Cicada main problem

Thanks for posting this. It’s always interesting to see people’s reactions to my work.

Usually when people do find it though, the series of comments that follow it tend to fall into a few categories. I will paraphrase and give my answer to these questions generically rather than answer every individual question:

1) “I’ve zeroed in on this one aspect of the system, instead of the whole, and found a flaw that invalidates the whole thing.”

In particular this comes up around the subject of an ID. Usually it centers on “biometrics are how the system is secured, those are gameable, this will never work.” In fact, the primary method of controlling the spread of fake IDs is NOT the biometrics system which is merely a first barrier to entry. It is the reputation system. And that reputation system is different from rep systems that exist today which basically consist of people voting thumbs up or thumbs down which is not what I describe. Most of the misunderstanding around that is because the original paper was not as clear as it could be on that aspect, so I wrote up a second paper that breaks down the ID system and Rep Bank in much more detail. That paper is here:

2) “This will never work because of XYZ reason I just thought up after glancing at this a few seconds.”

Those questions are always answered in the document. I encourage you to actually read and do so with an open mind.

3) Some comment/focus on whatever my supposed ideology is.

People have zero idea what my ideology is and debating something based on whatever you imagine my ideology to be is not very useful. It’s a fallacy of composition. Also my ideology can’t be deduced from the paper, largely because I don’t much like ideologies and I don’t really have one. I look at every problem or issue atomically, to be solved on its own merits, thus my beliefs run the gamut. Also, whatever I think about things is pretty much irrelevant. The system stands on its own and it has nothing to do with what I do or don’t believe. The only thing I really believe is “locking in open” as Tim Berners-Lee put it. That is: open systems are better and decentralized systems in particular are key to the future.

4) “Direct democracy can’t work because people get tired or aren’t smart enough to vote on everything.”

I outline many solutions to this, in particular systems that can vote for you based on answering a series of questions, or systems that work in hybrid mode that allow you to vote on only the things that really matter to you, say abortion and guns, as well as full voting so that you can vote on everything if you are a highly engaged citizen. I also propose an easy solution to the California ballot problem where every stupid thing comes up for vote and where stuff only gets on there based on big money. It routes votes to ever increasing numbers of users and only the absolute most important votes would ever make it a national vote. Lastly the system allows for expert panels to create legislation that is fast tracked by the system. This would be a dramatic improvement on what we have now where unqualified politicians vote on everything from science to military to personal issues. Having groups of competing economists propose bills, or scientists writing science policy would be a major improvement to the current system. Lastly, the paper also outlines a method for breaking down bills into simpler terms for various folks to make it easier to read them and engage with them.

5) “You’re an idiot, why even bother doing something like this?”

This is utterly pointless commentary that comes from folks who haven’t done much and spend most of their life running other people down for trying something new. Not very useful or cool.

6) Not understanding that every single layer of the system expects some level of exploitation and it doesn’t matter if you found a few ways to game it.

The system always trusts there will be some level of gaming the system. It’s expected and dealt with. Central systems are not a panacea to this, despite most arguments thinking that’s the case. There are all kinds of exploitation of centralized IDs for instance, from attacks on central ID repos like Equifax, to attacking websites, to taking over social security numbers, to printing fake IDs, to paying someone off at the DMV. The decentralized ID system will have some level of people hacking it and it really won’t matter as long as the system is resilient enough to keep the blast confined and to update itself to deal with new attacks, which the build in security chain combined with the reputation systems deals with very effectively.

7) I get it and how do we build it? Congrats. Join and let’s talk.

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