I see web 3.0, which is a distributed system using cryptographic hashing instead of centralized servers, as a building block for a cooperative version of colleges and universities, gig economy based apps like Uber and Task Rabbit, and retail marketplaces like Amazon (both the commerce side and the server side of things).
I also see several things holding this system back, and some ways to address them:
One is the significant physical infrastructure that has already been set up by Amazon and the like that would require billions in spending to duplicate. The way forward in this regard is to do away with the middle person as much as possible and automate the rest. This will take quite a while, but robotic delivery systems are almost inevitable. What is not is who controls these systems. Now is the time to make sure that no one company or individual controls things but that the system is controlled by everyone for everyone's benefit.
Another is the need for a simple, seamless payment system not controlled by a hierarchal corporation. This system should not require the user to know anything about crypto currency or blockchains but also not require the use of credit cards, centrally controlled monetary systems, or big banks. A network of cooperative banking systems would potentially be a way forward, combined with seamless integration of crypto currency to fiat currency without necessitating that you create separate accounts with both your bank and a crypto currency exchange provider.
The third is a need for wider awareness that a less competitive economy, driven on value and not money is a better model to base our future. Really, the scope of the need for less competition extends beyond the economy into most aspects of society. Contrary to widely held belief, competition is usually an inefficient method of growth and innovation. In this case, I am using competition to mean the opposite of collaboration, i.e. when some people win at the expense of others. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule, say in the case of sports, but even there, limiting the competition to the game is still important (the NBA draft lottery is a good example how to do this). The more competitive an industry is, the more there is the need to devote resources to marketing and sales instead of innovation and growth, and the more there is a push to for minimum-viable-product-for-maximum-price instead of maximum-viable-product-for-minimum-price. A monopoly is the goal in a competitive system. Breaking up a monopoly, but keeping the competitive system, is intentionally making the system suboptimal. The more collaborative the system, the more people can focus on their specialty without a risk of being out competed. The more competitive the system, the more people need to focus on short term, winnable goals. While there is some reasoning to say that competition makes it so that people do not squander their resources on unobtainable or frivolous pursuits, this can be better addressed by necessitating close collaboration. If all parties have a need for one another, no one is likely to do things that harm one another. The moment some people have a perceived advantage over others, the moment competition comes into play and resources are devoted to undermining those with the advantage. Of course, those with the advantage have an interest in maintaining this advantage and therefore as long as the advantage is predicated on putting others at a disadvantage, there needs to be systems in place to mitigate this. If, on the other hand, someone's advantage is independent of other people's level of success, or beneficial to others success, there should be systems in place to promote it. The objective should not be homogeny, but instead heterarchical diversity of interests and talents.
To implement the third concept, I think simply using its principals in implementing the other concepts and publicly espousing collaboration's benefits is where to begin. It will likely take a while to change people's opinion, and having successful systems in place to back up the collaborative model before rocking the boat makes sense. If we focus on educating people who are young and just entering the economy as well as giving clear examples of competition vs collaboration to a diverse audience (not just middle class, well educated people) we can slowly make the collaborative model main stream.
The final challenge to a more cooperative economy and workplace is our education system. While there are pockets of educational innovation, the vast majority of teaching methodologies are still based on predesigned material that limit students' ability to investigate solutions on their own. It is often not until graduation that the students are confronted with unique challenges and by that time it is often too late. In an era of instant access to information, it is not rote learning that is necessary but the ability to know how to learn, what to learn, and where to look. The ability to identify root problems in society and life and systematically work together to solve them is not the focus in most schools. In many, thinking outside the box is actually frowned upon, especially when the teacher is overworked and has a hard time just keeping a class from falling into utter chaos. The solution to this is to work with schools to implement the below project based system of productive learning and foster cooperative learning at an early age (one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it).
Instead of creating predesigned, static content and exercises, the exercises that people do will be tasks that are part of projects that individuals, businesses, and organizations need done to solve a problem or create a product related to science, medicine, or engineering. Existing organizations or individuals needing help will pay a fee into the system with a list of tasks they need done and users will complete the tasks and get paid a portion of the lump fee money that was given into the system while learning new things at the same time. The more challenging the task, the more the payout will be. However, many times (probably the majority of time) a project idea does not have sufficient financial backing. That is where a futures market comes in. People will also complete tasks for projects that do not have current financial backing and receive a share of the potential profit, should the idea prove efficacious. Therefore, there will be an incentive to learn and complete projects because; the quicker the product is profitable, the quicker the task fulfiller will get a payout. But this will not be just another contractor gig job. As long as people are using the system and completing tasks (regardless of complexity or payout of them), there will be a minimum payment made to all participants based on the total income of the system. In that way, everyone will get some kind of base income.
In order for people to get an income before future projects are realized, there will be an investment system where people who have money and want to insure a project gets completed can invest into the system. This is similar to the current sponsor system in GitHub, and to begin, this may be what is used as much of the initial development will be software based.
Although made somewhat more difficult due to the pandemic, there may still be the opportunity for physical group-isolation in development hubs. In the longer term, we will partner with existing schools that are receptive to the notion of collaborative learning, minimization of competition, sociocracy, and heterarchical division of responsibility and power.
The eventual goal is to create a tool to pass on our undesired tasks to a machine so that we can focus on what we want to pursue. An 'AI' for what we don't want to use our finite 'I' quotient for and a two way feedback loop that lets the AI and people both learn from our mistakes.
Rough idea of a way the app could work –
Other I App Outline–
- The main screen/page will have three main links, when logged in: one would go to a learning/working interface where we could have access to learning material and available tasks that reinforce what we have just learned. The second link will go to a marketplace for people to buy things. This is basically a cooperative version of Amazon. The last link would an outline of each person's current data and shared data, insights on this data, and the tasks we are working on. There will probably also be a menu icon in the corner with less relevant stuff like "about" and "help".
- The learning/working section will be a one page browser app that lists available learning modules and their related tasks to be completed, the money on the table for each task and the related learning goals for each task will also be displayed. The user will go through the learning content and then complete the related task. The way the task system will work will very a bit based on the topic. For software only tasks, people will check out a git repository with auto generated prototype code, fill in the necessary solution to the issue, and then push it back to the repository. Validation will be done by another type of task which is QA. For every task developed there will be several people who QA it. A project successfully QAed and that is not found to have any bugs that pass the QA system will award the developers and QAers each a portion of the money that was allocated to that task. For projects that need to manifest themselves in some kind of physical form, such as participating in a biology/social science experiment, designing a physical prototype, or interacting with people in some way, the method of development and validation will depend on the complexity of the project. If it is something simple that needs to be repeated over and over again by many people, like measuring something in some environment and recording the results, the procedures will work in a similar manner as the software scenario. This time though, it will be a many to many, instead of one to many, setup where a bunch of people perform the task and a bunch of people QA it.
For projects that cannot easily be split into byte sized tasks like designing a physical product or doing something that is location based, there will be a recruiting section. There, people can connect and work together with the project creator/sponsor to set up the environment and carry out the project's purpose.
For server side data storage and synchronization we will use Web 3.0 technologies like Filecoin, IPFS, and/or Bluezelle so that there is no need to be bound to any one server provider.
- The marketplace will be where you can buy things and have them delivered to your home, inbox, or server.
- The personal data section will be where we gain insights into our learning progress and where we can initiate automated processes or "CRON job" like automated tasks that communicate with other people's OI or things in the physical environment. Eventually, the hope is for the OI to evolve into an extension of the self, learning things for you so that you can focus on creating and innovating. The system would be inherently not locked by any one corporation or government; our own private personal tool for gathering personal data for personal use, that is encrypted securely and then uploaded to the distributed web. Then we could easily employ AI technology to interact with us, the natural environment, and other Other I users or organizations without anyone being able to see our personal information because the system is just dealing with numbers. As long as there is no way for these numbers to be translated back into human understandable content, the data is secure. This basic concept is not a new idea; most medical institutions have something like this that allows them to run queries on private data and detect trends on the data without ever being able to access people's individual information. The difference is that we who use the Other I will be able to access our information, be able to modify the algorithms, and every one of us will contribute to the larger closed loop system where user's data is anonymous. We are not passive customers at the mercy of our health service providers. In a sense, the Other I is an extension of oneself into the wider world; good bye AI, hello OI.