[Edit — 30 April, 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 created a sooner than expected chance to realise Project 2030. To keep up with the pace of changes, we launched The High Ground Report, a situational assessment of ‘the new normal.’]
The Grand Problem
Humanity’s social contract (the way we engage with each other and institutions) is broken. The planet’s grand challenges are merely symptoms of this broken contract and can no longer be adequately individually addressed. Right now, decentralised applications are changing how we think about creating, financing and operating products and services in a way that removes the middle man. In the future, decentralised peer-to-peer societies will provide the means by which we successfully eradicate all of humanity’s grand challenges.
The Grand Solution
Building a thriving transcendent society on an entirely new social contract is a complex, but achievable objective. We’ve developed the two blueprints for decentralised societies and we’re bringing together the pieces required to create a platform for a fully functional decentralised economy and governance system. These are the (currently known) pieces required:
1. Self-Sovereign Identity & Personal Data Vault (SIV)
A user-centric, fraud-proof, trustful, self-issued identity powered by quantum computing with a secured cloud storage of quantified-self and personally relevant Internet-of-Things metadata.
Why it matters: A new social contract requires a personal data-driven feedback loop to incentivise ‘right’ behaviour, or positive externalities. Right behaviour is socially uplifting, regenerative behaviour, the specifics of which are agreed by the citizens of each society. The metadata that feeds the personal feedback loop must be owned by and useful to the individual, rather than to a central authority or platform.
Who we’re watching: China’s Social Credit System, India’s Aadhaar Unique Identification Authority, Amply, Blockcerts, BlockStack, Cicada, Civic, Consent, Databox, Datawallet, Decentralized Identity Foundation, Decode, EverID, Fermat, FUMMi, Holochain, Human Discovery Platform, IOVO, Maidsafe, MiData, MiData Coop, MIT’s Core Identity Project, Microsoft’s DDI’s, MyData, Muuver, OneName, OpenPDS, Particl, People, Project VRM, Secco, ShoCard, Sovrin, Synaptic Celerity, Synereo, uPort. There are also numerous pre-blockchain companies, which were tracked at The Personal Data Economy.
A worthwhile read is Doc Searles’ Intention Economy.
2. Portable Reputation (PR)
A universal rating — associated with each individual’s Self-Sovereign Identity — which publicly displays levels of self-directed education, capabilities, character, achievements, experience, network, legitimacy, authenticity and other characteristics important to a well-functioning society.
Why it matters: Reputation is a fundamental instrument of social order, since reputation transmission allows socially desirable behaviour to spread (think of how we value role models). In the business world reputation is power. It determines the best opportunities to grow a business, who a bank will lend money to, who a landlord will accept as a tenant, which employers will be hired and how much customers are willing to pay. Similarly, in a decentralised peer-to-peer society, strong reputations are the means by which individuals can engage with each other without the need for a middleman to regulate engagements.
3. Decentralised Autonomous Governance (DAG)
A shift from government to governance. A set of firm, clear, algorithmic rules defined by societal consensus through quadratic voting or quadratic coin lock voting and not subject to rituals, dogma, the whims and emotions of fallible individuals or decades-old business rules. The DAG runs parallel to national and local governance and does not (initially) seek to disrupt or amend local laws.
Why it matters: Existing societal structures incentivise oligarchical tendencies and non-sustainable production. A new process of governance, devoid of corruptible middlemen and which incentivises societally uplifting behaviour, is required. Citizens should have a mechanism for voting directly on policies rather than voting for individuals. The ideal is a society governed by maths rather than by force.
4. Community Sharing Platform (CSP)
A method of sharing assets and resources seamlessly throughout the community, with direct peer-to-peer payment and without a middleman taking a cut.
Why it matters: As society shifts its focus from ownership of status symbols to access to resources as-needed, a platform is required that unlocks and controls access to assets based on payment and reputation.
5. Decentralised Complementary Currency Network (DCN)
A medium of exchange and method of rewarding right behaviour, not created by central banks, yet exchangeable with National Fiat Currency (NFC).
Why it matters: Central control of the creation and distribution of money has some harmful aspects. These include a central bank monopoly on the means for payment of taxes, a fractional reserve system for issuance of money that exacerbates boom/bust cycles, and the extraction of interest merely for the privilege of using money. Rather than replacing NFCs, Complementary Currencies (CCs) do well that which NFC does poorly, and vice versa.
6. Decentralised Universal Basic Income (DUBI)
A non-fiat method of providing everyone a means to abundantly meet their basic physiological and safety needs, so that the focus of their lives can shift from survival to belonging, esteem and ultimately self-actualisation.
Why it matters: UBI — a rapidly approaching prerequisite to keep the global economy going and to address looming technological unemployment — is hugely challenging to implement in all but a handful of wealthy and homogeneous societies. New approaches, non-threatening to vested interests yet sufficient to meet the basic needs of everyone, are required. Relying on governments to distribute NFC UBI simply perpetuates poverty, thus the UBI must be distributed via the DCN.
Who we’re watching: We have not yet seen a UBI model that can be scaled globally. We are working on a white paper to describe a model we believe can work. Expected Q2 2018.
7. Crowdsourced Solution Discovery Platform (SDP)
A decentralised global ledger of known challenges to which anyone can contribute solutions. Proposed solutions are ranked by the reputation of submitter and number of votes received.
Why it matters: In a transcendent society, societal issues are solved by reaching consensus within the society, rather than waiting for government solutions. Collaborative problem solving mobilises the world’s intellectual and creative capacities to crowdsource solutions to local and global problems.
Who we’re watching: We have not yet seen a platform that can track solutions globally, however, we are excited by the success Everipedia is enjoying and will explore with them whether we can use their platform to create an SDP.
8. Decentralised Open Source Simulation Engine (DOSE)
A method of designing and testing social contracts, economic models, health systems, education platforms, judicial and voting processes, crowdsourced solutions and even entire virtual city infrastructures.
Why it matters: Quantum computing, machine learning and massive data will shortly allow us to crowdsource designs for society, and test them in an open source environment, with the results visible to all. In this way voting on policy takes place based on verifiable proof rather than on empty promises. Citizens can see the impact of their vote before casting their vote.
9. Civilisation Intelligence Platform (CIP)
A single hub that brings clarity to the complex and fast-paced world of All Things Decentralised and which connects emerging technology with those working for social change. Our mission is to democratise access to information about initiatives enabling decentralised, peer-to-peer societies and to build a thriving community of people interested in using emerging technologies to reimagine society.
Why it matters: We believe, like William Gibson, that the future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed. Social activists are working on solving most of humanity’s grand challenges. Technologists are simultaneously building platforms that could support the efforts of activists, but there is little knowledge sharing between the two groups.
Who we’re watching: We haven’t found anyone else doing this, which is why we’re considering starting such a platform. Models we like are: CognitionX, Axios, Decentralise Today, Energy Web Foundation, The Information, De Correspondent, Project Breakthrough, Impact Alpha.
10. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)
Underpinning the entire solution set is a consensus of replicated, shared, and synchronized digital data geographically spread across multiple sites, countries, or institutions, supporting the concept of triple entry accounting.
Why it matters: Much of the world’s infrastructure consists of intermediaries — or middlemen. For example, lawyers act as an intermediary between the public and the law, bankers act as an intermediary between individuals and their access to creditors. DLT allows individuals, organisations, machines, and algorithms to interact freely with one another, in a trustless manner.
11. Global Education/Marketing Campaign
A global event preceded by an inspiring documentary and followed by a global marketing/education campaign intended to shift humanity’s consciousness to a higher level of thinking about the possibilities of what it means to be human, and to kickstart the design of a New Humanity and a New World: Society 4.0.
Why it matters: A significant shift in humanity’s existence (or a system reset, if you prefer) can only occur when triggered by a system-wide event. Past triggers that partially changed humanity have included world wars, holocausts and ethnic cleansings, politicides, famine, floods and epidemics. However, the modern-day tools humanity has built now enable a system reset in a non-calamitous manner, and it all revolves around story. Stories are enormously powerful, and can be much more impactful than facts.
Who we’re watching: Cellarius,
12. Model Societies
Physical locations with small communities who practice a way of living in which meaning and purpose in life shifts from paid work to value creation. A system of production that assures the automatic provision of life’s necessities to all residents. A society that inspires, recognises, and rewards valued contributions, regardless of money.
Why it matters: The worst consequences of joblessness are not economic but rather damage to one’s self-worth. In the current social contract, jobs give people purpose. For many, a job is the source of one’s dignity. Technological unemployment is a goal to be embraced rather than an evil to be avoided. Accordingly a new type of environment and non-financial mechanism for establishing self-worth and meaning is required. We are looking for volunteer communities to commit to a process of testing radically new social contracts, submitted and voted on by the community.
Who we’re watching: Naledi Village, South Africa; Isle of Eigg, Scotland; Guernsey’s Dandelion Foundation; Neom, Saudi Arabia; Venus Project, USA; Tianjin Eco-City, Singapore and China; Songdo, South Korea; Sidewalk, Canada, A Celebration Society, USA.
Achieving a transcendent society is not an insignificant challenge. Some would say it’s impossible and shouldn’t even be attempted. However, we have identified the partnerships required to do this and have developed a viable, credible plan. Read details of the plan.
Want to Stay Updated?
To keep up with the pace of changes post-COVID-19, we launched The High Ground Report, a situational assessment of ‘the new normal.’
You might also be interested in the vision that came to me in 2004 that guides and informs what you’ve just read: