[DG-BSC] Agenda for BSC telecon Tuesday, August 30 (shortly -- sorry for the late note!)

Scott L. David sldavid at uw.edu
Tue Aug 30 15:29:06 CDT 2016


Jeff - I heartily agree with all the points you raise.

Kind regards,
Scott

Scott L. David

Director of Policy
Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity
University of Washington - Applied Physics Laboratory

Principal Consulting Analyst
TechVision Research

w- 206-897-1466
m- 206-715-0859
Tw - @ScottLDavid

________________________________
From: j stollman <stollman.j at gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 10:15:27 AM
To: Scott L. David
Cc: Eve Maler; dg-bsc at kantarainitiative.org
Subject: Re: [DG-BSC] Agenda for BSC telecon Tuesday, August 30 (shortly -- sorry for the late note!)

Scott,

Excellent survey.

I would like to further emphasize one of the corollary points you raise:  Perhaps we shouldn't be looking for a distributed organizational "structure" at all.  Instead, we might consider what organizational "processes" would serve the interests involved, and then allow the organizational structure to reveal itself based on the observation and reification of the patterns that emerge from those processes.

In my observations people move rapidly from trying to describe a new solution to using their description to prescribe its use.  Over two years of focus on blockchain technology, I have noticed that it is common for people to recognize that a particular instance of blockchain solves a particular problem and to then falsely conclude that the features of that instantiation are necessary to achieve the same end in other contexts.  For example, we give a lot of lip service to the fact that popular blockchain instances use a distributed model in which the blockchain itself is replicated in numerous locations and the block verification process is also distributed among a large group of "miners."  This has been followed by the conclusion that all blockchains are necessarily distributed for both data integrity and verification integrity.  (In fact many people now refer to blockchain technology as "Distributed Ledger Technology" (DLT)).   I suggest that this causes an unnecessary narrowing of our thinking by casting out other alternatives before they are even considered.

In the example, I would suggest that distributed data does provide higher levels of information assurance by removing a single point of failure that a nefarious hacker could modify.  And this is likely true for any instantiation of a data structure -- whether or not it is a blockchain -- as long as the consensus mechanism for determining which data set is the correct one when discrepancies are found is robust.  But, depending on the risk of such hacks, it may not be cost-effective to use this information assurance technique.  As long as the underlying data structure uses blockchain encryption, I would still consider it a blockchain application.

I also agree that distributed miners afford some ability to reduce collusion in systems where there is an incentive to collude.  But not all transaction systems have such an incentive.  And I don't think that mining whether using proof of work or proof of stake is either cost-effective or necessary.

We all agree that standardization can create great benefits.  But standardizing too early can stifle innovation or raise the cost of better solutions to the point of making them no longer viable.

In view of the many directions that our blockchain DG discussions continue to splinter off, I hope that this comment offers some value.

Jeff


---------------------------------
Jeff Stollman
stollman.j at gmail.com<mailto:stollman.j at gmail.com>
+1 202.683.8699
<mailto:stollman.j at gmail.com>

Truth never triumphs — its opponents just die out.
Science advances one funeral at a time.
                                    Max Planck

On Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 12:09 PM, Scott L. David <sldavid at uw.edu<mailto:sldavid at uw.edu>> wrote:

Hi folks - This wiki page provides a pretty nice overview of cooperatives.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative


I am NOT suggesting that we confine ourselves to these historical structures, since they are all institutions configured to address various prior governance/organizational challenges, none of which will perfectly match current challenges in character and scope.


However, exploration of the co-op form (and similar structures developed under various legal and cultural regimes) can provide insight into at least prior forms of "organic" stakeholder-responsive governance that can potentially help to reveal governance techniques that might be borrowed for our current discussions and effort.


I am guessing (projecting) that organizational surveys might suggest that we consider separating the analysis of stakeholder involvement into at least three sub-categories of governance activity, along the lines to which Jeff S. was alluding in the call.


Specifically, we might benefit from separating out stakeholder involvement in the separate activities of 1.  rule making, 2. system operation, and 3. enforcement, as helpful in mitigating the conflict-of-interest/power accumulation/etc. issues that are inherent in the centralized models (and their too-often-tempting-abuses of gatekeeping function).  For example, in 2007 when NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers) converted to FINRA  (FInancial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.) they formed separate subsidiaries to separate these three functions for the SRO (self-regulatory organization) responsible for broker dealer activities (at least for purposes of optics!).  For current purposes, the important point is that they chose to separate the rule making, operation and enforcement purposes to at least reduce the appearances of conflict among the decision making in those separate spheres.


Of course, these 3 "system governance" elements are in addition to stakeholder role as system "users," which is not a "governance" role, per se.  However, in co-op and similar forms participation as a "user" is a form of quasi-governance since the use of the system by a stakeholder reveals problems and value propositions that helps the stakeholders to set the agenda for further refinement of the system in the "1. rule making" role of stakeholders alluded to above.


The current global information network organizational structure that we are looking for does not yet have a name, but that novelty should not be discouraging.  ALL forms of human organization (governance, language, belief systems, etc.) are responses to shared challenges, and all of them permit stakeholders  (both institutional or individual) to do things (mitigate risks and enhance rewards) that they cannot do (or cannot do as well) unilaterally.  Many of the shared challenges that are currently faced by individuals are unprecedented, requiring groups such as ours to search the history of human organization for clues as to what might be effective in this context.


One last thought (at least for now!).  Perhaps we shouldn't be looking for a distributed organizational "structure" at all.  Instead, we might consider what organizational "processes" would serve the interests involved, and then allow the organizational structure to reveal itself based on the observation and reification of the patterns that emerge from those processes (as "Lagrangian Coherent Structures" for you fluid mechanics geeks out there).  Our first question might be "What are the sets of processes that MUST be standardized, normalized in order for the value propositions of block chain and/or smart contracts to be effective in mitigating risk and/or leveraging value?"  After we catalog those processes, we might be in a position to assign that catalog a name.


An article "Self Regulation as Policy Process" by Porter and Ronit (2006) suggests that among hundreds of "self-regulatory" organizations, a familiar 5 stage pattern emerges for a governance feed-back loop among stakeholders (agenda setting-problem identification-decision-implementation-review).  The emergence of this similar archetype pattern in myriad disparate settings may be suggesting that there is a natural feedback process through which separate elements of human organization can be joined together to create larger forms in "information" space, where decreased Shannon entropy (in whatever context or domain) is the ultimate test of fitness (based on the primacy of information risk and information leverage in current discussions).


This latter suggestion may be confirmed by considering how many current human institutions and organizations can be accurately described by reference to their information flows and processes, variously constrained by their intended application.  Human organizations that demonstrate their usefulness "achieve" longevity (in fact human stakeholders have endowed governments, and corporations with "perpetual life," by mutual agreement, in an effort to project an external sovereignty toward these organizational forms that are relied upon to create a "solid" foundation of most (not all) human endeavor).  However, all governments and corporations are collective hallucinations of the stakeholders that recognize, and depend upon, their presence.


But I digress. . .


Kind regards,

Scott


Scott L. David


Director of Policy

Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity

University of Washington - Applied Physics Laboratory


Principal Consulting Analyst

TechVision Research


w- 206-897-1466<tel:206-897-1466>

m- 206-715-0859<tel:206-715-0859>

Tw - @ScottLDavid



________________________________
From: dg-bsc-bounces at kantarainitiative.org<mailto:dg-bsc-bounces at kantarainitiative.org> <dg-bsc-bounces at kantarainitiative.org<mailto:dg-bsc-bounces at kantarainitiative.org>> on behalf of Eve Maler <eve.maler at forgerock.com<mailto:eve.maler at forgerock.com>>
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 6:50 AM
To: dg-bsc at kantarainitiative.org<mailto:dg-bsc at kantarainitiative.org>
Subject: [DG-BSC] Agenda for BSC telecon Tuesday, August 30 (shortly -- sorry for the late note!)

http://kantarainitiative.org/confluence/display/BSC/2016-08+%28August+2016%29+Meetings#id-2016-08(August2016)Meetings-Tuesday,August30


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Agenda:

  *   Confirm timeline, scope, and approach, or revise in specific
  *   Assign action items for report next steps

Eve Maler
ForgeRock Office of the CTO | VP Innovation & Emerging Technology
Cell +1 425.345.6756<tel:%2B1%20425.345.6756> | Skype: xmlgrrl | Twitter: @xmlgrrl
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