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    • The following excerpt is from a paper I have written titled The Emergent Web.

      I do not assume the term Emergent Web will be adopted en masse but I do believe those who believe in the power of these ideas should come up with a unifying message to rally the investment community, politicians, technologists, academics, and users to see beyond only a return on investment to a return on interaction in how people are benefiting from the technologies built.  Could this new web build better tools to monitor this? Where an improvement in movement could be measured from an Alzheimer's patient interacting in a virtual world or a reduction in healthcare costs could be tracked through a tool allowing doctors to more effectively and efficiently relate patient conditions to medical coding. Link to passage

      As this initial paper is only a vehicle for feedback I am looking to refine the concept of a Return on Interaction for a book in development. I am begging the question do we want to live in a society where a return in a free market is only measured through monetary value derived from the exchange? Or could a measured exchange of personal value become a currency for those wishing to invest in the well being of the social connection?

      There are personal and social costs inherited from the ravages of Alzheimer's disease? If VR technology was able to improve the motor skills of a group of Alzheimer patients interacting with virtual objects, could the sharing of performance data from embedded sensors with funding sources encourage an increase in funding thereby increasing adoption and reducing these personal and social costs? Could this formula also apply to technology assisting with skill development, threat detection, and problem solving where real time feedback flows back to the funding sources?

      I admit the thought of technology providing a conduit for measuring interactions unleashed through the lens of a centralized top down web is frightening to say the least (China's Social Credits) but through the lens of what Tim Berners Lee is proposing through his decentralized Solid framework of Personal Online Data Stores (PODS) where all data is controllable by the user, the possibilities seem endless under a permission based system.

      Adam Smith wrote in the Wealth of Nations "They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent in regards to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain of only those of other people.”  If there were a throughput between user interaction and investor action, could the benevolent effects of funding personal and social impact moderate these pernicious effects, even more than general philanthropy?

      Certainly Return on Interaction would never replace a thirst for a Return on Investment but what is possible when a piece of an investor’s portfolio affords a direct connection between their gains and the benefit of another. Not by proxy but through an organic connection with a personal or social benefit. We are finally at a place technically where this is possible through mobile connectivity, sensor capabilities and soon to be immersive realities, but the question remains if an appetite exists for such a notion. A notion of not only funding technology to build business capital but funding through technology to build human capital.

      I have never walked in the shoes of an investor so I am looking for feedback to help form a more informed viewpoint. Curious to hear the Cake community’s thoughts on this.

    • Every day I think about the emergent web since reading your stuff. The things that influenced me recently are:

      • The AI researcher who said the headlines read "AI beats humans." What they're missing is AI plus human beats AI.

      • Tim Berners Lee saying Wikipedia had to develop a bureaucracy to provide reliable entries.

      • Tim Cook saying what customers want is curation. It's what made the App Store and Apple News so popular.

      • Amazon curating book reviews and how popular they've become.

      • The New York Times curating user comments and how good they've become.

      • Facebook and WhatsApp providing unmoderated groups which led to genocide, insane conspiracies, and destructive riots on Champs-Élysées.

      • Moderation or curation in the form of a police force on Champs-Élysées (and pretty much everywhere in the world) to stop the looting and destruction.

      • Reading the new history of Reddit book and watching the founders progress from trolls and free speech advocates to curating the site so they could attract brands to advertise, and also to live with their own consciences.

      You can see where I'm going with this. There is no successful real-world community without an infrastructure to pick up litter, prevent crime, put out fires, and establish some rules. We have now seen what the web can be without that and there it's even worse because anonymity.

      It looks to me like some level of curation leads to better return on interaction which leads to more profit.

    • Your observations are always so spot on and very helpful. The examples you provide are exactly the point of where technology needs to evolve to. We need to drive and AI needs to be in the passenger seat.

      I just wrapped up this podcast between Joe Rogan and Ben Goertzel which really speaks to this notion where Dr. Goertzel talks about decentralized AI and how it should be a partner.

      I definitely think there are a number of technologies moving in this direction. I just don’t think there is a narrative to help identify it and drive it. I am naive enough to believe The Emergent Web might be it:-). My main reason for attending the Doug 50 symposium this weekend is to gather more research for the book and hopefully meet people who can add to or correct my thoughts. I certainly look forward to our coffee.

    • In my late teens and early twenties, I became interested in libertarianism but that interest lasted only a short time. The reason is what you wrote about the need for infrastructure.

      Regrettably, the other problem is that often times infrastructure starts to be like pieces of straw on a camel's back. Just as a little straw is not a problem but a lot can destroy, so it is also with the accumulation of infrastructure. A society can start out providing for freedom for those who will abide within its limited laws but as the decades pass, the laws accumulate until freedom is a buzzword with no meaning or is altered by a demagogue to mean something other than personal liberty.

    • "It looks to me like some level of curation leads to better return on interaction which leads to more profit."

      I've really been thinking about the way you phrased this in your reply Chris. This really does cut to the very center of the entire argument about how giving control to the user over their experiences with the assist of AI will create opportunities for profit and progress. It seems to boil down to quantity vs quality. Quantity has been winning since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution but I really do feel quality has a fighting chance if the tools are built to give us a chance.

    • Chris, I don't know how to ping you directly but I am in town Saturday from 1pm on. Sunday I am at the conference but I don't leave until Tuesday. I have no plans other than the day of the conference. Just let me know when you want to hookup for coffee. Thanks. 602-326-8370

    • Indeed it can be a slippery slope. The closer tech is able to mimic nature the better but progress has always been a messy affair. I dont believe tech will ever fully address this. But without a doubt tech should never lead. It should follow. This is what concerns me the most.

    • Paul,

      I was not speaking of technological infrastructure but of political or governmental infrastructure. @Chris MacAskil had written about how online platforms which gave the userbase complete liberty with almost no restrictions tended to devolve over time into toxic environments. I was commenting on how that is not only true online but IRL as well. The fault does not lie with technology but rather with the fact that humans tend to mess things up when there is no restrictions.

      Let me mention an example. When the national 55 mph was repealed in the USA, Montana decided to not have a speed limit but to rely on the drivers' to exercise wisdom and personal responsibility. After a series of arrests of drivers for recklessness, they finally gave up their idea and passed a state speed limit of 75. Later the limit was raised to 80.

      The point is that no restrictions led to chaos because humans tend towards self indulgence usually at the expense of others.

    • I see. I guess there is a fine line between restrictions and control. The Soviet Gulags are a perfect example of overreach to say the least. Awareness and context with a means to amplify feedback is a way to maintain a healthy balance unfortunately the natural world limits all three. Do we focus more on restricting the natural order or augmenting it. One scales to authortianism. The other I believe does not.

    • I don't know. You could argue that very authoritarian governments sometimes rise when more egalitarian ones are not perceived to be tough enough on crime, immigration, trade, bathroom laws, abortion... It sounds like I'm talking about the U.S. but you could draw parallels with Russia, Brazil, Europe, Iraq, the Philippines and many others,

      I heard the CEO of Reddit say he learned from the CEO of Twitch that the best community management comes when the rules are set up to be purposely vague and a debate ensues about the balance and specific use cases. Isn't that the genius of the U.S. Constitution? It's purposely vague, which has set up an almost 250-year debate about more government, less government, interracial marriage must be illegal, no it shouldn't be.

      The New York Times had an analysis of why Filipinos elected Duterte and concluded:

      Many Filipinos are fed up. That’s why they are turning to candidates who promise an iron fist or a return to the glory days of a dictatorial past.

    • I wish cake, would let me reply to both @paulduplantis and you.

      Regarding your comment, Chris, the rise of Putin was due to the Yeltsin attempt to bring freedom to a country that was not yet prepared for an economy that was not state controlled. When one kicks out the underpinnings of that which people rely on, instead of gradually easing people into a new environment, it creates instability, panic, and F.U.D. The Russian people decided that they wanted stability over freedom. This is not to say that they are happy with the way things are now, but rather that the collapse of their economy and security scared a large percentage of them.

      Paul, if I were still focused on the political world, I would be trying for a society in which local governments were very strong and the national government very weak. I do not think that people in New York city can understand what it is like to spend a winter in the back country of Montana or Alaska. I do not think that those who live in states with mild summers can imagine what it is like to live in states in which temperatures over 100 last for months. I don't think the rural people can make wise laws for the urban people nor that the urban people can make wise laws for the rural.

      I also fear that the USA is headed towards a de facto Oligarchy. The US constitution has a method for changing the constitution which involves all the states. That method may need to be amended but the idea that five people can change the Constitution without the rest of the USA having any say in the matter scares me. Those people who speak of a living constitution have never really considered what would happen if six GOP appointed justices decided to adopt the same view of the role of SCOTUS that some of the Democrats have been advocating.

      One of the reasons that I admire Bryan A. Garner is because of his friendship with a man whose political policy views differed from Garner's political views but who in judicial conversations agreed with Garner and Garner with him. If you have never read Nino and Me, read it.

      The language which we speak evolves but the Constitution needs to be altered and amended by the people and not by street slang or by the demagoguery of someone who never looks in a dictionary from the time when a law was written.