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  • Think of it as data asylum

  • How does the -- the combo of the #resistance, #metoo and #neveragain -- turn lists of violators into something people can easily digest and act upon? 

    An online system that can work at scale?

    I just saw something published on Twitter that moves this closer to reality. 

    It takes quotes that Brexit supporters have made on Twitter and attaches it to their pictures.  Here's the result:

    These "tombstones" are a pretty effective way to publish shame.  In this case, speech violations, although it could be a pic of a gun owner or #me too violation.  Here's how this could work at scale:

    • Tombstone is published.  A blockchain?  
    • Tombstone is verified/rated by the network.
    • Facial recognition (or the network) is used to ID the perpetrators.  Or, people are IDed on the fly via smart phone or CCTV.

    What happens when a person is IDed in a fully realized system like this?  They are shunned - unemployed, disconnected, ostracized, etc.   

    Fast, dynamic, and at scale.  

  • Last month's used a combination of:

    • David Ronfeldt's (tribes, institutions, markets, and networks) framework 
    • Complex systems theory, and 
    • Boyd's OODA 

    to figure out how we can adapt to the challenges we face without the radical simplification of societal collapse.  

    After I wrote the report, I sent it out to my friend David for feedback.  He really liked one of my footnotes.  In that footnote, I used TIMN to do some fun analysis of the struggle between Fascism, Communism, and Democracy in the 20th Century.  

    The analysis looked at each organizational form (the three that were active in the 20th Century were tribalism, institutions, and markets) as contributors to a societal decision making process (simplified by Boyd's OODA).  

    • In the 20th Century, tribes and tribalism made contributions to orientation via nationalism.  The narratives that create fictive kinship.  It defines us and them .  It orients decision making by answering the questions: who benefits?  who with?  by what means? by which limits? 

    • In the 20th Century, the institutional bureaucracy was responsible for conducting total war.  Bureaucracies contribute to observation (gathering information in a structured way, from the census to the secret police), the structured evaluation of options (cost benefit analysis, plans, ideological dictate, etc.) and action (implementation at scale).  

    • Markets provide decentralized information discovery (observation) and the means to derive a consensus (price, etc.) on which alternative is superior.   Markets also provide a means of assembling and allocating the resources required for implementation (action) and motivating participation (orientation).  

    Through this lens, the 20th struggle between can be boiled down into a struggle between three different types of decision making systems:

    • Fascism.  Markets (commercial only) and bureaucracy are slaved to tribalism.  

    • Communism.  Tribalism slaved to bureaucracy.  No markets.

    • Democracy.  A fluid mix of tribalism, bureaucracy, and markets (commercial and political).

    Who won? The system that allowed that used all three decision making systems, the US (UK,etc).  The US (and the brand of democratic capitalism it promoted) was a Swiss army knife of social decision making.  It used what works.  This flexibility provided it with more resilience than its competitors and the ability to exploit the opportunities made possible by complexity (from nuclear weapons to computers).  

    Another interesting observation is that institutions (bureaucratic decision making) don't generate orientation.  They are reliant on tribalism for orientation.  As we saw under Communism and Fascism, bureaucracies are equally at home implementing genocide as they are at providing social safety nets to the poor/elderly.  

  • have seized control of the political process from the traditional political parties and their media gatekeepers. 

     recently , after the Parkland shootings.  

    It wants to change everyone 's behavior and it is building the means to do it.  

    As we've seen with #metoo and the doxing of #altright, this network is strongest when it personalizes its attacks.  It does this by using the network to discover, document, and then punish the behavior of specific individuals for violations of this consensus morality.   So, even if something isn't illegal or within your rights as an individual, you will still get publicly slammed.

    With this in mind, how will the moral network  personalize attacks against people who own guns legally?  

    • They won't do it by discussing it on the TV talk show circuit or pushing new legislation.  The members of this network have already lost faith in that process.

    • the capacity of an individual to commit acts of violence.  

    This effort gets teeth, and the capacity to impact millions of people simultaneously, through a list.  A list of gun owners. 

    All without legislation or government regulations.  

    PS:  For more on topics like this, check out the    

  • Facebook just announced sweeping changes to fix significant problems  with its  newsfeed , the main conduit for news and information for over 2 billion people.  However, the problems with Facebook's newsfeed won't be fixed with these tweaks.  In fact, they are likely to get much worse as Facebook attempts to fix them.  

    To understand why, let's jet back to 2001, years before Facebook and Twitter. 

    In 2001, the little software company I was at launched the first social networking product.  The central feature of that product was the first  newsfeed -- a presentation of the stream of updates you get from the people you are friends with and the pages you follow that you could interact with.

    The reason I'm mentioning this is that one of the central discussions we had at the time was over how to organize the newsfeed.  As we sorted through the options for organizing it, it was apparent even at that early stage that anything but the most basic sorting mechanism (simple reverse chronological order - newest at top) would eventually turn the newsfeed into a chaotic and unpredictable soup.  

    Keep this in mind as we flash forward to 2018. 

    In 2018, over 4 billion people are now using social networking, and the newsfeed is now the main conduit for news and information for over half the planet.  However, these users aren't using the simple reverse chronological newsfeed we had in the first social networking product. 

    At Facebook, in particular, the newsfeed is actively managed and sorted -- by algorithms and increasingly, AIs -- to maximize the time people spend on the network and the revenue generated by their interactions.  That effort is why the Facebook newsfeed has become a chaotic soup yielding unpredictable outcomes.

    To see why failure was (and will continue to be) inevitable, let me recast the situation:  

    • Facebook is actively micromanaging the information flow and social interactions of over 2 billion people, and insanely complex and highly uncertain task. 

    • Facebook is making the sweeping decisions on how to micromanage the newsfeed centrally (with a small team of young executives empowered to relentless tweak the system by the dictatorial fiat of the company's CEO).

    • Facebook's goals are a selfish  (in its version utopia, the world revolves around Facebook).

    See the inevitable problem now?

    This is similar in so many ways to the source of the failure we saw with 20th Century Communism.  They believed it was possible to centrally manage the economic interactions of millions centrally based on an utopian vision. 

    Needless to say, those plans didn't work out well.  These won't either.


    John Robb

    (written on clear and cold winter day)

    PS:  This is just the start.  Already, are overwhelming political systems, transforming warfare/ , and supercharging transnational criminal enterprise -- far more so than any of the threats that well funded military #cyberwarfare and civilian #cybersecurity protect against.  Worse, as if that isn't enough, the ongoing path of development in social networking is taking us towards forms of societal repression that would make George Orwell blush (that's the subject of January's  ).    

    PPS:  In a twist, one of the factors that is likely to drive FB towards increasingly heavy handed AI driven censorship will be the nonlinear behavior of the network caused by its constant micromanagement of the newsfeed.

Stats & Atts.

What a long strange trip it's been.