The graffiti at the Blockchain For Science Con 2018
The whole conference was in rather an unusual setting — bridging the Kreuzberg / Brooklyn backyard blockchain culture with rather established scientific conference locations … :) All crowned by a graffiti of one of the most famous Berlin street artists — Tobo. Take it with a grain of salt, it is art.
Blockchain is tearing open a wall, and there is a seemingly good future (the islands and sunrise), with a black swan in between. The black swan represents the ‚serendipity‘ of research, the unforeseeability of real innovations — in contrast to the current research funding systems that supports more ‚serious business‘ research approaches — both approaches are needed, but the current system supports the ‚serious business part‘ a bit too much (which results in empty, cargo cult like research conduct (ex post facto publication narratives, excessive grant writing, paper chunking, humongous organizational overhead through in best faith introduced artificial competitions, suppression of crazy ideas…)).
The wallet is a representation of the new user empowerment by retaining your own private keys in the blockchain world (which can be used to publish pseudonymous publications that can set scientists free from their chains in their normal social network).
Obviously new incentives (coin, dice) are becoming possible through blockchain, and blockchain makes it possible to have high-value state changes — representing also the emerging cryptoeconomy for science.
And Blockchain is all about the 3rd party (which we had!!) is symbolised by the “3”.
The CAP (also like in ‚baseball cap‘)-triangle is visible in the upper right corner and shows that any distributed system (like blockchain systems) can only have two out of three (consistency, availability and partition resistance/decentralization). That brings us back to the slogan of the heteronormatively (inquiring regarding depiction of the sexes — please directly to the artist) depicted male researcher regarding the decentralization of science, whereof science is already very decentralized, over institutes, researchers, organizations, etc.
And hey, take a look at both islands, the right one doesn´t look too good, the palm trees are bending down, so in between good and bad futures might just be a black swan that needs to be discovered and it will be hard to decide in which direction it will lead. Just like technology is not good, or bad, nor is it neutral. E.g. the atomic bomb, which was the best invention and lead to our almost world peace–as long it is not being used.
Same holds true for space exploration, where we need a very black swan, cause it is just too expensive to get us off earth… While it is okay to worry about problems on earth, and climate change, only the unlimited resources of space will make it possible to fix our problems here on earth in the much longer run and assure our longevity. It was intentionally to put a Sojus rocket, cause it is the remaining mean to get us to the ISS, after the failed space shuttle program which was technically awesome, but had several fundamental design flaws and was maintainable only because of the humongous resources that were made available by liberal/free market world (the soviet union understood earlier that it was not a good design, just like supersonic passenger flight). It is an example of one way street projects that are being kept up, even when they are overdue, because they became too big to fail … just like some institutes, companies, cultures in research that became too big to fail … and are still being maintained … up until now, of course :)