What could a distributed society be?


If Cardano is to become a movement then we must think big, and long. Charles is already talking about going to Africa and the vision is clear, but the future is foggy.
I’d like to suggest a few topics that we will need to address in the future, should the prospect of a distributed society continue to progress, but before I’d like to offer this quote from “The Dispossesed” By Ursula K. Le-Guin who is one of my favorite authors and has recently passed away :

It’s always easier not to think for oneself. Find a nice safe hierarchy and settle in. Don’t make changes, don’t risk disapproval, don’t upset your syndics. It’s always easiest to let yourself be governed.

1. Transitioning into a resource based economy with ethical prioritization of R&D

I’m talking about cheap drugs first, anti aging creams later. 90%+ global internet penetration first, iphone games later. I’m talking automation of labor and basic services. The Venus Project have been laying out the guidelines for a while now, and projects such as Cradle2Cradle (Great Flick), and B-Corps may have the right tools to tackle this.

2. The dismantling of nations and corporations
This sounds grandiose but in the endgame would happen mostly on its own or not at all. The real social challenges are security, both on a global armament level and on a local conflict level. Judicial and enforcement systems. In our fantasy future, are there Prisons? Mental asylums? Organized armed forces? Global equal health-care?

3. Managing 10B people (or even “just” allowing them to manage themselves)
Here I must bring up the concept of AI again. It doesn’t Have to be a powerful AI, it could be a meager “Smart Machine”. But if any SW is designed to regulate the global markets and facilitate global relations I don’t see any scenario where eventually it doesn’t become the most sophisticated piece of SW around. Just saying. U.K.L. uses this idea in The Dispossed (a “meager” stock exchange AI on an anarchistic world).

Those are my 3 cents. There are many more, surely.
One more quote from this definitive book :

You cannot take what you have not given, and you must give yourself. You cannot buy the Revolution. You cannot make the Revolution. You can only be the Revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.



Sad to hear about her passing. I recall reading The Lathe of Heaven when I was younger. Such a thoughtful and talented author.

This seems beyond the scope of Cardano. Cardano can ensure the integrity of economic and political systems based on the transaction integrity it provides, but I think it should be perceived like the lower foundational layers of the OSI Model for computers. Within this context, the lower layers provide the protocols and transport mechanisms (i.e., the plumbing) for all the data at the higher application levels at which the users interact with the GUIs and one another across networks.

  1. The dismantling of nations and corporations

This made me smile because I appreciate the idealism. :slight_smile: In general, regarding each of your points here, I think we should differentiate between a system that provides transaction integrity like Cardano and all the other systems that must exist for humanity to function.

In this context, prisons will always exist because human nature is flawed. Mental asylums (and their equivalents) will still exist because human biology sometimes produces babies with neurological malfunctions that result in crazy people. Armed forces will still exist because evil people often ascend to power and use their military against the democratic will of their people. Affordable, universal, high-quality healthcare is already nearly universal in the developed world except in the corrupt, grossly wasteful healthcare system of the USA. (I did a nonpartisan economic study on this issue a while back; so this is still fresh in my mind.)

Cardano can’t realistically fix any of those things.

A lot of people put AI on an unrealistic pedestal. Yes, AI will eventually be able to do anything humans can do billions of times faster, but it’s not going to change human nature. That’s why I’m relatively pessimistic about the future of AI. I once wrote a book that included a chapter on AI and it described the many ways that AI can go wrong because there are a lot of fallible humans in charge of AI’s development and deployment.

Overall, I think we’re better served by focusing on what Cardano can actually do immediately (or nearly immediately) to improve economic and political systems. There are already so many wonderful things that Cardano can realistically do that I don’t think we need to push it (in our minds) to do more than it’s already doing: Giving us the tools to create more just, transparent, and equitable economic and political systems, which is all we need to create a more just, enriching, and equitable world for humanity.



Thank you for coming :slight_smile:
Generally I’m also very pessimistic about AI in general. (But what I mean here is not really an AI issue)

I agree. But the internet in its higher application layers is profoundly affected by the TCP/IP scheme. We need to pay attention from the start.

I disagree with your “It has always been this way” argument.
Prisons and mental asylums and certainly healthcare have not been around most of human history, and they can disappear again. In “The word for world is forest” you’ll find the idea of exiling violent criminals (or insane people) to isolated islands.
There are many theories with merit discussing the (near) disappearance of crime if social circumstance allow (in respect to social bonds, resource scarcity, spirituality etc.)

In this thoroughly unappealing clip Johann Gevers discusses the idea of a future distributed society, talking about returning to having the rights of -

  1. Choice of Law - Not be subjugated to a single state.
  2. Choice of Judicator - Not be subjugated to a single court system and have the ability to choose your arbitrators.
  3. Choice of Enforcer - You get the picture.
    I’m right behind such ideas.

The Venus Project people I find to be less grounded, but they talk about neutralizing massive population densities, which they believe, will lead to 0 crime rate and no need for enforcement at all. I think they are taking it too far (and offer no path to get there), but in a more basic sense - I believe it is natural for human beings to feel compassion. It is unfortunate that this quality is stronger in conditions of scarcity then those of plenty :frowning: .

Even most computer scientists make this mistake. But I’m not talking about sci-fi, I’m talking about Blockchain ; a way for people to use a trustless system to manage their affairs, and where it could go. In fact I think designing such mechanisms to be “inherently stupid” may be a really great idea. The question of how such “contracting mechanisms” will be relevant to people’s everyday life is crucial, and in my view completely within the scope of Cardano (or later derivative projects).

On scope -
The first Zionistic Congress was held in 1897, 51 years before the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Before any formal recognition, the Zionist movement already had - A global financial network, armed forces, Immigration and settlement programs and much more. Regardless of what you think of the Zionists, it is hard to ignore their effectiveness, road-mapping and vision as a national movement.

I think saying that Cardano is a technological platform and a basis is correct, but less than half the picture. It seems clear to me that the real challenges in making Cardano truly prolific, even as a limited transaction medium, are social and political. Here we are talking about money, and this technology will not creep up on the old establishments the way the internet did.
We need to start thinking about beneficial alternatives to current ways, because they will inevitably pass away, and also could use much improving (See your US example :frowning_face: )