module is the dependence on the underlying software. Having a reputation economy that is restricted to one specific application is not the best idea. Sure, such “local” reputation economies could be a really good thing, but they can’t serve as true basis for a global reputation economy.

Centralized application

A centralized standalone QP application could enable a global reputation economy. Other application could interface with the central QP application, so that there could be one big reputation network that spans multiple sites and applications. It would have a central reputation database that could be used by anyone who has access to the application.

However, centralized applications come with serious problems. One major issue is that users would have to trust those who are in charge of the QP application. Even if that kind of trust is granted, it could easily be abused. The reputation system could be manipulated or hacked.

Nevertheless, centralized QP applications could be useful in cases where that trust is justified, or where proper functioning and integrity of the system can be enforced and verified.

Decentralized application

During the last years there was a boom of decentralized applications. Many of them are crypotocurrencies like Bitcoin, but there have been substantial efforts to develop decentralization technologies that allow much broader applications, most prominently Ethereum and SAFE Network. QP might be built on those decentralized app platforms, or it might run as some kind of standalone decentralized application.

Clear advantages of decentralized applications are that they are much harder to manipulate. They also cannot be easily controlled by one single malicious agent or group of agents. This enables a degree of security that is truly appropriate for economic applications.

Having multiple global decentralized reputation economy applications would be the final goal of the software development phase. At that stage, a supremely robust and flexible reputation economy ecosystem could flourish (see phase 4).

Phase 3: Research and Exploration Phase

Once the first QP applications are created and being actively used, the dynamics of those reputation systems could be explored. It will be the right time to apply science to it! Many researchers, for example economists, sociologists, and psychologists would have the opportunity to learn how humans actually behave in a reputation economy.

There are many places in which QP could be used on a more or less experimental basis:

  • Within innovative companies as supporting reward system
  • In academia as a peer-to-peer rating system of scientific publications and contributing scientists
  • As economic mechanism within massively multiplayer online games
  • In simulations of a real reputation economy, with AI based agents, or even with human participants
  • As replacement for simple karma systems in online communities
  • Within various organizations for granting reputation-dependent rights and privileges
  • As additional system for rating products on eCommerce platforms
  • And many more places in which advanced reputation systems could be real game changers

Some experiments will go wrong, and in those cases the system would have to be changed – or used in a different way. Ideally, the data of these experiments will be released out into the open, so that researchers can analyse it and draw their own conclusions. This experimentation and research phase will hopefully create greater media attention for QP, so that more REPDEV supporters are attracted, which could then help to accelerate the development of QP and its introduction into the economy.

The results of these research and development efforts would then trigger the next phase of the reputation economy:

Phase 4: Economic Ecosystem Phase

Before this stage, some minor reputation economies already exist, but they are not deeply interfaced with the “real” economy of goods, services, and money. Legal regulation will need to be developed in order to ensure the legal operation of the organizations carrying the reputation economy.

Several organizations may start focusing on the reputation economy entirely, using innovative business practises which were hardly possible in the previous economy:

For-reputation organizations

Once reputation incomes are established and sufficiently high, they may be able to sustain at least some small innovative organisations. These organisations could become “for-reputation organizations” that provide goods and services for free, or at least for very low prices, in order to gain a large amount of positive reputation, and solve certain problems that current organizations can’t solve in an optimal way. Their positive reputation would then generate a reputation income that could sustain the organization on its own!

The more the reputation economy gains traction, the more organizations will be able to become at least partial for-reputation organizations. This will radically transform the dynamics of the economy:

  • Services and goods, especially digital goods, could be provided much more cheaply, while still having great quality
  • The quality of goods and services would increase, too, because only really good products can generate highly positive reputation
  • Organizations would become less corrupt, less criminal, and treat the environment and their employees better, because otherwise their reputation (incomes) would suffer severely
  • Cheaper products would increase consumer demand, and vitalize the economy
  • People could have more influence on how for-reputation organizations operate, even if they are not direct customers
  • Eventually, the economy would serve the people more directly, and for-reputation organizations could quickly and effectively solve problems that classical organizations are less able to deal with.

The rise of reputation currencies

In the first part of this series I presented the Fluido, a theoretical electronic currency generated by positive reputation. In general, there could be several such reputation currencies, which are electronic currencies generated by reputation. Would reputation currencies be more than mere token systems? Yes, because they are intimately coupled to an important indicator of value: Reputation. That makes them intrinsically more useful as indicator of value than regular currencies which have no intrinsic connection to actually relevant value! Also, reputation currencies could have all the basic advantages of advanced electronic currencies:

  • Minimal transaction fees
  • Very high transaction speeds
  • Debt-free money creation
  • Reliable cryptographic security

Additionally, reputation currencies would be democratic/meritocratic: The people decide who gets most of the reputation money for their efforts!

By design, Bitcoin has a simple mechanism against monetary inflation, but at the same time this simple mechanism will likely cause price deflation in the long run, because in a growing economy the fixed money supply would increase in value. In contrast, Fluido has a different, more sophisticated, mechanism against monetary inflation that at the same time avoids the pitfalls of price deflation by conditional reputation-dependent devaluation. Therefore, Fluido is a currency that would be quite suitable to be used in the actual economy, while Bitcoin is more like the equivalent to gold within the electronic currency ecosystem.

Finally, note that the Fluido is a continuous reputation currency that allows for continuous money transfers which would be much more practical to handle than discrete money transfers in which money is transferred all at once at once specific time!

So, reputation currencies like the Fluido can be very innovative forms on money that could supplant other forms of money over time. Eventually, nations might even adopt reputation currencies as official currencies, because of their superior properties.

Economic Ecosystem Transformation

With all of these innovations in place, with a multitude of for-reputation organizations, using different reputation currencies for customized purposes, the economic ecosystem is transformed completely. The old dynamics of the financial markets and doing business will be replaced by a much more directly democratic economy that rewards those who can maintain a positive reputation.

I’m not claiming that this will be a perfect economic system, but it will provide much more options and opportunities for everyone, and thus more freedom. A reputation economy ecosystem will have its own problems and pitfalls, but it will avoid many of the massive issues of our current economic paradigm. Higher levels of wider distributed prosperity are possible in a reputation economy ecosystem than in the centralized, restrictive, and crisis prone economy of today.

And in this new flourishing reputation economy ecosystem the role of the REPDEV Network will be to secure the basis of economic activity, and to help people and organizations to use the best tools and practices for taking advantage of the reputation economy.

Please read the final part of this blog post series: The REPDEV Network Operating System. It presents the highly innovative operating system of the REPDEV Network that should allow it to bootstrap its own growth and the deployment of a reputation economy ecosystem relatively quickly, while at the same time also rewarding its supporters in unprecedented ways.

The post The REPDEV Network Eco Transformation Strategy appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
http://radivis.com/the-repdev-network-eco-transformation-strategy/feed/ 3
What is the REPDEV Network? http://radivis.com/what-is-the-repdev-network/ http://radivis.com/what-is-the-repdev-network/#respond Thu, 21 May 2015 21:01:22 +0000 http://radivis.com/?p=338 This is the first post in the following series:
Presenting the REPDEV Network

What is the REPDEV Network?
The REPDEV Network Eco Transformation Strategy
The REPDEV Network Operating System

The abbreviation REPDEV means Reputation Economy Promotion, Development, Exploration, and Vitalization. So, the purpose of the REPDEV Network is so create a reputation economy and then help it to really flourish. But what is a reputation economy in the first place?
What is a reputation economy?
While there are ...

The post What is the REPDEV Network? appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
This is the first post in the following series:

Presenting the REPDEV Network

  1. What is the REPDEV Network?
  2. The REPDEV Network Eco Transformation Strategy
  3. The REPDEV Network Operating System

The abbreviation REPDEV means Reputation Economy Promotion, Development, Exploration, and Vitalization. So, the purpose of the REPDEV Network is so create a reputation economy and then help it to really flourish. But what is a reputation economy in the first place?

What is a reputation economy?

While there are many ways to define a reputation economy, there is one issue that lies at the hear of the reputation economy: How do reputation and wealth relate to each other? I call this connection reputation-wealth coupling (RWC):

Reputation-wealth coupling

Reputation can have an influence on your wealth and vice versa. It is certainly possible to “buy” reputation with lots of money, though that effort may sometimes be problematic and even backfire. What is much more interesting is the other direction of influence: How does reputation influence wealth?

  • Indirect reputation-wealth coupling means that your reputation influences your wealth somehow, but in a rather indirect way. You might get more customers, because your reputation (or the reputation of your products) is good. Or you might not get a job, because your online reputation has been tarnished.
  • Direct reputation-wealth coupling is a state in which your reputation has a rather direct influence on your wealth. Currently, this is a rather rare phenomenon. One example might be views and likes of YouTube videos of YouTubers who allow advertisements on their videos. If one interprets view and likes as reputation of a video, then this high reputation translates rather directly into income for that YouTuber via advertisement revenues. Direct RWC is something which will be much more prevalent in the future, and enabled by new targeted mechanisms (for example the reputation system Quantified Prestige, as explained below).
  • Weak RWC means that the relation between reputation and wealth is statistically weak, formally expressed as low correlation between both variables. Corporations and persons might be excessively wealthy, while at the same time having a horrible reputation in the general population. On the other hand, highly esteemed individuals may be financially poor. That is a fate that is often experienced by teachers, artists, and philosophers.
  • With strong RWC your reputation is your capital. If you have a high reputation, you are almost certainly wealthy. And if your reputation is terrible, your wealth will go down the drain.

So, let’s use a rather general, albeit somewhat fuzzy, definition of a reputation economy:

An economy is a reputation economy if reputation-wealth coupling is predominantly direct and strong.

Effectively, this means that people can make a living out of having a good reputation alone!

Recent books like The Reputation Economy by Michael Fertik and David C. Thompson and Reputation Economics by Joshua Klein point out that this prospect may be closer than most people realize. The importance of reputation is ever increasing in our more and more online-centric world. But the real revolution is still to come, and the REPDEV Network is there to bring it forth!

What is a reputation economy good for?

So, if we have a reputation economy, what is it actually good for? Can it solve all of the problems in the world? Nope, but it can solve some of them!

Making artificial scarcity obsolete

Interestingly, reputation economies are a natural solution to the problem of artificial scarcity. But what is artificial scarcity?

Artificial scarcity and digital goods

Well, it’s an phenomenon that arises for goods that are easily reproduced and transmitted, like information, or digital goods. With our ever advancing technology more and more goods are digital or can be digitized:

  • Computer games
  • Videos
  • Online courses
  • Music
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Papers
  • Patents
  • Software
  • Genetic codes
  • Blueprints for physical goods that can be manufactured by 3d-printers
  • Objects in virtual worlds
  • … and a lot of other stuff …

All of these goods can nowadays be copied and shared for virtually no cost. That is absolutely awesome! However, creating those goods in the first place does cost a lot of time, effort, and usually also money. So, the creators of these goods need a way to cover their costs. And this is where artificial scarcity comes into play: Instead of giving away their products for free, creators make their products artificially scarce in order to sell them on a market for a relatively high price that is in no relation to the actual cost of copying and transmitting the product in question! This is an issue that has been examined, among others, in the book The Zero Marginal Cost Society by Jeremy Rifkin.

Now, how do they make their products artificially scarce? By making it hard or illegal to copy their products without their permission! The tools for that are copyrights, intellectual property legislation, and digital rights management. Sure, that is an approach that works to some degree, but it is an unnatural solution that reduces potential technologically enabled abundance to politically enforced artificial scarcity. But is there any better solution?

Well, with a true reputation economy there is! In a reputation economy creators can give away their products for free and thus maximize their reputation. Their reputation in turn will create wealth – and hopefully at least cover the costs of content creation. No artificial scarcity required! In this situation we have abundance for all: For the consumers, because digital products are effectively free; and for the creators, because their reputation makes them wealthy!

But how would reputation actually create wealth for content creators in reality? To understand that, I will introduce the concept of reputation incomes:

Reputation incomes

The idea of a reputation income is rather simple: You get a regular income in proportion to your reputation. For that to work, your reputation needs to be quantified somehow. And there also needs to be a source of that income. But let’s stay with the first requirement for a while. How can reputation be quantified? Well, we could simply count Facebook likes of posts made by one person to get a basic reputation index for that person. The platform Klout uses a more sophisticated algorithm based on social media activity to quantify the reputation of registered persons. Still, this approach might not seem adequate enough to get a really meaningful quantification of someone’s reputation.

To get a more appropriate measure for reputation, I developed a reputation system called Quantified Prestige that determines the positive reputation of its users on the basis of peer ratings in a peer to peer network. In fact, the details are relatively sophisticated and explained in the Quantified Prestige documentation. Now, the point is that the system produces a more or less useful reputation metric that quantified the reputation of its users. So, once this system is in place and there is some monetary fund, the users of the system can get a reputation income out of that fund.

Of course these reputation income funds need to be provided by someone. There are several possibilities to establish a reputation income fund:

  1. It could be donation based.
  2. A company could set up a reputation income fund with a part of its profits.
  3. Or it could be financed by some tax.

All of these would be distributive reputation incomes. But if we think a little bit more out of the box, we could question the need for a reputation income fund at all! What if reputation could generate a reputation income directly? This is the generative reputation income approach that is followed by the theoretical electronic currency that I call Fluido (and which is described in detail in the Quantified Prestige documentation). In the Quantified Prestige system, reputation can create an income in Fluido directly. Of course, the Fluido currency would at first simply be an electronic token system, like, hmm … Bitcoin? In fact, Bitcoin was a core inspiration for the ideas behind Fluido. The fact that Bitcoins have value proves that electronic tokens can in fact be used as valuable currencies.

Voluntary basic incomes

It gets even better! There are multiple ways in which a reputation economy can enable voluntary basic incomes:

  1. People could donate to a voluntary basic income fund in order to raise their reputation. This fund would provide many people with a basic income – while the donors profit from their increased reputation.
  2. A voluntary fund could be used both as reputation income fund and as basic income fund at the same time! In this case, there need to be rules what fraction of the money is reputation independent, and how the reputation dependent part is paid out.
  3. There could be a reputation independent basic income in Fluido: While a part of the Fluido income of a person is generated by positive reputation, the other could be generated independent of reputation. A quite similar approach is to grant people basic positive reputation.

Of course, these different approaches can be used in parallel and complement each other. They could even be used in addition to a more conventional universal basic income.

Incentivizing ethical behaviour

Once the importance of reputation rises, it becomes much more imperative to increase one’s reputation than to increase one’s conventional monetary incomes. This means that everyone will have a strong incentive to maintain a good reputation. Since unethical behaviour tends to threaten one’s reputation, people will especially have stronger incentives to behave in ethically acceptable ways. And it’s not only about individuals! Organizations also have much more weighty reasons to behave ethically in a reputation economy.

Therefore, a reputation economy would make the world more ethical! How surprising is that? 😉

What is the mission of the REPDEV Network?

Now that we have seen that a reputation economy would provide really significant benefits, it should be clear that establishing a real reputation economy needs to become an imperative! This is why I am founding the REPDEV Network. It is supposed to become a network of people and organizations who work together to turn the idea of a reputation economy into an undeniable reality!

The main mission of the REPDEV Network can be summarized in one simple sentence:

The REPDEV Network has the mission of establishing a flourishing reputation economy ecosystem!

This main mission can be subdivided into several missions related to different areas of activity:

Areas of activity

The REPDEV Network has its areas of activity in its name: Promotion, Development, Exploration, and Vitalization.

Promotion

First of all, the REPDEV Network needs to make the idea of a reputation economy and its positive implications really popular. For that purpose, it needs to recruit activists and communicators who share and explain the ideas behind the reputation economy. People need to understand what a reputation economy is, and what it can do for them, and what they can do to help it come into being.

Development

Secondly, the REPDEV Network needs to create reputation systems that represent that basis of the reputation economy. Not every reputation system is well suited for that purpose. The innovative system Quantified Prestige currently seems to be the best candidate for establishing a meaningful reputation economy. But of course, there could be other viable systems that could support an effective reputation economy.

Developing reputation systems means a lot of different things:

  1. Developing the theoretical foundations of the system. This has been done to a large degree for Quantified Prestige.
  2. Turning the theoretical system into software that actually implements the reputation system. Quantified Prestige is not yet available as software system, so this is logical next step that needs to be done. Klout already is a working reputation system, but it’s not optimally suited for supporting a reputation economy.
  3. There needs to be a supporting (online) infrastructure that enables people to interact with the reputation systems that represent the basis of the reputation economy. Those could be centralized platforms like Facebook, or they could be decentralized systems using block chain technology for example.
  4. Finally, solutions to implement reputation incomes need to be created and deployed.

Exploration

Once a reputation economy exists, no matter on what scale, it can and should be explored, researched, and experimented with. Questions like the following need to be answered:

  • What are the basic dynamics of a reputation economy?
  • What are possible error modes of a reputation economy and how can they be avoided?
  • Do reputation economies really solve big problems?
  • How can reputation economies be improved?
  • How does the reputation economy interact with the conventional economy?

To answer these questions the REPDEV Network can explore real reputation economies, or study simulated reputation economies. Something in between would be to create massively multiplayer online reputation economy simulation games, or to include reputation economies into already existing massively multiplayer online games, and to examine the dynamics of these systems.

Vitalization

Finally, once the foundations for a reputation economy exist, people need to bring it to life! They need to use it, to play with it, to experiment with it, to apply it to all kinds of problems, and to improve it further. At this stage a real ecosystem of multiple parallel or interlocked reputation economies needs to be created to unlock the full potential of the reputation economy idea:

  • Multiple reputation systems enabling multiple reputation incomes supporting many different entrepreneurs, freelancers, companies, and organizations
  • Multiple reputation economy platforms supported by multiple reputation economy applications
  • Multiple communities using multiple different reputation economies for various different purposes

This final diversity required for a true reputation economy ecosystem is the reason why the idea of a reputation economy is just too big for a single organization. There really has to be a broad network that supports all the different reputation economies: The REPDEV Network!

What’s next?

If you are already convinced by the idea of the REPDEV Network, you can join the Fractal Future Forum and discuss in the REPDEV Network category about everything that you have in mind regarding that network or related ideas.

Otherwise, please stay tuned for the next parts of this blog post series. They will explain the initial strategy and operation principles of the REPDEV Network.

You can continue with part 2, The REPDEV Network Eco Transformation Strategy.

The post What is the REPDEV Network? appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
http://radivis.com/what-is-the-repdev-network/feed/ 0
The Fractal Future Network Launches http://radivis.com/the-fractal-future-network-launches/ http://radivis.com/the-fractal-future-network-launches/#respond Wed, 20 May 2015 20:12:50 +0000 http://radivis.com/?p=333 Note: This post has first been published on the new Fractal Future Blog.
The futurist community is wide and fascinating. There’s a plethora of different strands of futurists, but all of them share the ambitious goal of creating a better future. What is a futurist then?
A futurist is a person who is active in the pursuit of creating a better future by thinking about possible future scenarios and following a path towards the best scenarios.
I use a rather ...

The post The Fractal Future Network Launches appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
Note: This post has first been published on the new Fractal Future Blog.

The futurist community is wide and fascinating. There’s a plethora of different strands of futurists, but all of them share the ambitious goal of creating a better future. What is a futurist then?

A futurist is a person who is active in the pursuit of creating a better future by thinking about possible future scenarios and following a path towards the best scenarios.

I use a rather wide definition of futurists here. Note that I don’t identify futurists with futurologists or future science researchers. Those just represent the research branches of the wide futurist community. So, which groups can be said to belong to the futurist community?

  • Alternative economy theorists
  • Basic income advocates
  • Decentralization enthusiasts, including those who are fascinated by cryptocurrencies
  • Effective altruists
  • Future aware and visionary entrepreneurs
  • Rationalists
  • Thinkers proposing radically innovative ideas
  • Transhumanists

All of these communities represent complementary approaches towards a better future. So far, these communities have coexisted in parallel each with their own focus and their own projects. There is certainly a lot of overlap concerning some topics and people belonging to multiple different communities at once, but the realization that all of them belong to an overarching futurist community was more or less lacking. Therefore, the futurist community didn’t fully leverage the possible synergy coming from the possible interactions between the different communities.

Roles of the Fractal Future Network

But the Fractal Future Network is not there to be a merely formal collection of different branches of futurists. It has three distinctive roles:

  1. The Fractal Future Network is a portal for the futurist community that collects relevant links and resources. It acts as gateway for everyone wanting to explore the various branches of the futurist community.
  2. The Fractal Future Network is an idea base for the futurist community on which ideas can be collected, shared, and discussed on neutral ground.
  3. The Fractal Future Network is a project launching platform on which futurists can use the infrastructure of the network to start their projects within protected areas of the network.

These three roles describe the central purpose of the Fractal Future Network. Of course, the network could try to bring together all the different futurist communities in some kind of Round Table, but without a more specific purpose this objective alone wouldn’t achieve very much. In any case, the Fractal Future Forum is a communication platform that can be used by futurists of all variation to learn to know each other better, and to use the synergy that arises from interactions between the different futurist communities.

The Futurist Portal

Most futurists focus on their own rather specific communities, and some of those have good community portals. However, there doesn’t seem to be a good portal site for the whole of the futurist community. FractalFuture.Net could indeed become that portal site that provides some navigation for the futurist world. People who are curious can join this portal and find out what kind of communities, websites, and organizations are actually out there. That would help to widen the horizon of everyone – even that of the most knowledgeable futurists.

The Futuristic Idea Base

Sometimes you might have an interesting idea that you find fascinating, but don’t know what to do with it. Sure, you could post it on your own blog or on a community blog. In fact, that would be awesome! You might even use this blog for sharing your idea with the world. However, if you feel your idea is not that refined, yet, you might simply throw it into the Fractal Future Forum, a place which is more more suitable for discussing or just archiving ideas than Facebook or Twitter.

You might even have an idea that could be turned into a really cool project or business that would improve the world, or at least the lives of some people, but don’t feel inclined on doing it yourself. Fine, that’s a perfectly legitimate attitude to have. Under the right circumstances you might be lucky and some person in the Fractal Future Network is so intrigued by your idea that he or she decides to actually do something with it. In that case, you get the prestige for having come up with that idea; and the idea might turn into something tangible that provides real benefits.

Ah, but you might object that this is too idealistic and people aren’t willing to share good ideas, because that would allow others to profit from them. Well, total idealism isn’t always profitable, that much is true. Interestingly, the not too far future might provide you with an interesting possibility to profit from having a good reputation alone. In such a reputation economy sharing good ideas alone might grant you a real reputation income! More detailed information about how this system would work will be available on this blog, soon – so stay tuned! 🙂

The Future Project Launching Platform

Futurists often have promising ideas, but turning them into projects with real traction is very hard. Often such efforts have failed due to unfavourable circumstances. The mission of the Fractal Future Network is to improve these circumstances by providing futurists with a supportive community and some basic online infrastructure which they can use for the early phases of bootstrapping their projects. The Fractal Future Network can help futurist projects in the following ways:

  1. By providing an overview over helpful futurist resources through its portal function.
  2. By maintaining a space in which ideas are collected, shared, and discussed.
  3. By extending the reach of project founders in order to recruit the right people for their projects.
  4. By granting access to this blog and project areas within the Fractal Future Forum.
  5. More support might be available in the future as the Fractal Future Network grows.

The general idea is that the Fractal Future Network helps new projects to gain traction and find enough fitting people to finally make the project self-sustaining. The Network is supposed to act as catalyst that helps projects gain enough momentum to keep going on their own. However, the Fractal Future Network is not a classical “accelerator” that helps project to find initial funding. What the Fractal Future Network however does, is providing projects with the opportunity of doing an initial “soft launch”, which creates better circumstances for a possible official “hard launch” later on.

How you can get started

Share your project idea in the Fractal Future Forum. Or just contact me via email (radivis@radivis.com) or in the Fractal Future Forum. Currently, I am the one in charge of the online infrastructure of the Fractal Future Network, so I am able to support you, if you can convince me that your project is cool. Please don’t be shy! If you have a serious project idea and are willing to ask me, we will most probably find a good way to proceed.

Current projects within the Fractal Future Network

At the moment there are just a few active “official” projects within the Fractal Future Network. Mostly because our community is just in its infancy right now:

  • There’s a sci-fi world building project based on transhumanist and general futurist ideas called Fractal Cosmos.
  • The German Transhumanist Party precursor group is using a hidden area for some internal discussions.
  • The REPDEV Network which I will present soon. It’s a network that aims at establishing a flourishing reputation economy!
  • Of course, the Fractal Future Network and its three core roles could be seen as projects by themselves.

Why is it called “Fractal” Future Network?

This community is a network of futurists, so the “Future Network” part of the name should be clear. The word “Fractal” comes from the idea of a “fractal society“: A fractal society provides a vast diversity of different forms of politics, economy, culture, and values. Ideally, there would be a totally fitting community for everyone, because there would be so many communities that every meaningful and compatible combination of preferences is covered. What unites the whole of the fractal society in this state of extreme “fractalization” is the idea that we should allow experiments with different forms of living, and allow different communities to emerge naturally – as long as they don’t try to suppress this freedom to experiment and diverge. The Fractal Future Network does not explicitly follow the goal of establishing a fractal society, but it might very well facilitate its eventual emergence.

Values of the Fractal Future Network

Because the Fractal Future Network is still very new, it does not have a fixed set of shared values, yet. Nevertheless, the initial members of the network seem to share some common ideals:

  • We want to create a better world for everyone, not just for ourselves or certain groups of people.
  • Voluntary engagement is the basis of all our activity.
  • Stigmergy is the operational principle that guides our actions: That what attracts and engages people is adopted naturally. What leaves them uninterested is simply ignored. Hierarchies or consensus are not needed!
  • Peace: All of us want a place without trolling or flame wars, so these things actually never happened! Moderation just isn’t required (though it’s still a hypothetical option in the case that really bad things happen)!
  • Innovation: We focus on creating new systems that make the old systems obsolete instead of fighting the old systems directly.
  • Critical thinking: We give each other a chance to express our ideas freely, but we don’t shy back from pointing out potential flaws in those ideas – in order to arrive at even better ideas.

We need your help!

Seriously, we are just a small bunch of people now. The more people join us, the better can the Fractal Future Network fulfil its roles and act as catalyst for cool projects that will shape the future! If anything you read here interests you, then please become proactive and join us, so we can help and support each other. You can join us easily by registering in the Fractal Future Forum – if you have a Facebook account you can register with that, so you don’t even need to come up with a password.

Once you have registered (whether via Facebook or directly), you could introduce yourself – or just lurk until you find a topic that you deem worthy engaging with. Of course, you can always suggest changes and improvements to anything within the Fractal Future Network. The more you help us to find the right path, the more we will be able to help you with your ambitions.

Oh, and one last important note: It’s totally allowed to just have fun within our small network of highly interesting and futuristic people! 😀

The post The Fractal Future Network Launches appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
http://radivis.com/the-fractal-future-network-launches/feed/ 0
How I migrated my WordPress blog to Digital Ocean in about 6 steps http://radivis.com/how-i-migrated-my-wordpress-blog-to-digital-ocean-in-about-6-steps/ http://radivis.com/how-i-migrated-my-wordpress-blog-to-digital-ocean-in-about-6-steps/#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 16:35:16 +0000 http://radivis.com/?p=323 Getting away from my old shared hosting provider was a necessity for me. I planned to write an important post, but my blog was reacting extremely slowly or simply failed to be accessible entirely. That was not acceptable! Since I had some experiences with migrating WordPress blogs and also some experiences with setting up a virtual private server / VPS / droplet on Digital Ocean, I decided to move my Radivis.com blog to a Digital Ocean droplet while keeping everything ...

The post How I migrated my WordPress blog to Digital Ocean in about 6 steps appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
Getting away from my old shared hosting provider was a necessity for me. I planned to write an important post, but my blog was reacting extremely slowly or simply failed to be accessible entirely. That was not acceptable! Since I had some experiences with migrating WordPress blogs and also some experiences with setting up a virtual private server / VPS / droplet on Digital Ocean, I decided to move my Radivis.com blog to a Digital Ocean droplet while keeping everything on the same domain.

In the following, I list up all the steps that I have taken to get to that goal. Ideally, if you want to copy that process, you should leave out the mistakes and hopefully “step 0” and “step ugh”. This is not a complete guide for the process of migrating a blog to Digital Ocean or just setting up a Digital Ocean droplet, but I hope you can profit from my experiences.

Step 0: Having no idea how to migrate exactly

As I mentioned, I have already migrated WordPress blogs a couple of times, but those were all regular migrations in which the URL of the blog changes. A migration in which the URL (in this case http://radivis.com) should stay fixed is a bit more tricky. Also, the step from shared hosting to an unmanaged VPS comes with some additional effort.
After some thinking, I assumed that I just had to copy all my blog data one to one to the new Digital Ocean droplet and then switch the DNS settings to the IP of that droplet. In principle, that’s mostly right, but the journey towards that goal comes with many pitfalls.

Step 1: Setting up a new droplet on Digital Ocean

The cool thing about Digital Ocean is that there are lots of how-to pages that explain everything in great detail to novices. In any case, several steps are required:

Step 1A: Registration and payment

Of course, you first need to register on Digital Ocean to start anything. If you want to save some money, you can use my referral code to get a couple of bucks for free on your Digital Ocean account: https://www.digitalocean.com/?refcode=f2559dd4e6b4
In any case, you need to set up a payment option. Digital Ocean accepts Paypal or credit cards, but unfortunately no virtual pre-paid credits cards like the one I regularly use for online purchases. If you have transferred a modest amount of money to Digital Ocean your account becomes activated and you are free to go.

Step 1B: Choosing the droplet options and create a droplet

By clicking on the big button “Create Droplet” in the top right on the Digital Ocean user interface you get to the droplet creation menu. There are many options available for your droplet, so let’s consider them one by one:

Droplet Hostname

There is a system to droplet names that should be used. The name should have the form function.domain.tld, where “domain” is the domain on which you want to place your WordPress blog, and “tld” is its top level domain, simple examples for “domain.tld” would be “example.com” or “something.net”. The “function” part of the name is the interesting one: It should indicate what the droplet does. Because you want to host a WordPress blog fitting function names might be “wordpress”, “wp”, or “blog”. If you want to keep an open mind and consider doing more than hosting a blog with your droplet, you can stick to a generic name and call it “droplet1” for example. What’s great about a VPS is that you can run any kind of web application on it, even those which are not supported by shared hosting providers. Here a some examples of some free and open source apps you could want to install on your droplet (of course, this is not an exhaustive list):

Detour: What free and open source software you can install on a Digital Ocean droplet
Droplet Size

For a small blog the cheapest $5 droplet with 512 MB RAM and 20 GB SSD space should suffice. Most small, medium, or even blogs can be run a $5 droplet with a sufficiently optimized setup. If you don’t want to delve into optimizing your software configurations or don’t care too much about money you can also take a more expensive droplet to be on the safe side.

Droplet Region

Digital Ocean has been expanding its choices for server locations. The London and Frankfurt locations are relatively new. It’s not like the exact choice of the server location plays a huge role, but you might be more comfortable with a server that lies physically close to your own location. Choosing a newer location may provide some advantages, because they are less crowded than the older ones, and because they may use more recent hard- and software.

Available Settings

You don’t really need any of this. IPv6 is nice, but it’s not a strict requirement at the moment. Backups are a good idea, if you do a lot of different things with your droplet, otherwise they are optional. The other options are only useful in rather special cases.

Droplet Image

CentOS, Ubuntu and Debian are popular solutions. CentOS is the OS that’s most widely used in the VPS ecosystem and if you want to be able to run any serious VPS software, this should be your choice. Otherwise, Ubuntu and Debian (my personal choice) are more convenient, and essentially equivalent, choices. Of course, you could take something else, but then you might have to deal with the problem that there’s not as much documentation and how-to support for the less popular operating systems.

For each OS you can select a version. Choosing the most recent version is generally a good idea, unless the software you use requires an older version. The choice between 32 bit and 64 bit systems is an annoying one. Technically, 32 bit systems may have a slight performance advantage over 64 bit systems for small droplets, but in practice it probably won’t matter a lot. Choosing a 64 bit system in any case might be a good idea if you want to scale your droplet up later on without having to think about the bit issue.

When you click on the “applications” tab you have the option to directly install a WordPress blog on the droplet. If you want a quick out of the box solution, then go for it. If you want to do everything manually, don’t select any applications. A medium route to take would be to select a LAMP stack (pretty much standard) or a LEMP stack (higher performance, but less standard) as pre-installed application. Then you would only have to install WordPress manually. Personally, I feel a bit uncomfortable about one-click installers and think installing applications manually is a more robust approach.

Add SSH Keys

This is the final option, but it’s not necessary to actually use it immediately. It’s totally legitimate to set up SSH keys later on manually – which I find actually more convenient than using the form on the Digital Ocean page.

Step 1C: Basic droplet setup

If you went through the process above, the really difficult part for VPS novices starts. Now you basically have your own server on the internet and have to learn how to manage it on your own! This is where the large amount of documentation that’s provided by Digital Ocean comes in really handy. There’s an almost unlimited amount of things you can learn, but at least you should learn about the following basics (there are many how-tos for each of those, I just selected those that I found most useful):

All of this may seem to be daunting at first, but learning about it is the price you need to pay for having an affordable but awesome virtual private server that is significantly faster and more flexible than shared hosting providers.

Anyway, here’s my minimal Debian 7 droplet basics:

Debian 7 basics

I’m personally using Kubuntu, a variant of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution. For connecting to the server I use the Yakuake terminal program, because it’s much more convenient to use than the normal console windows.

First of all, I need to manage different droplets, and I have different SSH keys for each of them. So, on my own computer I first create an SSH key pair with the following command:
ssh-keygen -t rsa -f ~/.ssh/id_droplet_name -C “comment”
Here, “droplet_name” is the name of my droplet (with underscores instead of dots). I do use a passphrase for marginal additional security. Then I log onto the new droplet via

ssh root@droplet_ip

and change the root password. Next, I open another terminal window and type

ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_droplet_name root@droplet_ip

to copy the public SSH key onto my new droplet. So, now I can log into my droplet as root via my SSH keys (plus my passphrase).

Next, some maintenance and setup steps are in order:

dpkg-reconfigure locales
opens a menu that lets me set up the language/locale of the droplet. Note: Selecting options works with the space key. With
dpkg-reconfigure tzdata
I can then select the correct time zone for the droplet. Then I type

apt-get update
apt-get dist-upgrade
apt-get install unattended-upgrades
dpkg-reconfigure unattended-upgrades

to update the droplet software and keep it updated automatically. Finally I set up a swap file. With all of that I have a droplet with a minimal basic setup. Now the really interesting stuff can start.

Step 2: Installing a control panel on my new droplet

I already installed a Vesta Control Panel earlier, so I knew how to do that. The problem is just that it didn’t work this time. When I tried to install it, there would be a pretty defeating error message. Only after looking up the VestaCP Homepage it dawned to me that Debian 7 was supported, but not yet Debian 8 which is the latest version of Debian that was just released a couple of weeks earlier. So, I deleted my droplet and made a new one with Debian 7. And that worked just fine. The installation is really simple:

curl -O http://vestacp.com/pub/vst-install.sh
bash vst-install.sh --force

The “–force” part is necessary, because VestaCP doesn’t like that the exim mail server is already pre-installed on Digital Ocean droplets.

After the installation I had to go to the URL https://droplet_ip:8083 to login as admin. Then I set up

ns1.digitalocean.com
ns2.digitalocean.com
ns3.digitalocean.com

as name servers. For the other DNS settings I use the Digital Ocean site directly instead of VestaCP. Finally, I created a new database for WordPress in VestaCP.

The main reasons why I chose VestaCP are:

  • It’s free
  • It is lightweight
  • It comes with both Apache and Nginx at once, which should ideally bring the best of both web servers

Step ugh: First migration attempt crashing and burning

Now here’s how I went about my first migration attempt: First I made a backup of my blog with the UpdraftPlus plugin. It’s a really good plugin and restoring backups usually works fine. So, I thought I could just import a backup in a new WordPress installation on my new droplet and everything might just work. Well, it didn’t. After I installed WordPress manually on the new droplet I also installed UpdraftPlus, copied the backup I made earlier into the UpdraftPlus folder on the new droplet and restored the backup. UpdraftPlus actually warned me about the URL of the blog being different (the URL of the fresh WordPress installation was just the IP address of the droplet, but I ignored that warning.

Afterwards the site didn’t work. Actually, what it did was direct me to the original blog on radivis.com. So, what I did was to change the name server settings on my old host to the digitalocean name servers above. The Digital Ocean name servers would then resolve radivis.com to the IP of my droplet. Then I waited in the hope that the internet would accept the name server change and direct radivis.com to my new droplet. When it did, the site was gone. I checked that I had the correct new settings for the database in the wp-config.php file. Yes, they were correct, but when I checked out the /wp-admin page I was greeted by a page that told me these changes were somehow not really accepted, because the site looked for the database at the old database path.

Furstrated, I went ahead to delete my WordPress installation on my new droplet and reverted the name server changes. Radivis.com would then be resolved to my old shared hosting provider.

Step 3: Trying several migration plugins

This failure made me realize that I better should have used a proper migration tool. So, I tried out the migration tools that I have already worked with and which proved to be really useful:

  1. Duplicator: Probably the best migration plugin for WordPress. Unfortunately this didn’t work, because my shared host didn’t have the right file compression package installed or something.
  2. All-in-One WP Migration: Probably the second best migration plugin for WordPress. This time it almost worked. But the export of my database never finished, even though it wasn’t especially big.
  3. WP Migrate DB: This plugin just migrates the database. When using Migrate DB, I also changed the local installation path of WordPress. Apparently the paths of my old shared host and the new droplet were completely different. This is something that I haven’t considered when simply trying to import a database backup! But with Migrate DB the process worked fine. Unfortunately, the normal version of Migrate DB can only export the WordPress database. The import has to be done manually.

So, on the new droplet I installed a WordPress freshly again. Then I copied the regular files with SFTP to the new droplet. Importing the WordPress database was slightly difficult. VestaCP comes with phpMyAdmin and you can import databases with that tool, but the default Apache settings didn’t allow me to actually do that, because by default you can’t upload files larger than 2MB (upload_max_filesize = 2M). So, I had to edit the php.ini file that Apache uses (which I found with the command locate php.ini)to increase that limit, and also increased post_max_size from 8M to 50M. With these settings I could successfully import the database file.

In retrospect, this was a too complicated method for importing a database. It’s much easier to do that over the command line! Anyway, I reverted the php.ini settings to their default values afterwards.

Interestingly, after the import of the database the site showed me a white screen of death. In the hope that changing the name server settings to those of Digital Ocean again would fix the problem, I did just that.

Step 4: Fixing the white screen of death

Nope, the site was still broken after radivis.com pointed to the IP of my droplet. So, I googled what to do against the white screen of death of WordPress. The first proposed solution was temporarily renaming the plugins folder, so that all plugins would be deactivated. That actually fixed the problem immediately.

Step 5: Cleaning up

With the migration completed I wanted to improve the performance of the site. First of all, I installed the P3 plugin which measures how much plugins impact the performance of WordPress. The results were scary, so I deactivated or deleted some plugins that were unreasonably resource greedy.

Afterwards I still had to deal with a memory issue. Apache seems to be terribly hungry for memory, so I had to adjust its settings according to this guide to moderate its memory use.

In the future I might use another guide to set up the Varnish caching engine to reduce the load for Apache even much further.

Edit (2017-08-13): For some more information on hosting providers in general, check out Cheap Web Hosting Guide: 19 Secrets Nobody on The Payroll Will Tell You on Cloudwards. Note that Digital Ocean still stands out as seriously affordable VPS provider.

The post How I migrated my WordPress blog to Digital Ocean in about 6 steps appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
http://radivis.com/how-i-migrated-my-wordpress-blog-to-digital-ocean-in-about-6-steps/feed/ 4
The Social Future Forum http://radivis.com/the-social-future-forum/ http://radivis.com/the-social-future-forum/#respond Mon, 22 Dec 2014 20:12:49 +0000 http://radivis.com/?p=317 When there’s something that I’ve learned over the last week, then it’s that online forums are a really hard sell in this AHDH-ish age dominated by Facebook and Twitter. As someone who figuratively grew up in online bulletin boards I have been somewhat astonished that futurists do not use such boards to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate. Instead, there seem to be disparate camps, one of which is the “mailing list camp“, and the other being the “social media camp“. ...

The post The Social Future Forum appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
Social Future Forum Logo

When there’s something that I’ve learned over the last week, then it’s that online forums are a really hard sell in this AHDH-ish age dominated by Facebook and Twitter. As someone who figuratively grew up in online bulletin boards I have been somewhat astonished that futurists do not use such boards to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate. Instead, there seem to be disparate camps, one of which is the “mailing list camp“, and the other being the “social media camp“. Both camps seem to be quite uninterested in online forums, even when I try to convince them of their advantages. So, let list some of the disadvantages of mailing lists and big social media platforms as communication platforms:

Disadvantages of mailing lists:

  • Mailing lists are relatively closed. You need to subscribe to a list to read what has been written and to participate in the discussions. And even if there is an archive which lists previous conversations, it’s inconvenient to navigate. Which is mostly due to the following point:
  • They are unstructured! Forums can be neatly structured into categories, and sub-boards, or can even use a tag structure. In the typical mailing list, you get all the different kinds of topics and conversations at once. Unless you split up the mailing list into different mailing lists, which then kinda destroys the cohesion of the community, if people actually subscribe to different mailing lists.
  • Posts in mailing lists are very hard to reference. If you want to refer to a mailing list post to someone outside of the list, you are left with the decision to forward a mail, or to link to a public archive of the list. Both of which being rather poor alternatives – at least when compared to linking to a forum post or blog post.
  • Mailing lists are very feature poor. Forums have member lists, profiles for members, shoutboxes, proper moderation and administration tools, post counts, karma scores, and perhaps even social media integration.

Disadvantages of big social media:

  • Big social media are loud, messy, and evanescent. Contributions in social media are forgotten more rapidly than promises made by politicians.
  • Even though they could be structured nicely, they are just antoher really unstructured platform in which it’s really hard to filter the valuable and interesting items out of the torrent of moderately entertaining and pointless fluff.
  • Postings in social media are very hard to reference, too. Especially to those outside of the network in question!
  • Social media have a lot of features, but these features are hard to use for supporting in depth discussions about topics.
  • The big social media sites belong to big corporations who set the rules undemocratically and have partially very questionable policies. You can get banned from a social media site for any or no reason at all, which has recently happened to Khannea SunTzu. Her two week long Facebook exodus was a brutally harsh experience, which really demonstrates the unsocial nature of Facebook’s “service”.

Sure, there is Diaspora*, which is decentralized and not owned by a corporation. I really like that social network which I’ve joined recently. But it still suffers from all the other drawbacks of big social media sites.

I would have expected these disadvantages to be obvious and annoying – especially if you feel the need for more thorough discussions. Sure, you can discuss a lot of things on blogs, and I am all for it. But a forum has a much better dynamic in the sense that everyone can not only comment on the threads started by others, but also start another thread in the same platform. It’s much harder to do something similar in a more or less disconnected set of blogs, or just a single blog.

We could go on to discuss the merits and problems of each possible discussion platform, but the real point is that forums are still quite unique in providing both good possibilities to structure content, and facilitate thorough and open discussions, which can finally also be referenced meaningfully.

My conclusion was and is that the futurist community – especially the community of futurists who deeply care about society as a whole – really need a good online forum. And that’s why I have made one even in spite of all the negative or missing reactions to the idea of making such a forum for futurists. A common argument was that there are already more than enough media fighting for the scarce resource of attention. That may be very true, but if one good platform can replace two or more mediocre discussion platforms, then its existence obviously is a gain for its users.

So, here it is: The Social Future Forum at http://radivis.com/sff

What can it do?

  • It has five broad categories: issues, proposed solutions, theory, free area, and SFF governance. Each of which has several boards for a wide range of topics. This structure is intended to facilitate productive discussion of important topics while also providing some space for less sophisticated activity.
  • You can register and log in via Facebook! Similar log in functionality with be added for Twitter and Google+, soon.
  • There is a portal page that lists the latest activity.
  • A shoutbox in the header of the forum can be used for intant-ish communication.
  • You can like posts, as in Facebook. In principle, it would be easy to activate the Karma system of the forum, but I think that systems with downvotes can cause some problematic dynamics. So, you will have to come up with really good arguments in order to convince me to actually turn on the Karma!
  • The forum has meaningful URLs. No garbage numbers or symbols that mess up all the URLs of forum threads.
  • Threads can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
  • Users can even activate a personal optional “wall“, just as in Facebook.
  • Posts can be formatted with fancy BB code.
  • There are hundreds of extensions which can be installed to provide even more functionality for the forum!

But wait, aren’t there already other futurist forums? Well, yes, but they don’t have this focus on actually solving the big social problems of our world in a realistic manner (friendly AI is an elusive and questionable deus ex machina – at the very least it won’t save us from the problems we are suffering from right now). Seriously, the SFF was created by me to be useful for exactly that purpose. Idle transhumanist talk won’t make the world a better place for many (or even any) people. Projects with positive social impact are what we need! And these projects would profit a lot from using a forum for conversaion, coordination, and collaboration.

Sign up to the SFF to improve everything! Share your great ideas, insights, plans, and projects! Participate in a wonderful community full of interesting people and great aspirations! 😀

The post The Social Future Forum appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
http://radivis.com/the-social-future-forum/feed/ 0
Quantified Prestige – Making Intellectual Property Obsolete http://radivis.com/quantified-prestige-making-intellectual-property-obsolete/ http://radivis.com/quantified-prestige-making-intellectual-property-obsolete/#respond Fri, 07 Nov 2014 20:55:07 +0000 http://radivis.com/?p=312 Main contents of the video, with some extra details:
Introduction

I suffered from low motivation several weeks ago. Luckily, that phase is over now.
About 7 weeks ago I broke my left collarbone during a bicycle accident. It was a rather sunny day, so I didn’t expect those leaves on the road to be wet. Tragic mistake! It was a sharp downward curve in the forest and I lost control of my bicycle on the slippery leaves. Eventually, I ...

The post Quantified Prestige – Making Intellectual Property Obsolete appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
Main contents of the video, with some extra details:

Introduction

  1. I suffered from low motivation several weeks ago. Luckily, that phase is over now.
  2. About 7 weeks ago I broke my left collarbone during a bicycle accident. It was a rather sunny day, so I didn’t expect those leaves on the road to be wet. Tragic mistake! It was a sharp downward curve in the forest and I lost control of my bicycle on the slippery leaves. Eventually, I fell on my left arm. And ended up in the hospital where they made x-rays and sent me home with a complicated gilchrist bandage, which I had to wear for a couple of weeks. Now, I am almost fully recovered.
  3. There is this crazy complicated neurological disease called ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatique syndrome). I have that. It entails a generally low level of energy – with some unpredictable energy swings. But at least I’ve gotten much better at understanding, treating, and managing that disease. Being able to do stuff again feels good! 🙂

What Is Quantified Prestige?

  1. It’s a reputation economy system. I define a reputation economy as economy in which it suffices to have a high reputation in order to be relatively wealthy. Reputation economies have so far only been featured in science-fiction novels (please correct me if I am wrong – I know there were some efforts to create reputation economies, but they don’t really fit my definition). Most prominently, the sci-fi novel “Down and out in the magic kingdom” by Cory Doctorow features a reputation currency called “Whuffie”. I wondered how something like that would actually work in reality, so I eventually cranked out this system that I call Quantified Prestige.
  2. Yes, it’s a fully developed system – at least in theory. Here’s the link to the documentation: http://radivis.com/public/quantifiedprestige002.pdf
  3. Quantified Prestige has at its core a reputation system in which people in a peer-to-peer network rate other people. Users of the network can allocate points to other users. Essentially, the amount of points you get from other users determines your Prestige index. The Prestige index is a quantified positive reputation index that basically says how esteemed you are in the network. This on its own doesn’t represent a full reputation economy, yet. So, we need another component:
  4. Electronic currency distribution funds! It took me quite a while to realize that it’s actually the best to use money in a reputation economy, even if you would ideally expect that in a reputation economy people wouldn’t need to use any money. Well, money is very useful, so I use it in my system! A basic electronic currency distribution fund works like this: Some people donate money into that fund. Then, the money in the fund gets periodically paid out to the users of the Quantified Prestige network – in proportion to their Prestige index! The money could be in dollars, euros, yen, or cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, litecoin, or dogecoin (lol). An obvious problem with this system is that you need people who are incentivized to pay into the fund. In the documentation I have mentioned some possible incentives for doing so, but there’s still a better way to implement a reputation economy:
  5. Fluido, the natural, continuous, anti-inflationary, anti-deflationary electronic currency generated by Prestige. Yes, it has awesome features, so it is the preferred solution. It’s a natual solution in the sense that it represents the wealth that is continuously created by having Prestige. There are some interesting mechanics that should make the value of Fluido rather stable; more stable than the value of fiat currencies or typical crytocurrencies – in theory, at least. And you can transfer Fludio continuously to other users. If you think about it, you might realize that this is actually a more natural solution to transfer wealth and pay for subscriptions than transfering it periodically.

What’s The Point Of Quantified Prestige?

  1. The main point is to make intellectual property obsolete! Like: “Goodbye patents and copyrights, we don’t need you anymore, because we have a reputation economy now!” Historically, intellectual property schemes have been introduced in order to reward content creators. They have been more or less successful at that, but have come at the cost of the end-users who not only have to pay for the creation of the content, but also its distribution, and some intermediaries in the value chain. In today’s world in which we have this great invention called interned, we can transfer digital goods with zero marginal cost, so ideally, consumers should not pay for any marginal costs! Also, new internet based distribution systems reduce the need for intermediaries dramatically. In a perfect economy, consumers should only pay more or less for the creation costs of digital goods like books, articles, songs, videos, programs, inventions, and so on. In a reputation economy this payment would be represented by the reputation that the content creators get from the consumers. The reputation would pay for the fixed costs of content creation – at least if the content is so good that it is considered useful or popular.
  2. In a reputation economy there are better incentives for companies to behave ethically. Ethical companies can easily be rewarded with a good reputation. On the other hand, companies that use problematic business practices, for example planned obsolecence, can be punished with low reputation scores.
  3. New business models become possible. Entrepreneurs could create “for-reputation” businesses – as oppsoed to “for-profit” businesses. These would provide servies and digital goods in the hope to get a high reputation. They don’t need to interact with classical markets, but can distribute their goods for free and also provide services for free! In the current economic paradigm such a business model wouldn’t make much sense. But in a reputation economy this new business model would be a really good idea!

Facebook Group: Quantified Prestige Community

  1. Recently, I made a new Facebook group called “Quantified Prestige Community“. You are invited to join, if you are interested in reputation economies.
  2. The point of the group is to discuss Quantified Prestige and the issues surrounding it, and to further its development.
  3. It is recommended that you use the documentation to inform yourself about the relevant aspects of the system you want to discuss. For the core system these would be the “Esteem” and “Prestige” concepts. For the coupling with electronic currencies, the relevant parts are “Electronic Currency Distribution Funds” and “Fluido Currencies”. At the end of the documentation I’ve tried to give answers to possible social issues of the system.
  4. If you have friends who are interested in alternative economic systems, it would be worth considering to invite them to the Facebook group.

The post Quantified Prestige – Making Intellectual Property Obsolete appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
http://radivis.com/quantified-prestige-making-intellectual-property-obsolete/feed/ 0
The Universal Upgrade – An Introduction http://radivis.com/the-universal-upgrade-an-introduction/ http://radivis.com/the-universal-upgrade-an-introduction/#respond Wed, 10 Sep 2014 16:47:01 +0000 http://radivis.com/?p=297 Video Introduction: Radivis and The Universal Upgrade

What’s The Universal Upgrade?
The Universal Upgrade is a process that spans an interval in history of a planetary civilization. It is defined by the transformation of life that uses technology to improve itself internally in order to obtain new capabilities. The result of a successful Universal Upgrade is an upgraded civilization that has completely transformed the world it lives in. The environment has been saturated with sophisticated networked intelligence.
Why Is ...

The post The Universal Upgrade – An Introduction appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
Video Introduction: Radivis and The Universal Upgrade

What’s The Universal Upgrade?

The Universal Upgrade is a process that spans an interval in history of a planetary civilization. It is defined by the transformation of life that uses technology to improve itself internally in order to obtain new capabilities. The result of a successful Universal Upgrade is an upgraded civilization that has completely transformed the world it lives in. The environment has been saturated with sophisticated networked intelligence.

Why Is The Universal Upgrade A Useful Concept?

The concept of the Universal Upgrade is supposed to be an alternative to the concept of the Technological Singularity. In futurism, the Technological Singularity is a concept that has been originally defined by the emergence of an entity with “superhuman” intelligence. More recently, it has been doubted that the concept of the Technological Singularity is a useful construct to think about the future; and there have been calls for finding alternative ways to think about similar future developments. My concept of the Universal Upgrade is an effort to provide a more thorough and specific way to think about the future.

What Are The Problems With The Concept Of The Technological Singularity?

I see the following problems:

  1. Despite the relative clarity of the original definition of the Technological Singularity, the term is used in wildly different ways with rather different definitions and perspectives. This causes a lot of confusion and makes the term overall less useful for clear thinking about the future, because it has become very fuzzy.
  2. Even the definition as emergence of “superhuman” intelligence is not so clear. What counts as “superhuman” intelligence after all? How would we recognize it, if an entity actually had a “superhuman” level of intelligence?
  3. Most definitions put an undue emphasis on “intelligence”. While intelligence is an important factor, in general there are other factor that can be much more important than intelligence on its own. For personal success, persistence is much more important than IQ for example. In evolution, intelligence is not even required as many species with an almost non-existent level of intelligence are exceedingly successful. Finally, intelligence on its own is useless without the right tools, resources, abilities, and freedoms to interact with the environment effectively.
  4. Due to this plethora of different definitions of the Technological Singularity, it is not clear which point in time it actually represents. Is it the emergence of human level artificial intelligence, or the emergence of a “superintelligent” being? Or is it a place in time from which on the world becomes “incomprehensible” for unaugmented humans? Another possibility is that the Technological Singularity is supposed to be some kind of “event horizon” in history. That event horizon is defined as point in time after which we cannot make any meaningful predictions about the further futre anymore. So, this multitude of definitions makes it impossible to definitely say whether the Technological Singularity has happened or not! This makes it more of a “non-event” than an actual event!
  5. It puts undue emphasis on a single point in time, rather than the processes surrounding and giving rise to it.
  6. Often, it is said that the Technological Singularity is so special that it changes everything so radically that we cannot predict its final outcome in any way whatsoever. Unfortunately, this way of thinking can be compared to blinders for the far future: People just stop thinking about the further ramifications of a radical event like the Technological Singularity.
  7. The Technological Singularity has been termed “The Rapture of The Nerds”. Sometimes, the Singularity is seen as some kind of salvation that solves all of our problems at once and afterwards we will live in some kind of techno-heaven or utopia. The role of our actions is reduced to bringing forth the Singularity. Afterwards we would have no responsibilities, because the Singularity would have solved every problem for us.
  8. Some people even see the Singularity as inevitable. This historical determinism is not realistic at all. Many different events could actually prevent the Singularity from happening.

How Is The Universal Upgrade A Better Concept Than The Technological Singularity?

At the moment, the precise definition of the Universal Upgrade is still a work in progress, but I aim for certain goals:

  1. Providing a definition of the Universal Upgrade that is specific enough to say whether it has started or not, and whether it has been completed successfully in the future or not.
  2. Showing up different possible scenarios divided into four different classes:
    1. Full success: The Universal Ugrade has been completed and the world has been transformed/upgraded in its totality.
    2. Partial success: Some aspects of an upgraded civilization have appeared, but in other aspects the civilization (still) fails to bear the characteristics of a fully upgraded civilization. This class of scenarios can be further subdivided into two different subclasses: One in which the civilization is on the course to a Universal Upgrade and another one in which it gets stuck in a suboptimal state that prevents the unfolding of a full Universal Upgrade.
    3. Delay: Certain catastrophic events could delay the process of the Universal Upgrade by decades, centuries, or even millenia. One examples for that is the emergence of a global totalitarian regime stopping critical progress. Another one is a possible collapse of civilization that destoys our advanced infrastructure – and possibly even our knowledge base.
    4. Extinction: A global catastrophic event, or chain of events, could wipe out humanity and all of its technology entirely. This would obviously stop the Universal Upgrade from happening here on Earth for a very extended time. However, it might still be possible that after tens or hundreds of million years another species will develop technological capabilities that could lead to a Universal Upgrade.
  3. In accordance with general futurism, I state that we can make meaningful predicitions about the far future even if that future may be rather strange compared to our current state of affairs. The Universal Upgrade does not come with an “event horizon” that would stop us from peeking even further into the future.
  4. I want to present a class of scenarios that are among the “full success” scenarios for the Universal Upgrade. This should represent a positive and achievable vision of the future towards we could strive. This vision could then be discussed in detail to see whether it is actually desirable, and whether it can be improved in some way or another.
  5. The Universal Upgrade focuses on a broad spectrum of developments which are expected to happen in the process of approaching an upgraded world. As the word “universal” suggests, the upgrade is universal and will affect about anything we know. It represents a total transformation of the world in many different areas of interest.

Why Is It Called The Universal Upgrade Anyway?

Futurists predict a “great transformation” of our world. That’s why I asked myself what would be really characteristic for that great transformation that I expect. My answer to that question is that it’s a transformation that will affect almost everything – in contrast to other historical transformations in the past which have changed a lot, but not everything. Because the transformation is about to change everything, I call it “universal” – as opposed to “special”, “specific”, “partial” or similar restricting adjectives. I call the transformation an upgrade, because it is a process that is directed towards the realization of interests of sentient beings – in contrast to natural processes that can be value neutral or be perceived as bad. Humans and other sentient beings strongly prefer to live in a “better world”, so they have incentives to work towards this general goal. The great transformation is mainly enabled by technology, which is a powerful tool to change the world in various ways. So, technology offers an effective means to actually move towards a state of the world that is seen as more positive. Such a general transition towards a more desirable state of something is often termed as upgrade.

When Does The Universal Upgrade Start?

I define the starting point of the Universal Upgrade as the point in time in which “internal technology” can grant sentient beings new capabilities that are extremely unlikely to develop in natural ways and that can’t be achieved with “external technology”. The term “internal technology” refers to material technological tools that cause changes inside of the bodies of sentient beings. Medical technologies like implants or prostheses are examples for internal technology. However, conventional medical internal technology aims for the restoration of natural capabilities, so it doesn’t represent the beginning of the Universal Upgrade.
Now, what does represent the initiation of the Universal Upgrade? It’s the development of brain-to-brain interfaces. Why? Because they enable a capability that is not seen in nature: Telepathy! Because rudimentary brain-to-brain interfaces have already been developed in 2013, the Universal Upgrade has already started in that year.

If we would consider an alien species that had evolved some form of telepathy through natural evolution, we would need to identify another significant capability which that species doesn’t already have, and which could be added with internal technology.

When Does The Universal Upgrade End?

The Universal Upgrade can be seen as composed from three different upgrades:

  1. A Personal Upgrade: You can do almost anything.
  2. A Social Upgrade: Your wellbeing is secured.
  3. And an Environmental Upgrade: The world is alive.

Once one of these upgrades is completed, we are dealing with a partially upgraded world. Only when all three upgrades are completed, can we speak of a universally upgraded world. Nevertheless, there is an underlying theme to all these different upgrades: The flourishing of sentient beings enabled through the mastery of technology that enables the control of matter on the atomic scale.

The Personal Upgrade: You Are Awesome

Personal possibilities are vastly expanded due to progress in various fields of technology and industry. A completed Personal Upgrade is characterized by the following possibilities:

  1. Optionality of suffering: You have the ability to opt out of suffering. Advanced neurotechnology allows you to switch off pain, suffering, depression, anxiety, joylessness, boredom, and foul moods at will.
  2. Complete and persistent self-repair: Your body can heal and regenerate itself at the molecular level indefinitely. Ageing is purely optional and can be reversed easily. If you use implants and prostheses, you can choose models that also have the ability to repair themselves just as effectively as your biological parts do.
  3. Travel to habitats outside of Earth: There are habitats in space that earthlings can visit freely and at affordable costs.
  4. Direct semantic communication: Neurotechnology is so advanced that your thoughts can be encoded into a universal semantic code. This means that the full meaning of your thoughts can be transmitted to others directly. Old fashioned and error prone symbolic communication is not required anymore to get a point or a concept across. Now you have a universal translator for “mentalese”!

The Social Upgrade: Society Is Awesome

Society is extremely resourceful and provides a decent standard of living and nearly unlimited possibilities for everyone. The Social Upgrades manifests itself in the following ways:

  1. Information Commonwealth: Information not only wants to be free, it is actually free. All knowledge and cultural wealth is part of the global commons and freely available to everyone. Patents, intellectual property, copyright, and trade secrets are a thing of the past. Culture and economy profit tremendously from the free access to the best information.
  2. Sentient Rights: All sentient beings are granted basic rights that maintain their freedom and safety. There are no industries that are based on the ruthless exploitation of unprotected classes of animals, humans, or artificial minds. Further rights are granted according to different characteristics of sentient beings.
  3. Full morphological freedom: Sentient beings have access to means for choosing their own body and mind morphologies freely. Society allows them to edit their own genomes and connectomes – at least as long as those modifications don’t pose a significant risk for themselves or others.
  4. Social mobility: There are no restrictions which stop certain classes of sentient beings from obtaining a specific status in society. Every sentient being must be provided with the necessary means and opportunities to grow and upgrade itself so far that it can in principle fulfill any function and any available office in society. With sufficient determination and willingness to upgrade yourself as much as required, you should have a chance to obtain any status with a chance that is about reciprocal to the amount of competition from beings with similar determination and upgrading mentality.

The Environmental Upgrade: The World Is Awesome

At our current level technology is mostly harming our “natural” environment. with sufficiently advanced nanotechnology however, nature can cleaned up and even upgraded. Technological infrastructure interweaves with biology and unlocks incredible possibilities. With a successful Environmental Upgrade the world would look like this:

  1. Sustainability: Environmental degradation has stopped and the biosphere is a more life friendly place than it has even been. Energy and resources are extracted from the environment only at sustainable levels. Our civilization could last for billions of years.
  2. Global telepathic/empathic network: You have access to the hypernet everywhere. The hypernet not only connects computers with each other, but also the minds of humans, animals, and artificial sentient beings. Sharing information, sensory data, thoughts, and feelings with everyone has become second nature.
  3. Pervasive responsive environment: The hypernet is embedded into the environment, so that interactions with all aspects of the environment can be mediated by intelligent agents. Such interactions are characterized by the ability to send requests to any element of the environment and the condition that you actually get an intelligent repsonse to that that request. For example, you could ask the ground about its mineral composition and would get a reply that contains that information. Or you could ask machines how they work and how they are operated. Your questions will be answered, unless you are impolite.
  4. Replicator grid: Finally, the hypernet also connects you with a globally distributed infrastructure of replicators that can manufacture almost any good you could desire. Goods are produced with atomic precision. It does not matter where you are. Even in the deepest jungle you can ask for “Earl Grey, hot” and you will be served one!

Will Humans Be Ruled By Machine Overlords?

In the grand cosmic scheme of things, a Universal Upgrade would be a very good thing. But what about humanity? What will be its role after the Universal Upgrade has been completed? There are basically four different pathways that the Upgrade can take:

  1. The Conservative Upgrade: Upgraded humans remain in control. This may not tell much about the humans who do not upgrade themselves, though.
  2. The Reformative Upgrade: Upgraded humans and non-humans share power.
  3. The Revolutionary Upgrade: Some form of upgraded non-humans take over and rule over Earth. Even upgraded humans have no significant influence on politics.
  4. The Genocidal Upgrade: For some reason or another, humans might be eliminated by non-humans. Afterwards the world is 100% human free.

Actually, it doesn’t matter too much which of the first three paths is taken. After all, full morphological freedom implies that sentient beings are not stuck being humans or non-humans and can switch between these categories freely. In any case, it is important to take effective measures to prevent a Genocidal Upgrade, because humans would hardly be motivated to work towards a Universal Upgrade if they expect that they won’t survive it.

The post The Universal Upgrade – An Introduction appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
http://radivis.com/the-universal-upgrade-an-introduction/feed/ 0
Paradigms And Classification Of Upgraded Minds http://radivis.com/paradigms-and-classification-of-upgraded-minds/ http://radivis.com/paradigms-and-classification-of-upgraded-minds/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:06:15 +0000 http://radivis.com/?p=287 Minds Of The Future
When thinking about the minds of a society which fully embraces technology, it soon becomes clear that these minds will leverage technology to improve themselves. In the past, the improvement was achieved with the use of external tools like writing and computers which allowed for distributed cognition that not only encompassed thinking processes within a group of people (facilitated by language), but also included artefacts like notes, books and smartphones into various forms of cognition. In ...

The post Paradigms And Classification Of Upgraded Minds appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
Minds Of The Future

When thinking about the minds of a society which fully embraces technology, it soon becomes clear that these minds will leverage technology to improve themselves. In the past, the improvement was achieved with the use of external tools like writing and computers which allowed for distributed cognition that not only encompassed thinking processes within a group of people (facilitated by language), but also included artefacts like notes, books and smartphones into various forms of cognition. In the future, these previously external tools will become integral parts of human minds via the use of neural interfaces and neural implants or nanomachines interacting with the nervous system.

On the other hand, there will be artificial minds (“artificial intelligences”) created by humans. There will be an extremely wide range of different types of AIs, a whole ecology of them with lots of different architectures, niches, and capabilities. Why? Because different AIs are faced with widely different tasks and it is unlikely that a very sophisticated AI highly optimized for one task with look very similar to one that is highly optimized for a very different task.

In comparison, animal minds are faced with a range of basic tasks that are pretty much the same for all of them: Find food, maintain homeostasis, don’t get eaten by predators, navigate in a complex and sometimes chaotic 3D environment, operate a body composed of a myriad of different cells, avoid hazards that can hurt or even kill you, spread your genes. For that reason, different animal brains have core architectures that are relatively similar to one another. Of course, there’s still a huge range of different animal brains, because they inhabit different ecological niches and control quite different bodies. However, it won’t be necessary for various different AIs to be designed for such a set of “common tasks”. They just need to be good at the tasks for which they are designed for, which can range from proving mathematical theorems, over analysing social networks, to building structures on the moon. So, it is to be expected that the diversity of artificial minds will exceed the already impressive diversity of natural minds.

The Associative Paradigm vs. The Formal Paradigm

Today’s computers, which are essentially based on the Von Neumann Architecture, and animal brains function very differently. Computers operate with formal instructions that are typically defined by programmers, which is why I say that they are based on what I call the formal paradigm.

Roughly simplified, animal brains are composed of neurons that form and rewire connections between them via synapses. This rewiring depends on whether incoming stimuli are correlated in time. Animals learn by making associations, so their brains are based on what I call the associative paradigm.

Both paradigms have advantages and disadvantages. Formal programs can be analysed in depth, so that their behaviour is well understood – unless “messy” techniques like evolutionary computation are used. Programs can be run rather quickly and with perfect precision by computers, while humans have tremendous problems with formal tasks like logical reasoning, execution of algorithms in their heads, or the application of correct statistical thinking. On the other hand, the associative paradigm allows for the solution of very complex tasks, even in a changing environment. Minds based on the associative paradigm can learn and adapt, while conventional programs need to explicitly address all the complexity relevant to the desired task, which means that a lot of hard thinking and programming is required for such a program to run properly.

Now, computers can somewhat work with the associative paradigm by using machine learning techniques like support vector machines or artificial neural networks, but it’s relatively inefficient to use conventional general purpose processors for associative tasks. That problem can be solved by using hardware that is specifically designed for performing associative tasks, for example the latest “neurosynaptic” chip by IBM. But this step represents a clear departure from the formal paradigm, so that it could become debatable whether machines using such brain inspired hardware should be called “computers”. It might be more fitting to call them “associators”. Or it might be even justified to call them “minds”, at least once they reach a really high level of complexity.

One notion is clear though: We will use different hardware for different tasks, simply because that’s much more efficient than using a single type of hardware for everything. Trying to emulate a human brain with a Von Neumann computer is about as silly as using neural networks for computing vast amounts of arithmetic operations, unless you don’t have other options. While machines will become more human by embracing the associative paradigm on hardware level, humans will become better equipped to apply the formal paradigm by interfacing more intimately with computers via neural interfaces that link our thoughts with programs executed in the cloud, or in “formal”/”conventional” computing cores implanted in our brains.

The Symbiotic Paradigm

While the formal and the associative paradigms are naturally at odds with each other, it is possible to transcend them both by shifting to a new paradigm that I call the symbiotic paradigm. The name of the paradigm is inspired by symbiotic relations found in nature, for example fungi and algae entering a symbiotic relationship with each other to form lichens. By definition, in a symbiotic relationship both involved parties profit from each other. Who are the parties in this special paradigm? They are associative processes running on appropriate “associative”/”neural” hardware and formal processes running on “formal”/”conventional” hardware.

The symbiotic paradigm entails two core ideas. One is that software should ideally run on hardware that is optimized for and respects the structural paradigm of that software (be it “associative” or “formal”). The other is that complex problems are best split up into sub-problems that are purely associative or purely formal. These sub-problems are then solved with the use of “associative” hardware solving the associative ones and “formal” hardware solving the formal ones. Therefore, in the symbiotic paradigm a complex problem gets solved by a mixed or symbiotic hardware configuration, possibly resembling the structures of lichens, or the relationship between mitochondria and their eukaryotic host cells.

Under the symbiotic paradigm, it is natural for advanced AIs to use brain-like hardware in addition to more conventional hardware. On the other hand, it’s natural for upgraded humans to interlink with computers on a neuronal level. This process of approximation of AIs becoming more “human” and humans gaining “computer powers” is an example of convergence. Its logical conclusion is the eventual merger of AIs and humans to entities I call upgraded minds. These upgraded minds will run on symbiotic hardware that combines the advantages of computers and brains.

What About Motivation?

An important contemporary difference between humans and computers is that humans are motivated by desires and preferences, while computers only do what they are programmed to do – and only when they are told to run those programs. A computer doesn’t become proactive and spontaneously decide to do something because it “feels like doing it”, or because it’s a “good idea” that fits the general purpose of the computer (whatever that may be). Some researchers who want to create an AI that is capable of general intelligence, a so called Artificial General Intelligence, think that an AGI should have a so called utility function. Such a utility function would equip an AGI with preferences which would motivate it to act purposefully on its own. However, a neatly defined utility function is still rooted in the formal paradigm. So, it’s at least questionable whether formal utility functions have their place in the symbiotic paradigm, respectively in upgraded minds. It might turn out to be prohibitively complicated to make AGIs behave reasonably with formal utility functions. Instead, they may need fuzzy preferences or even desires.

Consciousness Of Upgraded Minds

Being an upgraded mind would be similar to contemporary human existence in the sense that there will be both conscious and unconscious mental processes. Why? As humans incorporate computers into their minds, these would most likely fulfil formal tasks like solving mathematical equations you feed to them via some kind of interface. For example, this interface might work via augmented reality where you see an equation and then an overlay appears that displays its solution. A more advanced possibility would be that you simply “know” the answer – it simply appears in your mind out of “nowhere”. The formal computation of the mathematical equation is done on a simple computer chip, so it wouldn’t create conscious experiences. Only the final answer is “forwarded” to the consciousness.

So, if you incorporated computers into your mind, then you would expand your unconscious mind and grant it improved capabilities. If you actually wanted to extend your consciousness, you could do so by interlinking your brain with sufficiently advanced and complex “associative”/”neural” hardware.

On the other hand, as AIs use ever more complex associative processes and finally reach general intelligence, they would gain more and more attributes that are common to humans, simply because their architecture uses more and more design features shared with the human brain. Conscious experience is one of those features. Since the previous argument is not really waterproof, I will give another one: Consciousness is most likely an emergent phenomenon of complex systems, as claimed for example by integrated information theory. Systems gain more consciousness as they increase their complexity. At the very least, these considerations should sound plausible.

In actuality, we don’t know whether any system outside of ourselves has conscious experiences or not, until we develop and prove a sufficiently good theory of consciousness. And if you want to split hairs, then we will never know for sure, since we cannot scientifically prove theories but only disprove them, at least if you buy into the reasoning of Karl Popper.

Classification Of Upgraded Minds

One of the most intriguing questions that come up rather naturally is: What would upgraded minds be like? The broadest possible answer to that question is: “It depends!” On what would it depend? Mainly on the tasks, goals, preferences and desires such an upgraded mind is equipped with. Different tasks require different capabilities and possibly different hardware configurations. My classification is therefore primarily based on preferences and essential capabilities of different upgraded minds.

As any proper classification, the upgraded mind classification has several different classes. I have chosen to call the classes by Greek capital letters, so that they have a common theme. To keep it simple, a mind either belongs to a class or not, even though in reality it would be more appropriate to think in continua rather than binary class membership relations. A mind can belong to several different classes at once, so these classes do overlap. Therefore, it is necessary to specify all classes that a mind belongs to in order to get the full classification of that mind, for example a mind could be in the classes Alpha, Pi, and Phi at once, so it would be an “Alpha Pi Phi mind”.

Note that out of grammatical convenience I generally refer to minds with the article “it”. This does not mean that I don’t see them as persons. The question when a mind should be considered to be a person is a quite difficult one and is outside of the scope of this post.

The Upgraded Mind Classes

Alpha / Anima

An anima (latin for soul) animates or represents a specific entity, and basically brings it to “life”. A proper subclass of the alpha class is the class of controlling alphas who actually have more or less full control over the entity they represent. For example, these entities can be physical objects like cars, houses, or bodies (biological or robotic).

While not actually “upgraded”, today’s animal and robot minds are controlling Alphas. In theory, any concrete or abstract entity could be represented by an Alpha, for example a rock, a network, the biosphere, the planet, mathematics, art, justice, poetry, and so on (the more abstract an entity, the less it is possible to be controlled).

Why would that be a good idea? It would make the world much more alive to have such an exhaustive plethora of alphas. You could go ahead and talk to the Alpha of each object or idea you encounter. The world would literally become self-explanatory. Rather than consulting an expert knowing a lot about an object or subject, the object or subject in question would be directly represented by its Alpha, probably the best expert that you can ever get.

In general, it’s not necessary that an entity should only have a single Alpha. However, if an entity has multiple Alphas, their responsibilities should not overlap too much, because that would cause nasty conflicts. Having a controlling world Alpha could be a real nightmare, but it would be quite reasonable to have one or more purely representative world Alphas who are deeply aware of the state of the world and provide guidance. An example for the latter is “Webmind”, the spontaneously emerging internet Alpha from the “Wake, Watch, Wonder” trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer.

Delta

A Delta mind is capable of atomic self-modification. This means that it can change itself completely, down to the atomic level – this change is realized with nanomachines operating on the hardware of the delta, or by creating a modified copy of that hardware via atomically precise manufacturing. The name “Delta” is inspired by the use of the capital Delta in mathematics and physics as symbol for a difference. A Delta can basically make itself “different”.

Singularitarians typically assume that the first real AGI will sooner or later become a Delta and improve itself extremely rapidly, basically leaving all other minds behind. That is not necessarily the case. Whether that’s true or not, is primarily a design decision by the creators of that AGI if they want a Delta mind or a non-Delta mind. Nevertheless, it’s easy to see that a Delta is potentially extremely dangerous both to itself and to its environment. During self-modification things can go horribly wrong, with all possible kinds of nightmarish consequences.

Thus, it would seem reasonable to disallow the creation of Deltas. But such a law would most likely have the consequence that sooner or later a Delta is created illegally in the underground by a possibly very unpleasant faction. That Delta would either give that faction a significant advantage, or it would escape and behave rather uncontrollably, or it would simply mess itself up completely by doing the wrong self-modifications. So, the more sane approach is to create “guardian Deltas” who protect us from Deltas created by groups that are hostile, or simply incompetent. Eventually, it might even make sense to grant the right to become a Delta to all upgraded minds, or at least to those who are sufficiently “enlightened”.

Epsilon / Evanescent Minds / Transient Minds

Animals have the natural desire for self preservation. Upgraded minds with a specific task might be expected to adopt the goal of self-preservation as indirect sub-goal, or rather boundary condition, because their destruction would typically make it impossible for them to fulfil their task. Simple AIs however, are indifferent about their own existence, if only because they are not aware of the concept of their own survival or death and its consequences.

For more complex AGIs or upgraded minds it would still be possible to make them indifferent about their own survival, but then that indifference would have to be more of an integral design feature. One possibility to create such an Epsilon mind would be to give it an “expiry date” and once that date is reached its highest desire would be set to self-termination. To prevent unnecessary suffering, the Epsilon would also need to be made indifferent or even happy about having such an expiry date. This should be complemented with making its death an exceedingly blissful experience.

Shutting down an Epsilon mind at its expiry date would not necessarily mean its real end. Rather than being deleted, the mind could be stored in an inactive state, so that it could be reactivated in the future when required. In that case, the mind would get a new expiry date, or none at all, if the mind gets converted to a non-Epsilon mind.

But why would one want to create Epsilons anyway? Apart from helping to prevent mind overpopulation (even if storage space will become extremely cheap, digitalized minds can be copied and multiplied at ridiculously high speeds, so storage space will still remain a significantly scarce resource), the creation of Epsilons would allow for rapid and relatively safe creation of experimental minds. Delta minds might want to create transient epsilon copies of themselves in order to safely test a self-modification they plan doing. Better having a defective mind not claiming the right to a perpetuated existence than making yourself kaput. Still, to a non-Epsilon mind the idea of creating Epsilons naturally sounds rather cruel, so it will probably be quite a controversial issue whether to allow the creation of Epsilons or not. Again, this is a delicate ethical issue which is simply too complex to be discussed in this post.

Eta (H) / Hedonic Minds

Hedonic minds are optimized for experiencing extremely intense positive feelings. It might even be their sole purpose to feel as happy as possible, which would put them into the Eta_1 subclass (1 like 1 single purpose). Etas who are not in the Eta_1 subclass might have other goals than simply feeling ecstatic all the time. It might seem difficult to construct Etas so that their extreme intensity of pleasure doesn’t interfere too negatively with their general functioning, but that might simply be a design challenge.

That challenge might be hardest for the Eta_max subclass consisting of minds who are at a constant and maximal level of happiness. In contrast to them, more conservative Eta minds would be motivated by gradients of bliss, as proposed by the British philosopher David Pearce.

Iota / Integrators

Integrators have the capability to inspect other minds and to integrate their knowledge and skills into themselves very effectively. For some, it may be surprising that I don’t expect this capability as a universal feature of upgraded minds. After all, we are talking about the far future in which people are supposedly able to download karate skills from the internet instantly, just like the character Neo does that in the Matrix movie. Sure, it might be trivial for all minds to download all kinds of skills once they are extracted from a capable mind and saved in some kind of data format. The really difficult part is unpacking that skill file and installing it properly in your mind so that it works for you just as well as for the mind the skill has originally been extracted from. That would require massive “rewiring” in your associative hardware components! Do it wrong, and you possibly overwrite already existing skills, or trigger weird side-effects. And even if the skill file was installed properly, it might use up way more mental resources than if you learned that skill naturally. Due to all of these factors, it is to be expected that integrators will be rather special minds who are optimized for extracting, absorbing, and installing skill files with great efficiency.

Their sophisticated mind “rewiring” capabilities also make integrators inherently suited for the task of modifying and upgrading other minds. They could be called “connectome doctors”.

Lambda

Lambda minds must follow specific laws and rules that are deeply ingrained in their mind architecture. They must check all their actions for compatibility with these basic Lambda laws. If they notice that a planned action is incompatible with such a law, then the Lambda mind won’t execute that action. For example, the Three Laws of Robots devised by science fiction author Isaac Asimov are such basic laws that his fictional robots must follow, so these robots are Lambda minds. Lambda laws have been proposed as safety measures for AGIs to make them “human friendly”.

One basic problem with the Lambda law approach is that the effectiveness of any law depends on how that law is interpreted. Effectively, any Lambda mind would have to be its own judge interpreting the meaning of its laws according to its own ontological model of the world. If that ontological model of the world deviates too much from the model that normal humans use, then the latter should not expect the Lambda mind to behave according to their own interpretation of the Lambda laws. Even humans don’t clearly agree with each other on what rather fuzzy concepts like “friendliness” or “justice” actually mean. It would be necessary to devise some kind of standard ontology that a Lambda mind had to use in order to resolve this issue. Unfortunately, it is hard to conceive how ontologies could be standardized effectively without formalizing them. As ontologies, which partition the complex world around us, naturally emerge out of associative processes, it is quite unnatural and fundamentally difficult to formalize them. Extremely intelligent upgraded minds might be up to that task, whereas unupgraded humans would probably give up from utter frustration.

Note that Lambda laws would interfere with the general performance of Lambda minds, because Lambda law conformity checks would require Lambda minds to predict the consequences of their actions in more or less great detail – and that is a really resource intense task. Requiring such a conformity check for each action that a Lambda mind plans on doing, would significantly slow it down – at least compared to unrestricted minds. While it would be possible to reduce the performance losses inflicted by conformity checks by using heuristics and only checking certain classes of actions, these modifications would increase the risk that a Lambda mind actually breaks one of its Lambda laws. Therefore, it seems unlikely that Lambda laws would suffice as single safety measure for minds. What set of safety measures would actually be a good idea is outside of the scope of this post.

Mu

Natural sentient minds can suffer quite a lot. Artificial sentient minds would usually be prone to suffering, too. But it might also be possible to design them such that they are actually unable to suffer. I call such minds Mu minds. Rather than experiencing pain and other negative feelings, they would experience neutral “urgency alerts” if something bad happens to them. Such urgency alerts would just shift their attention to the problem at hand, rather than causing unpleasant subjective experiences. If the problem is more serious, the alert might be harder to ignore, or it might dampen the positive feelings the Mu mind is experiencing at that time.

It is a priori not clear how much it would affect the functioning a mind to replace negative subjective experiences with neutral urgency alerts. The latter might actually work better, at least in some cases. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to expect that negative subjective experiences are quite useful for certain purposes. How much of their functional use can be replicated with neutral urgency alerts is an open question.

Rather than being actual Mu minds, I expect that the typical upgraded mind would have the capability to suffer, but also the ability to switch off negative feelings at will, once they are experienced as too troubling.

The choice of “Mu” as name for Mu minds is inspired by the word mu which is a key concept in Buddhism and basically means “nothing” or “without”.

Pi / Parallel Minds

Humans can do some multitasking, but they are not very good at it. We can keep only a handful of objects in our conscious minds at once – depending on how complex those objects are. For example, we can keep numbers with six digits in our conscious minds, but listening to and understanding six different conversations at the same time would rightly be called a superhuman feat.

Pi minds can do proper multitasking by definition. How would that work? It’s about higher parallelization of mental activity. Imagine having multiple streams of consciousness at once, so that you could for example have multiple streams of thought at once – but each consciousness stream would only have one single stream of thought. These “parallel” streams of consciousness would only be weakly connected. When trying to listen to two songs at once, humans mostly experience disharmonic garbage. But if you had two parallel streams of consciousness, you could enjoy each song separately, even if you listen to them both at the same time.

How much those different streams interact with each other is mainly a design feature of the Pi mind architecture. If they were completely separated, they would basically define separate minds, each of which not knowing what the other minds were doing. And if they were integrated too strongly, you would get the typical problems, interferences and disharmonies that are characteristic for a “normal” mind trying to do too many things at once.

With multiple parallel streams of consciousness, Pi minds would be able to have meaningful conversations with multiple persons at once. Or just do different mental activities at once without sacrificing performance on any single of those activities. What would it mean to demand “full attention” from such a mind? It could mean the full attention of one single stream of consciousness. Or full attention of all parallel streams. Maybe it could even mean that all streams should be integrated into one single larger consciousness stream.

There may be different setups for a Pi mind. One possibility is to have several mostly equivalent consciousness streams. The alternative to that would be having one main stream of consciousness monitoring and moderating subordinate sub-streams. Even complex hierachies of consciousness streams might be possible.

How would Pi minds work on a technical level? A rather crude option would be the multiplication of different regions of the mind responsible for certain task. For example, if the region responsible for perceiving visual information was duplicated, the resulting mind could have two separate “fields of view”. Perhaps one for perceiving the “real”/material world and another for seeing a virtual world. Both visual streams would be neatly separated, unlike the overlays in augmented reality for example.

More sophisticated and elegant designs might be possible, but they would certainly be more complex than the design of a non-Pi mind. That’s why it seems likely that most upgraded minds will only have rather limited “Pi capabilities”, if any. Which minds would be real Pi minds however? Most probably those whose attention is demanded frequently by many different other minds. In other words: Popular minds would have good reasons to be or become Pi minds.

Rho

The definition of a Rho mind is based on its motivation. If its main motivation is to serve some other entity, then it is a Rho mind. So, Rhos are basically servants or “robots”. It may feel natural to compare them to slaves, but the distinction between slaves and Rho minds is that slaves usually do not want to be slaves and are not intrinsically motivated to serve their masters. In contrast, it’s the main purpose and a great pleasure for Rho minds to serve their masters – by definition! If a mind doesn’t get great pleasure from serving a master, then it’s not a real Rho mind. Even if it may seem ethically questionable to create Rho minds to serve us, it is quite possible to make ethical arguments in favour of creating them, as Steve Peterson has done.

Phi

What happens if you mix the motivation of a workaholic and the knowledge of an expert system with the best mind upgrade technology of the future? You would essentially get a Phi mind that is heavily optimized for excelling at one or more disciplines. Phi minds do not care about small talk or popular culture (unless they specialize in exactly that, of course). Their special discipline is their calling and fulfilment. They are simply not interested in anything else and want to minimize their time spent with anything else than their real purpose.

Vernor Vinge’s science fiction novel “A Deepness in the Sky” features so-called Focus technology used to turn normal humans into slaves focusing monomaniacally on a single subject. They become so obsessed with their task that they can drive themselves into death from exhaustion and negligence of basic bodily needs. These “zipheads” might be technically Phi minds, but they are a rather bad and negative example.

In a more positive future, Phi minds would certainly care about their survival, unless they are transient epsilon minds. They would naturally try to keep themselves in good shape in order to function optimally. Also, they would be highly motivated to improve themselves even further, as to excel even more at their special task or discipline. If they didn’t want to be actual Delta minds, they would instruct other minds (preferably integrators) with the task to install performance upgrades in themselves. Compared to typical humans, Phi minds would derive much greater pleasure from engaging with their special task, if only to keep themselves on track. The idea of being a Phi mind might feel weird for other minds, but it wouldn’t have to feel bad.

Psi

Psi minds have the deeply psychological ability to inspect and analyse their own intricate, usually unconscious, cognitive processes – in real-time or later on. Humans have the disadvantage that they cannot directly inspect how their minds work on the level of the unconscious/subconscious. That is a dissatisfying state of affairs, because humans might actually want to know why exactly they act like they do – especially after they have done something that they regret. Artificial minds however, could be designed so that they can inspect their own cognition processes on the elementary level by a special kind of introspection. This might work the following way: Mental processes are copied on an elementary level into a kind of Psi log that stores them for a certain time (probably not indefinitely, because that would eat up too much storage space). This Psi log can then be read and analysed by the Psi mind, or other minds if they are granted access to that log.

Obviously, the requirement to include a Psi log that monitors and stores basic mental processes would make the Psi mind architecture more complicated than that of a more generic mind. This will probably be the main reason why it is to be expected that not all future upgraded minds will be Psi minds. It would be reasonable however, to equip certain Delta minds and minds who make very important decisions with “Psi” abilities. While the advantage of Psi abilities for Delta minds is that they can understand and therefore improve themselves better, one major advantage of having decision makers with Psi abilities is that it would be possible for external inspectors to judge whether the reasoning processes of those decision makers were made fully rationally or not – and to see how exactly they came to their final conclusions.

Other Characteristics Of Upgraded Minds

Apart from the class membership of a mind, it has other defining characteristics. Different minds come in different sizes and they may have different degrees of consciousness.

Size

The size of an upgraded mind might be defined as the number of bits that is required to store the whole mind in some kind of data storage. In the case of minds stored mostly on biological data storage devices (yes, I mean brains), it is not easy to say how many bits would be required to store that mind “truthfully” on a different data storage device. Necessarily, this question depends on what you define as “truthful” copy of a mind. And this in turn, essentially depends on the extent of what you define as your “identity”. Are you only your connectome or are you your whole body (possibly including your microbiome)? Or are you just a set of ideas, memories, preferences, and emotional reaction patterns?

In any case, it should be relatively easy to measure the size of a digitalized mind. Just count the bits. Because the size of upgraded minds would span multiple orders of magnitude, it would be useful to use a logarithmic scale to get a simple measure of the size of a mind. We are counting bits, so taking the logarithm to the base 2 would be natural. A logarithmic mind size of 60 would mean that the mind in question has 2 to the power of 60 bits which is about 10 to the power of 18 bits, or 1 Exabit (or 125 Terabyte) (keep in mind that 2^10 = 1024 is approximately 10^3=1000). A mind of logarithmic size 100 would have 10 to the power of 30 bits and would contain more information than all of mankind combined. Very advanced planet Alpha minds might even reach logarithmic sizes in excess of 120 – a million “mankinds” or more! Bigger is not always better, since huge minds would require huge amounts of hardware that also needs to be powered somehow. Smaller minds would have advantages like the ability to be copied and transmitted quicker and the ability to fun faster.

Consciousness

Lately, there have been proposed a number of different methods to quantify consciousness. Most prominently, integrated information theory features formulas for effective information, integration (“Phi”), and qualia of a mind. The physicist and futurist Michio Kaku suggests quantifying consciousness by counting “feedback loops” in the mind. There may be many other ways to quantify consciousness, perhaps each telling you about a different aspect of consciousness. It may be difficult to actually calculate the “size” of the consciousness of a mind, but having at least rough orders of magnitude would already be quite helpful to get a better intuition of what kind of mind you are dealing with.

What Kind Of Mind Would You Want to Be?

If we are going to upgrade ourselves, what kind of upgraded minds will we turn into? What would we like to become? These questions may actually be rather premature questions, because our understanding of possible future minds is still extremely small. If you ask children what they want to become as adults, you typically don’t expect these answers to be realistic. In the same manner, our aspirations to become a certain kind of upgraded mind might change radically over time. In spite of that caveat, it is still important to ask such questions, because their answers might inspire hope for a much better future.

What about me? Ideally, I would like to make copies of myself who test out different modes of existence. If copying turns out to be too problematic, I would try to experience different class properties serially, one after the other (with the exception of the Epsilon property which I would only consider if there were at least two different copies of me), but with the clear priority of becoming an Eta mind first. In any case, I think that the freedom to choose is of tantamount importance. I wouldn’t want to be forced to stay in one single class for the rest of my life. That’s one of the reasons why I propose the right of radical morphological freedom, the freedom to choose your own mind class, mental configuration, and body morphology. Another reason for that is granting this right to each upgraded mind would counteract abuse that is likely to happen in a world without class mobility.

So, what kind of mind would you want to be (first)?

The post Paradigms And Classification Of Upgraded Minds appeared first on Radivis.com.

]]>
http://radivis.com/paradigms-and-classification-of-upgraded-minds/feed/ 8