Does Freedom Require Radical Transparency or Radical Privacy?

in eos •  last month



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.

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@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.

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Transparency, protect privacy, let nothing privacy. Wisest.

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

As usual, you've written a very thought-provoking essay. I feel that you are always about 5 steps ahead of everyone, and it's necessary to think through each point you've laid out. I read about someone who was held up at gunpoint for their Ethereum funds, so is there a possibility that too much transparency is not ideal?

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Being held at gunpoint will not work if attacker can only transfer money to their public account.

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You're assuming that the attacker cares that everyone knows that they have your money. Governments certainly don't care. In fact, publicizing how easily they crushed you and seized your money will probably make it easy to extort money from other victims in the future.

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That would only work if our public account is implemented in our hand or head for example... does it remind you something?

And that no man might buy or sell, except he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

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Yes very very large probability I am a lot of transparency is not ideal. @stellabelle
I have experienced such a situation. @dan
Cheers ---_

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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"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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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"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.

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Those who rule over governments have their secrets.

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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.

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

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

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

https://steemit.com/@checkthisout/transfers

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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 :-)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

https://steemit.com/politics/@dana-edwards/total-transparancy-benefits-the-top-of-the-pyramid-and-may-not-actually-work-as-intended-there-are-costs

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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 don't know shit about politics, but this seems to be more of a philosophical rant, so I'll reply anyway. Feel free to dismiss me out of hand.

TL;DR version: we sure do need more government transparency, we don't need to give up our personal privacy, and the blockchain is just a means of communicating, not a means of governing.

And now the stuff most will likely skip:

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.

This is a gross over simplification. As a society we wish to be private in our private dealings, but to be able to observe others well enough to determine if they are threatening us in some way.

I don't want to know everything about everyone. I just want to know when others are trying to threaten me or otherwise violate my rights.

I don't want to remember everything about everyone else. I hope that the people who interact with someone that is trying to violate my rights will remember enough about them to stand witness.

Knowledge is power,
People say this a lot, but I think the ability to fulfill a desire is power. Having the knowledge to do so certainly helps, but it's not the weakest precondition to satisfy the condition. You need knowledge of the desire, but without the ability to actually satisfy that desire, you have no power.

especially against someone without equal access to knowledge.
This is leverage, this is not power, this is an advantage.

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.

Your conclusion is predicated on false assumptions. Or perhaps me, and many others, are not in the group you have defined as we.

This self-inflicted hypocrisy is reflected in our governments which seek to maximize their knowledge about everyone while keeping everyone else in the dark.

Governments are comprised of people, people are fallible, therefore governments are fallible. One such failing is laziness. Surveillance is a side effect of this indolence. It has proven to be easier and less error prone to increase surveillance. I'll give you this one, though: everyone is willingly sacrificing their privacy. All of us, for one reason or another, right now. The most common reason is that we aren't willing to pay the costs of keeping it or to sacrifice the convenience of giving it up.

We are taught to distrust our neighbor but to trust a power hungry bureaucracy.

This is not the case. My neighbors and I trust each other until we commit some act that casts doubt on that trust, then we either work to regain it or we keep our distance to mitigate personal risk.

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.

This is one of the functions of government, to ensure safety. We demand that we are kept safe, otherwise there is no point in having a government. The power we give them. This is key. We give them that power, or someone in our lineage before us did, and we haven't fought to take it back or keep them in check. There is a heavy cost to do so, and most are not willing to pay it.

Governments use their knowledge of every detail

False predicate. Governments dont have knowledge of every detail.

of our lives to track us, tax us, and intimidate us into complying with their arbitrary and abusive laws.

I'll need to ask for clarification here on which governments and which laws? The laws in place are far from arbitrary where I live. Many are antiquated, some are abusive, and we are actively working to remove the abusive ones. But there are costs, and not many are willing to pay the costs to fix them.

It is only natural that peaceful freedom loving individuals would like to have complete privacy from the government.

I don't want privacy from the government, I want privacy from the world. And I certainly don't want complete privacy as that would make it too difficult to interact with others.

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.

This is not true for all governments.

Simultaneously they are working to make privacy from each other mandatory.

What?

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

Stop. You can't have it both ways. And if you know nothing of your fellow man it's because you are not interacting with them. It has nothing to do with the government failing to provide you information about them.

Our government tells us about the alleged wrong-doings because of transparency laws. I'm not sure which governments you are referencing here.

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

Both of these things are resistance.

We resist by attempting to build stronger privacy solutions for ourselves and compel greater transparency on others.

You literally just said these things were the very problem we face.

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.

Finally, now we are getting somewhere! Yes, we need greater transparency in government. We already have quite a bit, but various presidencies leveraged the fear of the people to gain an advantage that allowed them less restricted access to people's private and public lives with less proof than was necessary in the past to build a case. Essentially due process was suspended, arguably due to corruption or indolence, it doesn't matter, the effect is the same. Additional requirements for transparency would be a great start to bring light on these abuses.

If others already know everything,

Which they don't so what follows is predicated on a false assumption.

then our transparency will give them no additional benefit.

Just because it may not appear to give someone an advantage doesn't mean it should no longer be protected.

What transparency will do is increase the knowledge of everyone else and therefore reduce information asymmetry while enabling communities to self police without violence.

You don't need to force more people to give up additional privacy for self policing. You just need to encourage more interactions with neighbors. You don't need to wave a magic wand to start doing things without violence, you just need to not use violence.

Or, are you talking about the police force themselves? Body cameras and laws (at least in the US) that protect filming of public officials during the execution of their duties are already bringing problems like that to light. No need to give up your personal privacy for that.

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).

Don't confuse the groups that are collecting data on us. You have law enforcement and other branches that may surveil us, but they have limited capacity in how they can do this. They have far greater power than they need to do this, and we absolutely need to cut back on it by fixing the suspended due process and making similar fixes.

What I see as a bigger problem is that people are freely giving up their information so that companies can better sell them goods and services. And because this information is valuable, it's bought and sold. Maybe what we need instead is a law to prevent companies from being able to sell our data to each other without our permission. They're not governments, so they're free to collect all sorts of data based on our interactions with them, and then they are free to resell this data to other companies. I want a tax to be put in place where if I have allowed a company to sell my data, then they should pay me. And when the next company sells or uses that data, they should pay me, too.

Better yet, maybe data collected on me should automatically be copyrighted by me? Then sharing that data would be a violation of copyright. Where do I get my check?

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.

A machine that complicated should be registered with person status. It is illegal for the government to collect data on a US person without the consent of that person or evidence that that person is conducting some illegal activity.

It is comforting to pretend that we are blending in with the crowd...

Absolutely, and the crowd that can be cataloged means we're not hidden when we blend in.

the cost of keeping a secret is becoming more expensive than simply making it public from the start.

Doesn't mean that it should be public from the start.

This freedom would come at the price of empowering bad actors to steal, extort, and hold people ransom.

No, it would empower payments. Out of band data would still be available for correlation and prosecution.

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

You mean "government secrecy" and it's not the enemy of truth, but it can be a tool by the lazy so they don't have to follow due process or be accountable for their actions in front of the public.

You absolutely need to publicly acknowledge bad deeds, otherwise disappearing people for committing them will make others nervous.

My reply is getting too long, so I'm going to skip and paraphrase.

You reference self-government a lot. We don't need to change anything to self govern. We just need to interact with our neighbors. The government we have (at least in the US) is the result of people sitting down and deciding on a decent set of principals. Then a few centuries of people trying to get leverage over others for financial reasons resulting in part from indolence or a refusal to adjust to changing society. New laws are tacked on, old ones are easier to just not enforce than to repeal, and personal liberties are further and further shrunk due to increasing costs.

I generally agree that greater transparency is needed with regard to the government. I disagree that we need to give up our personal privacy.

I don't know how I feel about the closing statement... the block chain is a funny metaphor for the every increasing set of laws an bureaucracy where more and more rules are piled on, just like more and more content is publish to the block, so perhaps it would reach a point where it collapses in on its own weight. I like the block chain for currency. It seems to be working okay for social media. I don't think it's the solution for everything, though.

And finally, the blockchain is not the solution to government, it's a means of communicating stuff, but it's only transparent in the details that it publishes.

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?

References

  1. http://nakamotoinstitute.org/the-god-protocols/
  2. https://steemit.com/politics/@dana-edwards/total-transparancy-benefits-the-top-of-the-pyramid-and-may-not-actually-work-as-intended-there-are-costs
  3. https://steemit.com/steem/@dana-edwards/the-concept-of-saving-face-western-eqivalent-is-preserving-honor-is-a-key-regulator-of-human-social-intercourse
  4. https://enigma.co/

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?

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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.

What I fear the most at the moment: the use of machine learning. Large companies use Big Data and computing power to understand their users and trick them into doing something by tweaking the content shown. We need platforms where the algorithms that determine what you see are public.

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Problem is only a few people can make sense of an algo. Most of us have no clue even if it was shown.

Interesting article. I would suggest that if one accepts the basic, unrestrained nature of humankind as non-good, transparency has the effect of making people into targets because of their possession, actions, or beliefs.

There's always a reaction to any event - nothing moves in a straight line. I believe we are not far from seeing mass amounts of disinformation intentionally being injected into the public realm, thereby greatly diminishing the value of covertly or surreptitiously collected information.

The founders in the U.S. were so insightful in regards to the 4th Amendment. It demonstrated an understanding of the nature of people and in particular governments.

A wonderfully written and engaging post, my friend but I have to disagree with you strongly. I must admit to reading your words with a certain suspicion since you must admit that you stand to gain personally from the future you propose. I have to keep this in mind.

It certainly sounds good on the surface but the technology that you say will set us free could, in my view, be used to further enslave us. I believe that blockchain technology and government are more synonymous than most can see and given time, I feel this will become more evident.

I sincerely hope I am wrong because you are most definitely right when you speak of the crimes and abuses of power by government, from which up until now, we have been afforded a small measure of secrecy in our transactions by having the ability to carry them out in untraceable, unrecorded cash which, under your proposal would surely be a thing of the past.

A very interesting post, despite my disagreement with your point of view.

Hope your day is going well.

I think transparency should be a matter of power. The more power you have, the more transparent your life (surrounding said power) should be. With laypeople, power isn't a thing and thus transparency shouldn't be a thing. Laypeople must operate on trust and their own intuition, while using justice to discern punishments for crimes committed.

You make a compelling argument, trust is the only way we can really progress as a species and get past all the drama of the past. Transparacy could potentially create trust but only if that transparacy has been voluntarily agreed upon. When I first came to understand what blockchain was all about (fairly recently) and how some see it as a way to have trustless transactions....that didn't seem like a very positive direction to me.

The reason we fear transparacy though is because it has been forced upon us and very one sided. The masses have been coerced into transpracy through social media, mobile devices, and a variety of other surviellence technology. Meanwhile, for all we know, those in power are less transparent than they have ever been with their control over social media and news.

Another reason to fear transparency is that with the technology we have now, once it's out there, it's out there. If we grow up in a system with values that we disagree with, we are still subject to it's judgement. Values and individuals also change and we can have full access to the information but that doesn't mean we fully graps the context. I'm not the same person I was 15 years ago and so I don't want people making judgements that could affect my life by reading my conversations from back then, for example.

This is not to say I disagre with anything you say. You state it very well by saying that this is similar to facing aggression with peaceful resistance.

I have tried to remain somewhat anonymous on steemit because it allows me to feel safer expressing my true opinions, opinions that could land me in a lot of trouble otherwise, and have in the past. I would like to come out and be transparent, but it's very difficult when the world stll lacks empathy.

Perhaps I am just in denial and the privacy is already gone....

If I do share my identity on here, I will have you to thanks in part @dan

@dan first I would like to say thanks for bringing this thought to my attention

If governments already know everything, then 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.

Next, I do believe our personal privacy is important. Those of us born in a time before all the technology knows this. Privacy comes with a price though and many are not willing or at least do a trade on it or other advantages, such as a facebook account. I don't have one but see the benefits people derive such as keeping in touch with others.

In Steemit there is privacy and not all the transparency in some areas IMHO. Such as the accounts linked to one person and many times that individual has lots of power in the form of funds. Their right, since they do have a right to that privacy. So in here is not an equal playing field. I am only pointing this out because that is one place there is not transparency and not looking to offend anyone.

Very good article. But problems remain in the physical world. The blockchain will not stop powerful people from killing you if you are a threat to them. Your article dealt with the virtual world. But what about the physical world? With automation, the middle class will loose more influence. With Neural Networks, IoT, surveillance, and robotics, only those with the technological resources will be able to wage violence.

·

Dan has already written extensively on many of these subjects. I tried to resumed some of his most important idea in a post. Most of this post are Dan's quotes and all of them are sourced.

"People don’t choose violence because they want the violent solution, the choose it because they don’t see any other way." [1] - @dantheman

https://steemit.com/liberty/@teamsteem/thank-you-dan-larimer-you-are-a-great-mentor

They worshiped the dragon who had given authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can wage war against it?” - Revelation 13:4

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@Stan, I've read this a few times, though perhaps it's too early in the day for me to fully grasp its meaning. I would appreciate your interpretation of this verse as it applies to the article above! Thanks.

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High regards @stan...
Indeed! The REAL Beast is dying ; )

Imgur

Wow, what an amazing post, I'm definitely going to follow you.

Looking forward to the end of the nation state in my lifetime.

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Simultaneously the start of the liberated state ;D

Privacy for the individual, transparency for the Government.

Governance IS the problem. "Transparency" can absolutely lead to totalitarianism and in fact IS what led to it in Nazi Germany and China. Privacy does not equal secrecy. They are completely different concepts. I appreciate you wanting to discuss this difficult subject but definitely do not agree with your conclusion. Humans have a unique desire for privacy, solitude and self-knowing. Being one big brain linked to everyone and everything is not the way to improve humanity. Humanity does not need to be improved and forcing people to change through a "transparency" requirement is just as dangerous as its true opposite, secrecy. Privacy is not secrecy. The more I read about the blockchain being the answer to everything wrong with the world, the more I just want to shut my computer off and never turn it on again.

The problem with oppressive governments (are there any another kind?) is that they can and will use a transparent blockchain to attack their enemies.

To them an enemy is anyone who threatens their positions of power. They can instruct the exchanges to not accept transactions from certain accounts or as you pointed out use brute force to compel you to give up your account.

It seems to me that a transparent blockchain will empower governments to go after anyone that opposes them.

So the question is...who is willing to be the a martyr?

·

I know some huckleberry's.

Each person must decide on their own, how bad does it have to get before I too throw rocks at cops?

Your post is very actual as France is demanding for crypto regulation at the g20 and identification of crypto users.
At first I was really concerned by this. Reading your post has given to me reasons to believe that this might be for a greater good. Thank you @dan for bringing this manifest to us. We have to stop thinking in the way we did in the old society. Blockchains will destroy it to rebuild a society which is more of a sum of individuals!

"In matters of style, go with the flow; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." - Thomas Jefferson

i dont have knowledge of crypto but i love steemit... thankyou for creating awesome platform for us @dan

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.

I like this line! I just wrote about a related topic earlier. Thank you for your post.

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.

Here I slightly disagree. We know of our fellow human whatever we wish to know of him/her, shared in a spirit of love, vulnerability, cooperation and camaraderie. We don't need to know everything. We should not aim to that.

It is also tricky, you see. For I am @karnal, but who is @karnal but some random fragment of a bigger mind, created for the express purpose of contributing (in thoughts, words, infrastructure and code) to the growing ecosystem of blockchain?

No one in real life knows who the bigger mind behind @karnal is.

That is by design.

The Internet makes this possible, and it is a beautiful thing.

Which is why I so often defend anonymity and privacy in my writings.

It can be used for wrong, no doubt. But it can also be used for good.

In real life, lived on my own terms, I don't wish to engage in such discussions. There are places to see, meditations to be made, music to be played, women to be loved, and a gazillion other things, I don't want the burden of having to defend (constantly) such positions to get in the way.

I don't want to endanger my loved ones when inevitably someone I know from this space potentially gets put on a list for thought crime.

Sorry, that got a bit offtopic --

Forget what the government tells or not tells us about our fellow humans. The ego is an illusion, but a necessary one.

The point: by forcing everyone to forfeit anonymity and privacy, we are forcing the human system to grow a thicker ego, and assume a certain defined identity.

The human mind is infinite. Literally infinite.

Whatever systems we place on the biological, material world that we have by necessity of our nature to inhabit, they ought to honor this principle.

And mass-surveillance of our (wrong-)thoughts and (wrong-)purchases is not it.

We are so much more than our ego. By being controlled to this extent, we are forced to wear the mask that someone else has chosen for us.

This is throwing away the greatest power we all possess.

The power to enjoy this brief life and explore the very essence of what it means to be human.

At the center of that is our mind, our consciousness.

In a very real sense, privacy is the enemy of truth.

See above. I would just add, that in a very strict and narrow and not always applicable sense, it is.
This is the problem with words. There are so many possible angles to interpret them from.

What is truth? If you take what I said in the above paragraph to be the truth, then privacy could be both the enemy and the greatest friend.

Privacy from unwanted others, who seek power over you, to know you even though you wish them not to know who, but are then given no choice, is a great liberator.

I'll skip from commenting on individual paragraphs from your section Two ways to Fight for Freedom, partly due to lack of time, partly because lack of interest.

...

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.

Monero.

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.

Tor.

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.

Which is why granting the government this power in the first place was a really dumb idea.

Everything should not be recorded. Especially paid for by the citizenry, that's just the icing on the cake!

If we invented a technology that was able to keep all of our financial transactions private

Yeah I think they invented it several thousand years ago. It's called cash.

This freedom would come at the price of empowering bad actors to steal, extort, and hold people ransom.

Indeed. Like I wrote somewhere in my initial paragraphs, this is something that ought to be fought, for that is one of the jobs most of us agree the government should have.

However, and to reiterate, where we are headed now is to a place where if you are using privacy-enhancing technologies then you're automatically suspect, if your transactions are outside of the (fully booby-trapped) legacy banking system, or if they are above a certain arbitrary amount, then you are made suspect, and so on.

Then it does indeed become all about power.

And it does not end well for you or me.

It would decrease the default level of trust in every business transaction and increase the cost of due diligence.

This I believe is a bias from your place of upbringing (American right?).

In many, many parts of the world, it's perfectly normal to pay for a house with cash. It's perfectly normal to pay employees in cash.

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.

Strongly disagree with this conclusion - but you probably already could infer that :)

The world we have now is a world where most citizens do not know about the financial status of other citizens, except from what can be inferred from possessions, and slightly more interpretative things like demeanor, confidence, attidude, and so on.

You vastly underestimate the emotion of greed and jealousy. You do this because you probably do not feel it all that much (even before your colossal efforts in this space made you rich). But let me tell you, it is a thing.

Anyway, back to my point, as it stands now mostly anyone knows nothing about the financial status about mostly anyone, and I don't see how this disempowers anyone else.

It is, if you ask me, just as it should be. None of their business.

Will there be people who take advantage of being paid legit business-funded income and not pay tax on it? No doubt, as there are murderers, rapists, extortioners and so on in this world.

And they all must be put to justice. But not by subjecting everyone else to the all-seing eye of the state through a system of fishnet mass-surveillance.

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.

In the everything-transparent scenario we would be dependent on the government as well, for as you have repeatedly stated in past writings, the government has, by common agreement, a monopoly on violence.

Corrupt governments will always find a way to launder and accept bribes. You just have to look at recent years for proof of this.

In mostly all cases that I can remember recently, involving big banks and big government corruption, what happened?

Yeah, nothing.

The argument you are making here applies equally well (indeed, it is the same thing, under different words) to encrypted communication technologies.

What if bad actors use it to plot horrible terrorist attacks? What if they conspire to enact mass psychological warfare on unsuspecting, unprepared populations?

The technology itself is not to blame. You cannot create a secure platform for digital communication that does not suffer from this "problem".

Take it a step further, it is the same with thought. For indeed, in a very strange and somewhat mystical way, it is the same thing.

You can't stop people from having bad thoughts, you can perhaps stop them from commiting bad actions (the result of the thoughts) - some of the time.

Hopefully you can see that if we developed the technology to monitor everyone's thoughts even before they materialize into actions (good or bad, and this without forgetting that good and bad are labels we apply, which is not to say that at some level this distinction doesn't really exist)

We must keep the liberty to speak our minds to only those we intend.

We must keep the liberty to spend money (direct stored energy put there by past thoughts towards some imagined application) without the all-seeing-eye of the state.

For but one example, take the wretched War on Drugs™ that we are (still!!!) living under.
The presumption of the state to control which states of mind we can or cannot achieve with chemical aid.

Preposterous.

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

A gay man in a Muslim country might contest that.

... jumping to the section The Blockchain revolution ...

Their very foundation is a completely transparent public record of all financial transactions.

vs

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.

I hope you can see the glaring contradiction here.

Everything is transparent, so your government knows you just transfered money out, so you're getting a knock on the door pretty soon.

It's the law, son.

If we can successfully take away the printing press, then we will end major wars.

That would also put an end to physical cash. Perhaps we ought to think this one over.

Governments are beginning to attack cryptocurrency on the basis of Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering laws.

Naturally.

If you understand their motivation, this action should not be a surprise.

When "Money Laundering" is defined as "any transaction we can't tie to an identity", well, then it's easy to end up in such messes..

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.

The problem is that the governments are united through supra-national organizations, this is something I've been meaning to write about.

We (the people (from many different countries)) don't really have a properly organized system to fight back; we're scattered, and it has nothing to do with anything but ourselves. We don't know who the real enemies of freedom are;

Perhaps we ought to start there; identify and catalog, as they do with us, who proposes such laws, who constantly fear-mongers with terrorism and money laundering, and start kicking these people out.

That is the power granted to us by democracy.

It was already hard to make use of it in a national context, but now we are faced with big-government cooperation on an unprecedented scale, and that they seem to care mostly about is their own bottom-line.

Our best defense is to go on the offense and introduce voluntary mutual transparency so radical that even organized crime cannot hide.

Our best defense is to identify and remove those who would seek to control every facet of human life under the guise of protecting us.

You provide very solid arguments for your thesis. I actually physically clapped at one point while reading this!

The issue of secrecy vs absolute transparency has been brought to the fore to me recently by the movie (based on the book) The Circle. Some of its one-liners stuck with me, like "secrets are lies".

Thinking back to how people used to live in a state of nature, everything was open and scrutinizable. People kept checks, and do so even now in the form of gossip. I think having some access to what others are doing might be a way in which to make sure nothing bad is brewing under the veil of secrecy.

Overall, you really build a strong argument with this post, the kind that hits on a weak spot as, as a philosopher, I uphold truth and honesty and transparency as some of the core human values.

You're probably describing an inevitable future.

One gripe I would have with this system, though it might seem a strange one, is it would render bad actors (or just bad people) invisible, because doing what they would normally do would give them no reward, so they just won't do it. So, people who would otherwise cheat, steal, betray, subjugate, etc., will wear their "nice" mask and thrive along with everyone else. Sometimes the freedom to do harm might serve as bait to ferret out the baddies.

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Pretty much bullshit. In what state of nature was everything open ever? We are in the most open time ever. People speak different languages in different countries, people in the past could go to a new town and be a complete stranger. Now that everything is connected, all languages translatable on the fly, now we have people talking as if this is natural?

In nature brains forget over time. A blockchain never forgets and remembers everything. So now forgetting is impossible when in the past remembering was impossible. Now there is more data collected about all of us than ever, yet people are more divided than ever, and we aren't more free just because more stuff about us is searchable on Google, nor are we more trusted.

The issue isn't actually the data, or big data, or the collection, it's the human element. The human element cannot analyze the data without bias and cannot make use of the data. The solution in my opinion is to put AI in the position of analyst of all of our data, and if we agree to give that AI all of our secrets, then that AI can give us recommendations back. No human being should be able to access our secrets, our thoughts, our data, without our permission, but AI not being human, is in my opinion better than the crowd.

"Good" and "bad" people can be narrowed down, normal and abnormal. Do we want to encourage normalcy to the maximum degree? Even if this is the goal, the harsh way of using coordinated permanent shunning by the crowd is in my opinion exceptionally cruel for no apparent gain when you can use AI which is in the same position as the God, which actually can be moral (unlike the crowd of humans), and which can actually be unbiased (unlike the crowd of humans). An AI theoretically can know all of our secrets and never exploit it, and only use it to help us become better individually. People cannot do this.

One gripe I would have with this system, though it might seem a strange one, is it would render bad actors (or just bad people) invisible, because doing what they would normally do would give them no reward, so they just won't do it. So, people who would otherwise cheat, steal, betray, subjugate, etc., will wear their "nice" mask and thrive along with everyone else. Sometimes the freedom to do harm might serve as bait to ferret out the baddies.

There are no "baddies". So the idea of baiting and ferreting them out, if that is the only motivation behind transparency then that in my opinion is evil. Bad is merely your own subjective definition. If you go by the crowd definition then anything abnormal is bad (statistically represented as deviance). So the idea that people will wear a mask or Face? Of course, just as people do right now, as that is really the only thing separating good and bad, the good wear the mask better, appear more normal, know what behaviors are the most normal and least normal and simply do them.

Transparency favors those who can appear the most normal as there is no globally recognized good and bad.

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Well you raise a lot of points there, most of which can't be replied to in a succinct way. But at least one point can be dispensed with quickly:

In what state of nature was everything open ever?

If you know your anthropology, you know the answer is "every single state of nature ever". Not much you can hide from the 50 or so other people who comprise your group. Even in my modern lifetime, because I'm from Cyprus I've experienced the "small village" structure where basically everyone knows everything about everyone. There's little else to talk about, so people talk about other people. That's how our intelligence evolved. It's not like we needed to communicate with other animals. We needed to know what others were doing, so that we could safeguard our interests, and make sure no one is one-upping us, much like Dan's post says.

The other subjects are really huge to go into. But I'll make a brief comment on subjectivism. In philosophy we sometimes refer to it as student relativism, because it's an affliction most first-year students have. But they're quickly cured of it within a year usually.

I've read people who claim to be subjectivists in books, but in real life I've never met a philosopher who claimed to be one.

But I do meet many people from other disciplines, smart people, e.g. scientists, who defend subjectivism.

I think that's just because they haven't really thought about it. Among people who have thought about it, you'll rarely find it, just like you'll never find scientists who don't believe in evolution, save a few coo-coo ones.

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In a group of 50 then you have a point but people didn't stay in that same group of 50 for their entire life. Tribes would form and dissipate. Some tribes were nomadic and would move while others not so much. Dunbar's number is the hard limit of nature determining how many relationships we can maintain without help. Even in the past, to say people didn't keep secrets is not honest, as even when people were naked, if they wanted to keep something secret they simply did not speak about it and it would be secret.

We didn't have sensors everywhere. We didn't have Google. We didn't have social network platforms allowing people to go beyond Dunbar's number. We didn't have the "global village" effect, because when you moved across town you literally could start over back then, unlike today. People also being human tend to be forgetful, and what you did wrong last year or the year before will eventually be lost in time, but not today.

I've read people who claim to be subjectivists in books, but in real life I've never met a philosopher who claimed to be one.

There is no objective right and wrong. There is right for me and right for you, wrong for me and wrong for you, based on what each of us determine we value. We don't necessarily value the same things so we can never have an objective sense of right and wrong. We also don't have the same to lose, so even if we had the same sense of right and wrong, we don't share the same risks in our decisions.

That's how our intelligence evolved. It's not like we needed to communicate with other animals. We needed to know what others were doing, so that we could safeguard our interests, and make sure no one is one-upping us, much like Dan's post says.

I need to know only enough to protect myself. I don't nor does my brain have the capacity to know everything about anyone. The idea of sizing a person up, or determining if someone is a threat, is legitimate, but it's not about radical transparency because there really are only a few specific questions that need to be answered in order to do a risk assessment, and not an analysis of someone's entire life.

Even if we do need that kind of analysis, such as for a background check, why would you assume human beings are capable of doing it fairly, without bias, and without abuse? Do you have faith in the crowd not to misuse the information they discover to ruin lives, to damage people psychologically?

I think that's just because they haven't really thought about it. Among people who have thought about it, you'll rarely find it, just like you'll never find scientists who don't believe in evolution, save a few coo-coo ones.

We aren't debating evolution. We are debating the fact that when you have total transparency you create merely another hierarchy. We are debating the fact that in my opinion there is no objective right and wrong, because if there were then everyone would know exactly what to do to have their behavior always match up to the expectations of public sentiment. The fact is, almost no one is able to do this, and no one can do it without help. Politicians rely on data scientists, polls and other tools to figure out which behaviors to adopt, what to say to maintain their public image, etc, and what you and others propose is to make everyone live like these politicians.

No I do not promote student relativism. The ethics I believe in is called consequentialism where the individual has the goal of protecting themselves from the least desirable consequences while pursuing the most desirable consequences at all times. Because values are subjective rather than universal it is not possible for me to tell you what you should do without knowing what consequence you are seeking to produce.

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there is no objective right and wrong, because if there were then everyone would know exactly what to do

That's like saying that if evolution were true (which it is), or if God didn't exist (which he doesn't), or if free will didn't exist (which it doesn't), then everyone would know it.

Objective ethics can exist without consensus.

Consequentialism fails because you can never predict consequences long-term. You might as well flip a coin.

You're right in placing values center stage.

A lion is hungry and sees me as a meal, I see it as a danger to me. Who is right? Should I be eaten or should I kill it in self-defense? Your opinion is that our values are subjective. Neither me nor the lion is right or wrong.

My opinion ... well, let me phrase it as a question: Does anything in the universe matter without consciousness? Imagine a great painting, with no one to look at it. Imagine whatever you want, great or not great. Does it matter whether that thing exists, if there's no consciousness in the universe to perceive it? Does it matter whether or not the universe itself exists?

I'm assuming you answered "no, without consciousness nothing else matters".

That's the first step (at least, according to me!) toward grounding ethics in reality (bridging Hume's is-ought chasm): consciousness is the only thing that matters, and the only thing that can give value to anything else.

And, using some further arguments, the next step is: "greater consciousness has greater value than lower consciousness".

This is the reason Shakespeare or Nietzsche or whatever are (IMO) superior individuals. Cos they're deeper, smarter, possess both a greater capacity to feel and experience etc., overall they are literally more conscious. We all got here cos every time someone who possessed greater consciousness managed to survive, for some reason. We went from not-conscious to quite-conscious, from bacteria to us. (I'm not saying this is doomed to happen, or that there's any teleology in nature. There isn't. We're just lucky.)

Long story short, my values trump those of the lion's! And the lion, if it had greater consciousness, would agree. It just doesn't know any better. The only reason anything matters (that's a normative statement, i.e. moral, i.e. ethical) is because there's consciousness to perceive it. Greater consciousness = greater meaning = greater value.

I'm typing all this at 4 in the A.M.!

The only trouble with all I've just said, is consciousness is probably the most mysterious thing in existence. We sure don't have a way of measuring it. I'm pretty certain I'm more conscious than a cat, but I've no way of definitively or scientifically proving this atm.

I know I deviate from the main topic, which is transparency. Everything Dan says, and what I've said, is up to the people. It's not like our plan is to force anyone to do anything. I personally think this will happen anyway, regardless of what I think is right or wrong. Historically we see greater tolerance, not less, so yes I do have "faith" that people "are capable of doing it fairly, without bias, and without abuse".

When everyone's dirty laundry becomes public, I believe everyone will feel more normal and less dirty.

People are all over the social media plastering their personal data everywhere because they're so desperate to be listened to. They pay therapists crazy amounts of money to be heard. I don't think people care so much about privacy. Mostly they care about belonging. If they thought they would sell, they'd all be peddling their autobiographies, with lurid details.

there really are only a few specific questions that need to be answered in order to do a risk assessment, and not an analysis of someone's entire life

I'm not necessarily talking about terrorism or anything of the sort, not do I think Dan was talking about that when he said "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, I'm talking about simple things like checking your partner's phone. Like using your superior tech skills to monitor their social accounts or whatever.

Why? Because you fear their secrets might "hurt" you. I'm not talking about your partner hatching a plan to kill you to inherit your money or bombing his mother-in-law's house whom he hates.

Everything in this world is competition and comparison, and people want to know everything about everyone else in order to make better Monopoly moves, in order to avoid ending up being the sucker in this game-theory world.

Anyway, this has gotten long. I scanned something about God protocols etc. that sounds interesting. The idea of having the AI/God make the checks. I think it's a good sci fi idea but I don't know how it would work realistically. And I can imagine things going wrong, similar to this.

I'll check that post of yours as soon as I find time, it sounds interesting.

Thanks for engaging!

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Consequentialism fails because you can never predict consequences long-term. You might as well flip a coin.

The universe is the same way. It's all probability at the quantum level. As for your opinion on evolution, it is pretty clear that evolution is a process that exists. As for your opinion on God, you have no way to prove or disprove that definitively, but you can come up with logical proofs disproving for example certain specific literal interpretations of what God is from the bible.

Objective ethics can exist without consensus.

There is no such thing as objective ethics as there are multiple perspectives, all with different values, all with different risks and opportunities. Objective ethics in my opinion is as much of a pipe dream as looking to find God in mathematics, I mean you can search for it, but it's ultimately a situation where everything you find at that level is a matter of interpretation rather than definitive. If we look at nature, there is no objectivity, in terms of the position of an atom, or really anything that happens, as it's all a matter of probability, and the same is true in my opinion of decision making.

This is the reason Shakespeare or Nietzsche or whatever are (IMO) superior individuals. Cos they're deeper, smarter, possess both a greater capacity to feel and experience etc., overall they are literally more conscious.

This is your subjective opinion. This is not scientific fact. There is no way to measure this to claim it is a fact. Show me how "consciousness" is something scientific, which can be measured? If you mean intelligence, then that perhaps in some forms can be measured, such as we know AI can beat humans at chess so the AI is clearly more intelligent at chess.

In other words, I'm talking about simple things like checking your partner's phone. Like using your superior tech skills to monitor their social accounts or whatever.

Why empower people to violate each other? It does not build trust. In addition, I don't want to have to do this. I would much prefer that the machines which protect me handle it all in the background, on both sides (in my interest and in theirs), and merely warn us of any true risks to our security, rather than to have to remove human decency, trust, intimacy, just to get temporary psychological gratification.

whom he hates.

Everything in this world is competition and comparison, and people want to know everything about everyone else in order to make better Monopoly moves, in order to avoid ending up being the sucker in this game-theory world.

First we don't all have the same identity. I see myself as more than a just a person. I do not have to directly analyze every person nor would I want to spend my life doing that. I would rather a match making algorithm handle all of that without exposing me to the unnecessary.

My goal and what I benefit most from is making the best possible decisions with the highest quality information. The best possible decision does not require that I personally analyze the highest quality information, as my algorithms, bots, AI, can do it for me, and recommend for me what the best decision according to my predefined interests should be.

When everyone's dirty laundry becomes public, I believe everyone will feel more normal and less dirty.

Or everyone could feel dirty and like a bad person, or sinner, etc. Christianity has done this before in history and even charged people a fee to be forgiven for their sins. I guess if everyone feels like a horrible person they can pay for it?

Anyway, this has gotten long. I scanned something about God protocols etc. that sounds interesting. The idea of having the AI/God make the checks. I think it's a good sci fi idea but I don't know how it would work realistically. And I can imagine things going wrong, similar to this.

It is based on homomorphic encryption and at least one team in the cryptospace is working on the technology which could lead to it. Look up the Enigma project: https://enigma.co/

They take the opposing view from Dan Larimer and Steemit.

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Finally got around to reading this!

This is your subjective opinion. This is not scientific fact. There is no way to measure this to claim it is a fact. Show me how "consciousness" is something scientific, which can be measured? If you mean intelligence, then that perhaps in some forms can be measured, such as we know AI can beat humans at chess so the AI is clearly more intelligent at chess.

I'm as scientific as it gets, but what you just said I would label as scientism, not science. Name me one thing you're more certain of than the fact that you are conscious. Somewhere along the way of objectifying our truths, we lost the forest for the trees and we can't see what's right in front of us. There's things we clearly know, and we do our best to use science to prove (or disprove) them. We know certain individuals are more conscious than others, because the theory of evolution would demand it (that is, if you believe bacteria are non-conscious). If there's people who are more hairy than others, there's gonna be people who are literally more conscious. It's just that people have been brainwashed to not think in this way (too reminiscent of eugenics or whatnot) so it sounds quite bizarre the first time you hear it. But it's quite simple: if it's a trait, some people have more of it than others. So my view would be "we know this is true, now how do we go about measuring it? how do we make an experiment to prove a hypothesis?" etc.

Enigma looks like an interesting project.

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You confuse science with philosophy. The belief in consciousness, free will, and other concepts, are philosophy. Science is something based on falsification, in other words we can detect brain patterns using neuroscience and this is physics but we cannot use these patterns to reach a conclusion on an ephemerial concept like consciousness.

If I think about it philosophically then the problem of other minds appears. I have no way to know anything exists outside of myself. My mind could be the only mind. That point of view is called solipsism and there is nothing in science which could prove this true or untrue.

Somewhere along the way of objectifying our truths, we lost the forest for the trees and we can't see what's right in front of us.

Philosophically speaking if your mind is the only mind that exists in this universe then what is consciousness? A measure of your own self awareness? You can study the logic of this but there is no way to deal with these questions using science so for that reason it's not science and is just philosophy.

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From an anthropological perspective, you have a point, it's hard to keep important details from your neighbours in a small community. However secrets are still possible and in fact this is what gossip is, sharing knowledge which is not intended to be public, or which is not socially "okay" to share. This is what people become interested in.

There is a wealth of ethnographic research on this but unforunitely I can't access it, those damn academic paywalls ($36 for 24 hour access of one paper!). I found a few abstracts that looked interesting, such as this one:

Private spaces are one locus of public faces. Those who do not wish to be judged by others may close off their homes from observation. Conversely, those who wish intensely to be judged by others may open up their homes to scrutiny by all. In this ethnography of a wealthy ‘marina’ community in Southern California, private homes, boats and automobiles are the sites of pride, shame and stigma on the part of owners and residents, in ways that reflect gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality and age as well as enduring, general cultural norms (pride goeth before a fall).

This is what it boils down to in a way. @dan is not suggesting that some of us allow our homes to be open, but that we all must, in order to defeat the government. Is core contention is relevant (government has privacy from public, public has no privacy from gov) but we literally cannot have complete openness. There is always more to know, more to gather, analyse.

I saw The Circle also and while I would have given it a very mixed review it is good to see movies at least attempting to grapple with this issue. The real interesting part of the movie is what comes next though, how can the world of radical transparency be imaged? The movie ends before we find out.

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Yeah the movie qua movie wasn't great. But through it I could sort of see the issues Dave Eggers probably was trying to raise in his book. I appreciated it philosophically if not cinematically.

There's an undercurrent of inevitability I think running beneath Dan's whole argument. He's sort of saying that, due to human nature, privacy is impossible: the question is who do we prefer being spied by.

Like I said in my reply to Dana above, I think people are quite willing, even eager, to spill the beans. They're desperate to get noticed. I think this, again, is due to our ancient nature as it evolved in small groups, where we were known and respected by every single member of the tribe. Whereas now, the tribe is global, and we're painfully aware that we don't exist for most people. Hence the appeal of fame. People don't wanna hide. They want to be their own Truman Show, with the whole world watching, being witness to every triviality of their life, Kim Kardashian Show-style.

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Thats only because people are getting rich doing it. I don't think people actually desire it as much as you make it out.

People are presented the upside of fame by the media but the downside is hidden until a person truly becomes famous and figures out their life is ruined.

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In nature brains forget over time. A blockchain never forgets and remembers everything.

Right, and they remember very imperfectly to begin with. Each remembering, each retelling is a alteration of the memory. Narrative is added, speculations on motivations, the addition of both relevant and spurious detail. Up to and including complete fabrication.

The human element cannot analyze the data without bias and cannot make use of the data.

I agree, I try to bring this up as much as possible in my discussions. Data is nothing without interpretation and even just looking at so-called "raw" data implies an interpretation. There's no such thing as "just the facts".

I don't know about your AI solution, it seems like the start of a great but terrifying SciFi movie. AI (so far) can only work at the bidding of people, and in all cases will only be able to work at least indirectly at their bidding. The bias you mention is in everything we touch, including AI.

"Good" and "bad" people can be narrowed down, normal and abnormal. Do we want to encourage normalcy to the maximum degree? [...] There are no "baddies". So the idea of baiting and ferreting them out, if that is the only motivation behind transparency then that in my opinion is evil. Bad is merely your own subjective definition.

While I agree with @alexander.alexis in the overreach of subjectivity here and in your closing statement, at the core you are right I think. I would go so far as to say that we are all baddies, rather than none of us are. Isn't this what the issue with Twitter-scale social shaming is all about? Anyone can fall foul of the mob for an indefensible throw away comment. Will we now all be judged by the entirety of the online population? For anything you possibly say I'm certain I can find thousands of people that would shout at you for it. In "the world as a village" this is how it works.

So ironically in the world of radical transparency secrets would be even more important.

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I agree, I try to bring this up as much as possible in my discussions. Data is nothing without interpretation and even just looking at so-called "raw" data implies an interpretation. There's no such thing as "just the facts".
I don't know about your AI solution, it seems like the start of a great but terrifying SciFi movie. AI (so far) can only work at the bidding of people, and in all cases will only be able to work at least indirectly at their bidding. The bias you mention is in everything we touch, including AI.

Quite true.

I would go so far as to say that we are all baddies, rather than none of us are.

And maybe this is why everyone being open to the scrutiny of everyone else would help, rather than hinder, our moral evolution. Fault-finding humans, like flea-picking apes! Grading each others' tests.

But you go on to talk about this intensely PC climate of ours. I see your point. But I would hope people would grow more intelligent than that!

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Humans can never be moral is my point so there will be no moral evolution which comes from punishment cults or "fault finding humans". Why?

Humans can never be perfect, will always make mistakes, will always be biased. This is why in my opinion transhumanism is the only path to improving the morality and ethics of the individual. We have to move beyond being mere humans who make human level decisions, and instead start to receive decision support from intelligent machines. In the same way humans notoriously aren't good at math, and have found that using calculators is a way to improve the precision of engineering beyond what could be achieved by using human computers.

Bias is in everything humans touch, but bias isn't equal in everything. Not everything is equally biased, and there are ways of reducing bias over time. The point is, you can reduce bias of an algorithm or of data over time (randomization of samples was used for instance), but this does not happen naturally just by giving humans lots of data to deal with.

Humans will need machines to help the debiasing process, and these machines will help debias the artificial intelligence iteratively over time. For the first generation there will be bias, but the point is that with each new generation the level of bias according to global criteria should be decreasing.

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I'm not a big believer is trans-humanism, even in the ancient styles, i.e. ascending to heaven to be perfect with God, or in the modern style of evolutions of the mind. So as far for the "moral evolution" I do not believe something fundamental to us much change for us to be moral. The systems we create to liberate and bind us, they are extra-human. However note that I do take this position as a sceptic. I just don't see the evidence for it. I'm happy to be wrong.

That always puts me at odds with many technologists. I would strongly oppose the fault-finding humans as flea-picking apes. There is something the old ways of thought had wisdom in: voluntary surrender, choice in choosing the inevitable. We see it today, sure, but corrupted. I do not think the systems we're creating free our minds, they manipulate us.

Or, to make a concrete point, social anxiety is not something we can dismiss. Total transparency would make basket cases of the majority of humanity.

Thank you for posting @dan.

Freedom and privacy stand or fall together is the principle.

Wishing you a Happy Christ-mas.

Cheers.

I'll have to split this post, apparently there's a 16KB limit in replies..

We would like to know everything about everyone else while simultaneously ensuring nobody knows anything about us.

Not really. I don't care to know that much about mostly anyone, and yes, I don't want others that I don't know and don't choose to share with to know all that much about me and my activities/thoughts/inclinations.

We want the right to demand others forget us, but we want to remember everything we can about everyone else.

I don't want that right. I prefer not sharing things that ought not to be shared in the first place, for they belong to the realm of the private and not the realm of the public.

I also don't care all that much about remembering everything about everyone else. Why would I do that ?! While I wish no one no harm, fact of the matter is there's perhaps 200 other people on this planet I actually truly care about; how could it be otherwise? And of all of those I truly care about, I don't wish to remember everything about any and everything they ever did/say/do, either. That seems.. obscene.

Knowledge is power, especially against someone without equal access to knowledge.

Applied knowledge is power.

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.

Power is a tricky word, often misused, I say.
The way you use it here, it seems that you mean and imply power over others.

Again using my personal example,

  1. I have no desire for power over others, but I do have a very strong desire for power over my own life. Those are two very different sorts of power.

  2. Following from point 1, I really have very little incentive to gather any information about anyone, for the purpose of acquiring power over them. A reasonable exception can be made about informing myself about those who would seek to oppress and control me and those I care about, but it's not that I want to have power over them, it's that I want them to stop having power over me, so that I can carry on doing what matters: living life on my own terms.

This self-inflicted hypocrisy is reflected in our governments which seek to maximize their knowledge about everyone while keeping everyone else in the dark.

I agree with the conclusion but I question the rest.

There is, I believe, very little doubt that indeed, modern western (surely others as well, and a few are especially prolific at this, but I'll keep this about western governments since 1. I live in the West and 2. we are supposed to be the bastion of freedom™) governments suffer from a serious illness:

  1. Any thought or opinion that cannot be surveilled by the state is automatically suspicious.

  2. Any monetary transaction that is outside of the all-seeing-eye of the state is automatically suspicious (money laundering or tax evasion)

Following from these two, we (should?!) see clearly in context why there is an ongoing war on privacy, and why there is an ongoing war on physical cash.

If we take it a step further we can also see why having bloody transparent blockchains is a fine idea (sarcasm).

It only makes their job easier.

I can't tell you the reasons why the state of government in modern society has decayed to this extent, but I can tell you with certainty that a world where you have to think twice about everything you say or type out loud and a world where you have to consider who might be monitoring all of your financial transactions is not a very livable world to live in.

Ultimately it is our desire for privacy and the right to be forgotten that turn us against one another.

Strongly disagree.

I don't think there is any single reason, but artificially multicultural societies, individualism taken a little bit too far, manufactured antagonism between the sexes and the logically resulting destruction of the nuclear family, and over-reliance on consuming are all reasons that, in my opinion, have much more to do with why people turn against each other.

We are taught to distrust our neighbor but to trust a power hungry bureaucracy.

Are we taught to distrust our neighbor though?

As for trusting a power hungry bureaucracy, I offer little to no insight or opinion, other than sadly concurring that this does indeed appear to be the case for the vast majority of people;

I have thought about this long and hard before, I suppose a major reason could be that people simply don't want to believe that the system they live in (and are forced to contribute to by threat of massive fines and imprisonment) is really that corrupt.

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.

Have to sadly agree once again, but at least to me it was always obvious that you cannot go around and demand that the government has full demigod power while reasonably expecting that your own life and those you care about will not, eventually, be negatively affected as well.

Clearly we have some genuinely bad people in this world, of the sort that perhaps you or me have a hard time even imagining.

This is rather unfortunate, and of course we want them removed from society.

Most people are good people, or society simply would not function.

But there are a few bad apples, of this there can be little doubt.

I have just always said that we have to be very careful with the power we give these big institutions, for one day their power will be too big for the citizenry to reasonably contain.

We cannot have an all-seing, omniscient, omnipresent government.

This will be the downfall of civilization.

There has to be a balance, and that balance is not "let's record everything just in case".

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.

This we have collectively allowed.

There are less than 100,000 of them.

There are billions of us.

It is only natural that peaceful freedom loving individuals would like to have complete privacy from the government.

Complete is unreasonable.

But by the same token, absolute lack of privacy in finance and communication under the guise of preventing money laundering and protecting us from terrorism ...

Look, I get it, legit money laundering (see what I did there?) and terrorism are undoubtfully bad things.

But you know what else is bad? The attempt to 100% eliminate such things.

The only way to do that is by maximally restricting freedom, and exposing everyone to the people in power.

By virtue of being in power, the power balance is already very tilted in their direction.

This should be a theorical advantage only, for we the citizenry have the power to remove those in power in democratic western societies.

But the modern world is a complicated, fast-paced and busy place.

We have created cognitive environments where most of us struggle to get by.

I don't think this is a bad thing™ per se, just something to consider.

The average person has little understanding of public policy, economics, statistics, finance, cryptography, technology, computer science, programming, networking, history, etc.

@dan, I have been reading you for a long time (as you know), so I know you are a highly intelligent individual, so I know that you know that you know just how little about everything you actually know.

I wish I had more answers, and I respect what you are doing here, which is why I am taking what so far has been more than half an hour of my time to put my thoughts in writing as well.

**What I want the reader to understand is that a world without privacy will be a nightmare to live in. We need space to breathe, we need to be with our own thoughts, we need to be unencumbered by the presence and judgment of others to create, explore, grow. **

Carrying on..

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.

I believe the privacy-from-government angle comes from the sort of people who are attracted to that sort of work.

They want the total control, they believe they can make society/the system work the way it should™, if only they have complete and total access to all the variables, and then, only then, it will what it should™.

This seems to me a grave mistake, for it will destroy the very thing it wanted to preserve.

Look, I get it. Tax evasion (assuming your government is legitimate and moral) is a bad thing.

It must be fought, no doubt, but it must also be allowed to exist. The only way to completely extinguish it is to control everything (FACTA, CRS)

Terrorism is a bad thing, no doubt, and security is precious, yes.

Anyone who can read my words here probably lives a decently peaceful life.

But the only way to truly make you 100% safe is monitoring, controlling, cataloging and recording everything.

And once this apparatus is in full-force, it will be abused, for this is human nature.

Knowledge is Power!

Secrecy is the enemy of truth and freedom and the tool of governments and oppression. Well Said Dan!

Steemit - thankyou U5dtq1a8QL4tDnQqpXQ7CXBYXRz46tm.gif

Transparency is the foundation necessary to secure the moral high ground.

Steven Seagal would be proud.

Excellent points made easier to understand with the use of metaphors + well known quotes.

Governance & Transparency are the Keys to understanding & our Privacy/Freedom.

Thank You @Dan... Well Done !!

ALSO... Congratulations on the recent price rise of EOS.

Excellent conformation of what You & the EOS Team are creating...

Hope You & the EOS Team are having Good Weekend !!

ReSTEEMed.....Cheers !!

simple. 100% transparent gov and gov officials, 100% privacy for the people

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Impossible

Cant follow your introduction. I dont want to know everything about everyone else. I think most people and therefore society agrees on equal rights for everyone, especially privacy.

Like Like Like I want to Up vote this 100 times! This is exactly what I have been trying to say to the people I know who are not yet using or part of any Crypto or Blockchain. We need transparency its a must. WE NEED STEEMIT!
Definitely reposting! Thanks @dan this made my week!

Some days I feel like an unconscious human submerged in a gelatinous liquid stuck on a massive wall among many thousands more feeding a foreign entity but oh so ever .....aware.........

Well said, I actually mentioned Aikido a couple of hours before I read your post here in response to a comment on my thread about being blocked by facebook. I was apparently blocked there for telling people to leave facebook and come to Steemit - plus also for posting about a mostly unheard of NSA whistleblower called Diane Roark - who is higher ranked than Snowden was.

I have studied state/corporate control of information and life itself for most of my life and concluded similar to you in numerous aspects - on my own social network I have a page about privacy which states the same as you here, namely that if you aren't comfortable with everyone in the world seeing what you post, then don't post it to the internet.

I FEEL that under all of this is a desire to control life (and even in some cases to be controlled). Control is a very interesting topic, since we are regularly conditioned (controlled) to think that control and self-control are GOOD - however, a basic analysis shows this to be false. Control requires both the controlled and the controllers - two entities.. For this reason 'self control' is delusion as there is only one of you. At best, self control is a fragmentation of self with one part controlling another - which is entirely unnatural.

Transparency, integrity and balance all play a part in us evolving and thriving as a collective. Balance is my own speciality and Aikido is very much about balance too. Balance is defined accurately as 'no part or aspect is overpowering any other part or aspect' - so it follows that Aikido is redirection of the energy of the other being, without even overpowering him/her - so that the energy is no longer a threat. In the context of government, our own sustained intention to reveal the government's crimes is necessary if we are to have anything approaching balance.

This is why I have closely monitored rarely heard whistleblowers for so long and why my Whistleblower series on Steemit has now reached post #32 (about Diane Roark - the NSA whistleblower).

Since Facebook (CIA / US GOV) have now effectively censored me without comment, I will take that as yet another dart from their direction which I need to deflect and I will be doing that by posting #33 in the whistleblower series about yet another NSA whistleblower.

If everyone took a week from their life to review all of the posts in this series, we would be living in a very different world in 2 weeks!

Love!

Dan Larimer for PRESIDENT!

Interesting article. I understand your line of thinking but I think in the real world it would be a little different. For example you say that transparency will reduce crimes, theft,.. but criminals will always find a way to hide, so they will have privacy regardless but the average joe won't. It's the same problem we have today when government want to ban encryption because it's used by criminals. The result is that only bad people have secrecy.

The future of governance is on a transparent blockchain.

Couldn't have said it better.

What we have done with money we must also do with Identity, Dispute Resolution, and Social Insurance.

Can't wait to see what EOS does for Identity

A society built on transparency will be much stronger and cheaper to sustain than one built on secrecy.

This makes me remember Emma Watson latest movie "The Circle"

It is a fight between privacy and transparency...

@dan, yes you are right a transparant blockchain can solve a lot of issues we don't even think about now... can't wait to see eos in 2018... I am prepared and have some.

Beware he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.

That describes literally every government on the planet pretty much ever. Power and secrecy move in lockstep; any power relationship inherently includes information asymmetries. Thus the notion of radical transparency as a defense against it cannot but be met by aggression from the powerful.

Which is of course no reason not to do it. We should and we must.

I greatly enjoyed your analogy of extreme secrecy versus extreme transparency as high-energy versus low-energy states. I however would like to offer a counter-argument:

Given that we already live in a world where society runs on secrecy and the powerful control most of said secrecy, a rising tide of transparency might frighten those with things to hide into behaving themselves but I suspect it would embolden a new wave of poltroons and knaves who are utterly ungiving-of-fucks, who might even welcome the transparency because they won't have to lie about what monsters they are.

I think he wants to say it. I think he's pissed off that he's gotta hide from us. I think he wants to say that he made a command decision and that's the end of it.

AND

Power means never having to lie. To anyone. Ever.

Sometimes, the people in power aren't the kind of people who are interested in hiding. Sometimes, what they really want is the opportunity to engage in the brute exercise of raw power exerted against the unwilling who submit or die, everyone knowing their place.

In short, what happens if the power structures remain intact in a state of transparency but hijacked by those who have no fear of secrets?

What makes the $ being erased?

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The author refused the rewards. Those rewards will be return to the reward pool.

trust is the most valuable form of interaction between humans in my opinion. find a way to fix it for online personas and you don't have to touch the privacy of the person behind xxXpusshunterXxx

I agree with much of what is being said here, @dan, and some of the ideas in this post are amazing, but privacy is a fundamental, natural law right deriving from the reality of individual self-ownership. Don’t you agree? Privacy is not the culprit here, in my view, the bad actors are. Even totally innocent individuals relish privacy.

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Fundamental natural law right that is in contradiction to my right to observe. No such thing as fundamental natural law. See my articles on constitution.

"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, I reject your thesis as expressed in this summary.

Humanity is designed to be self-governing. All attempts by men to rule over their fellow man have been and continue to be abject failures, because human government based on force is the epitome of organized crime.

The only legitimate governance is self-governance, or governance by God himself, who alone has the right as Creator.

If there is any hope for a future society that does not exist as tyrannized masses, it is not one of being governed. Such a future may be found in the blockchain and other related decentralization mechanisms, but it need not sacrifice individual privacy on the alter of transparency, and it most certainly does not involve man governing or ruling his fellow.

😄😇😄

@creatr

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You misunderstand me. I am only in favor of non violent governance which is only possible by making the world a small village via transparency.

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Perhaps I have misunderstood you. Maybe it's a conditioned response to the mantra "If you're not doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to hide."

The problem I perceive is that "governments" as we have known them throughout history have arbitrarily defined right and wrong, often in an ex-post-facto manner. Those who hide nothing have inevitably suddenly found themselves at the wrong end of a "gun of governance."

I do appreciate that you took the time to respond, Thank you, Dan. I fear, however, that opening our kimono will only increase the use of violent force by existing "governance" organizations to extort even more from us under the "color of law."

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Exactly, the definition of right and wrong is defined by the government. Transparency only helps the enforcement of arbitrary right and wrong.

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Hello, @dana-edwards, and thank you for joining the discussion here.

I shall now visit your blog and read your complete response that discovering you here has alerted me to, Thanks! ;)

"Does Freedom Require Radical Transparency or Radical Privacy?"

BOTH

Depending if... YOU perceive FREEDOM!

As in most battles of perceived good and evil, balance is the optimal path.

Quite an extreme stance on transparency you show here. Very interesting.
Do you consider doxing as violence?

I wonder whether @ned will downvote this as well...

They worshiped the dragon who had given authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying..., “Who is like the beast, and who can wage war against it???

Excellent article

In modern societies where there is oppression backed up by majority of the population, transparency could become a very dangerous thing.

The fact to be able to be forgotten is a very important issue. Full transparency could in this case make people vulnerable.

We saw these kinds things happen in the past like the second WW, but even today these acts of inhumanity still continues happening.

The future of governance could indeed be on a transparent blockchain, but also one were their is the ability to protect the vulnerable among us...

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The only way to make others forget you is to electrocute them - an act of aggression.

WWII only happened due to lack of transparency which enabled manipulation. Acts of inhumanity cannot stand the light of day.

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In cases were people are oppressed by getting fired or not be able to get any jobs cause of their beliefs or political views.

As of today in a society where their is lots of manipulation and certain groups of people being demonized by, or with the support of a government, how do you think blockchain technology could help these people?

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The more transparency and the more people know the less place there is for manipulation and deceptiveness.

Dan just left this as a comment.

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

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See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil...

The fact that people know more, doesn't mean that they would become less manipulative or deceptive...

Most of the time people handle in favor off their wallet... (not blaming them)

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People are limited and ignorance will still be manipulated even if there is full transparency.

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Isn't more transparency a good thing for those who want to help each other?

Isn't it that people who want to abuse other want less transparency and more ignorance so they can more easily manipulate?

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No, because more transparency hasn't shown that people are helping each other more. Such we can say here on Steemit, there are good persons which include Dan Larimer, who have helped others and continue to do it. This is on a small scale though. On a large scale just because everyone is transparent it does not mean everyone has the tendency to help others.

Abuse happens from transparency as well. Do you not think that under total transparency a lot of people will be psychologically destroyed by judgment cults? A judgment cult I will define as a group of people with a charismatic leader who decide to make it their mission to find fault(s) in other people and then punish them as necessary. Their behavior will be seen as moral of course because humans have an innate tendency to judge and punish.

Does this make a better world? More suffering, more punishing? Harsher and harsher punishments due to the technology? Until you show this persecution and punishment will not follow from the judging then you don't have the evidence showing it will improve the world and currently social media is filled with these behaviors when it's not as transparent as it could become.

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Their behavior will be seen as moral of course because humans have an innate tendency to judge and punish.

The fact that we have tendencies to do such and such doesn't make them moral. I don't think so and there's many example of people who don't think so which would make your point moot. I'm open to being proven wrong obviously.

But back to the main contentious point.

Dishonest people seek to manipulate and deceive and thus they seek more secrecy and knowledge other don't have.

Honest and benevolent people seek to share and teach.

Everything is on a spectrum here. I don't think Dan is saying we should make our private keys public. I think he's saying we should work to make as much of the thing with large influence to be public and transparent.

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The only way to make others forget you is to electrocute them.

Sometimes I wonder if you're expressing a really great sense of humor are have absolutely none @dan. Lol.

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I would be glad to believe that:

WWII only happened due to lack of transparency which enabled manipulation. Acts of inhumanity cannot stand the light of day.

But psychology says otherwise - see for example the Milgram experiment

Beautiful, just beautiful.

Agreed.

Wow thanks for sharing. I love reading about Gandhi. I don’t have much but you have my upvote. Keep sharing content like this!

Sometimes you do not need neither secrecy nor transparency. Sometimes the thing to do is to just focus on the important issues.

Radical transparency as a fundamental principle. This was the subtle but powerful insight of Bitcoin itself. By flipping the script and making every transaction public, the combined power of the network can guard against bad actors. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Congratulations @dan, this post is the eighth most rewarded post (based on pending payouts) in the last 12 hours written by a Superhero or Legend account holder (accounts hold greater than 100 Mega Vests). The total number of posts by Superhero and Legend account holders during this period was 44 and the total pending payments to posts in these categories was $2546.95. To see the full list of highest paid posts across all accounts categories, click here.

If you do not wish to receive these messages in future, please reply stop to this comment.

Does this mean busy body #sjw assholes should be wholly ignored?

This article is outstanding. Makes me think of a quote from the game Alpha Centauri.

"As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master."
Commissioner Pravin Lal, "U.N. Declaration of Rights"

when I first learned about steem I asked myself "Is it good that all your info is exposed so clearly? Shouldn't we fight for privacy? Are these people (Steem creators) from the dark side of the force?" But interacting with the steem blockchain, seeing how it works, etc, made me understand this is a very, very, very good thing...and you made it very well done....all the small details were thought...congrats man...and misterdelegation seems a cool guy too ;).....other thing: I know it's not related to the subject....but we are creating a group of autistic adults in Portugal....and this steem account will support it....if you could at least follow us so that you have access to our posts in the future it would be great....and if, in the future, you would see any good post from us and upvote it even with a small percentage of you SP it would be even greater....all the best.

Interesting argument against anon network / coins. Maybe alot ahead of it's time but technically or philosophically it makes sense, but this is assuming that democracy would be working very well worldwide in the meanwhile.

Simple, yet to me, incredible linkage you made between secrecy being a high energy state and transparency being a low energy state. Are we in western societies reaching towards peak-secrecy?

transparency in the system bring the faith and trust back it would be good to see the use of block chain at more places in real life

@dan Well, aikido is just a romantic fantasy (better: an ideology). Aikido doesn't work. Not at all.
It means a huge effort to keep secrecy, but on the other side, you need to throw in the equal amount of effort to keep transparency. It's more or less the eternal struggle.

Holy @dan, very extensive analysis.

The government, using the tools available to them from their own intelligence arms hurts general privacy of course. Corporations like Google know you better than you know yourself.

Someone would have to be ignorant to think Google, Facebook, et al, aren't giving/selling information to governments.

I really think privacy is a dead concept as soon as you do anything online. The Amish are probably OK. For the rest of us privacy is a buzzword useful only in illusory terms.

I guess giving up privacy is the cost for all these free/cheap technologies. Just like the whole "If you don't pay for a product, you are the product" quote.

Everyone talks about freedom but no one is talking of justice, all I wanted is equal rights and justice. I love your karate and martial acts pics I follow and upvote you

I watched a movie recently that was based on this topic. I think it was called The Circle.

Ever visited Africa? I think that cultural background and heritage also affect peoples freedom and their ability to access freedom.
Crytocurrency is still in its all time backwards in africa. These is because African governments are still rules by the same backward people they have in politics who know little or nothing about governance.

Cyrtocurrency is the future I hope countries like Nigeria wakes up in time to see how they could save lots of funding by using this system to run their government especially their most common enemy corruption.

Since discovering blockchain I've had dreams of using it to slap a leash on politicians and their funding. Please tell its not a pipe dream. thx ;)

I agree with your statement on the importance of supporting one another and in the value of transparency versus secrecy. In order for us to build a community of trust, I think being honest with other individuals is one step towards building relationships especially in the age of technology. I plan to be a part of this community long term, and find this platform one of the best places to find content I find valuable and worthwhile. I am happy to support others here, and to suggest newcomers spend some time on the site. Thanks for helping create a place where I feel an incentive to comment, post and put forth an effort.

Hy dan i'razi 05 , how are you?
I'am verrry happy seelook that your post

Good read....thanks

Eloquent and visionary as always @dan. As usual your writing has left me staring into space for a few minutes.

The only part of this thesis I have a hard time reconciling is how this would it play out for vulnerable people. I get the social justice angle but it's not unreasonable to assume that in this scenario people could still be physically threatened and afraid to report a theft or intimidation. What are your thoughts on this?

Privacy is something everyone wanna secure but on the other hand wanna use it of others for their purpose this is sometimes very contradicting in fact

Well said, and while I do agree with pretty much all you have said. Is this mess that we are in now just a place along the way. Afterall we are a young species that is still growing and these aches and pains are just apart of being human. The good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between.

Radical Revolution!!

Wow. At least someone is doing something about this. Thank you soo much Dan.

Rule by force is the disease, who and how are symptoms.

As long as the masses don't rise up to end rule by force we will continue to be ruled by the most violent amongst us.

The tide is in our favor, but just barely.

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I'm not sure why but that comment made me think of this...

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Lol, look out for the mouse pox.

They can release drone swarms at anytime, be my guess, and if they can get the top 3% at a swoop the others will likely drink the Kool-Aid.

The alternative is to party like it was 1999.

post is very good and interesting .. hopefully better in the future comrades .. continue to share things that provide benefits for all users steemit in all parts of the world .. @dan

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

Aikido is the best POWER