G is a free and open data commons. It uses a universal database and trust network to return control of our data to the users who created it while still allowing for mass collaboration. It will allow people to easily change the applications they use to access their data and choose only the functionality they want in an application. It will allow anyone to collaborate without using the same applications. The structure is an ecosystem, anything can be replaced without destroying the whole.With G, we filter out astroturfing and spam using trust networks. Everyone has control of their own information filters. We aren’t overwhelmed by celebrity influence because the structure promotes the people contributing research instead. Everyone can choose who they work with but all research is open and linked. We allow diversity of opinion and different viewpoints. We let our own trust networks decide what is important to show us instead of leaving it up to search engines or social media platforms.
What can G be used for? journalism, whistleblowers, commerce, transparent and fluid organization, direct aid, direct trade, science and research, governance and law
intro’d to getgee via Heather‘s talk here:
Heather Marsh at RMLL 2017
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/sandovalrudy922/status/980196622910058501
notes/quotes from talk (1 hr)..
[full transcript here: https://georgiebc.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/transcript-of-keynote-at-rmll/]
been studying methods of mass collab
from 2010-2012 – i was admin of wikileaks news site.. i took info from leaks & combined w current news to create a catalyst for informed action
in 2012 i moved more onto sm collab.. and i wrote a book called binding chaos about methods of collab that had been used to create mass movements
and i’m currently writing a book called autonomy, diversity, society.. about societal/institutional structures that are getting in our way of having mass collab.. particularly those around knowledge industries like science and academia and journalism..
and i’m also creating a universal database and trust network.. which will hopefully help resolve some of the issues i kept coming up against for the last several years
1 min – i’d like to talk about the methods of collab we use online and what kinds of structures we’re creating w the tech that we’re building.. and then i’d like to talk about what is a universal database and why we’d need such a thing
2 min – so.. what was it about the internet that was so world changing and important..usually we get the answer in terms of communication.. but we don’t actually communicate on a 1 to 1 basis w every single person on the internet and reach consensus..
so this is a picture (stigmergy – swallows) of what mass collab usually looks like both online and offline.. an action based method of collab that follows an idea.. no real structure.. just an idea/goal that’s reflected to everybody.. and this is the kind of collab that can spring up spontaneously.. very quickly.. and very very effectively.. once this idea is released publicly.. if people believe in it they will follow it across cultures..language barriers.. generation.. it can be truly unstoppable..
3 min – this is the kind of collab we have used throughout history.. for mass migrations.. for adopting new tech.. for adopting moral principles.. but for the last several thousand years we’ve been moving more and more relentlessly toward this really structured/ordered/coercive type of collab which has official channels and hierarchy and a system of sticks and carrots like military or money that is used as rewards/punishments to guide us thru these official channels and coerce our behavior..
and we’ve been progressing more and more towards this method until the internet appeared and then suddenly we had this proliferation of stigmergic movements.. that sprung up very very quickly and globally and it scared a lot of powerful people very much and deposed some of them
4 min – so if imagine these swallows are people – you can see how those trying to maintain authority would be very concerned, it doesn’t look like there is any type of structure or predictability here. so internet gave us power to return to this type of swarm movement which is really powerful, but at the same time very scary.
*[In many ways, this looks like a new age of collaboration. We went from small local collaboration to highly structured so-called civilization and this is a whole new thing, even though stigmergy is a method of collaboration that has been with us forever, it has never been at this scale or speed.]
*including in  notes from heather’s transcription that differ from her talk
it’s important when we’re designing tools for collab.. that we figure out how to help these people/swarms [movements] guide themselves, and it’s important to remember that we’re not going to have direct communication.. and tools like voting and consensus building are not going to be any help to us.. not for mass movements
[and when we design tools that assume we are going to use direct communication or votes or consensus, they are not going to work for us, not for mass movements.]
5 min – so the most important factor that i’ve found for whether or not a stigmergic or mass movement is going to be a success is whether or not people believe in the idea.. not whether it affects them or whether it’s easy or even safe to do..i’ve created many mass movements
actually.. just going to go off transcript on her page.. assuming she’s made the changes..
The single biggest factor I’ve found for whether or not someone will participate in a stigmergic action is whether they are sure of the idea leading it. Not whether it affects them, or if its simple to grasp or easy or even safe to do. I have created many actions where the audience was completely removed from the people affected or where the action was dangerous or very difficult to understand or even initially believe. None of this mattered. All that mattered in whether the action was a success was whether people could be sure the goal is sound. And the easiest way for someone to prevent action is to sow doubt in the goal. So this initial seed that makes up the idea is the key to every mass movement.
so.. let’s go w a problem deep enough to resonate w 7 bn people today..
If you look at this as a form of governance, we aren’t going to be governed by people, we are going to be governed by ideas. So our job in information technology is world governance. How we present and filter ideas directs these mass movements far more than politicians do. People will run in the *mazes we give them to run in, so when we are designing tools for collaboration and communication it is very important that we get this right and think about the implications of what we are building. We have to allow people the freedom to rise above these mazes of official channels but still protect themselves from being coerced by propaganda and ignorance.
So with our new scary power of mass collaboration we have also seen a change in how powerful people are attempting to coerce these mass movements. The old way, or the most recent way, of directing movements was with hard coercion. You will follow this idea or you will be burned at the stake. And we can put money in there as hard coercion as well because you will work in this mine or you will starve is pretty violent as well. In this structure ideas were very carefully controlled. After the printing press was invented, only those ideas approved by someone with a printing press got mass dissemination and it was much easier to control what was distributed.
Once we had mass communication, on the Internet, that all changed fairly overnight and took a lot of existing power by surprise. So we instantly saw powerful people attempting to use all the usual hard coercive methods to control these ideas that are starting mass movements, like murdering bloggers and censoring the Internet, but it was pretty apparent that this was not going to be a sustainable long term global solution to keep people in power. So for the last several years we have had a huge focus put on what I call seductive coercion, manipulation of how we think and how we react to these ideas.
Seductive coercion uses fear, belonging, shunning, all of our most deeply felt emotions to drive us towards or away from ideas.
Another favourite counter is noise, you can’t follow an idea you never hear so if you have an idea that powerful people don’t like, they can just drown it out. And another counter is confusion. If an idea is at a level of expertise too specialized for the average person to prove whether it’s true or false, someone can just say it doesn’t work or it has been rebutted. If most of the public can’t prove it one way or another, they can just call it fake news. We are overwhelmed right now with seductive coercion as well as noise and confusion on our current social media platforms and the purpose is to try to control these ideas that are all important in seeding stigmergic mass movements.
We need information we can trust for stigmergic organization to work and we need stigmergic organization because that’s the only way we are going to progress on a large scale in the future. Misleading information will encourage people to act against their own interests but a lack of trust in any information will immobilize them or encourage them to blindly follow demagogues or ideology.
So the third method here is auto-coercion, coercion of each other as an informed society, which is a swarm method of reaching consensus. This is where I would like us to head and this is what, in my opinion, we need to be building technology for.
? – why consensus..?
We may or may not have reached a technological singularity yet but we have certainly reached a societal singularity. We need to collaborate with others even just to understand the news. We can’t all be experts at everything. So we can’t keep berating voters for not spending all of their time studying everything that affects them or electing politicians and expecting them to have all the answers. It’s impossible. We need to find a better solution.
perhaps one that has nothing to do w voting..
We need technology that allows us to put our faith wisely in information and this is going to require a completely different set of rules than the hierarchical official channels we have used in the past.
Ideas need to be audited and promoted by people qualified to understand them so I use this structure of concentric circles with epistemic communities in the centre and knowledge bridges to assist information flow and auditing.
so here.. i would question ideas.. if they need to be promoted.. and then have some kind of consensus..? we have the means to simply listen to curiosities.. and connect people that way.. which simultaneously would/could detox all of us .. from the idea that we need to have consensus.. and promoted ideas.. et al
believing that most of what we spend our time/energy on today is not really us
With knowledge bridges, you don’t have to have personal expertise on every aspect of society. All you have to do is have a transparent concentric circle that you can look at, you can see the activity, you can get feedback if necessary, and you can say yes, there are a lot of people auditing, there is a lot of discussion, I trust some of the people in these circles, I trust that they know what they are doing. Unless you don’t, in which case experts can also be created by the system itself as users develop knowledge and reputation and move towards the centre.
Science, academia and journalism require two way knowledge bridges, transparency and free information if they are going to truly act as epistemic communities for us all and stimulate and inform mass action and they also require information focused technology to support them in that. So let’s look at where we went wrong.
We no longer live in a world dominated by either resource capitalism or industry. We live in a world dominated by information capitalism and information control.
“Data is the new oil” is a quote that has been going around investment circles for over 10 years now but data is more than just a product. With oil you could acquire money to drive people along the paths of hard coercive structures. With data you can lead far more people with seductive coercion or block them with noise and confusion. But even for people who haven’t quite grasped that information in this form can be used to wag the tail of an entire mass of humanity behind it, most people realize data is lucrative.
The last I checked, Alibaba was worth 265 billion US dollars. Amazon is worth over 400 billion. Even Uber is still worth 60 billion. Who has any idea what Facebook and Google are worth because they actually have mastered the true value of information. What makes all of these corporations so powerful and valuable is their control of information. When the world wide web was designed, it was a picture of academia. It was meant to allow isolated papers to cite other isolated papers, but the internet does not look like that. Those early pages have been used to create an Internet as a series of sealed wells. Even if we have access to everything on the surface, we do not have access to the information in these wells and to add insult to injury, we created all the information in those wells. And that data is used for public manipulation and seductive coercion, in ways ranging from monitoring our shopping habits to Facebook deciding to what mood we are in or whether we vote.
No one should be gifting their innermost thoughts to allow coercion of public opinion by undemocratic entities who have only maximum profit for their shareholders as a guiding principle. No one should risk storing their personal data on a platform that sees their data as ‘the new oil’. Of course, this is not news to anyone here, but even though we all realize this, we haven’t been able to stop it.
stop it this way: gershenfeld sel
The failure to replace the existing data mining platforms is partly the failure to differentiate between different types of data and their different requirements, so let’s go over that first.
or maybe we’re just focusing on the wrong data..
let’s try self-talk as data
Personal data: The goal here is security against dissemination. Ideally, we want to keep this off the Internet and if that is not possible, encrypt it and keep it under your control and easily deleted.
how about just design life so that 7bn people are too busy (doing whatever they want.. their art).. to have any desire to invade others’ privacy
Personal messaging: The goal here is to know who you are talking to and keep your conversation private, so we treat this like personal data and add the fact that we need to be sure of who we are talking to.
The idea here is you keep all your personal information in your own little PODS and it is always under your control and you choose where to share it and what to share, which is as it should be. But in a way this reminds me of when people were told they no longer had to work as slaves or serfs because they were free and could choose when to work for money. But then they found out that all the food and shelter was controlled by the money sources so it became not much of a choice, work or starve. And if all we do is take control of our own personal information, if we want to access other information and it is controlled by corporate interests, we will end up giving over our keys. And there will be no legal protection because we will be doing it voluntarily. Supposedly. We see this already in data access, we have the ability to block ads or cookies but then we get our access to information blocked so we don’t. So it is not enough to address personal data, we have to address public data as well.
The answer for public data is the same as personal data, we need to decouple application software from the data to regain control and we need some sort of a data commons.
Personality focused we don’t really need to look at, we’ve got that covered. The goal in a personality focused platform is promotion of personalities (or brands), so official blue checks and followers assembled around social media reality shows. Social media is almost universally personality focused and that is why social media is so frustrating for anyone attempting to collaborate around information.
With Information focused data, the goal is research, auditing and dissemination of information. At best we can use Wikipedia, mainstream media sometimes and specialized research platforms.
Public data. The goal here is freedom from censorship or other deletion or modification. So the dead opposite of what should be the goals for personal data and if someone is offering you the solution to both on one platform, run as fast as you can. Most applications with a primary goal of making data public use peer to peer with or without blockchain, or censorship resilient platforms of some sort. It is very easy to put up public data in a very resilient and even semi-immutable way on a peer to peer system.
The problem is, if you combine this need with Broadcasting we have an added goal of wide dissemination. You can put information up, but getting a lot of people to find it is difficult unless traditionally you have some sort of index that will search through this data and offer some sort of centralized list. .. There are other methods of finding each other, but with other issues, which we’ll get to under collaboration.
Broadcasting is also where we get too much misinformation, spam, noise, confusion, seductive coercion, all those things we talked about earlier.
..*we need to get away from this idea that anyone is going to own information or the access to it. Information has to be a basic human right for all, it is our key to understanding our world. **There is no point in being able to vote if we don’t understand what we are voting for.
indeed – *ownership ness
**there is not point in voting
So Decoupled data is where I think we need to go before anything to handle all the very different and frequently opposing requirements of these different types of information. The goal here is freedom from corporate ownership of data, freedom from software dependency, data reusability and versatility of use. Data is separated from application software and is agnostic to what applications are used to access it. For this we need a universal database which is why I am working on that.
Our greatest need is for a collaborative information commons, for open journalism, for open science, and just for fun. We need a place where the data is not personal data but it is not corporate data either.
Now we have covered what we need and why we need it, all we have to is design it with the technology available to us today.
We need a set of core data objects to be in a public data commons. These are the objects that link all of our information together.
let’s try curiosity.. as link
Rather than relying on site reviews and trust algorithms we can rely on our own personal trust networks for recommendations.
how about we just rely on our own curiosity for recommendations.. everyday
Instead of relying on NGOs, charities and non-profits, we can use our own trust networks to provide aid directly where it is needed and receive feedback directly from those receiving aid.
Principles of a society from constitutions and bills of rights can be easily accessible for every member of society and we can then ensure that all law in that society flows naturally from the accepted root principles.
With a universal data commons we can collaborate effectively and intelligently and solve the *problems we are facing with far greater speed and accuracy. We can all be much better informed and able to easily see the original sources and all related information on a subject from all perspectives. This will provide us with the ability to be self correcting, even in our mass movements. We can have auto-coercion.
The Internet is being redesigned. This is a moment when we urgently need to design our own Charter of the Forest and establish our rights around our commons information.
begs we go gershenfeld sel
We had this moment before when the Internet first appeared and it seemed destined to become a corporate controlled platform and we made possibly the best decision in our history by having the Internet be a global commons, which is now recognized as a universal human right, but the only reason access to the Internet is important is because it provides access to information. The only reason freedom of speech is important it it allows us to transmit information. We need to recognize information itself as a universal human right and write code that facilitates that.
let’s try a means to really facil a commons/commoning of free people
I think I’d better stop here so there is hopefully some time for questions but if anyone is interested in this project, or you know someone who may be interested with this project, please contact me.
Questions and answers are not transcribed.