Decentralized Empathic Evolutionary Prosperity
Civilization to date has been built on free and cheap labor.
We can debate on its symptoms of racism, classism, inequality, war, prisons, poverty, politics, access to energy, water, food, healthcare, education and more, though the fact still remains that a few people benefit disproportionately from the work the rest of us do, and the risks the rest of us take while they don’t have to. So much so, that unfortunately, the idea that some lives are worth more than others, is integrated into our identities, whether we realize it or not.
To be fair, this masters and slaves premise has now rebranded slaves into servants, employees into entrepreneurs and sharecroppers into shareholders, though social justice alone has not crossed the chasm. Plantations just became platforms, converting our precious time and attention into addictions, so we shop for our salvation, while the sighs of our overworked and underpaid sad and lonely souls, pacify the pathology with plastics and porn.
Yet if we really look around, we can see a paradigm shift in process.
Maybe we have already solved for that human labor problem. While we were chasing that privilege of doing nothing and getting everything, we may have just invented ourselves right out of working to live! Unprecedented capacities of networks, augmented and virtual reality applications, automation, artificial intelligence, robotics and more, are now showing us new possibilities for planetary prosperity. A bold new way forward.
Question is, are we ready to see it?
We speak of solving for job creation and technical unemployment now, though maybe instead, we should check into what we’re really feeling. Why have we allowed machines to give us performance anxiety in the first place? Is it because we feel that we are not the direct recipient of their benefits? What is the benefit of any invention, if it is not to serve us?
Look at the device you are reading this on.
It does at least a 1000x more work per each unit of its material than anything we could’ve imagined 200 years ago. At the same time, the global population has not even increased by a factor of 5! So are we resource constrained because we simply want more than our numbers need, or is it because we want more because we are not getting what we really want?
What if we could? What if the returns on the intentions we really wanted were made clear and visible? Matching our inputs, outputs and waste automatically so that our inventions could serve us directly, instead of us only serving those whom we’ve agreed were our owners.
What if, instead of accepting that other humans have to rule over us, we could just realize that we were sovereign to start with. Maybe now, as intelligent machines get better at doing the work to take care of us, they could also help us manage organizational efficiency and fairness better. So that we can finally begin to focus on being humans instead of the automatons we have become.
We were never that!
We do not exist in isolation. Neither our biology nor our consciousness are self-contained. The social, environmental and neuroscience disciplines are surfacing new evidence to reveal that to us everyday. The nature of our relationships to each other and to nature define us, no matter how much our ruling beneficiaries want us to believe that we are bad robots who need implants, uploads and downloads to work longer and harder to serve them better.
We do not.
If you ask a fish to climb a tree, it will spend its entire life thinking it’s stupid. We are not robots. We never were. We just believed that for a minute, when our slave labor was required to build somebody else’s limited vision of empire. Today, machines can do that work way better. Let’s be human now, and stop tripping on how advanced robots are, and how they’re going to take our jobs. Our jobs were not designed by us. Our jobs were always to create art that is life, not suck it out of us.
This is our golden opportunity to exit from the limiting scope of today’s extractive market economy to a networked paradigm of shared prosperity for all. Let’s go DEEP. Let’s reframe, reset and reimagine the next socioeconomic reality that works for everyone. A Decentralized Empathic Evolutionary Prosperity model of progress possible right now.
What does that look like?
Decentralized : Our problems have always been the difference between what we think and how nature works. At each iteration of civilization, our reframed views into reality reveal that to us. During the industrial economy, machine metaphors described our biology. Heart is a pump, arm is a lever, brain is an engine, etc. Today, we see the world through the next lens of networks, and we continue to describe ourselves with ideas that more closely resemble a deeper understanding of nature, than previous iterations…as in circular economies.
Decentralization is integral to our evolution. Decentralization continuously optimizes to how we manage resources within our systems. What else was the transition from feudalism to capitalism other than the king’s tax collectors with the decentralized knowledge of how the kingdom runs, and wanting to be kings too? Isn’t it the same decentralization of intelligence for workers, who now want to be their own boss, with their own organizations as entrepreneurs, or becoming intrapreneurs within existing organizations?
Today, information once managed by other humans and within our heads are hardly necessary. We now trust maps, calculators, address books and more to machines without blinking an eye. Sure, the luddites resist the shift, although the next threshold waits for no one. Ever wonder why our centralized institutions like the U.S. presidency, have become a global joke, with equally ludicrous politics now playing out worldwide? Could it be that the efficiencies we’d designed for our rulers, negates the need for people to rule over us? Why do we need a CEO when there is more accountability and fairness in a DAO? What is the relevance of national authorities, when we can directly participate in P2P networked governance platforms like Bitnation?
Decentralization not only moves us into the direction of evolution, it also reveals the next possibilities for planetary prosperity. We already trust our machines to do our rote physical labor for us, maybe it’s time we trusted our networks to do our organizational chores as well. Maybe as we surrender to the advanced abilities of intelligent machines that can create even more intelligent machines, we can free ourselves of a few biased minds making life or death decisions for the rest of us.
Empathic : Decentralization affords us greater capacity to act. Personal agency that inevitably creates more equitable relationships than hierarchical. We already know this as we deepen our personal relationships. The more we understand and respect each other’s abilities, the more value we can co-create together. Language was our first technology for this. Now, the tech to feel each other’s reality is at a whole other level, far beyond just reading, writing and speaking. When I create something visible to you, you only get your interpretation into my inner reality. What if that transmission was felt directly in your body? What if we could step into each other’s skins and learn a skill from each other both physically and cognitively? How would we relate to each other then?
Well, that is exactly what is emerging now with empathic simulation technologies like augmented and virtual reality. We first got a taste of this when we started connecting with people on our social networks who we may not have ever encountered in life; people who grew up in other places and cultures. Many of them have become our real life friends. Now that’s about to up level in a way we’ve never known! Compassion is the default behavior when you realize that everything connects to everything else. Empathy has always been our evolutionary path. Over time, we generate more understanding, not less. The world is less violent and more aware of itself than ever before.
Now we’re building the next bridges to share our abilities with one another that transcends both time and space. Using these empathic technologies to treat trauma, transfer skills and services are only the beginning. The tech only represents the training wheels. Our use of it for good, only amplifies the empathic connection we already feel towards one another, the human connection that had been repressed in our pursuit of being good robots to serve bad masters.
Evolutionary : When the nature of reality changes the nature of inquiry, we have a paradigm shift. In other words, when what we see no longer fits why we think it’s there, we are compelled to ask new questions that reveal a new reality to us. This is how we went from a flat to a round earth society, from machines to networks. Now, when we see ourselves working longer and harder than our parents, and not getting the satisfaction we were expecting, we start asking new questions.
Questions like what happens to our multi billion dollar tech empires when we no longer want to give up our precious time and attention to them without fair compensation? Of course our tech giants like Google have big plans for transforming life on the planet, but what about their existing extractive business models now? What happens to Google, when there is a better way to match input, output and waste with the intentions behind our inquiry? Can Google, which can only index a fraction of the Internet that they can sell ads on, continue to regenerate revenues if a huge percentage of those searches are happening on Amazon, Yelp, Kayak and other platforms?
What happens when 97% of Facebook’s $28 Billion annual ad revenues which depends on people needing many people to buy their products or services, find a more direct way of matching and sharing the surplus? Will Facebook survive if it continues to make money off of people who cannot afford to, or need to spend their money on Facebook ads anymore?
What happens to 72% of Amazon’s $136 Billion annual revenues when people start shopping locally for unique items and experiences, and they can also produce them anytime and anywhere with open source designs on 3D printers that use waste as feedstock?
Questions like these are just the beginning.
Network efficiencies by their very nature require fewer transactions to match supply with demand. When the cost of goods and the cost of sales drop by closing the gaps between input, output and waste, market models that hedge bets on a knowable future become obsolete. Why else is it that the IPO market is in steady decline, or that hedge funds continue to underperform? Even the transactional surplus from the inefficiencies of the past, that people used to store as real estate that no one could ever afford to live in, is now becoming a liability instead of assets.
Ownership is already a liability in many aspects of our daily lives. If rents and real estate rise at a rate higher than wages, without increasing the need for human labor to produce them, how long will that valuation paradigm hold? Especially considering that climate change is happening, and shifting resources and livability to unexpected places on the planet is not only likely, it’s inevitable. Transportation as a service is readily accepted now, where once owning a vehicle was integral to our identities. As more and more platform co-op versions of on demand rideshare, toolshare, co-working, co-locating and co-living services begin integrating with our mobile lifestyles, access is proving to be a better experience than acquisition.
Its becoming easier and cheaper to access experiences that satisfy us on demand, rather than spending the time, energy and resources in owning that physical asset in order to experience its benefits. This brings up a fundamentally deeper question. What is all of this iterating to? If we are continuously solving for matching input, output and waste, then why do we still need speculative markets to sell us information already known in the present?
What existential angst for security do our investment accounts really satisfy, if network membership can reward us exponentially for each unit of energy we put in? Networks are becoming closer to nature everyday. We already see their ability to duplicate and distribute anything indefinitely without additional cost, whatever inputs we contribute within them. In other words, just like the land feeds us by planting seeds, a network can feed us by our contributions. So then, why would we need to manage the liability of personal property, if everyone’s material needs are already met, matched and guaranteed for the future?
These questions are not mine alone. We are each sensing a version of the same, to question a reality we cannot understand within the previous framework of the world. Business cannot exist without paying customers, and it certainly cannot exist with dead ones. The extractive paradigm of civilization that assumed free and cheap labor was required to build it, is itself under question.
Maybe now, those questions can finally help all of us prosper here on planet earth.
Prosperity : Today we automatically agree to profitability as prosperity, yet we never question why it is so. What is profit other than a predictive model to manifest our future intentions? Intentions like security, mobility, shelter, sovereignty and the ability to manifest our perception into existence for generations to come. We’ve built our civilization on that premise thus far, except that now, the side effects of systemic profit read longer than the disclaimers on a big pharma product. Why?
The first king was the most efficient hunter in the tribe. In other words, it is the individual who was able to produce surplus beyond his survival needs. The next kings and queens were farmers. In other words, surplus creators at a greater scale and more predictable rates. The next rulers now are our capitalists, or people who match supply and demand with transactions. They are our decentralized kings and queens who promise us a grand story of a future surplus through profit, yet, are technically unable to deliver on that promise. In other words, unlike their predecessors, they cannot match input, output and waste in a tangible and beneficial way.
Of course, at a time when their methods were devised, the need to move surplus from one location to another was technically difficult. Those who could take on the risk, or unknowns and connect supply with demand, needed promissory instruments to be rewarded with the difference. In a networked world, most of those promises of an uncertain future are unnecessary. We know much more of that in the present, and matching input, output and waste through constructs like crowdsourcing, and smart contracts does not have to be guessed at or guaranteed by underwriters.
Yet, we still trust a system of wealth based on transactions. We hold value transfer in higher regard than actual value creation, even though the conditions that once required it no longer exist. So we are all busy selling to each other, hiding known information for a better deal for those who can manipulate it, against those who cannot. Squeezed suppliers and shrinking margins everywhere already tell us that this is not sustainable. So why is it that we continue to trust transactions to deliver a future, when the inequality they create, seem to be doing nothing more than stealing from our children’s future? Wasn’t the point of wealth creation to deliver a better world for future generations? To work less to get more? Wasn’t that the whole point of farming? To teach each other how to secure present and future surplus without depleting the source?
Yet, we’ve done exactly the opposite, while the stewards of that system project their own fears of an insecure future onto the rest of us. So while some believe they are protecting themselves by profit, the entire world is in debt, in a mad dash to pay it back on a false promise. Who are we in debt to? Why are we killing ourselves to satisfy the coping mechanisms for the fears of our less informed ancestors?
Of course, no one can predict the future.
However, by co-creating it together, we can be more confident about securing our access to a positive version of it. Our shared prosperity is not about some centrally managed surplus allocation scheme of a grand, unified ism of capital, social or commons based system. We already know how those experiments turned out. In the age of sharable empathic experiences, decentralized human to human matching networks, and intelligent machines that invent machines themselves, we can do a whole lot better. Together, we and our tools can co-create the next networked contexts that make us feel more secure about the uncertainties ahead. Allowing us more time to be relaxed and creative, to honor the gifts mother nature provides us, and to be truly free, rather than the industrial era promise of politicized freedom.
Going DEEP into the 21st century is a model for true prosperity on evolutionary terms. Real wealth that affords us the ability to see a more beautiful world and have the means to manifest it. Designing a life that is not ruled by more fears, rather, more confidence with decentralization of agency, experiential understanding of empathy, and the evolution of our perception through appreciative inquiry. Reminding us once again of the powerful creators that we’ve always been.
The Powers are US!
There never was any economic, governance or energy systems outside of ourselves. What we create, creates us. Our innovations and institutions simply reflect our collective ability to see what is. At each iteration of civilization we see a little more than before. We invent more clever ways of doing more with less so that life gets easier, not more difficult. Right now, humanity as a whole has the technological capacity to design better rules to take care each other without the need for rulers. Just look around at what our minds have already projected into manifest. This world is a reflection of the creative power of both the benefits and breakdowns from our collective consciousness.
That can be scary and it should be. With great power comes great responsibility.
Responsibility is the ultimate realization that everything connects to everything else. We are compelled to be responsible all others when the fact that we are all in this together is not just thought but felt.
Technology is neutral. How we use it, the questions we ask of what we design, designs us for the better or worse. The assumption behind designing addictive tech is the idea that we need other people to do the work so a few can receive the benefits. This primitive socioeconomic paradigm that assumes that some lives are worth more than others, never really served us well. You can’t feed the machine if you kill the source. We are at a juncture now where we can question that assumption. The questions we ask next will change everything! There is no question too scary to ask. Not asking them is what we should be afraid of.
“One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end.”~Jiddu Krishnamurti
The world as we knew it is over.
The one we have yet to uncover is far more promising than the last. Let’s say our eulogy to the extractive economic paradigm of the past. We are at the edge of the next great era of human civilization. Welcome to the human revolution. We have nothing to lose but our fears.
Let’s go DEEP.