How a convergence between Blockchain technology, Artificial Intelligence, and Gamification, will replace political parties
Few people in this space understand that a convergence is taking place on multiple scales. Some hints of what is happening can be seen by studying the movements of governments. The trend in governance is toward what has been termed "Cyberocracy" and we can see evidence of this by the adoption of "social credit" in China. In the new model of governance everything has a score whether it's overt or hidden and transparency, openness, or as some could say "radical transparency" encourages this trajectory in my opinion. This blog will be a discussion and analysis of these trends and will show how blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, and gamification, will converge in a politically powerful (or in some cases scary!) way.
The role of Big Data and the Blockchain
Because the blockchain is probably the technology most readers are familiar with we will start here. The function of governance in a practical sense of the word is about controlling, managing, and utilizing information, which big data provides an abundance of. Blockchain technology allows for data bases which are global, which people can trust around the world, and while the data does not have to be stored on the blockchain the hashes of the data acts as a time stamp. Oracles such as what Ned communicated about will also allow for a decentralized mechanism of verifying particular events have taken place. Digital currencies allow for rewards for the verification of these events.
The blockchan allows for digital currencies, but these tokens can also be used as a measuring stick. In essence we will also have reputation tokens allowing communities to keep score by any criteria or metrics they choose. We will of course have blockchains where everything is transparent and the scores are public but we will also potentially have "dark scoring" where people, companies, and other activities are rated without these ratings being made available to the general public. The technology which will make private scoring feasible is homomomic encryption which when used in combination with the blockchain would allow for computation over private data, but this also could be possible by using blind signatures.
Blind signatures allow for untraceable payments theoretically but they can do a bit more. To put the power of blind signatures into context we can use Steemit as the example and state that if Steemit adopted blind signatures then voting on Steemit could be made private. Private voting would allow only for people to track the amount raised but not be able to determine the individual voters who are responsible for that amount.
As we can see, blind signatures allow for privacy, but there are also other useful forms of cryptography not currently being widely implemented in the crypto-space such as threshold signatures. Additionally we have several other forms of encryption which aren't yet used but which will come online soon such as zero knowledge proofs, puzzle/time lock encryption.
In fact puzzle encryption is so powerful that you can do pseudo-anonymous secure computation by way of puzzle encryption (Katz, Miller, Shi, 2014). When you consider that we could have oracles, zero knowledge proofs, threshold signatures, and blind signatures, there are a lot of cryptology tools which are not being fully utilized to their greatest potential. There are even cryptography schemes for revocable privacy (Lueks, Everts, Hoepman, 2015) which can allow for the benefits of transparency and privacy in the same system, in a possible set up where each user in the system creates their list of peers whom they give authorization to revoke their privacy upon certain conditions, or of course they can use ciphertext-policy attribute based encryption (CP-ABE) which would potentially be even more powerful because only peers which meet certain criteria in terms of attributes could make the list.
The trend toward gamification of everything
The gamification of politics is really just part of the wider trend of "serious gamification. Because all the tools now exist to gamify politics globally by use of digital currency (reward points), reputation scores, distributed leader boards, chatbots (or even more sophisticated autonomous agents), it is in my opinion only a matter of time. Gaming is how big data is used once it's processed for practical purposes. For example games can be spun up out of almost anything if game makers have the right data about the demographics they are trying to appeal to. This will also change politics as we know it as politics can also become gamified by the mechanisms and tools available. If these powerful techniques are used ethically, responsibly, then we could see great positive changes politically from this trend. At the same time I have deep doubts it will be used in n ethical and responsible manner by all and so it's up to creators, first movers, to figure out how to design their technology in a way which encourages responsible use of it.
In politics most participants are working with low quality information and vote based on that. There will be bots which we can think of as "game characters" on social media which will spin narratives to convince voters to vote in a particular way. There will be artificial intelligence which writes up stories based on real news but using slanted speech or loaded language with "trigger words". This is also I think going to be gamified because the most successful memes (if we think of memetic engineering) will reproduce, as the market generates memes and bots to win the game. It will also be a situation where information is widely abused, exploited, and witch hunts in my opinion unfortunately will become the normal as humans tend to judge each other more harshly with every increase of transparency.
In other words because of social media there is now a wealth of big data which has been harvested over years. This wealth is anyone's for the taking, and this big data is extremely valuable to machine learning algorithms, but also to the data scientists who create "political marketing campaigns".. The gamification of politics also rides on the trend of "post-truth" politics where it's no longer about the search for truth but about motivating the masses of people to do some particular behaviors or actions even if it's based entirely on disinformation, even if it's not in the best interest of the masses. Witch hunting is just an offspring of these trends which we see even in China with the "human flesh search" concept but soon to be combined with "social credit".
But this is only the beginning, because the more data that gets collected the more powerful gamification becomes, but also the more powerful disinformation can become. Artificial intelligence can spin out disinformation as a disinformation engine in post truth politics, and armed with big data it is likely that the slant in the stories, the disinformation, the ideological narrative, will be tailored specifically to the individual reader, viewer, listener, as this is what marketers already have the power to do to sell their products and political stories will reach the people most likely to be sympathetic to them.
I do not and cannot predict the future of gamificiation other than to say it's one of the most powerful technologies and in decentralized form will shake things up as much as blockchain technology itself. Blockchain and gamification in my opinion do converge also in combination with artificial intelligence and big data.
Why political parties as we know them may cease to exist
Today due to the advances of big data, data science, social media, algorithms etc, the average voter on social media is in a sort of echo-chamber. We get surrounded by the sort of personalized information feeds which flow to us based on our metrics, or unique data points, our personal, our psychological, our political digital fingerpints. These digital fingerprints inform the marketing companies as to which products we may want to buy, but they also inform politicians how to "buy our vote" with either empty words, or by what promises they'll have to make. At the same time a lot of these processes are already automated in centralized form, as the trend now is to try to bring us closer together with people who think, act, and feel like we do.
What we must understand is these processes will go decentralized and when they do it will be very disruptive. Big data can just as easily be stored decentralized in a distributed hash table, off-chain storage for any blockchain. Artificial intelligence can be decentralized, as computation can be also supplied off-chain (computation as a service), and AI can be supplied in a similar way (AI as a service). Gamification can be encouraged by allowing the gamers to create the game while playing it, as it's only a matter of incentives. Players (activists?) will be able to win points by doing protests, by voting in elections, by creating valuable narratives to support the agenda of their teams, and much more, all because of gamification which has the potential to term activism into a serious game.
What are the insights ? Below are a list of some:
- Blockchain technology is going mainstream.
- Cyberocracy is the current state of the art stage of governance (governance by control of information).
- Radical transparency and big data have created a wealth of information.
- Cryptography can monetize information in new ways, allowing for data markets and privacy.
- Algorithms and AI feed on data and plenty of data exists even now.
- Gamification is changing how we work and live, and politics are entering the post-truth gamification era.
There are many risks and opportunities based on these insights. Markets continue to form and this has to be tracked to determine which direction things are going. Scoring systems can be centralized public such as with we see in China, or they can be decentralized public such as what we see currently in the blockchain space, but due to cryptography advances they can also be decentralized private. Centralized private scoring systems likely already exist but we don't know how governments score us because it's probably classified in such a way that we aren't allowed to access.
The birth of decentralized private scoring, ranking, judging systems, of human beings, is likely to have an immeasurable impact on the social fabric of society in my opinion. I do not think we can do anything to stop this from occurring. There is already a platform which exists in the centralized space which advertises itself as "Yelp for People" and there is no reason to believe that the decentralized version could not be far more efficient, and impossible to stop from going viral. People may even be rewarded for providing information to these private scoring bots or AIs or encrypted databases in the cloud.
How will this influence how people determine right and wrong? People often determine right and wrong based on what they believe other people think of them or what other people think is right and wrong. Public scoring allows everyone to know what the public viewpoint is at least. If scoring is private then you could have in essence a good reputation on the public score, and a horrible reputation in the dark scoring, and actually believe that you're a "good person" by that public score.
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