Entries Tagged as 'Reputations'

How I stopped worrying and learned to love technofixes

Peter Thiel writes regarding the failure of Democracy to preserve freedom and some possible technofix strategies. He includes are thoughts about creating freedom in Cyberspace, Outer space or on the high seas. I think it would be interesting to build certain distributed Internet apps that could change the dynamics of freedom, including reputation systems, gifting/barter systems and user-controlled Internet apps.
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Freedom is generative

I’ve been thinking about what we learned about freedom from the open-source movement.

I think one of the more important benefits of freedom is that it is generative. You can glue things together in ways that create completely new things. For example, you can take the Internet, existing computers and the ability to write software (originally the Mosaic browser) and create a whole new ecosystem – the World Wide Web.

What if you didn’t have the freedom to transmit arbitrary data on wires? You’d have the telco monopoly and no Internet. If you couldn’t talk to anybody you want? You’d get the original walled-garden AOL. If you couldn’t write arbitrary software?

But there’s nothing specific to software in this lesson. What if you couldn’t freely associate? If you couldn’t invest in arbitrary ideas? If someone else made the decisions for you?

Another question is how much could we go beyond the current state of affairs. I think we could have significantly more freedom in technology and obtain much richer outcomes.

For example, if reputations systems were not stuck in walled gardens, such as eBay and Amazon seller ratings, we could have a global reputation system. Such a system will be immensely more useful, since it could be used to guide us in every interaction rather than just the current 1%. I would guess that such a system could guide you to interesting content and interaction with uncanny accuracy. Such a system would have to be decentralized and user-controlled to protect the users’ interests.

Another promising direction is the Google Android phone OS. If you buy one of the unlocked ones (also known as dev phones), you can re-compile and install the OS and any applications you want. Google maps is one mobile killer app, but there will be more, and I would guess the truly groundbreaking ones will not pass the iPhone store gateway keepers. (see here, here and many others).

I sometime pay a price for being an early adopter and eschewing closed solutions. Yes, the iPhone is very slick and music from the iTunes store was tempting even when it was all DRM. But I think in the long term open solutions will be much more valuable. The original AOL was nice for the time, but it’s dead now.

Reputation Economies symposium

O’Reilly Radar has a blog post about the Yale symposium on reputation economies in cyberspace.


Wired latest issue has an article about the emerging arms race between rating systems (such as eBay, Amazon, Digg) and crowdhackers. Crowdhackers take advantage of the naive methods used to aggregate ratings in existing systems.

A crowdhacking proof system will have to use a transitive trust model rather than the naive averaging existing systems use.

Supercruncher “web 3.0” applications

Bill McColl writes an article named Supercruncher Applications on his Computing at Scale blog about massively parallel  “web 3.0” applications.  In particular the following caught my eye:  continuous search, complex algorithmic trading and decentralized marketplaces and recommendation agents.

This is related to my previous post about the future of the web.

Found through Slashdot.

Web 3.0, according to Miron

Here is what I think Web 3.0 will have:

  •  A global and open Reputation Network
  •  A distributed and open Computing and Storage Platform

Reputation Network

What does it mean for a Reputation Network to be global?  Currently, we have propietary reputation systems, such as the reputation scores for sellers (and buyers) at Amazon and eBay.  However, that reputation is not portable.  This means that if an Amazon third-party seller wants to start selling on eBay, they have to start from scratch, as if their business is new.  Trust is an integral ingredient to transactions.  It becomes crucial on the internet, when a buyer and a seller are likely to never have heard of each-other.  With portable reputations, a trust metric can be made available in all interactions.

What about the open part?  A global reputation system owned by one entity is a non-starter.  Why would one trust a single entity to provide basic infrastructure that affects all commerce and other interaction?  Reputation should be like TCP/IP – based on open standards so that different vendors can provide different levels of service and create a robust overall system.  The individual reputation systems can remain under the control of Amazon, eBay and others.  However, they can inter-operate so that they can create a global reputation network.
Reputation should be subjective. End-users should be able to subscribe to different raters, and thereby compute different scores for the same target. End-users have diverse values and preferences. One number cannot capture this diversity.

Storage and Computing

What about storage and computing?  Currently, people have presence on the Web through Blogs, Wikis, Storefronts, IM, e-mail, etc. .  However, creating a new Web application faces certain barriers.  The application creator has to acquire servers, manage them, ensure that the data is safe and face scalability issues as the application grows in popularity.  Also, interoprability between applications is difficult.  A standardized computing and storage abstraction will allow new application to be installed by the user into their virtual computing appliance.  Users will have control of which application they run and how the applications communicate.  Applications and data will migrate to physical hardware based on what the user is willing to pay and what scalability requires.

The division of labor is:  the application provider does what they are good at – writing applications.  The computing and storage providers provide efficient and reliable computing and storage (and if they don’t – the application can migrate easily or even automatically).  The end-user does what they do best – connect the dots and provide content.