I live in Philadelphia, home of Independence Hall, the Constitution Center, and the Liberty Bell. While I have my reservations about the actual intent of these documents, see Tim Scott’s article on the Constitution here, I would love to see a public discussion of the nature of Constitutional rights in the twenty first century against the backdrop of the planned implementation of an extended reality regulated by a smart contract layer of cybernetic governance, a potent dose of snake oil that will be sold to us as a public good meant to save the planet from imminent destruction and birth a new “creative economy.” I speak briefly to this during the Tucson talk Q&A. This is a one-minute clip.
It’s a mayoral election cycle, so now would be an opportune moment to have such a discussion publicly and robustly. One of the candidates, Helen Gym, attended the Barcelona “fearless” cities summit back in 2017. I wrote about the Barcelona digital public good / smart cities effort as part of my refugee series here.
They can’t force us into their game without our consent. I believe their intent is to proceed as if they have it, but they don’t. The Web 3.0 / Smart Contract conversation must be had, and people need to be brought up to speed, so they can make informed decisions about what they may be giving away if they accept a shiny techno offer to live inside a world of programmable money and matter – not just for themselves, but for their children and the natural world.
I reconnected with someone this week who was interested in the idea and asked for ” a couple good phrases that conceptualize the scope of what’s coming more easily for folks.” This is what I came up with. Jason told me this morning that he thought it was a good, pithy summary. So, I’m putting it here to share.
In the planned future…
There will be new forms of money backed by things we love like toddlers, toddler’s futures. They will implement a global “learning economy” where investments in human capital improvement profit impact investors and create data that will be used to refine machine learning for artificial intelligence.
We live in an extended reality where the real world has an overlay of military technology (with cybernetic, psychological steering included) that runs on a global satellite network. That network will create a ubiquitous panopticon comprised of sensors and actuators that regulate natural life across the planet. Our actions, relations to one another, and behaviors are monitored via digital identity “a permanent record” on blockchain. Behaviors will be scored for KPI (key performance indicators) as set by e-government social contracts (UN Sustainable Development Goals, etc.) and corporate interests.
Our kids will be raised to compete in a global gig economy managed by artificial intelligence that will sort people as collections of skill tokens (or Soulbound Tokens). They will have to complete with people from around the world to do platform work, sometimes piloting remote robots for low wages and lacking any worker protections.
In their planned future, we will be citizens of a nation where Constitutional rights exist, but we can never drill down to them, because a deep layer of smart contracts (computer logic run on distributed ledgers) will have been put in place to keep us alienated from them. We will be citizens of a nation living under automated machine arbitration, the same as all nations of the world. Really, we will be citizens of the Web, Web 3.0.
In this future most people will be compelled to act as “agents” in simulated teams to solve “grand challenges” like climate catastrophe. Attempts will be made to remake humans as social insects for collective computation – all brain, no heart, no curiosity, no joy. These agents will inhabit a game where the rules change without notice, and the machines make the rules.
As in Yevgeny Zamyatin’s novel “We” written in 1921 that depicts a cybernetic reality where people live as numbers under the mathematical dictates of the Great Benefactor who ensures world “happiness” through consistency, harmony, uniformity, and regulation. In the world Zamyatin creates, imagination is excised by the machine for the “good” of its residents. My read aloud of “We” is available here.
In closing, I invite you to listen to what Rev Lebaredian, an executive at Nvidia (a company that makes high-performance computing systems for video games and digital twin simulations), has to say about AI “realizing” children’s imaginary worlds and projecting them into his planned virtual world, the Omiverse. He frames AI as an enabler, but to my way of thinking it’s actually a thief. This clip is two minutes.
In this three-minute clip, members of the Open Metaverse podcast from Epic Games, Cesium, and Kronos discuss Nvidia’s technology combined with blockchain digital twins and supercomputing to explore alternate futures and bend time.
Do you live in Philly? Do you have the ear of some politicians? Do you want to engage in this conversation? Hit me up and let’s see what we can make happen.
PS: The Open Metaverse podcast that hosted Lebaredian is sponsored by the company Cesium located on 11th Street in Philadelphia, just south of Market Street. Here is our site visit to the Nvidia office in Boulder, CO last March where we talk about Maya the grand illusion and the meaning behind the company’s name and logo.
PPS: I wrote a scenario of what this world might look like back at the end of 2017 based on the story of two sisters going to school in a world of ubiquitous computing in Queens. I was less familiar with the particulars of the technologies , but I think it’s still pretty spot-on. If you want to check it out, here’s a link to the first installment of “Building Sanctuary.” Or check out a PDF of the whole series here.