Dan Connolly's tinkering lab notebook

dreaming big at the RChain Governance Forum

I'm back from the RChain Governance Forum in Seattle, which was full of big dreams, just like the first Web conference in Geneva.

Why RChain? Governance and blockchain can't be separated; I felt compelled to connect them. -- Greg Meredith Sep 2017

I went in with almost no idea what that means. But at the closing brunch, I found myself telling the next person at the table that the economics of email—the original decentralized Internet communication platform—was what led me to trade my privacy to Google for spam protection.

Many of us who built the Web had in mind a decentralized system where access to information and freedom of expression would enrich our lives. At some level, we knew sharp tools cut both ways, but ...

When REST was being framed, it seemed inconceivable that two billion people would all agree to use one website (Facebook); -- Fielding et. al. 2017

The result is a vulnerability that Kate Charlet, who worked on Cyber Policy in the U.S. Department of Defense for the last decade, says nation states have successfully used to destabilize our democracy.

Perhaps there's something to all this blockchain stuff; perhaps we can repair the imbalance by integrating economics into the next generation network architecture.

The imbalance in the system has a glib description:

If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold. -- blue_beetle Aug 2010

But another way to put it is:

There's a strangle-hold on social media today; people don't get a chance to participate in the economic proposition in an equitable way. -- Greg Meredith, Jan 2017

He emphasizes that we need new ways of coordinating, inspired by resilient living systems and reflective intelligence. Tai Chi on Saturday morning was a whole body experience of it.

And music!

I had great conversations with Peter and Jonathan and Derek and Rudy, including Ted Nelson's ideas on the evolution of movie making.

Greg performed in a group of mind-bogglingly improvisational guitar players. Mostly I felt stressed and out of place when listening to it. But I was right at home when the twelve bar blues chord progression emerged in the middle of it.

I was also pretty much at home when I saw lightning talks on the agenda, so I offered to lead the session. That was great fun. I gave two talks myself and enjoyed a lot of the follow-up discussions.

The technical architecture of RChain also sunk in a bit more. In addition to capability security and namespaces, I'm beginning to see reflection (the R in RChain) as a possible solution to the quoting and diagonalization issues TimBL and I struggled with in the Semantic Web.