If Money = Memory, if Society = a Super Computer, if Computation is in Physical Systems, what is a Decentralized Operating System? By Dana Edwards. Posted on Steemit. October 24, 2018.
These concepts are not often discussed so let's have the discussion from the beginning. The first concept to think about is pancomputationalism or put another way the ubiquitous computers which exist everywhere in our environment. We for example can look at physical systems living and non living and see computations taking place all around us. If you look at rocks and trees you can see memory storage. If you look at DNA you can see code and if you look at viruses you can see microscopic programmers adding new codes to DNA. Even when we look at the weather such as a hurricane it is computing.
If you look at nature you see algorithms. You will see learners (yes the same as in AI), also in nature. The process is basically the same for all learning. Consider that everything which is physical is also digital. Consider that the universe is merely information patterns.
If we look at society we can also think of society as a computer. What does society compute though? One way people talk about a society is as a complex adaptive system, but this is also how people might talk about the human body. The human body computes with the purpose of maintaining homeostasis, to persist through time and reproduce copies of itself over time. The human brain computes to promote the survival of the human body. Just as viruses pass on codes to our DNA, the human brain is infected with mind viruses which are called memes. Memes are pieces of information which can alter physically how the brain is working.
The mind isn't limited to the brain. The mind is all the resources the brain can leverage to compute. In other words a person has a brain to compute with but when language was invented this allowed a person to compute not just using their own brain but using the environment itself. To draw on a cave is to use the cave to enhance the memory of the brain. To use mathematics is to use language to enhance the ability of the brain to compute by relying on external storage and symbol manipulation. To use a computer with a programming language is essentially to use mathematics only instead of writing on the cave wall we are writing in 1s and 0s. The mind exists to augment the brain in a constant feedback loop where the brain relies on the mind to improve itself and adapt. If there were no external reality the brain would have no way to evolve itself and improve.
A society in the strictly human sense of the word is the aggregation of minds. This can be at minimum all the human minds in that society. As technology improves the mind capacity increases because each human can remember more, can access more computation resources, can in essence use technology to continuously improve their mind and then leverage the improved mind to improve their brain. The Internet is the pinnacle of this kind of progress but it's obviously not good enough. While the Internet allows for the creation of a global mind by connecting people, things, and minds, it does nothing to actually improve the feedback loop between the mind and the brain, nor does it really offer what could be offered.
Bitcoin came into the picture and perhaps we can think of it as a better memory. A decentralized memory where essentially you can have money. The problem is that money is a very narrow application. It is the start, just as to learn to write on the cave wall was a start, but it's not ambitious enough in my opinion.
Humans in the current blockchain or crypto community do not have many ways where human computation can be exchanged. Human computation is just as valuable as non biological machine computation because there are some kinds of computations which humans can do quite easily which non biological machines still cannot do as well. Translation for example is something non biological machines have a difficult time with but human beings can do well. This means a market will be able to form where humans can sell their computation to translate stuff. If we look at Amazon Mechanical Turk we can see many tasks which humans can do which computer AI cannot yet do, such as labeling and classifying stuff. In order for things to go to the next level we will need markets which allow humans to contribute human computer and or human knowledge in exchange for crypto tokens.
The concept of a decentralized operating system is interesting. First if there are a such thing as social computations (such as collaborative filtering, subjective ranking, waze, etc) then what about the new paradigm of social dispersed computing?
The question becomes what do we want to do with this computing power? Will we use it to extend life? Will we use it to spread life into the cosmos? Will we use it to become wise? To become moral? To become rational? If we want to focus on these kinds of concerns then we definitely need something more than Bitcoin, Ethereum, or even EOS. While EOS does seem to be pursuing the strategy of a decentralized operating system which seems to be the correct course, it does not get everything right.
One problem is as I mentioned before the importance of the feedback loops between minds and brains. The reason I always communicate on the concept of external mind or extended mind is based on that fact that it is the mind which creates the immune system to protect the brain from harmful memes. The brain keeps the body alive. The brain is not really capable of rationality, or morality, or logic, and relies on the mind to achieve this. The mind is essentially all the computation resources that the brain can leverage.
EOS has the problem in the sense that it doesn't seem to improve the user. The user can connect, can join, can earn or sell, can participate, but unless the user can become wiser, more rational, more moral, then EOS has limits. EOS does have Everpedia which is quite interesting but again there are still problems. What can EOS do to improve people in society and thus improve society, if society is a computer and is in need of being upgraded?
Well if society is a computer first what does society compute? What should it compute? I don't even know how to answer those questions. I could suggest that if computation is a commodity along with data then whichever decentralized operating systems that do compete and exist will compete for these commodities. The total brain power of a society is just as important as the amount of connectivity. And the mind of the society is the most important part of a society because it is what can allow the society to become better over time, allow the people in the society to thrive, allow the life forms to continue to evolve avoid extinction.
A decentralized operating system on a technical level would have a kernel or something similar to it. This is the resource management part. For example Aragon promises to offer a decentralized OS and it too mentions having a kernel. A true decentralized operating system has to go further and requires autonomous agents. Autonomous agents which can act on behalf of their owners are philosophically speaking the extended mind. But the resources of a society is still finite, has to be managed, and so a kernel would provide for an ability to allow for resource management.
The total computation ability of a society is likely a massive amount of resources. A lot more than just to connect a bunch of CPUs together. Every member of the society which can compute could participate in a computation market. Of course as we are beginning to see now, the regulators seem concerned about certain kinds of social computations such as prediction markets. So it is unknown how truly decentralized operating systems would be handled but my guess is that if designed right then they could be pro-social, be capable of producing augmented morality by leveraging mass computation, and also by leveraging human computation be able to be compliant. To be compliant is simply to understand the local laws but these can be programmed into the autonomous agents if people think it is necessary.
What is more important is that if a law is clearly bad, and people have enhanced minds, then it will be very clear why the law is bad. This clarity will help people to dispute and seek to change bad laws through the appropriate channels. If there is more wisdom, due to insights from big data, from data scientists, etc, then there can be proposals for law changes which are much wiser and more intelligent. This is something specifically that people in the Tauchain community have realized (that technology can be used to improve policy making).
A lot is still unknown so these writings do not provide clear answers. Consider this just a stream of consciousness about concepts I am deeply contemplating. This is also a way to interpret different technologies.
The Power of Tau - Scaling the Creation of Knowledge. By Trafalgar. Posted on Steemit. December 31, 2017.
Ohad Asor, creator of Tau Chain/Agoras, has recently published the long awaited blog post detailing his vision for what very likely is the most ambitious project in the crypto space: Tau.
Tau will accelerate human endeavors by overcoming long ingrained limitations in our collaborative processes; limitations which we rarely even question.
The Problem of Social Governance
Take social governance, for example. As individuals, we have opinions over a wide variety of social issues. Perhaps you feel that the speed limit on certain roads is too high, or that programming should be a compulsory subject at public schools, or that everyone would benefit if cryptocurrencies were officially recognized and endorsed by the state.
However, you have no idea how to get these concerns across to the general public. I mean you could try writing a letter to your local representative or signing a petition but ultimately that's unlikely to gain much traction. Meanwhile, the very same issues that seems to have divided the nation over the past decade remain at the forefront of our political debate. Immigration, climate change, abortion, gun control etc. are all important issues of course, but very little progress have been made considering the amount of time, resources and attention that have been devoted to them.
So the problem with traditional forms of social governance, such as democratic voting, is apparent: on the one hand it has difficulty identifying and addressing the wide range of opinions different people hold, on the other hand, even with respect to the small number of issues that do end up bubbling up to the surface, it isn't particularly efficient at detecting consensus.
The central cause of this problem is that current modes of discussion are not scalable. There are inherent limitations in the way we're able to communicate our views across to each other; namely, human ability to comprehend and organize information is the main bottleneck. We cannot possible follow multiple conversations at once, or recall everyone's propositions once there are more than a handful of people in the mix. This is why most collaborative decision making bodies in practice are generally quite small in number: the President's cabinet, Supreme Court Justices, boardroom directions of a fortune 100 company etc.; you just can't have a productive discussion with 50 people. Our entire civilization is structured around this very limitation: discussions don't scale.
Scaling Collaborative Discussions Under Tau
Imagine if we can overcome this limitation; what will it mean for social governance? By using a self defining, decidable logic, the Tau network is easily able to keep track of every user's propositions and detect consensus automatically. Note that making a proposition is exactly the same as voting for that very same proposition: when you're proposing 'dogs should always be on a leash in public unless in a park' you're in effect putting in a vote for such a proposition. This way, countless issues, regardless of how technical or niche, can be assessed through the network concurrently, and social consensus can be detected on the fly. The Tau network can scale social governance by overcoming one of the greatest limitation in human communication of ideas by delegating the task of logically making sense of everybody's propositions to the computer. A simple use case of this will be the rules of the Tau network itself: through a self defining logic, Tau is able to detect consensus among its users from block to block, altering its own rules to conform to the choices of the user base.
The benefits of scaling discussions are not limited to just a more efficient form of social governance. Logic isn't merely about detecting surface level consensus, the network can easily form further deductions from everyone's propositions. If one states 'all men are mortal' and 'Socrates is a man', one can deduce that 'Socrates is mortal.' But deductions can be very deep and non trivial. Imagine if we had a group of 1000 mathematicians all inputting their mathematical insight as propositions. Tau can rapidly detect who agrees with whom on what, and deduce every logical consequence of their combined wisdom; in effect arriving to new truths and insights. In other words, Tau greatly accelerates the production of new knowledge. This will, of course, also work if you have physicists, doctors, engineers, computer scientists, indeed experts in every field working together on the platform. By scaling collaborative discussions in a logical network, Tau is able to scale the creation of knowledge.
When Tau comes into effect, any company, government, and indeed any organization not using this new network will be rendered obsolete. Tau aims to become an indispensable technology.
And this is only the alpha of Tau.
I will talk about the beta in a future posts. The beta will revolve around not just the scaling of discussions and consensus, but the automation and execution of code based of the results of those discussion. For more information on code synthesis and more, please read Ohad's blog. Also, do check out my introduction to Tau here if you missed it.
You can invest in Tau through buying Agoras tokens on Bittrex.
I am not affiliated or paid by the project. These represent my own subjective views. Tau/Agoras is the only other crypto project apart from Steem in which I see an extraordinary future, and I am merely sharing that with fellow Steemians here.
Ohad Asor's New Tau Blog
IRC Chat: Where you may ask Ohad himself technical questions
Tau Chinese QQ Group: 203884141
A less understood feature of Tauchain is the feature called "program synthesis" in academic literature. This is a feature that as far as I know no one else in the crypto community is investigating. This feature of program synthesis when combined with the knowledge based AI discussed in my previous posts(1,2), would allow Tauchain to leverage the trend of big data. As the collective knowledge base of Tauchain expands, the capability of this automated programmer will improve. The automatic programmer will reason over an increasing collective knowledge base to allow Tauchain to in a sense "program itself". Smart contract developers will gain piece of mind knowing that their smart contracts are formally verified (for correctness) and users will be able to contribute to the development by joining in as a group to accurately describe the behavior of the code.Haz clic aquí para editar.
The impact of program synthesis and knowledge based AI on the smart contract development community.
Let's discuss what this means for smart contract developer. A smart contract developer today has to deal with creating a white paper, then a formal specification, then do the programming and formal verification themselves. This is very difficult for humans to do and as a result very few people are able to write secure smart contracts yet almost everyone can come up with some interesting idea for a smart contract. Program synthesis will allow individuals or a group of people to specify in a simple yet controlled natural language such as a simple English what they want (this creates the formal specification) and from this description of what they want the automatic programmer will handle the rest. The code will in a sense be written automatically by the AI by reasoning over a knowledge base which could include the knowledge necessary to produce the code for that smart contract.
AI learns to write its own code by stealing from other programs?
In summary, each participant in Tauchain will be able to speak to their "automated programmer" in a language they are comfortable with. They'll describe as accurately as they can the functioning and behavior of the program or smart contract. The automated programmer will then reason over a very large knowledge base and if it is smart enough it will automatically generate the code for the smart contract from their description. The participant will then either be satisfied with what was generated or not satisfied and update their description so as to trigger the process until they are satisfied. This is yet another breakthrough feature which Tauchain may be able to offer to the crypto-community in addition to potentially solving the knowledge acquisition bottleneck problem.
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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.