Does Freedom Require Radical Transparency or Radical Privacy?

in #eos6 years ago (edited)

As a society we seem to have double standards when it comes to privacy. We would like to know everything about everyone else while simultaneously ensuring nobody knows anything about us. We want the right to demand others forget us, but we want to remember everything we can about everyone else.

Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is power, especially against someone without equal access to knowledge. Therefore, in our natural pursuit of personal power we desire to simultaneously increase our own privacy while gathering as much information about others as we can. This self-inflicted hypocrisy is reflected in our governments which seek to maximize their knowledge about everyone while keeping everyone else in the dark.

Ultimately it is our desire for privacy and the right to be forgotten that turn us against one another. We are taught to distrust our neighbor but to trust a power hungry bureaucracy. We demand governments use their universal knowledge to track down criminals, but the power we give them is turned against us when they make everyone a criminal.

Governments use their knowledge of every detail of our lives to track us, tax us, and intimidate us into complying with their arbitrary and abusive laws. It is only natural that peaceful freedom loving individuals would like to have complete privacy from the government. We believe this privacy would limit the government’s power to tax, regulate, and otherwise oppress people whom we hope it will know nothing about. Meanwhile, governments of the world are doing everything they can to make privacy-from-government illegal. Simultaneously they are working to make privacy from each other mandatory.

This is a transparent divide and conquer strategy on behalf of governments. When we know nothing about our fellow man except that which the government tells us and the government knows everything about everyone, then we are truly enslaved. The government uses privacy and secrecy as the foundation of its misinformation and propaganda campaigns. It is only through secrecy that the government can manipulate how the masses see the truth and therefore control all of society.

In a very real sense, privacy is the enemy of truth. Secrets and the lies we tell to keep them, are the plot and root of suffering in almost every movie. It is the truth that will set us free and the secrets that enslave us. If we want to decentralize power, then we must decentralize secrets by spreading truth through radical transparency.

Two ways to Fight for Freedom

Going forward, freedom loving people have two options in the fight against this self-inflicted tyranny:

  1. Resist - overcome through opposition
  2. Aikido - use adversary's momentum to achieve our objective

We resist by attempting to build stronger privacy solutions for ourselves and compel greater transparency on others. This method of fighting only works in favor of the stronger party. It is the strategy the government is using against us.

Aikido empowers the weaker party by turning the attacker's energy against themselves. Rather than block a punch, you grab their arm and pull it toward you, throwing your opponent off balance while taking no damage yourself. Properly executed your stronger opponent ends up on the ground pinned using joint locks and pressure points all without requiring any significant strength on your part.

In an information war, the Aikido move is complete transparency. Demanding governments be transparent when governments already know almost everything we are ultimately demanding everything be transparent. Asking others to voluntarily not spy on us is asking them to act against their own self interest.

If others already know everything, then our transparency will give them no additional benefit. What transparency will do is increase the knowledge of everyone else and therefore reduce information asymmetry while enabling communities to self police without violence.

We can beg others to not collect data on us, or to forget our past, but ultimately that is something that cannot be stopped without requiring policing (which requires others to collect data on us).

The Inefficiency of Secrecy

Secrecy is so difficult that experts can't even keep a couple bytes of information secret when hundreds of millions of dollars of cryptocurrency are on the line. You could say that secrecy is a high-energy state that requires constant energy input into defense and is therefore unstable, meanwhile transparency is a low-energy state that requires no energy input and therefore very stable. A society built on transparency will be much stronger and cheaper to sustain than one built on secrecy.

The Illusion of Privacy

The idea of our entire lives being open and exposed is so terrifying that we cannot accept the truth. We believe blockchains keep our financial situation private, when in reality trivial data analysis reveals all. We believe no one knows who we are while browsing the internet, but each of us has a digital fingerprint based upon our browsing habits and choices of technology that transparently reveals more to faceless companies than we know about ourselves. Eventually machine learning will empower governments to sift through the mountains of information they have been gathering over the past 20 years and reveal things that we once thought were secret.

It is comforting to pretend that we are blending in with the crowd and hope that there is just too much information to make sense of it all. The cognitive dissonance of those of us who should know better does not serve us. The illusion of privacy is perhaps just as dangerous as confusing cover and concealment in a gunfight.

Privacy and secrets are like a magic genie that we can never put back in the bottle. More often than not it is just a matter of time until the genie escapes and everything that we once thought was private and secure is now public.

Assume everything is Public

The safest course of action is to assume that everything is public before you act so that you can minimize the damage that your actions may cause you. Acting under presumption of secrecy is always a gamble, a bet that the reward for your secrecy is greater than the risk-discounted cost of being exposed.

As technology advances the probability of being exposed and the cost of exposure are increasing, therefore the cost of keeping secrets is growing exponentially. For many things, the cost of keeping a secret is becoming more expensive than simply making it public from the start. Personal-identifying information, which governments require them to keep, is a liability and cost center for most companies.

Our challenge is that we overestimate our ability to protect our privacy/secrets while underestimating those who seek to discover our secrets and the cost of having our secrets revealed.

Paradox of Privacy

If we invented a technology that was able to keep all of our financial transactions private, that would keep our identities secret from everyone, and that could compel the entire internet to destroy/forget everything they know about us then we will have reached cypherpunk nirvana. If everyone in the world would adopt such a technology then some people believe we would be free.

This freedom would come at the price of empowering bad actors to steal, extort, and hold people ransom. It would enable bad actors to escape from their criminal record and continue to defraud others. It would decrease the default level of trust in every business transaction and increase the cost of due diligence. It would force each of us to find ways to circumvent the privacy of others in order to secure our own interests. In other words, this privacy technology would reinforce the need for the status quo. It would empower those with the best spy networks or who profit the most from privacy (criminals) and disempower everyone else.

In this scenario we would be completely dependent upon government to use their surveillance to track down and capture bad actors. Meanwhile, corrupt governments would use this technology to launder money, accept bribes, and fund clandestine operations around the world. Extreme privacy maximizes our dependence on government and entirely eliminates the potential for community self governance.

Secrecy is the enemy of truth and freedom and the tool of oppression.

Transparent Government

Transparent community self-governance is the solution to leveling the playing field for all. Through transparency a bright light is shone on the bad actions carried out by public and private criminals alike. If every account on the blockchain was tied to a public identity, with bonded reputation, and a social network of relationships which secure the accounts then and only then will we end the theft of crypto-currency by private criminals and the need for government intervention.

Imagine for a moment that the government raids your house and gets access to your private keys (or throws you in prison until you reveal them). A hardware wallet unlocked by $5 wrench will never be as secure as a global social network designed to protect your rights.

A bad actor would have nowhere to transfer your money because they would also be subject to transparent social pressure and the decentralized courts. The theft of funds by either extortion or hacking would be almost entirely blocked.

We do not overcome organized crime by building stronger individual defenses, we can only overcome organized crime by building stronger social defenses. We cannot eliminate the need for government policing while continuing to hide as much information from each other as possible. Organized crime loses all power when the masses support one another and actively ignore demands that violate their human rights and dignity. Eliminating organized crime is only possible with a community that practices extreme transparency and is completely impossible with a community that practices extreme secrecy.

Nonviolence and truth are inseparable and presuppose one another - Mahatma Gandhi.

Non-violence, (and therefore truth and transparency), is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man - Gandhi

Moral High Ground

Transparency is the foundation necessary to secure the moral high ground. Absent transparency, governments use their control over information to obscure reality and slander whoever is necessary in order to justify their actions. It is only through secrecy and lies that governments can maintain the illusion of the moral high ground.

Adopting a plan of radical transparency is as scary as committing to a non-violent revolution against tyranny. People who have done nothing wrong will get hurt and some may die. As Gandhi said, nonviolence requires a certain faith in the goodness of man, but so does faith in government or anarchy. Those who have no faith in man are insane to imbue government run by men with moral authority over the use of violence.

Those who get hurt will be the martyrs who expose government brutality and rally the masses behind the innocent while undermining the perceived authority of violent governments. When the community comes to the aid of those who are hurt, then, and only then, will governments lose their power. This is only possible with transparency.

The Blockchain Revolution

Public blockchains are an exercise in transparency and freedom of speech. Their very foundation is a completely transparent public record of all financial transactions. Through this foundation of transparency a decentralized global community has bootstrapped a currency and value system which is freeing mankind from the capital controls and unaccountable printing presses of the war machines powered by fiat money.

If we can successfully take away the printing press, then we will end major wars. No democratic nation can simultaneously tax its citizens and maintain public support for a war of aggression without the printing press.

What we have done with money we must also do with Identity, Dispute Resolution, and Social Insurance. It is through more transparency that we will decentralize their power and increase the opportunity for peace and prosperity.

Governments are beginning to attack cryptocurrency on the basis of Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering laws. With these laws they are setting up barriers to entry and re-establishing the information asymmetry which underwrites their power. The cryptocurrency community has demonstrated that it is unable to police itself or stop theft, extortion, and bribery. It is our inability to police ourself that the governments of the world are using to take the moral high ground and justify increasingly aggressive regulation that could potentially ban crypto.

Rather than stand together, we are allowing the governments of the world to attack individuals. Most of our technological solutions are focused on enabling us to hide from government rather than helping those who are unable to hide. There is a saying that you can run, but you cannot hide. That statement is more true than ever when it comes to government.

We cannot put the genie of the information age back in the bottle without giving up the magic of modern society. Our best defense is to go on the offense and introduce voluntary mutual transparency so radical that even organized crime cannot hide.

The future of governance is on a transparent blockchain.


@dan- Not only are you the best coders in blockchain, you are also one of the best thinkers in the Voluntaryism field.

I am very interested to find out what dapps are being launched on EOS in the fields of "Identity, Dispute Resolution, and Social Insurance." and how they will function.

I am working on a collaboration and crowdfunding dapp for EOS.

Transparency, protect privacy, let nothing privacy. Wisest.

Is that a sentence or just a collection of random words you strung together?

Your article is certainly thought provoking, and you have some good points, but I think you are mainly provoking though and not actually suggesting a solution. The reason I say that is because there is no way to create the system you are talking about - at least without a major paradigm shift. The problem as I see it is the "public" entities like governments and publicly traded companies are the worst violators of privacy because of the money they receive from that information. These same organizations are the ones that "hide" their own criminal activities. How can you make these massive entities who are supposed to be "public," and "transparent" by definition cease and desist when they are the gatekeepers. These are the entities that control the regulations, and do we really think they can regulate themselves? There will always be the bad players and I realize this is a REAL problem. I just think that just like governments and corporations will never willingly give away money or power, they will never give up the monopoly on information unless some how some way we could force them to. Information is power, and the more private it is the more valuable. By the way thanks for the upvote on the eos article I commented on!! Again, very thought provoking!

Vote smarter not harder.

Thank you for thinking outside of the box Dan. Keep it up! ❤️

Many evil deeds are committed brazenly and in the open--it's only secrecy that protects the innocent.

What about countries where gay people are imprisoned or executed? How would radical transparency help a gay man who wanted to buy a drink at a gay bar, when he knows that his purchases will be used religious goons to throw him in prison?

What about a sex worker and her clients? How would radically transparent blockchains help them?

Would radical transparency have kept Ross Ulbricht out of jail? Would online drug markets be able to operate at all?

What about a dissident in China, who wants to flee the country, and needs money that can't be blocked by capital controls?

What about donors to Wikileaks? Do we want to give the government a list of names to audit, harass, and otherwise persecute?

I'm all for demanding that governments operate on a radically transparent basis. But I think until we figure out how to keep evil busybodies out of power, there will always be a need by good people for financial privacy.

All of those violent acts are committed by people who hide behind secrecy: the police, the law makers, the regulators. It is their violent acts that need to be exposed and individuals need to take personal responsibility.

Yes, radical transparency would have kept Ross out of jail because he wouldn't have operated that business. His problem was his belief in privacy was illusionary.

I could add a few more:

What about the extortionist?
What about the kid napper?
What about the thief?
What about the hitman?

You see the same thing that enables the sex worker also enables all of these bad things. The existence of these bad things is the basis of justification for rule by force and government invasion of our privacy. We need non-violent solutions to these bad things.

In a world with complete transparency, no one would dare throw stones for trivial things least they be found guilty of assault.

In a world with complete transparency, no one would dare throw stones for trivial things least they be found guilty of assault.

I think this sums up your idea nicely and it was implied but I think seeing it written explicitly helped.

Violence is human nature, we can never eradicate it but we can certainly find new ways to prosecute and prevent it!

They will throws stones at everybody. Just at their enemies. And the structure of the data will be one that is usable only by a few. The uneducated and the poor had always a disadvantage. Likewise their children. Unfortunately.

"You see the same thing that enables the sex worker also enables all of these bad things. "

Yes, that is the nature of useful tools. A gun that can defend a woman from a rapist can also be used to rob a bank. A fire that can prevent you from freezing to death can also burn your house down. And a private currency that allows a sex worker to run her business unmolested, will also allow a ransomware thief to spend their stolen goods.

The fact that they can be used for ill purposes doesn't mean we should refuse to use guns, fire, and private currencies though.

both transparency and secrecy could be used to take away the lever someone might use to harm you. Both can be useful tools, no? And transparency is the lower energy and thus easier of the two states to be in, so the route of transparency might be more often favorable.

I'm all for forcing governments to be completely transparent. Transparency is fine if you're a strong player.

However, I think that secrecy and privacy are one of the few ways that weak players can defend themselves against overwhelmingly stronger attackers.

There are many successful examples - The Underground Railroad
I'm with you on that thinking

I don't think you can have transparent governments while also allowing privacy for the individual. It's run by the individuals after all. They will use privacy tools for individuals to stay corrupt.

We don't need to know Trump's sexual fetishes or his taste in music to be able to see his dealings with Russia. If we can legislate transparent governmental activity while allowing optional privacy for individuals, we can bypass this supposedly blurry line.

"All of those violent acts are committed by people who hide behind secrecy: the police, the law makers, the regulators. "

What secrecy are you talking about? Law enforcement makes no secret of their willingness to put people in jail for victimless crimes. They even wear cameras and film themselves doing it.

Those who rule over governments have their secrets.

The governments of today are shrouded in mystery. Yes we see the presidents, yet we see them not. Governments are fast turning into business deals that the highest bidder uses to promote his/her interests, and maybe a few interests of the country.

The most amazing fact is that despite the large amount of people required to rule as a ''government'' the power is consolidated in the hands of the elite few.

Secrecy is in the information you don't have of them and in the inequality from their knowing so much about us

Secrecy is in the information you don't have of them and in the inequality from their knowing so much about you or us

if you care about the platform do something about this abuse...grumpy cat is gaming the reward pool

Thanks Dan. It's amazing to see people beginning to put things in place for a true renaissance of humankind.

All throughout time controlling forces have used information against us. But viewed from another perspective, it's actually been the obfuscation of information (lies buried in half truths) that has done the most damage.

Even on a "private" block chain, the evolution of AI will mean those in power can "see through" the privacy layers and get the information they desire.

Only those with the resources will be able to use AI to unlock private block chains and we all know who that'll be (government and criminal entities).

I for one am looking forward to open block chains where we can truly share information. We can analyse the macro without having to pay for the data from big corporates.

Even those who hide in private chains or chain privacy layers will have to link to public chains eventually...

I see a future where the open chains literally keep bad actors out because they can't interact with them from fear of exposing themselves (we'll be able to track corruption through movement of currency & assets into and out of the public chains).

In short, game theory. You wanted our data... here it is, every bit and byte and guess what... we see you too :-)

I have never been in support of confidencial or privacy. If what you are doing is worth prasing and appluding, you will never choose to work secretive unless you are CIA officials even though the still leakout their plans for backups.
I strongly vote for radical transparency all,even God himself is plan, the scripture gives details on how to access God so transparency reveals true leadership, mentorship and membership.
Thank you all.

What you meant is perfectly achievable but it works only when we lose the fear of the other.

As long as the truth of this world is that 'the other people' can hurt us, this will not work, as our transparency will make us the target. At the best we can defend ourselves that we are the right people and the others are bad ones, while still being the victim and perpetually suffering.

But this will be different in a world in which the truth is that we are the product of our thoughts and the others can touch us only if we allow them to. In that kind of a world, your idea works perfectly.

Then the question becomes, which of these truths holds true in our world, and it had been historically impossible to choose an answer agreeable by everyone.

I think both of you are right. Neither 'cypherpunk nirvana' nor 'transparency nirvana' are desirable. Aside from being impossible scenarios they are not opposites, as you seem to assume. @dakini5d rightfully pointed out that privacy and secrecy are not the same.

The government is the world's system and one major characteristic of such system is selfishness. Thank you so much @dan for being co-creating one system, the steemit blockchain which is a complete opposite of selfish. You are not only a voice but an exceptional one and as I went through your article, I see wisdom laced on every sentence. God bless you. By the way, was super glad when I found out just recently you are a believer. Just as how Christ was sent, there's no doubt, you are also sent.

He mentioned the solution in the article. Assuming the everything is public and that will put at least a leash on our morals

Having a transparent blockchain identity can be scary, and you are right that it takes courage to tie your online actions to your ID, as that means people won't have the same perceived benefit of anonymity, and will be held accountable for their actions. The more of us that go fully transparent however, the easier it will be for others to join the swarm.

Thanks for the thought provoking post Dan. I was just discussing this trade off with @spurious-claims a few days ago.

I disagree with radical transparency because I think it is unnecessary when we can have both privacy (private as in kept from human judgment) and the benefits of transparency. Nick Szabo solved this problem in his blog post titled The God protocols. I respond to your post with one of my own:

The difference of opinion between Dan and I on this is on WHO and WHAT is to be in the position of God. Dan is suggesting we put the crowd/mob in that position. I'm suggesting that human beings aren't fit for that position due to bias, ignorance, and other human frailties. Instead I suggest only AI can ever be in that position, and only unbiased AI, which is something which can only be built decentralized.

The God protocols require homomorphic encryption, and decentralized AI. We can build that theoretically, so why should we risk a nightmare dystopia brought by the crowd as God? A crowd empowered by blockchain tech so it can never forgive or forget? A crowd which maintains all the bias and ignorance it currently has today? A crowd which will ultimately just create another pyramid, with the most normal people on top and the abnormals on the bottom?

Being normal is fate of birth, and not chosen. So for this reason it's just another social hierarchy only in this case more like a beauty contest as people will be born into certain positions. Also do we want to optimize for normalcy? Sometimes abnormal thinking is actually what leads to breakthroughs, and abnormal behavior which doesn't harm anyone else isn't anyone's business in my opinion.

Making AI god is scary. Haven’t you ever watched terminator?

And making human beings like you God isn't? Haven't you studied history to know where that leads?

Given a choice, if we have to put something in that position then we should put the smartest, least biased, most rational among our creations in that positions. Human beings aren't fit for it as shown in history so if I were given the choice I would personally choose to have AI judge me rather than humans such as yourself.

I think we should be given the choice. And no I don't think AI in the terminator is the obvious result of decentralized AI. That is the result (even in the story) of government creating an AI for warfare purposes and losing control of their weapon. That is also a result of bias in the design of the AI (nationalism was the source of the bias) which led to the AI seeing humans as the enemy, which is exactly a case for decentralization of AI as a way to remove that bias.

I don't think AI would be a good god. I think it will always lack in creative thinking and adaptability compared to humans and I don't believe it will always be able to judge creations of humans, because how do you algorithmically judge something which is unprecedented, with no information to base your judgments on?

I don't see how AI could replace governments (for the same reason, I don't think it would be good god). And good government needs to be transparent to humans, because it rules over them and actually, humans are the only ones who can judge it. AI judge would just be relaying the morality of the creator of AI. So you still have a problem of who should create that judge, which is essentially identical problem to: who should judge/govern us?

So humans will always be in control of AI (and I think you want that), therefore the same transperency vs privacy problem among humans remains.

Here here Dana! I agree more with you than Dan on this.

However, I do agree with him on how risky / scary using AI for such decisions would be. The one thing usually overlooked by those who discuss AI is human influence. I mean the AI is programmed by humans, so don't you think that will bias it? Even if it is created by a collective of humans, there are still only a few that decide what code gets included and which does not. Those humans bias the design & functionality of the resulting AI and I contend we can't ever remove the human component of our creations, AI being one of them.

This same lack of understanding by most about how open source code is developed, how such projects are managed gives rise to the belief open source is the perfect solution when it is not. I see this frequently when the Bitcoin core dev team s discussed. It's not the devs who dictate what pieces of code get into production, it is their managers, those at the top of the Blockstream power pyramid who call the shots. Contributions by devs who disagree will not be included. Decisions about what is and what is not included in the production software are not up to the developer collective, only the Blockstream Bosses.

The risk is what? That you get judged and killed? Humans do that on a regular basis, on a mass scale. Humans have already done genocide on multiple occasions so where with AI you have movies to base your fear on, with humans we have history. Which is worse?

However, I do agree with him on how risky / scary using AI for such decisions would be. The one thing usually overlooked by those who discuss AI is human influence. I mean the AI is programmed by humans, so don't you think that will bias it? Even if it is created by a collective of humans, there are still only a few that decide what code gets included and which does not. Those humans bias the design & functionality of the resulting AI and I contend we can't ever remove the human component of our creations, AI being one of them.

You can program and personalize your AI to adopt your morals. So when you say AI is programmed by humans this doesn't mean the AI or the programming has to be done by a centralized group of humans. Simply allow the individual to tell the AI their interests, their values, and ask the AI questions about what to do.

My implementation of machine enhanced decision support

When humans have to make big decisions they traditionally would seek advice from people with more experience. The problem with this is not all humans are socially wealthy enough to have people they can trust with more experience to get advice from. The President has advisors for example, and CEOs have board of directors, but some kid growing up in the slums somewhere has only themselves because there aren't any mentors. In terms of improving morality, I never really specifically put it in that way but more if you improve decision making capability you can indirectly improve the capacity for moral behavior.

So a cyborg without any human mentors in their life can simply ask the crowd. We see this now with Quora for example and other technologies which let you ask the crowd. We also see it on Facebook where a random poster will ask the crowd. That is how cyborgs make decisions and that is in essence mining crowd sentiment manually. The problem with that is what if you aren't clever enough or mature enough to even think to ask the crowd? Or what if the crowd is biased, ignorant, superficial, etc?

Ask the machines and the crowd is the solution I propose. Asking the machines is in essence asking the AI for advice. The AI becomes the best friend, the mentor, the father or mother figure, the big brother, the religious or spiritual advisor. The AI takes the place of a human being in this instance to help the individual cyborg (human with a smart phone and Internet connection) make wiser decisions.

In my implementations it would be up to each human to determine their own values, their own interests, and their own level of trust in AI. Some humans for example only care about what the crowd thinks and simply will tell the AI to give them the latest sentiment analysis on what each decision will be perceived like by the majority of the crowd. Other humans might be mostly concerned with their own survival, freedom, and happiness, and might direct the AI to help them decide what to do so as not to take unnecessary losses or excessive risks to their interests. Finally you might have some who trust the AI so much that they completely merge with it, and let the AI dictate morality completely.

AI offers a benefit of being a potential character witness as well. Also if a person was following the moral and legal advice of AI, how culpable will they be in court? I mean if the AI is smarter than everyone in the courtroom then it's a bit of a different kind of trial is it not? Amoral in human terms could be what we could say the justice system currently is.

The questions I can ask are, do you want to survive radical transparency? Do you think you have better odds of surviving it as an unenhanced human, or as a morally enhanced cyborg?

So as you can see, it all depends on how the AI is developed and the implementation. The AI is merely an exocortex to help us think better. Being able to think better we can make better decisions. With enhanced decision making capability we have enhanced capacity for morality. I see it as the only way to survive in a radically transparent world.

To make even what we consider small decisions today, will require in my opinion adopting much higher standards tomorrow as the world becomes more transparent. We will have to capture crowd sentiment on a regular basis using machine intelligence, and we will have to rely on AI to do this because manually mining crowd sentiment is too time consuming, too hard, and inefficient. Decisions don't wait, and so the only way to scale up the human decision makers is using machine intelligence.

Even if it is created by a collective of humans, there are still only a few that decide what code gets included and which does not. Those humans bias the design & functionality of the resulting AI and I contend we can't ever remove the human component of our creations, AI being one of them.

So decentralize it so that it no longer is left only to a few. Let everyone program their AI in the same way the personal computer empowered everyone. Personal AI which you program, which has your values, your morals. We can do this, so why not? Better to do this as it could potentially save lives (literally) because the path toward radical transparency will cost lives for sure, whether it be by "vigilante justice" similar to what we see in some countries which have death squads, or by suicides.

It's not the devs who dictate what pieces of code get into production, it is their managers, those at the top of the Blockstream power pyramid who call the shots. Contributions by devs who disagree will not be included. Decisions about what is and what is not included in the production software are not up to the developer collective, only the Blockstream Bosses.

So you are talking about how development is centralized? That is a problem but we have all the tools to begin decentralizing that. Why not? I see no other way forward which can preserve life and limit unnecessary suffering. The path Dan suggests would lead to unnecessary suffering in the form of people being shunned, bullied, punished in some way for crimes or for being immoral, etc.

If you have a few hours to read and want to see a thorough treatment of this topic, read this: Neuralink and the Brain's Magical Future - Wait But Why
And I agree, what ever you do, don't make the AI god.

People who have done nothing wrong will get hurt and some may die. As Gandhi said, nonviolence requires a certain faith in the goodness of man, but so does faith in government or anarchy.

Interesting that you invoke Gandhi, who was at the same time an amazing diplomat, inspiring many revolutionary movements, and on the other a pretty terrible guy in his personal life, regarding his son whom he hated and disowned, eventually dying a drunk; his wife (I think the records are too fuzzy here but he wasn't good to here to be specific, that's for sure); and his niece or nieces whom he slept with naked in bed to test chastity (source but this is common knowledge).

However, he did this openly. Even those who defend him are forced to plead with us to basically ignore this weirdness and not let it taint his very important work:

In approaching this issue one must keep in mind that Gandhi was an eccentric character. For Gandhi, conquering carnal emotions was a way towards emancipation. His experiments with his adult neices were non-sexual and consensual in nature. We know of these experiments because Gandhi led a very open lifestyle, discussing his ventures with his followers. On this issue, Ramachandra Guha wrote the following:

“In the last year of his life, as communal riots erupted all over India, Gandhi thought it might have something to do with his own lack of moral purity. So he tested his celibacy afresh with two of his nieces.
The experiment was, admittedly, bizarre. Perhaps Gandhi used his authority to coerce the two young women into participating. Perhaps they were damaged by the experiment. Even so, against this one-off abuse of women’s rights one must set the Mahatma’s lifelong work for women’s emancipation. Gandhi campaigned against sati and child marriage. He urged women to shed the purdah and take to education. He encouraged women to participate in political movements in South Africa and India.”

In the end, it is probably best to not consider the personal lives of public people. Gandhi had his eccentricities, and if we consider every quirk and eccentricity of every leader in history, we will be left with no one in history to call a leader. Gandhi is an acclaimed moral authority, and judging him based on average human traits is redundant.

Particularly the last line is disgustingly apologetic, implying that he his above the moral code which the average human is subject. But regardless, the point is that Gandhi's transparency did not save these people from his negative influence and actions. Force and authority are not always predicated on the arbitration of information flow, it is also to do with force, psychological exploitation, and other forms of coercion.

However I will say it's very difficult to make proclamations of what a radically transparent society would look like because it's very far into science fiction. But we may all find out, and I think it will be much much worse. My position is still that in any domain, in any sphere of action, only what is relevant should be considered and therefore known.


I wonder if there are any situations in which it is possible to be radically transparent yet maintain privacy.

Read my post, there is. Nick Szabo called it the God protocols. My version is similar, basically instead of putting the crowd in the position of God, we encrypt all private data so no human being can read it, but AI can do data analysis on it, and output a result useful for all while preserving privacy. This is theoretically possible and it's called homomorphic encryption and in my opinion preserves more liberty than Dan's solution which has the potential to dissolve all individuality.

In Dan's transparent society we will have to rely on sentiment analysis to determine what food we can eat because we might upset animal rights activists if we don't. Every decision we make will have to be negotiated with the crowd, so are the decisions going to even remain our own? Do we need or want the crowd to judge everything about our lives? How would the crowd ever do this without being biased anyway?

In my opinion, this level of judgment shouldt be opt-in. If you want to seek approval or advice from the crowd you should be able to ask. At the same time, if the crowd is judging you by a global standard which you aren't even aware of, from your childhood, what kind of thinking and behavior will this promote when you become an adult?



I understand that you are saying transparency is superior to privacy, but shouldn’t people have the freedom to choose whether their transactions are public or private even if there are inherent risks in attempting to make data private?

According to the non aggression principal we wouldn't want to force anyone to do anything against their will. We want to create the environment where people will in the long term and in the majority of cases chose transparency over privacy on most matters.

We wouldn't want or expect transparency from political activist as this would put them in danger but we sure would want to push huge corporation and government toward more transparency. This is likely to happen if the value of cryptocurrencies continue to go up as the biggest fortune could end up all being on a publique blockchain.

I feel like institutions should be transparent and persons should have the ability to be private. I think in U.S. the shift of public institutions and businesses to be treated as persons, (more privacy, leniency, etc.) is what has crippled the U.S. in recent decades

So is there ANY place for privacy in a free society? Should ALL of my transactions be public knowledge and my personal details be radically transparent?

@Dan - i feel like you will be correct, eventually, but this is a classic example of NOW vs EVENTUALLY.

When the government isn't in such control, and we are able to protect ourselves from them, then yes radical transparency will work. For now, this would not have kept Ross out of jail because the moral code is still widely established by the government. While enforcement of this code is also done thru the public's ostracisation, meaning that Ross could have potentially taken a hit to his reputation for selling drugs, he would not have gone to jail by the gov enforcers.

I appreciate your thoughts on this, but it's (imo) too much theory and we need bridges between now and then.

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