The New World Order of Ideology in Code: IoT, DLT, AI and 5G
We are all searching for new paradigms. Democracy is broken, capitalism questionable and the environment a disaster. Our views used to be simple to be identified, tagged, and sold to, but social media has obliterated that. We now live in a community of one, just me. All social media feeds reinforce my views, exclude challenges to my values, and allow me to live in my own bubble in isolation without the need to consider the opinions of others. This makes democracy unworkable as there is no majority consensus. There is no one Brexit UK, one Trump USA, there are truths all around us and we want to pick and mix just like our social media communities. In the good old days if you drank chamomile tea you were probably lesbian, vegetarian and a tree hugger; now you can can love soya latte, hate immigrants, vote Brexit but still demand European travel. The world is searching for a scalable and sustainable future that can accommodate a myriad of values. One nation unity has left the room and switched the light off.
Strategic responses are predictable. The Americans believe money is the currency of life, our sentiment data belongs to corporates in exchange for free services, and market forces will drive social change. The Europeans believe safety in numbers, the sanctity of legislation, treaties and GDPR’s my-data-my-way will safeguard us from bad actors. The Chinese believe in government patriarchy, they should own your data to protect you, and use 4th Industrial Revolution Technologies of Blockchain, AI and IoT to implement homogenously across all BRI nations. Corporates cling on to various positivity instruments like CSR, Impact Investment, ESG and ethical supply chains to enact their good intentions. The fact is everyone is trying to the best of their capability; even drug lords can do good. Just like people, there are no evil nations or corporates but there are shades of grey.
We have now all become used to technology being touted as the saviour. Facebook, Google, Amazon, Tencent, Alibaba …. bring joy to billions for free by tracking our alignment, value and values in order to sell us more stuff. The science of digitally measuring happiness, hope, love, aspiration, and all such non-financial soft intangible assets are now well rehearsed. What DLT has done is to allow the transaction of those assets from A to B, just like any financial tangible hard asset – money, gold, diamonds – the assets of Christmas past. Tokenisation makes real the tracking and movement of value(s), injecting life into good intentions and virtues with unprecedented granularity beyond face to face volunteering, corporate ethics and national policies. So now we can codify ideology, and transact them at scale … just like banks but this time with our feelings.
Enter stage right AI offering us the ability to nudge our behavior in any direction we care for by incentivizing good behavior and removing negative options. That of course, is the heart of the Chinese Social Credit System. Western cultures will frown on manipulation of choices based on behaviours, but that is exactly what Facebook et al already do. Only they decide what jobs we get to see, and which postings are fed to us, and how our personal AI of Alexa, Siri, Bixby, and others guide us depending on the capability of our financial shopping basket. China puts government’s paternal responsibilities of the society body corpus above those of the individual rights and freedoms including jay walking, carrying arms, or shooting children in playgrounds. Until now there has been no happy medium but with blockchain democracy you can have your cake and eat it too. Through smart contracts you can identify your alignment, be rewarded for those choices, and equally accept the limitations you have chosen in a transparent way.
But let’s go further. The world will not truly change unless every atom of our being embed our ideology – every product, process, project, organization, and people, have our values not just on our sleeves but in our things – the Internet of Things. In the immediate future what enjoins IoT to us will be our 5G phones which, as Professor Karen Pollitt-Cham eloquently puts it, layers our values into a “human centred network slice to nudge value driven behaviour”. Our phones will be a repository of our values alongside our value, already well accustomed to the Chinese WeChat Pay and AliPay. The resident AI (our ‘Ubot’) will guide us how to behave in alignment to the direction of what we hold dear, eschew things which do not conform to our wishes, and we will be able to imbue everything around us with our value(s) set.
To put it simply, our ideology can now be codified, transacted, nudged and embedded in the world around us. In a miniscule way, we started this process back in 2011 by measurement of non-financial value through the Social Earnings Ratio®, moved to transaction in 2016 through the Seratio® blockchain, visioned a world where AI Ubot would embed sentiment like love and hope into all our decisions, but to be truly adopted in time for UN SDG 2030, it needs the spread of 5G’a data slices to embed these values in everything around us so even our kettle can be driven by our values.
Naturally, there are dangers. The racist doorbell will not ring when a black man presses the button. Indeed, institutional racism is nothing but codified ideology but primitive and minute when compared to the guaranteed future ubiquity of 4IR. History advises that neither Chinese behavioural codes, nor West Coast marketing algorithms could be necessarily trusted as centralized guides arbitraging our moral compass. Herein lies the true advantage of the decentralized nature of IoT, that the pantheistic nature of small bits of ‘good’ code authored by billions of diverse contributors and embedded in trillions of devices, will safeguard the threat of dominance and control from bad actors or evil AI robots. In this pluralistic society there is no going back. DLT is conceived not only to provide us solutions to live in Hong Kong without embracing all Chinese values, or live in a frictionless trading Brexit Britain but embrace Europeanism, but also to expand our ‘me’ bubble to include everything around us.
In the future we will have a different relationship with technology which will, for the first time, industrialize doing good en masse; not a bolt on, not an afterthought, but mainstreamed and integral to our daily lives. Irrespective of whether there is higher meaning to our lives, whether there is a god metric or even a god code, what stands before us is our collective responsibility to make our society a better place for everyone regardless of values and ideology including at the extremes. This is an opportunity for universal participation paid for by the commercial interests of corporates, the blessing and regulation of governments, and our values. We pray, for the sake of mankind, that it will come soon but what is exciting for us is to finally see a pathway to a vibrant New World Order.