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.
As always, thanks for reading!
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What is Tau-Chain?
The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how Tau-Chain (Tau) can be implemented in practice. I have already presented Tau and its four-step roadmap in my previous article, but I think that further explanation about Tau is required to better understand its applications.
Tau is basically a discussion platform (like any other social network you know) with two significant innovations:
*Just to clarify, knowledge can be facts, lines of code, qualitative and quantitative data, etc.
How Tau can be implemented in practice?
Tau will be a free, open-source platform to advance and execute knowledge. Think about it as a one-stop shop that provides free consulting services, in all areas, to large numbers of people. For example, if you would like to start an enterprise but you lack the relevant business skills, Tau can answer your questions and even perform a market research or analysis (if initial data is provided) to evaluate your business opportunity.
In order to better understand how Tau can improve our society, I am providing below a detailed example showing how I see the vision implemented in practice.
Suppose Alice and Olivia are Ph.D. students in computer science who face a problem with their research. They use Tau to discuss the details of their data, findings and hypothesis. Tau will automatically translate this information into its metalanguage, adding Alice and Olivia’s data to the knowledge archive. Tau is basically the third member in the conversation, and can guide Alice and Olivia to advance their research by interpreting the data and suggesting improvements to their findings. If the students would like to implement the research and develop computer software, Tau will assist them with writing the code in the most efficient way. Using Tau, Alice and Olivia can overcome the limits of their knowledge to quickly complete and implement their research.
But how can people profit from sharing their knowledge?
There is another way for Tau to deepen its knowledge and develop better intelligence. Tau can gain knowledge from the Knowledge Marketplace (Agoras), a blockchain based smart contracts platform where individuals are able to generate income by sharing knowledge and information. With every transaction and exchange of knowledge, Tau will be exposed to the data to become more “educated” and accurate, resulting in a better knowledge deduction capability.
I know that smart contract platforms already exist, but they all lack very important capabilities – the ability to auto-verify the data, run quality assurance tests and suggest improvements to eliminate potential disagreements between the parties to a contract. Tau’s artificial intelligence will support the transaction between the two parties, and will make sure that there will be no fraudulent activities, inaccurate information or low-quality services. This will be the only platform where a computer that acts human (without human deficiencies) will supervise and support such transactions.
The following example demonstrates a possible application of Agoras:
Consider Bob, a software developer who has recently signed a smart contract with David to design a new software program. When Bob shared his code in the Knowledge Marketplace (Agoras), Tau verifies the relevancy of the code and will even suggest improvements to advance the code, eliminating a potential disagreement about quality and fraud. Upon Tau’s approval, Bob will receive his reward, as agreed in the contract. Tau will use the final code as additional knowledge to strengthen the platform’s intelligence.
As described above, the compensation mechanism will incentivize users to contribute their knowledge to advance ideas of others. Thus, we create a society in which individuals’ knowledge and expertise become public domain and can be better utilized to promote social health, welfare and resources.
I provided only a few examples of how Tau and Agoras can by implemented in practice. My examples were computer-science related, but you should realize that Tau-Chain can advance ideas and produce knowledge for every collaborative human endeavor across all fields, including sciences, business and government. Think about a situation where you have a problem and need some help – this is where Tau can assist you with solving your problem and even execute the solution if required and applicable.
Just to clarify, Agoras is also the name of the tokens that users will use in the Knowledge Marketplace (the smart contract platform). Agoras tokens holders will also benefit from developments that will be built as part of Tau’s ecosystem, including a Computational Resource Market (“Zennet”), Distributed Search Engine and a Derivatives Trading Platform.
To end this article, I would like to quote the last paragraph in my previous article, as it is still relevant:
"I foresee huge potential for this project, and urge you to read and learn about this project and its relevant applications. If you find this vision interesting, I recommend that you follow the project on Telegram,Facebook, LinkedIn and Reddit, or read Ohad’s blog for further information."
Disclaimer: I have invested in Agoras. Please do your own research before investing in Agoras and/or any other coin or project. Please do not consider this article to constitute financial advice.
Ohad Asor the lead developer and founder of Tauchain releases first new blog post in over a year. By Dana Edwards. Posted on Steemit. December 30, 2017.
The new blog post titled "The New Tau" is available for everyone to read. The blog post speaks on the critical topic of collaborative decision making. This is a topic which I myself have been interested in and Ohad's solution is different from the usual solution. In my own thinking I was considering a solution based on collaborative filtering but I realized this would never scale. I then considered a solution based upon using IA (intelligence amplification) by way of personal preference agents and this does scale but requires that the agents have a lot of data to truly know each user and their preferences. The solution Ohad Asor comes up with attempts to solve many of the same problems but his solution scales without seeming to require collaborative filtering or any kind of voting as we traditionally think about it.
Let me list some of the obvious problems with voting which many will recognize from Steem which also relies on collaborative filtering:
Now let's see what Ohad Asor has to say:
In small groups and everyday life we usually don't vote but express our opinions, sometimes discuss them, and the agreement or disagreement or opinions map arises from the situation. But on large communities, like a country, we can only think of everyone having a right to vote to some limited number of proposals. We reach those few proposals using hierarchical (rather decentralized) processes, in the good case, in which everyone has some right to propose but the opinions flow through certain pipes and reach the voting stage almost empty from the vast information gathered in the process. Yet, we don't even dare to imagine an equal right to propose just like an equal right to vote, for everyone, in a way that can actually work. Indeed how can that work, how can a voter go over equally-weighted one million proposals every day?
This in my opinion is very true. In reality we have discussions and at best we seek to broadcast or share our intentions. Intent casting was actually the basis behind how I thought to solve this problem of social choice but I would say intent casting even with my best ideas would not have been good enough because again the typical voter would be uninformed. Without an ability of the typical voter to be either educated continuously which in a complex world may be unrealistic, or for the network itself to somehow keep the voter up to date, this intent casting barely works. It works well for shopping where a shopper knows what they want but does not work so well when a person doesn't actually know what they want and merely knows what they value. Values are the basis for morality, for ethical systems, and this is the area where Ohad's solution really shines.
Tauchain has the potential not only to scale discussions but also morality, because it will have the built in logic to make sure people can be moral without constant contradiction. The truth is, without this aid, the human being cannot actually be moral in decision making in my opinion due to the inability to avoid all sorts of contradictions.
All known methods of discussions so far suffer from very poor scaling. Twice more participants is rarely twice the information gain, and when the group is too big (even few dozens), twice more participants may even reduce the overall gain into half and below, not just to not improve it times two.
This is the conclusion that Ohad and myself reached separately but it still holds true. We require the aid of machines in order to scale collaborative decision making. This in my opinion is one of the major difference makers philosophically speaking between the intended design and function of Tauchain vs every other crypto platform in development. This also in my opinion is going to be the difference maker for the community which Tauchain as a technology will serve because it will enable the machines and humans to aid each other for mutual benefit or symbiosis.
The blog post by Ohad Asor brings forward a very important discussion which has many different angles to it. The angle I focused on with regard to the social choice dilemma is the problem of how do we scale morality. In my opinion if we can scale morality in a decentralized, open source, truly significant manner, then nothing stands in the way of absolute legitimacy, mainstream adoption, and with it a very high yet fairly priced token. The utility value of scaling morality in my opinion is higher than just about anything else we can accomplish with crypto tech and AI. If the morality is better, then the design of future platforms will be greatly improved in terms of how the users are treated, and this in itself could at least in my opinion help solve the debate about whether AI can remain beneficial over a long period of time. I think if we can scale morality in a decentralized way, it will make it easier to design and spread beneficial AI. Crypto-effective alturism could become a new thing if we can solve the deeper more philosophical problems.
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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.