What is Tauchain & Why It Could Be One of The Greatest Inventions of All Time (Part 1: Introduction). By Kevin Wong. Posted on Steemit. August 28, 2018.
In anticipation of Tau's demo some time around the end of this year, I'd be publishing a series of articles leading up to its release and beyond on Steem. If you would like to get to know what some of us think is going to be one of the greatest inventions of all time, I'd recommend you to check out http://wwwidni.org. It seems like a foundation that we've missed out on building together since the birth of the Internet.
A close resemblance of this project is the Semantic Web although some of us would place Tau as being far more ambitious in scope, oddly in a way that is likely more feasible with its ingenious use of a logic blockchain to power a decentralized social choice platform. I think it's impressive how singular the concept actually is, despite the unavoidable lengthy explanations that come paired with the many first-time features that Tau will provide.
Without further ado, let's explore this world-changing technology that is currently baking in the oven.
What is Tau?
Let's begin by first checking out the opening of IDNI's website at http://idni.org:-
Tau is a decentralized blockchain network intended to solve the bottlenecks inherent in large scale human communication and accelerate productivity in human collaboration using logic based Artificial Intelligence.
Sounds fairly straight-forward at first glance, and to me, it really stands out in the cryptosphere. We now have millions and billions of people using the Internet everyday, yet we still do not have any effective means of discussing and collaborating without being all over the place. Sure, we may have been pouring a lot of our time and effort into various platforms trying to connect with others, but have things been really any different compared to a time before the Internet?
The speed of information propagation has increased by orders of magnitude, and we can reach anyone on the planet now, but it's still really up to us to be present and be able to process information in our heads before turning them into relevant knowledge for our networks.
Expanding our social bandwidth.
Turns out, we have been experiencing a lot of trouble coming to terms with the chatter of billions of people in cyberspace. The bottlenecks inherent in our human bandwidth remain to be unsolved even with near-instantaneous communications. From governments to corporations and blockchain communities, we are all still facing the age-old problem of being unable to scale governance beyond the size of a classroom. It's just difficult to get our points across to many different people, let alone making sense of complex long-term discussions and making network-wide decisions collaboratively.
The introduction to The New Tau written by Ohad Asor explains our situation quite accurately:-
Some of the main problems with collaborative decision making have to do with scales and limits that affect flow and processing of information. Those limits are so believed to be inherent in reality such that they're mostly not considered to possibly be overcomed. For example, we naturally consider the case in which everyone has a right to vote, but what about the case in which everyone has an equal right to propose what to vote over?
So how is Tau actually going to solve our communications bottleneck? It will be through a highly bespoke and non-trivial implementation of a logic-based Artificial Intelligence (AI). It's worth noting that AI in this case is more of a buzzword for marketing-speak, and it is actually not of the same variety as the commercial implementations of deep machine learnig.
The distinction that must be made is that Tau is not the kind of AI that attempts to guess what the world is around them, including that of our opinions and the things we say or do. Instead, we must make the step towards communicating through Tau and what we choose to communicate will be as definite as computer programs. It can be thought of as a persistent logic companion that helps us improve the scale our reasoning, logic, and bandwidth.
We can take the time to share what we want to share on the Tau network and most of the logic-based connections and operations will happen in the background over time, even when we're not paying attention in-person. Again, the use of the word AI is a misnomer here because it usually paints the picture of AI agents attempting to mimic human autonomy. That's not what Tau is about. In this case, thinking about Tau as just a logic machine should provide better clarity on what it actually is.
The power of logic.
To expand, here's the second paragraph found in the opening of IDNI's website that explains Tau's paradigm in logic-based communications, http://idni.org:-
Currently, large scale discussions and collaborative efforts carried out directly between people are highly inefficient. To address this problem, we developed a paradigm which we call Human-Machine-Human communication: the core principle is that the users can not only interact with each other but also make their statements clear to their Tau client. Our paradigm enables Tau to deduce areas of consensus among its users in real time, allowing the network to boost communication by acting as an intermediary between humans. It does so by collecting the opinions and preferences its users wish to share and logically constructing opinions into a semantic knowledge base.
Indeed, Tau will offer a semantic social choice platform where we can discuss and store knowledge in a logical universe that helps us organize information, thereby empowering us in highly relevant ways. If you're worried about privacy, know that Tau is first-and-foremost designed as a local client with local processing and storage. The platform itself will be deployed as a decentralized peer-to-peer network, a place where we can connect and share our knowledge-base with anyone we desire.
The only price to pay in all of these is that we must speak in Tau-comprehensible languages, which can always be added and modified over time. A sophisticated language that can be defined over Tau may closely resemble natural languages, but it is really best to expect Tau as a machine-comprehensible language that only speaks in logic. Fortunately, logical formalism is something that we can easily deal with.
So it will be up to us to communicate with our local Tau client in a way that it'll understand our worldviews. When the machine understands what we share completely in some logical, mathematically-verifiable sense, it can then connect our dots with the rest of the Tau network, effectively boosting communications beyond the limits of human bandwidth, effectively scaling our points of discussion, consensus, and collaboration up to an infinite number of participants.
Code and consciousness.
Finally, we look at the last paragraph of Tau's introduction at http://idni.org
Able to deduce consensus and understand discussions, Tau can automatically generate and execute code on consensus basis, through a process known as code synthesis. This will greatly accelerate knowledge production and expedite most large scale collaborative efforts we can imagine in today's world.
Since Tau is a logic blockchain that powers a semantic social choice platform, we can leverage it to have both small and large-scale discussions about program specifications, detect points of consensus, and even generate software in the process. Being able to go from discussions to the realization of decentralized applications would mean inclusive code development for the masses. It's also a unique addition to decentralization that no other blockchain projects have even thought about.
Now that we may have come to a better understanding of Tau's emphasis on the use of logic in every part of its being, let's revisit the process description found in The New Tau to get closer to knowing what it really is about:-
We are interested in a process in which a small or very large group of people repeatedly reach and follow agreements. We refer to such processes as Social Choice. We identify five aspects arising from them, language, knowledge, discussion, collaboration, and choice about choice. We propose a social choice mechanism by a careful consideration of these aspects.
In short, Tau is a decentralized peer-to-peer network that takes the shape of a social choice platform, and it can become anything that we want it to be, for as long as it's expressible within the self-defining and decidable logics of FO[PFP] with PSPACE-complexity. This precise specification is required to satisfy the very definition of Tau as seen in the excerpt above. Tau is also intended to be a compiler-compiler.
This is taking application-generality into a completely different direction compared to blockchains that are built specifically with turing-completeness in mind, like Ethereum. Relevant literature to check out: Finite Model Theory.
Understanding each other.
While it's all highly technical and difficult to grasp in one seating, perhaps a better way to truly begin to understand Tau is to spend some time studying its main features. Or just wait for the product release. In any case, I will try to explore these topics in the future if my brain can still handle it:-
The more I think about Tau, the more I think that it is (poetically) a logical conclusion to the way the Internet works as a protocol. It even lives and breaths logic. Not just any kind of logic, but specifically, logics that can define their own semantics and is decidable. Tau is intelligently designed to be a truly dynamic and ever-evolving blockchain.
When the Tau community intends to make changes to the network code, rules or protocols, they will simply need to express these opinions and perspectives in a compatible language over the network. The self defining logic of the Tau blockchain network will enable it to detect the consensus among these opinions and automatically amend its own code to reflect this consensus from block to block. Unlike the common method of voting, Tau’s approach will take into account the perspectives of the entire community, where people will be free to vote and propose what to vote for in real time. This unique ability of Tau is the only decentralized solution to create a truly dynamic protocol.
Now you might think: Tau seems like a powerful tool but will it be too difficult to use for most people? There might be some learning curve involved for sure, and it'd be similar to learning a new language in the beginning. Those of us who learn to use it well enough to scale our discussions and collaborative works will likely gain a significant edge over those who are not using the platform. I'd imagine plenty of projects and communities around the world being able to overcome some of their obstacles in development through Tau. Hence, it may be fair to expect that market forces will gravitate towards the platform just like how we're all using the Internet these days.
Until the next post.
I've been thinking about Tau almost everyday for the past many months now, and I will admit that its deeper technicalities are still way out of my league, although I've made sure to word them broadly out the best I can. If you like what I do, please consider sharing this post and voting on my witness account on Steem. For more info, check out my recent witness announcement post.
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“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
― Robert A. Heinlein 
No, it is not a vow everybody to be everything. It is a reflection of the fundamental human fungibility . The average human can be taught to take any human role. The exceptions of true organic geniuses (those who are hard to be replaced) and morons (those who are incapable to replace), only confirm this general rule of shear numbers . This is what makes the mankind so scalable .
''Know'' is synonymous with ''can''. Literally. Knowledge = technology. Even etymologically . Knowledge is praxis . Only. There ain't such thing as impractical knowledge. If it is not a skill, it is not knowledge. I mentioned once  that we're all AIs. Ref.: feral children .
We are not what we eat , but we are what we've learnt. You are what you know/can. And you can what you have learnt. Learning is from the taking side. Teaching is on the giving side. Of one and a same process. We do not have a word to denote the modulus  of learning/teaching, it seems. But it will come.
We are taught by the others, the society. We are the cherry ontop of a layer cake of culture onto nature . We are learning by ... living. We acquire skills in plethora of contexts from family, street, school, job, media ... Learning  is not a monopoly of man, countless systems are also learners. Maybe one of the basic definitions of life and intelligence is the ability to learn . Giant topic, yeah. We won't graze into it here now on what is learning, but on how we learn.
Due to our neurological bottlenecks we spontaneously form hierarchies . This hinders our scalabilty  by forcing humanity to be more or less a fractal of 5. We are close to a number of breakthroughs which to mitigate these innate limitations of ours into a number of ways    . But the general case is not subject of this article - herein we focus on HOW we are taught. How we acquire knowledge, and how this knowledge of ours gets recognized and utilized by society. And the hierarchic emergent structuring is of course in full force upon us in teaching as well as into everything social else.
So comes education , such comes exam , knowledge certification , certified skills application , knowledge creation verification , job fitness testing , CVs and employer recommendations ... etc., etc. With all the bugs and the so little features of this 'map is not the territory' , situation.
It is all centralized and hierarchic - exactly as the global fractal of double-entry accountancy ledgers which we call fiat financial system is. In fact it is so interwoven with fiat finance than it is almost inextricable from it . And as much inefficient and imprecise.
In all these years of talking and thinking on Tauchain  - I noticed - and this suspicion of mine incrementally turns into shear conviction - that Tau, the upscaler of humanity, inevitably also is the ultimate teaching machine. If education is facilitating of learning, Tau is the maximizer of learning. By its very construction, it comes out so.
People talk and listen whenever and whatever they want. Tau has unlimited capacity to listen and attend and remember, and answer. Only limited by the hardware capacity allocated. Tau extracts meaning. Purifies the stream, distills it down to the essence. Detects repetitions, contradictions and all other, ubiquitous nowadays conversation bugs. Remembers changes of opinions of the individual user. And points them out. Sounds like the best tool to know oneself. And the others to know you if you let them.
Your Tau account or profile is what you know. You say what you say and also ask. Say statements and questions. Tau pools you together with the others who state the same and, more importantly, who ask the same type of questions. Knowing what you know, and asking about what you don't know but want to know, maps not only your knowledge state but also maps your knowledge dynamics. Records and drives how your knowledge changes. You even have access to what you forget, and can recollect it. True real time knowledge state reporting. For first time in human history.
If consciousness  is - aside from the clinical state of being merely awake - the post-factum integration of senso-motoric experience , the Accountant of mind, the speaker of the narrative which is you, then Tau is your consciousness booster. That is - stronger than thought.
The ultimate teaching, the ultimate fair testing or exam, the ultimate real-time comprehensive diploma, or certificate, super-peer reviewed paper(s) of you as academic carrer.., the ultimate job interview AND the ultimate ... job of being working as yourself and anything useful you create to be instantly scarcifiable and monetizable - your Tau account is! And all the rest of accessible socoety - being your own workforce. And you to them. In the billions. In a move. In real time.
Including control over the pathways of increase of your skills towards the most productive personally for you learning directions, because it aids you to analyze the you-Tau history and to apply knowledge maximizer techniques and to participate profitably into creation of newer better ones. Maximizer of self. And maximizer of society making it to consist of max-selfs. Ever improving. Merger of education with work occupation. Work-as-you-live.
The literal Knowledge Economy, as described by @trafalgar in his article  from few months ago. Where search, creation, reflection, certification, recognition, commercialization, accumulation, modification, improvement ... everything of knowledge - is all in one.
And it is not only Humans and Tau lonely job. I foresee the other Machines to join the party . Yes, I mean machines capable to have interests and to ask and seek answers of palatable questions.
This - the education amplification - to come down the technology way - has been, of course, anticipated by many. Few arbitrary examples:
- A distant rough-sketch hint for the inevitable tuition power of Tau is Neil Stephenson's  ''The Diamond age''  , with the depicted: '' Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer '' , as an interactive networked teaching device.
- or if I'm right about the inevitable conquest of the natural languages territory  - UX  like in the 'Her' (2013) film .
- Thomas Frey  of the futurist DaVinci Institute  in his book ''Epiphany Z''  paid special attention of this.: down the way of micro- and nano-education, an effective merger of the processes of education, diplomas issuing, job application, exam and actual execution of job obligations. Tom does not know about Tau. But I'll tell him.
With a big smile of irony and self-irony of course... these examples. Just to pick from here and there proofs of the giant anticipation of what's to come. And taken with a few big grains of salt. Cause the reality will be immensely more powerful.
Tutor , tuition , my emphasis via using exactly this wording, comes to denote the economic side of learning/teaching. It is about the cost of learning - the association of tuition with fees, about the placement of the acquired skills, about the business organization of those, about the protection of ownership and security of transaction of knowledge ... Let me introduce here a neologism  which to reflect the business side of it:
Scrooge Factor 
- Simply denoting the money-making power of a technology use by a business. The 'money suction power' of a business entity or organization of any kind coming from the application of a technology, if you want. Technology as socialized knowledge. Scaled up over multiple humans. Over a society. Of course the Scrooge Factor can pump in different directions. The Scrooge Factor of the traditional hierarchic education, governance and everything ... is apparently very often negative - hierarchies decapitalize, dissipate, waste. Orders of magnitude more wasteful than any PoW , but on this - some other time.
So aside from all the niceties of the abstractions of the full supply and value chains of a Knowledge economy, lets round up some numbers:
- We know that a true functional semantic search engine alone is worth $10t. Yeah. Tens of Trills. Trillions. As per the assessments of Davos WEF attendees of as far as I remember 2015 or 2016...
- Also, Bill Gates stated back in 2004  that ''If you invent a breakthrough in artificial intelligence, so machines can learn,'' Mr. Gates responded, ''that is worth 10 Microsofts.''
- Tom Frey  also argued  that by 2030 the biggest corporation in the world will be an online school. Given the present day size and growth rate  of, say, Amazon  this 'online school' should be in the range of good deal of trillions of marcap if it is to be bigger than the biggest corporations. But we do not need such indirect analogies over analogies to access the scale. The shear size of the global education industry is the most eloquent indicator . Note that Tom talks about 'corporation' i.e. for clumsy and inefficient hierarchic human collective. Not for a system which does this orders of magnitude more efficiently and powerfully due to being intrinsically P2P, i.e. geodesic . Even the best futurologists can be forgiven for missing to predict Tau. :)
And this mind-boggling hail of trillions, does not even account for the Hanson Engine  factor.
Tau the Tutor ex Machina is just another unintended useful consequence outta the overall design.
It is nearly impossible to track and contemplate exactly what all these 'side-effects' would be and how they will synergetically boost each other.
With my articles I intend to only touch some lines of the immense phase space  of the possibilia, with neither any ambition to think it is possible to cover it all, nor this to represent any form of advice.
Future is incompressible. Compression is comprehension. Comprehensible only by living.
Failure to go to the geodesic way of learning, will turn these beautiful but trilling words into prophecy:
"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age." H.P.Lovecraft  (1926 ).''
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Suggested readings to better understand the Tau ecosystem, Tau Meta Language, Tau-Chain and Agoras, and collaborate in the development of the project.
Lecturas sugeridas para entender mejor el ecosistema Tau, Tau Meta Lenguaje, Tau-Chain y Agoras, y colaborar en el desarrollo del proyecto.