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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Amit Kumar: on 8/12/14 at 12:15pm UTC, wrote We now have got generally observed coming from almost all of these types of...

Federico Pistono: on 6/8/14 at 6:14am UTC, wrote Hi Ross, "Limits to Growth" certainly had an influence, as many other...

Federico Pistono: on 6/8/14 at 6:12am UTC, wrote Hi Robert, It may have sounded that way, although I believe I've been...

Federico Pistono: on 6/8/14 at 6:10am UTC, wrote Hi Marc, Thank you! I'm reading other author's essays too, adding yours to...

Federico Pistono: on 6/8/14 at 6:08am UTC, wrote Hi Georgina, It's a metaphor, as such it should be taken with a grain of...

Federico Pistono: on 6/8/14 at 6:04am UTC, wrote > you say that “They don’t require trust from any of the parties...

Federico Pistono: on 6/8/14 at 5:57am UTC, wrote Hi Turil, I hope you had a chance to read it, looking forward to your...

Mark Aldridge: on 6/5/14 at 19:56pm UTC, wrote Hello Federico, Thank you for your essay. I believe your work, and...


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FQXi FORUM
May 19, 2019

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: Social Evolution Through Massively Decentralised Distributed Resilient Networks by Federico Pistono [refresh]
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Author Federico Pistono wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 14:57 GMT
Essay Abstract

The article discusses the present state of human life on the planet, and how it is likely to change in the near and long term future. Analysis of vast amounts of data suggests that humans are on an unsustainable trajectory, both environmentally and socially. A strategy for steering humanity’s future is presented, focusing on five main pillars, which have in common the destabilisation of established powers through massively decentralised distributed resilient networks, and the abandonment of the indefinite consumption growth economic model. Particular emphasis is given to overall causes of the problems, rather than specific symptoms. The essay ends with philosophical speculations about the long term future of the human race and its space in the cosmos.

Author Bio

Federico Pistono is computer scientist, author, award-winning journalist, scientific educator, social entrepreneur, activist, and public speaker. He holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Verona, and in 2012 he graduated from Singularity University, NASA Ames Research Park. He's Founder and CEO of the online learning startup Esplori, and he's author of the Amazon best-selling book "Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and be Happy". He wrote for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, The Work Foundation, Il Corriere della Sera, and Forbes Magazine.

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 02:45 GMT
Frederico,

This is an extensive and well researched study of our present situation and of the direction it is going, but you do not develop how your central thesis, that of decentralized networks, is to prevail over the current tendency toward massive polarities. Often even efforts to combat these global control systems only feed, or otherwise enable them. You make a very cogent point by...

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Author Federico Pistono replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 19:54 GMT
John,

Thanks for your message. I think I did develop my thesis (given the length constraints): my main point is that a clear path is inherently unknowable, but that certain conditions can facilitate one scenario over another, with the minimum energy expenditure, hence "steering the future", not "planning the future" or "designing the future".

The adoption of Massively Decentralised Distributed Resilient Networks I think will gradually come due to their margin benefit for individuals, communities, and even small companies. The established forces and institutions resisting the change will eventually have to adopt and work their way around the new emergent forces, i.e. adapt or die.

The only things that can't be easily provided almost for free by technology coming in the next three decades are: healthcare and the right to use the land. The state clearly has to play a role in that, because no matter how much smart open source technology we have, I don't see a way around these two basic needs.

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John Brodix Merryman replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 23:40 GMT
Fredrico,

I am completely in your camp. I raise those points because a top down monotheistic God is the most centralizing paradigm in history, so reversing the concept, to a bottom up spirituality, would empower the individual's sense of self.

While re-establishing notational currencies as a communal contract, not personal property, would serve to arrest the wealth vacuum which our financial exchange has become and made banking a utility it has to be for a healthy community, not the master it has become.

Regards,

John

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Turil Sweden Cronburg wrote on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 14:55 GMT
Frederico, I'm really looking forward to reading your essay. It sounds like you might be proposing (in more detail) some of the elements I included in my organizational plan (using Pascal's triangle as a mathematical model) from my own "Planetary Procreation" essay.

Thanks! I'll try to offer my comments on your essay as soon as I can get to it.

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Author Federico Pistono replied on Jun. 8, 2014 @ 05:57 GMT
Hi Turil,

I hope you had a chance to read it, looking forward to your feedback!

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 15:08 GMT
Mr. Pistono,

I thought that your essay was remarkable for its meticulous organization, and its superbly argued logic. Good luck with it.

Regards,

Joe Fisher

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John C Hodge wrote on Apr. 26, 2014 @ 18:29 GMT
I would like to list your essay as a reference for my essay in a comment. The suggested text is “The following essays may be viewed as added references in the introduction of this essay: …”.

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Author Federico Pistono replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 19:55 GMT
John,

Sure, go ahead! :)

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Turil Sweden Cronburg wrote on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 17:58 GMT
Federico, now that I've read your essay, I have a comment on part of it. In relation to decentralized currencies, you say that “They don’t require trust from any of the parties involved in the transaction”, which makes no sense to me, as the system itself has to be at least partially centrally regulated, both in distributing the original numbers/values (deciding what the requirements are...

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Author Federico Pistono replied on Jun. 8, 2014 @ 06:04 GMT
> you say that “They don’t require trust from any of the parties involved in the transaction”, which makes no sense to me, as the system itself has to be at least partially centrally regulated, both in distributing the original numbers/values (deciding what the requirements are for “earning” money), and in brokering trades.

The only agreement is in the implementation of the protocol, which is open to the public, and if a group doesn't like it they can start a new blockchain with their specifications. Aside from that, there is no trust involved.

The problem is 50%+1 is well known and in fact, against many who argued it would be a problem, the community self-regulated in its infancy by voluntarily switching mining pools. I predicted this would happen, because it would have been against their interest to game the system: when it's all out in the open, you can't cheat. The currency would be worth nothing after that, as people would lose "trust" in the system.

You could argue that the only trust is in the system itself, not in any particular node or authority.

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Member Rick Searle wrote on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 17:38 GMT
Loved your essay, Federico.

I first saw that extrapolation of historical growth at 2.5 % leading to the mind blowing outcome that we'd need the entire energy of the galaxy in a little over 2,000 years to continue this trend in Lee Billings' Five Billion Years of Solitude. Obviously, this train's got to end.

I tried to incorporate this view into my own essay, here.

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2063

Would greatly appreciate your thoughts.

Best of luck!

Rick Searle

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Author Federico Pistono replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 20:01 GMT
Hi Rick,

I knew about "Billings' Five Billion Years of Solitude" but never read it, I'm adding it to my kindle now, as well as your essay!

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Michael Allan wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 13:39 GMT
Hello Federico, May I offer a short, but sincere critique of your essay? I would ask you to return the favour. Here's my policy on that. - Mike

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 17:11 GMT
Federico,

A very impressive and complete plan to steer the future. I'm especially impressed with your step-by-step process to overcome the established powers which have relentlessly built monolithic structures with "massively decentralized distributed resilient networks."

By my accounting, you defuse and disarm most arguments that would thwart reform efforts: efforts to introduce green, independent alternative energies, efforts for digital, more localized manufacturing, and cryptocurrencies. You even address multiverse competition.

Jim

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Author Federico Pistono replied on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 20:25 GMT
Jim,

Thank you! I tried to touch on all major aspects I could think of, though a complete analysis clearly requires a lot more elaboration on each, and probably even other additions. I'm thinking of using this essay as a blueprint for my upcoming book, "Open Source Society".

http://opensourcesociety.net

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James Lee Hoover replied on May. 25, 2014 @ 19:52 GMT
Frederico,

Your "Open Source Society" will violate the way the "Bible of free Enterprise" works, for the current interpretation sees the language of science as heretical unless it increases profits. Your view of a workable nanotechnology in some 20 years can be realized with an "Open Source Society" if we make sure monolithic corporations don't monopolize technology for their agenda alone.

I see our brain as a neural universe which can aid a revolution in science as long as it is open to nonconventional thinking.

Check out my "looking Beyond and Within to Steer the Future" and let me know what you think.

Jim

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James Lee Hoover replied on May. 28, 2014 @ 00:48 GMT
Federico,

Time is growing short, so I am revisiting those I have read to assure I've rated them. I find that I rated yours on 4/30.

Hope you've had a chance to read mine and share your thoughts.

Jim

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Georgina Woodward wrote on May. 1, 2014 @ 03:17 GMT
Hi Frederico,

really readable and well informed essay. One thing that alarmed me was

Quote "Risk (2) can be mitigated by having a global network of highly secure and thoroughly tested nano machines,communicating with each other and acting like a swarm, ready to intervene in mass within a few microseconds should anything happen." Who will make and distribute and control the nano machines? Could they be misused? Is it good to have them acting independently to control human affairs?

You wrote"the human race would essentially spread like a virus." Should be a bacterium. Viruses require a host to reproduce and that host may produce vast numbers of viral replications, bacteria reproduce by binary fission and show exponential growth, like human population growth.

I think your essay is so matter of fact that you make an extremely subversive vision of the future seem reasonable. Some physics tacked on the end to tick that box. Good luck, Georgina

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Author Federico Pistono replied on Jun. 8, 2014 @ 06:08 GMT
Hi Georgina,

It's a metaphor, as such it should be taken with a grain of salt. I think virus fits well, as we would be feeding off another life form (considering the resources of hosting planets and their organic compounds as life).

But yeah, sure, technically speaking bacteria is better.

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Denis Frith wrote on May. 10, 2014 @ 04:32 GMT
Steering the future needs to be based on the nature and mode of operation of the infrastructure of civilization. The decisions made by people, no matter how well organized they are and the soundness of their objectives, will be constrained by the available physical services. One of the objectives of the ELAM movement would be the continuing operation and maintenance of the infrastructure (that society has become so dependent on) as far as that may be possible as the available natural resources decline.

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Member Marc Séguin wrote on May. 19, 2014 @ 06:36 GMT
Federico,

Thank you for a well researched and well argued essay. I have looked at all the essays, and read more than half of them from start to finish. Your essay is part of the short list that I hope will make it to the finals, and I have rated it accordingly. Good luck!

Marc

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Author Federico Pistono replied on Jun. 8, 2014 @ 06:10 GMT
Hi Marc,

Thank you! I'm reading other author's essays too, adding yours to my list.

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Ross Cevenst wrote on May. 28, 2014 @ 11:26 GMT
Hi Federico,

Thanks for an englightening essay. It reminded me in some ways of Limits to Growth, though its reach is on a grander scale in some parts. Predicting the future from current growth trends is not always spot on, but its one of the few tools we have and its great to see it being used here to grapple with some of our most vital issues. Your reference to the decentralised decision making was intriguing. If there was a way to make electronic voting a lot more secure it could possibly improve the functioning of our democracies is a postitive way.

I also particularly liked your brief mention of existential risks, which I was expecting to see reach greater prominence in the competition generally, and would have loved to see that part even expanded a little. All in all, I enjoyed reading your essay. I'd love to get your thoughts on my own essay, which though it draws on a science-fiction format a little deals with some big picture issues in a similar way. If you get a chance to rate it too before the ratings close in a day or two, I'd be over-the-moon! Thanks again and good luck!

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Author Federico Pistono replied on Jun. 8, 2014 @ 06:14 GMT
Hi Ross,

"Limits to Growth" certainly had an influence, as many other works (some of which are cited explicitly in the notes). As for existential risks, I find Bostrom's work a good introduction, but I haven't seen hard math on it. I'd love to get more technical on that.

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Robert de Neufville wrote on May. 31, 2014 @ 01:19 GMT
Thoughtful, well-written essay, Federico. You do an excellent job of discussing the most important issues and provide a useful approach for how to solve them. I think—or at least I worry—that you make reducing existential risk sound easier than it will be. But I also think some of your proposals may get us part of the way toward a solution. Good luck in the contest!

Best,

Robert de Neufville

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Author Federico Pistono replied on Jun. 8, 2014 @ 06:12 GMT
Hi Robert,

It may have sounded that way, although I believe I've been pretty fair in recognizing when we had little to no control over some existential risks. Also, I didn't allocate too much space on it, the papers cited in the notes explore the issue very well.

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Mark P Aldridge wrote on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 19:56 GMT
Hello Federico,

Thank you for your essay. I believe your work, and especially the technical calculations and ramifications, outlines the urgency of a sustainable ecological solution to our future existence as a species. This is one of my points in my essay (though mine has none of the calculations).

I also agree with your democratization of resource networks and increasing their resilience. While there is an efficiency to certain aspects of the current economic model, it is also highly vulnerable to power consolidation and catastrophic failure (e.g. drug manufacturing failures leading to shortages). Those efficiencies can now be transferred to the local level, increasing the network resilience and decreasing over all risk.

I hope your essay does well in this competition.

Best regards,

Mark Aldridge

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Amit Kumar wrote on Aug. 12, 2014 @ 12:15 GMT
We now have got generally observed coming from almost all of these types of some people who continue to be within reach providing that they can have been necessary to knowledge many complications while in relocating of these solutions coming from area in order to fresh 1. That will bad knowledge till here lingers within their brain that generates this look at anxiousness jointly with disappointed....

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