Rethinking Humanity and Role of the Fediverse?

(@aschrijver: I moved this to a new topic. This follow-up is inspired by discussion on the PonyUPS micropayments concept)

I do not know if this directly applies to what you are saying, but just watched a video of Toby Seba “Rethinking Humanity.” He addresses the both the issues of climate crisis and the very desperate need for local (decentralized) independent self-sufficient manufacture, exchange, and governance.

All of which seem to be the recognized cornerstone and philosophy of all things Fediverse. I would love to hear what your thoughts and responses are after viewing.

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I’ve chosen this topic title, as it relates to an earlier topic of Positioning ActivityPub: De-Emphasize "Being Part of the Fediverse" as primary USP.

  • There is enormous interest in decentralization these days.
  • There is an enormous amount of innovative, positive initiatives, but they are fragmented.
  • There is a Fediverse, mostly microblogging related technology still, but applicable in many domains

If the Fediverse evolves, to what extent can its technologies be the backbone of human innovation, towards a positive, bright future? How far do we go integrating diverse human activities in our decentralized social fabric?

How far do we think out-of-the-box to all that is possible? Here’s Steven Johnson’s great animation for inspiration…

Note: As explained in Fediverse Futures: Visions & dreams. Feedback wanted I am trying to broaden community discussion beyond deeply technical discussion. If you like that, or maybe not at all, I encourage to provide your feedback there.

Update: I announced this topic in this toot.

Yes and after the video I can’t go along without explaining:
First off:
This is by far the best summary I have seen about the reports of https://www.rethinkx.com at least in summarising the problems.

What I do not like is the question to only answer the “creation” part in economy although I understand the reason:
Hypercapitalism has created delimination of money (e.g. credit cards where you do not see how much money is left while shopping) but at the same time it has created voodoo breakpoints and in terms of a video these are 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 15 minutes and 23 minutes.
If it gets longer very few people watch it.
In terms of money it is e.g. 1€, 10€, 100€ and people do not buy when it is more expensive.

So, we need to highlight that the main problem is centralisation.
And the most important and most stressful is

“What is requiring much work is the new organising system”

Let us stick to the milk example (and it must not immediately be fermented brewery, fermented insects can be a transition):
Seba argues for example that milk will become cheaper with artificial proteins.
But especially for milk the problem is less if “farmers” can produce it cheaper.
For milk the main real existing problem is the centralisation of discounters (Germany === 2, in other countries 3 or 1 discounter).
Aldi and Lidl will always demand from farmers that they give the milk cheaper than it can be produced.
Artificial milk will help the wellbeing of the animals [which is maybe most important except you know your farmer and they are friends :wink: ] –
But will it help the farmer too?

Only overcoming capitalism can help here is my concern.
Tony Seba sums it up in the sentence

“Our centralised systems cannot cope with an Internet economy”

Now back to my quote “I doubt that paying with energy is better than with money!”
What I meant especially was
The Fediverse is Federation, let’s say a part of Decentralisation.

manufacture
My credo is that federation is the best way for public content and social networking.
But it might not fully work for privacy and especially for

governance
Here we might need full decentralisation for trust.
This probably (am designer not math person) involves a ledger / blockchain.
Here is where the quote comes in:
In making the choice of the ledger every software developer has incredible responsibility for energy, the climate, our environment, Mother Gaia!
We could choose bitcoin just to be loved by the majority and by THE ELON or Jack.
THE ELON will say: But I do it with regenerative energy. Does it help at the current stage?
After all the consumption of dirty coal, making people homeless. After industries throwed away their bitcoin miners creating more waste and the centralisation of the money amounts behind bitcoin we have now?
Probably not.

A ledger only for Identity like Veres One with DID is probably much better.
But it is incredible how very small decisions can change energy consumption here.
As said I don’t know math but it sounds as if.

An optimised ECC implementation running on a Cortex-M0 using slightly weaker 233-bit sect233k1 curve uses only 20–34 μJ of energy for the elliptic curve point multiplication

Yki Kortesniemi, Dmitrij Lagutin, Tommi Elo and Nikos Fotiou (2019). Improving the Privacy of IoT with Decentralised Identifiers. Journal of Computer Networks and Communications

This is what I meant …

exchange
would mean for me that we explore how to become conformant to the ActivityPub protocol and predictable.
A roundtable about Interoperabilty, Interconnection and Data Portability for the protocol long enough to solve this problems (we can sleep a bit in breaks).
How software foo can federate multilanguage content, groups, events, videos with subtitles or links. And software bar will be able to reproduce it.
Anything other is loosing content.
And this can mean a direct threat to the life (or not) of certain people.
And how we go on with fair but effective Content Moderation. Because also the Daesh channels I have seen and reported in big fedi instances pose a threat.
We can let follow this roundtable by a hackathon because:
Yes We Can.

Some people might think the Fediverse exists for publishing plush sharks or cats. Others think it exists for shitposting or imposing ideologies.
But Social Networking in 2021 for the majority probably means the replacement of vital and existential communication channels like it was e.g. E-Mail or SMS before.

+design
for the sake of not loosing the identity, the soul, the meaning of AP Clients while being able to reproduce all federated content.

So

  1. decentralize
  2. become inclusive
    and then the rest

Interesting discussion. I’ll post a couple of tidbits now and maybe more after I’ve watched the video and re-read all the other responses.

https://bonfire.cafe/valueflows

implements the social networking vocabulary Activity Streams and also the economic networking vocabulary ValueFlows.

Valueflows comes from a manufacturing supply chain background and some years of experience in the https://www.sensorica.co/ open value network and contribution economy.

First uses will most likely be in the https://reflowproject.eu/ and https://disco.coop/ but we’d really love to work with a local manufacturing network.

Goal is something like Solawis extended into whole community economic systems. See A fractal economy — Economic Networks

Yes, an holistic approach is needed and I like circles of sustainability in that regard (see also engaged theory). I avoid the term ‘Capitalism’ in communication. The word is too overloaded and controversial, and leads to endless, fruitless discussion whether it works or not. I use hypercapitalism (capitalism-run-amok), which is what we have.

Also let’s avoid blockchain discussions, and stick to fedi-tech related discussion. Our scope is already sooo large.

Agreed on full decentralisation. I’d like to give a twist to ‘governance’ in that people with federated technology should be more able to “govern themselves”. In the milk-producing example small farmers might be able to more easily organize together, to be stronger, and offer their produce more directly to market, cutting parts of the supply line that are overly extractive (e.g. supermarkets).

It is nice that you brought up Aral Balkan. As you know, together with Laura Kalbag he started the Small Technology Foundation, and SmallTech might be the ideal USP to make Fediverse stand out to hypercapitalist alternatives (though I think Aral maybe finds that federated servers are not ‘small’ enough… and there’s indeed the risk of re-centralization in them).

This is an entire field to further explore. The story of interoperability is not good, atm. I touched on the subject in From silo-first to task-oriented federated app design.

I was first pointed to Valueflows by @strypey on Loomio. It is wonderful that it finds real-world implementation. What #software:bonfire is doing in terms of venturing into different domains is great as well, and I’d invite the @bonfire team to participate in the #fediversity:fediverse-futures discussion and help broaden this community and its dreams of what is possible.

Thanks for the links, @bhaugen!

is the opposite of

Agreed on full decentralisation

/me confused.

Did you maybe mean “buttcoin* discussions” ?

(*) https://rhiaro.co.uk/2021/02/btcon-people-like

There is generally no need to use a blockchain as a root of trust in the fediverse. Linked data itself acts as an authoritative trust anchor, as the trust anchor is either a content addressing mechanism or something already trusted such as DNS. And if that isn’t enough there is LDSigs but i’d prefer to stay away from those.

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What I meant is e.g. how to vote moderators or how to use DID etc.

We agree, and also think we can implement a distributed ledger in the fediverse, where one actor represents the scope of the network using the ledger, and they refer to that actor in all of their economic messages.

We also think that consensus among the participants in a particular agreement is sufficient for almost any economic resources except for global digital currencies.

Early-ish blog post about the idea: Economic Event Protocol for Distributed Ledgers — Economic Networks

We’ll try something like what Holochain does in ActivityPub, where each participant and the scope/DLT validates the message, using the REA data which has a full set of links for all info and can do a pretty good job of programmatic validating, also using the human judgment of the transaction participants.

What do y’all think? Too crazy? Just crazy enuf?

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Watched the movie. Very interesting! Star wars replicators!

Assuming systems evolve the way that Seba expects (his happy, not dystopian, vision) the fediverse could become the infrastructure.

But lotsa possible pitfalls between here and there. He does mention the possibility of collapse but does not get deep into it in the video. Does he do so in his writings?

I mean, climate change, many pandemics caused by destruction of ecosystems, migrations after migrations with regional wars rising from them. In the US and elsewhere, the radical right does a pretty good job of taking advantage of communication networks and some of them want civil war and they have money behind them, etc etc etc.

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6 posts were split to a new topic: Bonfire and Redactor introduction & alignment meeting

This was also my most important criticism. Especially at the start of the video he talks about a utopic vision as if it were inevitable. Though I am optimistic about the great amount of initiatives working towards such future, currently the balance is still tipping towards more wealth inequality, plutocracy and dystopia. We need massive collaboration and joining of forces to put our weight on the scales.

I like it. Crazy is what we need to start with when going out-of-the-box, walk new paths. I recently learned on the Solid forum that Holochain is not a blockchain (something I’d always assumed, just going from the name).

Offers unchained

Another subject… I moved a topic to #fediversity:fediverse-futures namely: Offers unchained, which discusses the concept of OfferBots by @AndrewMackie, from a fedi perspective. I highly recommend visiting his site. Especially the Problem analysis on the role of Aggregators in society is very enlightening:

The Problem

Why do we need offerbots?

The answer isn’t privacy or data ownership . Nor is it monopoly or control . These are critical problems, but they’re all second-order problems.

The primary problem is that billions of people need something so badly that they’re voluntarily giving away their privacy, data and control to corporations, causing harm to our economy, society and information in ways that we’re not paying attention to yet.

On the side of The Solution things are less well fleshed-out still, and unfortunately I haven’t been able to reach @AndrewMackie since this discussion took place, so I don’t know if he’s still elaborating the concepts. What I do think though is that federated technology can play a big role in this solution space, modeling on top of as:Offer object.

Would appreciate any in-depth reactions to continue on the Offers unchained topic.

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About “collapse” I can recommend the book but only read part 1 until page 25 …

Both Seba and THE ELON inspire me. Where they fall short in my opinion is that they have little comprehension or appreciation for the complexity of planetary biology. Sure, maybe you can brew beefsteaks using genetically modified yeasts or some such. But is confinement beefsteak brewing any better for the planet than confinement chicken, pig and cattle operations, which are already pretty horrendous? I am also equally skeptical of the vertical farming of vegetables which seems to be the rage, or of any food grown that does not touch and travel in or on the soil surface of the planet. What good is such a system if the planet itself starves from inattention? We may, in a couple thousand years, colonize Mars, IF, we can bring CO2 levels down to around 280 PPM in the next 25 years. There are gems in the hogwash, but we have a long way to go.

Vertical farming of vegetables and animal-less meat are strangely correlated with Silicon Valley in ways that are explored by some feminist researchers. I know @natacha has been rolling eyeballs this way. The main point I get from all these approaches is that – at every generation – they have found a disruptive way to do the same using 90% less energy. Brilliant, isn’t it? Except 1) Jevon’s Paradox, 2) replacing existing technologies with new technologies usually requires cutting off some more mountain tops and turning lush forests into deserts, again. So it would be nice if we could figure out ways to go from here to there without using up another planet, since we’ve already played, and lost, this card. Another hint that such things won’t work is their global reach: when everyone uses my EV, then we can save the planet kinda narrative. All the perspectives come from “when we have it”, small text: if you buy it now, everybody else does, and we all stop using oil. Yeah, right.
Back to farming: technologists in the field are trying to remove peasants from the equation. First, remove the land, then create factories to create workers and reduce peasants to peanuts per cent of global population ; then remove the rest by declaring the earth “useless” for producing food – and leave it to the mining industry to keep making electronics, thank you, it’s $4.55.

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