God’s Eye View Part 3 – Civic Tech, the Wisdom of Crowds, and Off-Shore Sandboxes

This is the third part of a series.

Part 1 – Mathematical Theories of Life

Part 2 – Intuition, Governance Tokens, and Training Kids to Bet Big

As I tried to sort out Bayesian theorems, prediction markets, blockchain bets, and Futarchy, my friend Leo Saraceno directed my attention to Azuro Protocol, headquartered on the island of Seychelles in the middle of the Indian Ocean. An article put out last summer when Azuro’s base layer went online with bookmaker.xyz on Gnosis Chain provides a solid overview of the history of prediction markets on blockchain. Augur on Ethereum was a first attempt in 2015 followed by Polymarket and Gnosis. None were successful due to issues with the user interface and liquidity. Azuro hopes to overcome those problems after bringing in Web2 sports betting consultants and devising open-source code for a new type of liquidity tree. The company has partnered with Chainlink and plans to use its oracles to feed data to the smart contracts and validate payouts on wagers.

Source Link: https://azuro.org/

The following excerpt was taken from the “about” page of the firm’s website.

“A bet is one of the first forms of contract used by people thousands of years ago. Today, however, online betting is plagued by a lack of transparency and fairness, because it’s a system built on negative incentives pitting bookmakers and players against each other… Azuro utilizes smart contracts to build a decentralized betting protocol deploying an innovative solution for liquidity provision and allocation. Betting becomes transparent and trustless, while depth of betting events, markets, and UX remains as good as it gets. Furthermore, Azuro democratizes the business of betting by breaking down the role of the traditional bookmaker into several smaller roles, openly available for anyone to benefit from: liquidity provision, front end management, data provision, oracles, decentralized governance. As a result, we envision a rich, fun betting environment with decreased cost of service to players, full transparency, community-run with a commitment to responsibility.”

While Azuro’s primary audience is sports betting and Web3 GameFi, you see how the wording practically tees up a use case for decentralized “democracy” in a tokenized cyber “commons.” As the world is conditioned for acceptance of “life” in extended reality where daily experience is situated within vague jurisdictions of “the cloud,” the effectiveness of the traditional nation-state notion of participatory governance is bound to be diminished. What I believe we are seeing bubble to the surface through the efforts of entities like Gitcoin, Commons Stack, Token Engineering Commons, and Glen Weyl’s RadicalXchange are alternative models evoking the potential of tokenized voting systems. I think these systems are meant to steer the natural world towards convergence with the machine and transform us into Oliver Reiser’s networked “World Sensor.”

Source Link: https://www.radicalxchange.org/

The following is drawn from a July 2021 post by Accelerated Capital, “DAOs and Democracy: Voting Mechanisms in Web3.” It’s a promo paragraph from their sponsor Tally, an app that manages the lifecycle of proposals for DAOs:

“Tally empowers voters to successfully participate in on-chain governance via a sophisticated dashboard. Users are able to see current and past proposals, cast votes, delegate power, and analyze governance trends across multiple DAOs. Tally currently supports some of the largest DAOs in the space including Uniswap, PoolTogether, Gitcoin, Compound, Radicle, and more. Unlock the knowledge you need to level up your Web3 citizenship by using the Tally dashboard today.”

Level up your Web3 citizenship in the coming “game” of life. With this information in mind, reconsider trending narratives about lowering the voting age, early voting, sharp declines in in-person voting on voting day, voting fraud, voter ID, compromised voting infrastructure, and even the rise of social media polls on the most inane topics. I view them as all being related. Votes are signals in the market of ideas, signals about what people believe to be true.

From Blockscience’s Michael Zargham:

“The reason the Commons Stack exists, and the reason the focus has been more on norm formation, understanding boundaries of communities in terms of culture, and teaching principles carried forward from Ostrom’s work is exactly this observation. Governance mechanisms don’t do anything directly, they merely convert the signals expressed by their participants into a collective decision. Acknowledging that value is inter-subjective, it is incredibly important to reflect on what values you express through your participation in governance processes – and the extent to which your community shares those values determines the direction your governance process steers your system.” Source

Source Link: https://medium.com/block-science/a-brief-history-of-conviction-voting-ad4ca4eb4aee

E-government linked to biometric digital identity, our signifier as agents in the simulation, will generate more robust signals than past methods of civic participation. I sense the civil society sector across the ideological spectrum will be pulled in as a key partner to support a transition to cybernetic governance. I first started to come across the term “civic tech” when I was writing about “what works” data-driven government. Central to that effort were policies to “open up” municipal data. Why we had to do that it wasn’t clear to me then. Certainly, regular people weren’t in a position to use it, so it seemed at first glance to be a resource grab favoring for-profit interests. They could leverage the “free” data sets to create products like predictive policing software that could, in turn, be sold back to duped government officials to impose further control over citizens.

Now I see it much more clearly. Open data and integrated sensor networks combined with digital identity wi turn smart environments into massive social computing systems. We’re in the game. We’re definitely in the game. With this new pair of glasses, I can see what the Knight Foundation has been up to with their civic gaming projects and civic tech investments. Civic games and augmented reality and embodied natural computing and learning ecosystems are about breaking down larger problems into smaller interactive tasks intended to “tap into the wisdom of crowds.” Cyber-physical and socio-technical architectures and the normalization of on-demand task rabbit work will permit almost real-time mobilization of agents to accomplish computation for larger projects, the true nature of which participants are likely not even aware. An example of this is the gig-work platform Premise started in 2013 which was implicated in crowd-sourced intelligence in Russia’s conflict with Ukraine. 

Source Link: https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/american-gig-work-platform-was-accused-working-russia-rcna18258

The following passages are drawn from a 2010 paper by Dr. Bruce MacLennan, “Artificial Morphogenesis and an Example of Embodied Computation,”  and a 2015 paper, “The Morphogenetic Path to Programmable Matter.” MacLennan is a professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer science who consults regularly with Oak Ridge National Labs. Neurotechnology, nanotechnology, reconfigurable robotics, and complex systems design were his primary areas of research. Two slide decks, here and here, provide insights into the nature of his investigations. MacLennan’s biographical page at the University of Tennessee states:

“In the mid-’80s, MacLennan redirected his research toward natural computation, that is, computation inspired by or occurring in nature…Since the mid-’90s this research program has expanded to include self-organizing systems with very large numbers of physical components (e.g., the cells in a developing embryo) and the interaction of physical and computational processes. The latter includes the use of computational principles in nanotechnology (algorithmic self-assembly) and the exploitation of novel physical processes for computation (post-Moore’s Law computing technologies).”

Remember, this research is already ten to fifteen years old. As you read the quotes, picture a future where natural life interacts with machine “intelligences” to “collaborate” on computing programs we cannot comprehend. I can’t say exactly what this will look like. I think they will make it seem inviting, playful.

In Philadelphia, where I live, the Knight Foundation introduced augmented reality through art and place-based storytelling. These small grant programs seem harmless.  It’s hard for us to imagine what “natural computation” post-Moore’s Law might look like. This presentation from Allison Duettmann, CEO of the Foresight Institute established by Eric Drexler in Richardson, Texas, offers some insights. Note how the elements of a physical computing interface, a building, will coordinate with embodied role-playing games in mixed reality governed by blockchain smart contracts in digital communities or “network states.” The presentation below was part of Protocol Labs’ “Breakthrough in Computing Speakers Series” held last November.

Now that you’ve watched that, watch this clip about the sensor networks and artificial vision used in the classrooms of Wildflower Montessori schools. Apply what you’ve heard about in the Duetterman clip to how learning environments for children are being planned. Consider the renewed emphasis on “play” and tracking “social emotional skills.” I wrote about my reservations regarding Jeff Bezos’s plans to subsidize Montessori, pre-k. You can read it here. The post got quite a bit of traction at the time. I hadn’t a clue that five years later I’d realize all of this tech was about embodied computation. Now, some may argue that live role play collaboration to solve big problems is a great idea. But that must happen with consent among consenting adults. It is unethical to channel the joyous creativity of children and harness it to drive some network state machine.

I am going to interleave quotes from MacLennan’s two articles between images that might help you understand this new kind of social computing. I’ve also pulled in some screen shots from a slide share created by Rene Doursat, a researcher in complex systems and bio-inspired design with a focus on swarm intelligence and autonomous, decentralized robotics. Doursat is a pioneer in morphogenetic engineering.

In the twenty-first century, social engineering isn’t simply about domination or control, it’s about organizing natural life to “conduct” cooperative tasks for some larger purpose. What that is, I honestly don’t know at this point. Many of the quotes center operations at the nanoscale, but I know that their intention is to unlock a grammar of life in order to “code” it at all levels.

“We have outlined the requirements for a formalism — indeed a programming notation — for embodied computation oriented toward morphogenesis, and have discussed our approach to meeting these requirements. Fundamental to this is massively parallel programming built on a foundation of continuum mechanics and partial differential equations, which facilitates scaling up to very large numbers of embodied computing units.” Source

Source Link: https://wrenchinthegears.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Complex-Systems-Bio-Inspiration-and-Morphogenetic-Engineering.pdf

They want us classed as units, cogs. They are using our digital footprints to generate those classifications, though often not well. Facebook’s assessments of who their system thinks a given person actually is are often wildly off the mark; and yet, they proceed.

“An embodied computation system comprises a finite and fixed number of bodies (or tissues), each having properties that allow it to be classified as one substance or another. The behavioral dynamics of these bodies, in mutual interaction, defines the dynamics of the embodied computation system, but it must be prepared in some appropriate initial state.” Source

They are also mapping who influences you, or at least which influencers hold your attention. Not all of our potentialities are realized, as with genes certain triggers can unlock latent tendencies. They want to know what those are, so they can push your buttons, the right ones at the right time – to control relationships.

“First, biologists often find it convenient to express regulatory networks qualitatively, using influence models to indicate, for example, that one gene product enhances or represses the expression of another gene, or that a molecule regulates an enzyme. These qualitative regulatory relationships are an important tool for conceptualizing control processes in which the quantitative relationships are unknown or are not considered critical. Therefore, the formalism should permit the expression of qualitative control relationships.”

Source Link: https://wrenchinthegears.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Complex-Systems-Bio-Inspiration-and-Morphogenetic-Engineering.pdf

In processing these quotes, you are going to have to think beyond cellular function to include population level cybernetic steering towards optimization metrics and to cultivate unexpected emergent properties. They want us to participate as agents in their programmable matter “game,” where they assemble us and disassemble us at will. They will try very hard to convince us that this is a way of expressing our liberation and collective good-will through participatory token exchanges and living in a digital panopticon. Freedom cells…think about it.

“Programmable systems achieve their generality by controlling the interactions in a generic substrate in order to implement specific functions. For example, an ordinary computer program applies universal operations to a homogeneous array of bits in order to implement a specific application. In a similar way, programmable matter is based on a generic material that can be programmed to exhibit a wide variety of useful physical properties; we call this a programmable material.” Source

Source Link: https://wrenchinthegears.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Complex-Systems-Bio-Inspiration-and-Morphogenetic-Engineering.pdf

The next statement is key – the importance of the non-equilibrium state to generate the energy needed to run the system. Social media, all media, serves this function. It serves to create polarity, trigger words, tribalism, heightening emotion to keep us all in a state where we feed our life force into these circuits. I’m not here to point fingers. After all, I’m writing this on a blog, aren’t I? But I hope you’ll notice I am working on the way I hold this information and the way I share it, so that I do not unnecessarily feed into the disequilibrium state.

Fear Porn = Disequilibrium

I am convinced of the overall goodness of the human heart. People are generally well-intentioned, but they live inside stories. Those stories shape what they think the world is, and how it works. Those stories are highly-managed. Top-down control of reality increased exponentially as we slid down the slippery slope of bits and bytes, ones and zeros. The things I am talking about here – the ant computer – no one is supposed to know. If we knew, I believe most would stand against it. The most powerful neutralizer for this program is to take away their energy. Stop allowing weaponized narratives and labels (both sides) to feed the vitriol you are supposed to feel about your fellow humans. We are their energy source, our hearts.

Energetic issues are critical to embodied computational systems, which must be maintained in a non-equilibrium state either for a definite duration or indefinitely. Therefore the formalism needs to be able to describe and define the flow of matter and energy through the system. Active elements have to be powered in some way, either continuously during operation or by being arranged initially in a non-equilibrium state.We anticipate that embodied computational systems will be fueled in a variety of ways and powered by a variety of energy sources (electrical, chemical, optical, thermal, mechanical, etc.). Therefore the formalism needs to be able to define the dynamical and spatial relations among energy sources and other elements.” Source

Source Link: https://wrenchinthegears.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Handbook-of-Human-Computation.pdf

“Typically, the structure of a computational system governs its function, that is, the computation it performs. Conversely, in algorithmic assembly a computational process governs the assembly of some physical structure. However, some embodied systems integrate these two processes. For example, in embryological morphogenesis, the physical structure of the embryo governs the very computational processes that create the physical structure of the embryo. Structure governs function, and function creates structure.” Source

Source Link: https://wrenchinthegears.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Complex-Systems-Bio-Inspiration-and-Morphogenetic-Engineering.pdf

“An embodied computation system comprises a finite and fixed number of bodies (or tissues), each having properties that allow it to be classified as one substance or another. The behavioral dynamics of these bodies, in mutual interaction, defines the dynamics of the embodied computation system, but it must be prepared in some appropriate initial state.” Source

Source Link: https://wrenchinthegears.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Handbook-of-Human-Computation.pdf

“Finally, embodied computation systems can be designed for self-destruction, which is especially important for nanoscale systems. If they can reconfigure themselves, they can also deconfigure themselves, rearranging their components into inert and potentially recyclable material. As we know, apoptosis (programmed cell death) is essential both in embryological development and in the maintenance of a well-functioning body.” Source

Source Link: https://nianticlabs.com/news/augmenting-cities-recap

“Complex, multicellular organisms can recruit, reorganize, and reshape groups of cells to form functionally specialized tissues and organs—a process collectively referred to as morphogenesis. Morphogenetic processes must be carefully choreographed in time and space in the developing organism so that the right cells are relocated and interact in the right place at the right time, and so that the reshaping of the multicellular structure into a tissue or an organ is specified for a particular function.” Source

Source Link: https://www.phillyvoice.com/monument-lab-overtime-app-philly-virtual-tour-statues/

“For example, we commonly think of computation as taking place in a fixed substrate, and many self-assembly processes also assume a fixed substrate or matrix in which agents move. In morphogenesis, in contrast, the computational medium is assembled by the computational process, as a zygote develops into a hollow blastula and then into a more complex structure of tissues, which govern the information and control processes in the medium.” Source

Source Link: https://wrenchinthegears.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Knight-Foundation-Civic-Tech-2013-Report.pdf

“Morphogenesis proceeds through a carefully orchestrated series of overlapping parallel phases, which have the characteristics of a coordinated algorithm. In this robust process, the completion of one phase signals the initiation of the next through a combination of chemical signals and changing cell states. Temporal patterns often create spatial patterns (as in the clock- and wavefront model of segmentation), and morphogenesis may be best understood as the creation of patterns in four dimensions.” Source

Source Link: https://wrenchinthegears.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Knight-Foundation-Civic-Tech-2013-Report.pdf

“The formalism must be capable of describing active elements, such as living cells and microrobots, as well as passive elements, such as diffusing chemicals, fluid media, and solid substrates. In particular, the formalism should be applicable to living agents as well as to non-living ones, for embryological morphogenesis, which is the inspiration for this technology, is based on living cells, and we also want to address artificial morphogenetic processes based on genetically engineered organisms and other products of synthetic biology.” Source

Source Link: https://wrenchinthegears.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Knight-Foundation-Civic-Tech-2013-Report.pdf

In the above screenshot, the involvement of Omidyar Network and Knight Foundation stands out to me. As with Goldmans Sachs and social impact bonds, they do seem to be making this sector out of thin air.

After several years of mulling it over, I now see how problematic the “China social credit” narrative has been. As long as people hold onto that narrative – that we are under siege by a foreign power, by another culture, we will not be able to grasp the material I just shared. We aren’t going to be ruled by China, but by the Department of Energy in partnership with Big Tech and social entrepreneurs. I fell for it myself when I started researching digital surveillance.

What I see happening, with bolstering from the “it’s just a tool, you can use it (distributed ledger technology) for ill or for good” crowd, is that the time time is coming when strategic players will start to promote alternative digital participation protocols as radical inclusion, bringing government back to the people. And in doing so, the “signals” people emit via their civic-tech “voting” apps will enable them to be managed in the multiverse game. The image below is a “product” associated with Gitcoin, a funding organization for Web3 development that has been piloting new voting systems as part of its grant-making program.

Source Link: https://passport.gitcoin.co/

Take note that this framing is not punitive, it’s encouraging. All you need to do is collect “stamps” in your “passport” to grow your online reputation. You see the gaming mechanics there? And the more your identity is “verified” in your community, “the more opportunities you will have to vote and participate across the web3.” This isn’t the government doing the rating; it’s set up so that your peers, your community members, rate you. This isn’t China. Gitcoin is based in Boulder, Colorado, the blockchain state and home to ETH Denver. We can’t let managed narratives lead us into box canyons of dead-end thinking. Digital identity is at the core of extended reality and the pressure to create and manage a digital twin through which we will engage in this brave new world will be coming from all quarters.

When Zargham says, “value is inter-subjective,” meaning that value is dynamic and in motion as it interacts with the values held by others in our community, it brings to mind John Horton Conway’s research. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, informed by the work of von Neumann and fellow Manhattan Project researcher Stan Ulam, Conway dove into exploring the dynamics of two-dimensional cellular grids where each cell was designed to act within a specific rule set in relation to neighboring cells. Over many cycles, a variety of two-dimensional “multi-cellular” forms were generated. These were given names like gliders and spaceships. Conway’s inspiration, Stan Ulam, developed the Monte Carlo Method and was a regular at the Los Alamos poker game.

Since the beginning of lockdowns, I’ve understood that digital governance has an important role to play in what is unfolding. I thought it was about generating data to legitimize public-private social impact deals, but of course it’s much more than that. Governance IS cybernetics. We are supposed to imagine that we are “free” to participate in discussions around communal wellbeing. But is it a game? And if so, whose game is it? Who or what is monitoring the signals and updating the rules, fine tuning the algorithms in order to catalyze some preferred emergent outcome? And it seems that under conditions of liquid democracy, we may end up not even representing ourselves on the game board. If Cesar “augmented democracy” Hidalgo gets his way, this new-fangled radical participation could have AI assistants (digital twins) handling all the proxy votes, because they’ll know us better than we know ourselves , or at least that’s the story they’re telling.

Source Link: https://www.peopledemocracy.com/

So, does anyone want to wager on how long it is before “democracy” gets a makeover as a giant casino? Welcome to the big game of free-market governance where regular folks of all political leanings are the marks. The mantra of Jeff Yass, astute poker player and options trader, is to play against people dumber than you or less experienced. It’s with a fair degree of confidence I’ll say that some form of mechanical “intelligence” will be hoovering up the “votes” cast in the marketplace of the commons. That intelligence will hold so much data it will be able to discern patterns that would be impossible for the human mind. Thus, we should not become enablers of this game. The odds will never be in our favor.

I keep thinking back to that scene from “The Big Short “where the characters converge on the American Securitization Forum in Las Vegas.

The Big Bluff highlights the importance of offshore jurisdictions like the Isle of Man and the Northern Territory of Cyprus, friendly environments for gambling games of all types. The latter is a de facto state under Turkish control since the 1970s with the United Nations “green line” exclusion zone crossing the capital city of Nicosia, a no-man’s land in what was once a vibrant shopping district. Gambling has been a mainstay of the economy in Northern Cyprus for decades, employing a significant percentage of the population. Casinos in the north and the south are major conduits for money laundering.

Just to the south of the green line is the University of Nicosia, home to the world’s first master’s program in blockchain and digital currency and a partner in the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum. The school was the first to accept Bitcoin for tuition payments in 2013. It offers a MOOC introduction to digital currency and scholarships sponsored by Binance Charity and Coinbase for its MSc students. There’s a permanent NFT art gallery and an “NFT-based system” for various on-campus activities. In 2016, Griff Green graduated from the three-semester distance learning program, one of fifteen members of the first digital currency cohort. Last fall the school launched a new master’s degree in Metaverse Systems.

Source Link: https://www.unic.ac.cy/openmetaverse/mooc-nfts-metaverse/

Green, who took an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Washington, worked for a few years at a power plant in the UAE before spending four years traveling the world and learning Thai massage. Another round of globetrotting followed in 2013 as a blockchain evangelist. His origin story includes a “white hat hacker” episode during his stint as a community organizer for Slock.it, when he helped secure and restore ETH following The DAO’s hard fork. After founding Giveth.io, a decentralized blockchain platform designed to incentivize charitable giving, Green turned his expertise towards developing the Token Engineering Commons, The Commons Stack, and governance structures around open-source software and digital public goods. He is a close collaborator with Michael Zargham and the staff of Blockscience.

This image is taken from an interview Green, “OG in the crypto space,” did for IXO Foundation’s “State of the World” series last year. Note the language used around abundance and digital public goods. I first learned about IXO Foundation in the summer of 2018 when I read about their involvement in the Amply pre-k social impact bond project in South Africa that put children on blockchain, so they could begin to earn social capital. You can read those posts here and here. Leo Saraceno has also done investigative work into IXO Foundation at Silicon Icarus. Pardon me if I take all this talk of “moral economies” with a grain of salt. Any organization that would turn a child into a digital commodity, a human capital derivative product, is not moral in my book. If that’s one’s idea of “commoning,” I’d say it’s time to get your head on straight, go back to the drawing board (without any MBAs or quants anywhere nearby), and try again.

Source LInk: https://earthstate.ixo.world/the-common-stack/

Silicon Icarus goes into some detail about the corporate structure of PokerStars, founded by Isai Scheinberg in 2001. PokerStars played a key role in the restructuring of the online poker landscape following the 2011 cheating scandal.

“In 2014, after PokerStars acquired Full Tilt Poker as part of the DoJ-brokered deal to cover Americans’ losses, Scheinberg’s company was sold to Montreal-based Amaya Gaming Group for a whopping $4.0 billion. The sale turned Amaya, which had also briefly acquired CryptoLogic and InterCasino in 2012, into the largest online gambling company in the world at the time, facilitated by $3 billion from outside investors, including BlackRock.” Source

The firm was originally based in Costa Rica, but Scheinberg relocated it to the Isle of Man in 2005. The island, a self-governing crown dependency, is known for its tailless Manx cats and a wide-open regulatory approach to emerging tech and gambling. Thirty percent of the island’s economy comes from the tech sector even though the island has no corporate or capital gains tax rates and low personal income tax rates. A public-private partnership, Digital Isle of Man, facilitates business relocation. A Blockchain hub, an experimental sandbox with the goal of creating a “supportive jurisdiction” for the industry through “tech-agnostic regulation” that will interface with the island’s established online gaming activities, launched in the spring of 2019.

Last year with a lock down-driven shift to online government services, the Isle of Man launched a five-year digital strategy to transform public services centering a shift to smart technologies under the guise of climate policy action, open data, and digital inclusion, a tactic that will turn citizens into data commodities for social impact finance programs linked to the Sustainable Development Goals. Its Treasury launched a Sustainable Finance Network in 2021 in partnership with Dutch ESG oversight firm Sustainalytics with plans for green bonds, social bonds, and sustainability bonds. As a UNESCO biosphere reserve that is modest in scale with a lot of tech-finance proceeds running through it, the Isle of Man will make an attractive testbed for circular economy trials.


Source Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/biosphere-isle-of-man-sustainable-man-circular-economy-for-businesses-tickets-347929565697

While not a part of the Silicon Icarus story, Malta has a similar profile to Cyprus with respect to online gambling. I’ll bring it in here as I added to my map in association with two unlicensed FTX operations registered there in the spring of 2022. According to Times Malta, “ FTX Malta Gaming Services Limited and FTX Malta Holdings Limited were registered as local companies in April 2022. Both list Sam Bankman-Fried, the billionaire founder of FTX Trading, as their sole director. Neither of those two firms was licensed to carry out any activities related to virtual financial assets, or cryptocurrencies, in or from Malta, a spokesperson for the Malta Financial Services Authority said.”

Source Link: https://embed.kumu.io/9fadbadb5bdc60e10cff23c3b7598476#untitled-map?s=bm9kZS1IQzd0Q29nOQ%3D%3D

Besides being home to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights of Hospitaller from 1530-1798, the strategically positioned Mediterranean island, a British Commonwealth republic, is a hotbed of digital innovation with a regulatory environment that’s quite friendly to online gaming. It was one of the first countries to approve online gambling in 2004. Revenue from over three hundred registered companies now accounts for twelve percent of Malta’s GDP.

I started paying attention to Malta about five years ago when it became the first country to pilot Blockcerts, a blockchain-based credential system for learners and workers, developed by Learning Machine, a project launched out of MIT. Learning Machine was acquired by Hyland in 2021. The lead on that project, Natalie Smolenski, is now a cheerleader for the technology in the Lone Star State where she serves as board chair of the Texas Blockchain Council and the executive director of the Texas Bitcoin Foundation.

Source Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtXRNr9KVWw

A 2017 article about the program by 3CL Foundation described Malta as having an “emerging reputation as an island lab for the testing and deployment of new technologies.” Blockcerts were pitched as a way for 400,000 citizens to have secure, transparent, flexible, self-sovereign proof of qualifications, including diplomas, certificates, degree equivalencies, and licensure. The effort was part reconceptualizing higher education as a “meta-university” where “experiments with blockchain could lead to the design of entirely new models delivered through various channels including virtual universities and plug and play models (accumulating credits while working).” According to 3CL, a specialist ed-tech foundation established as the Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning, as early as 2017 blockchain boosters had set their sights on expanded digital identity use cases including: customs, taxation, land, intellectual property, notarization, benefit disbursement, health, voting, judicial records, and even veterinary services.

A program of contactless biometric electronic identity cards was launched in the fall 2020 for use not only in authentication but for payments, internet sign-on, and even as a door key. How convenient, right? KYC (Know Your Customer) protocols for online gaming in Malta preceded the broader roll out by seven years. Back in 2013 Palo Alto-based Jumio, was using artificial computer vision to provide credential verification for Mr. Green, an online gambling operation based in Malta. Andreessen Horowitz was an early investor in Jumio. Many companies have sprung up to provide identity verification services around e-gaming RegTech. Another firm operating in Malta as of 2019 is Trulioo, started in Vancouver in 2011.

What people are not yet understanding is that their digital wallet will be their digital twin and will be their dynamic human capital valuation. What’s being sold to us as convenience, is actually a digital minder intended to knit us into complex social and economic relationships. E-gaming is about to step outside the digital casino into extended reality. We’re not the poker players, we’re the chips, tokenized bets. Online education and online gambling are two sides of the same coin. In the future economy a significant number of people will be expected to chase skills badges on gamified platforms for gig work awarded by AI as the elite, or more likely automated portfolios linked to ESG (environmental social governance) metrics, place bets on how long we can endure – a new kind of horse race if you will.

That is the learning economy.

Source Link: https://www.learningeconomy.io/


Source Link: https://www.learncard.com/

8 thoughts on “God’s Eye View Part 3 – Civic Tech, the Wisdom of Crowds, and Off-Shore Sandboxes

  1. Kris bergen says:

    Decentralized means singularity, where everywhere is here and here is everywhere. There is no proximity to or distance from any center when you are in it and it is all around you.

    • I A n says:

      In direct parallel to this:’The Big Bluff highlights the importance of offshore jurisdictions like the Isle of Man and the Northern Territory of Cyprus, friendly environments for gambling games of all types. The latter is a de facto state under Turkish control since the 1970s with the United Nations “green line” exclusion zone crossing the capital city of Nicosia, a no-man’s land in what was once a vibrant shopping district. Gambling has been a mainstay of the economy in Northern Cyprus for decades, employing a significant percentage of the population. Casinos in the north and the south are major conduits for money laundering.

  2. Mum Blogger Eastcoast says:

    Everyone has cell phones now… about 10 years ago I was concerned about their technology push with SMARTboards in the school classrooms [Rotary Club was happy to fundraise and get them in] and as well I was pushing against their province-wide weekly sodium fluoride oral rinse programme for 5 to 10 year olds since 1979 [definitely an attack on the pineal gland] but now its seems there is so much to be concerned about in the schools that its hard to even begin to push against it… today they’re also pushing hard with the non-profits in schools pushing their climate change propaganda… but thanks for doing your blog, I appreciate your indepth insights. I still have my Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt book “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America” but most people have never heard of her, may she rest in peace along with Rosa Koire, Niki Raapana, Dr. Tim Ball, and so many other truth-tellers.

  3. WashingtonSean says:

    Whew! Great series a lot to unpack my head is a bit woozy with information now…. No way the average person can be expected to grasp the complexity of it all.

    “We are supposed to imagine that we are “free” to participate in discussions around communal wellbeing. But is it a game? And if so, whose game is it? Who or what is monitoring the signals and updating the rules, fine tuning the algorithms in order to catalyze some preferred emergent outcome?“

  4. Amy Harlib says:

    I want nothing to do with this synthetic unreal digital gamified crap – it makes me feel violently sick just reading about it. I will never give up my landline and my wired laptop and I will live in the REAL world. F this shit!

  5. Raju says:

    The most complex IT development systems (imo) are computer games. In theory these should be aimed at children to play and can involve real-time interaction, be cognitively challenging, involve multiple interfaces (HCI), interact both with ‘AI’ opponents as well as human opponents. We are inhabiting a world in which IT is seemingly regarded as the solution to every life systems requirement imaginable. Who would have thought that IT could function as a unit of labour!, or that it can replace human collaboration!? My immediate impression of the systems requirements detailed here are that they are the most ludicrous BS IT requirements that I have ever encountered. Indeed this reeks of ‘too many chiefs..’.

    Within the time period of a year I have encountered one operating system corruption as well as a hardware failure within my own personal IT setup. Within a multi-user system such as that detailed above there would be hardware issues, software issues, scalabilty problems, data integrity issues, storage issues, evolving ‘requirements’, bugs and last but not least politics. The IT industry is also notorious for producing new and improved tools continually with the byproduct of re-inventing the wheel, that result in ever changing interface and compatibility issues. There is a big chasm here between requirements and implementation.

    Gamblers that sport ties may always be looking for that next market to bet their last winnings on. In this case it would be betting on their own rigged markets. A case of history repeating?

    Just to clarify, this is my perspective from an IT point of view having worked within the IT industry for a number of years. YMMV

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