A Conversation on Solid PODS and Direct Democracy

An essay by J. Paul Duplantis

I recently ran across a study and use case on using Personalized Online Data Stores (PODS) to help the citizens of Flanders, Belgium communicate more effectively with their representative government. Having followed the progress of Solid PODS over the last couple of years and an advocate for decentralizing the web and applications serving the web, I had reached out to the team to see how their technology may one day allow citizens to securely engage with legislation directly. 

Direct Democracy is not a new concept and has been experimented with since Athenian democracy in the 5th century BC but the represented have never had the toolset to engage with the inner workings of government in real-time regardless of their location until now. Yet even though the technology is currently possible; the network, AI layer, and application layer remain a toolset outside of user control compromising the relationship between user data and government data. But recently a major push to decentralize this toolset by companies such as Inrupt with their Solid POD framework and Singularitynet’s decentralized AI framework will begin to move controls over to the user.  

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Advertising’s Lost Opportunities

An Essay by J. Paul Duplantis   

Ad

I guess I am on this kick again. Just can’t shake it. I wrote an essay back in March on this and the continued barrage of nonrelevant ads into my digital footprint is keeping the argument alive for me. I believe I must have seen this ad from HostGator 50 times on different media platforms in the last week. I have to ask – what in the hell does this have to do with me.

Not the service. I actually might be in the market for a service like this is in the future. No~ the advertisement. Granted, this ad may speak to the interests of many out there which is fantastic. No judgment whatsoever. It just doesn’t speak to me. It actually turns me off the service. Are there any ads that do the same thing for you? They are lost opportunities for engagement in my mind. I could see the necessity of shotgun ads in the past before technology could tune images and moving images to my interests but here we are knocking on the doorstep of 2020 (The future by all accounts) and I am met with this?

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Free Market Parity through Decentralization

An Essay by J. Paul Duplantis 

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This essay is in draft form. Feedback would be appreciated. 

Free Market Parity through Decentralization
to Explore Human Potential

An essay by J. Paul Duplantis

The following quotes illustrate foundational ideas and warnings for a free market to flourish which I believe have been lost in what has been rendered, especially through the lens of the evolution of the web to date as a centralized force beholden to shareholder growth over stakeholder interests. 

“They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent in regards to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain of only those of other people”
―Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations.

“How many people ruin themselves by laying out money on trinkets of frivolous utility? What pleases these lovers of toys is not so much the utility, as the aptness of the machines which are fitted to promote it.”
― Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

“Labour, therefore, is the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities. The real price of everything, what everything really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it.”
― Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

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Declaration of Digital Independence

An Essay by J. Paul Duplantis 

I have been following Larry Sanger, who is the co-founder of Wikipedia, and see he just posted a Declaration of Digital Independence on his blog with a petition to sign on Change.org. I agree with every word of the Declaration and even though this seems pie in the sky, I believe there are fundamental shifts in the marketplace at hand where decentralization of the web and data privacy laws may make much of this possible. Always an optimist until the day I die!

 

 

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Are We losing the web to shareholder influence?

Shareholder influence

An Essay by J. Paul Duplantis 

I ran across an interesting article (DHS to Move Biometric Data on Hundreds of Millions of People to Amazon Cloud) discussing Amazon’s cloud leveraging our biometric data but as 25,000 Amazon employees move next door to the Pentagon, one has to wonder what path we may be taken down. Of course, there will be firewalls, redundancies, and standards met but think about how many of our experiences are being captured under the domains of massive corporations (Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft) as well as governmental entities (Department of Homeland Security and the NSA). Now think about who owns the rights to these captured experiences? Do We?

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Emergent Web on VoiceAmerica The Future of Now

Future of Now

I had a chance to speak on a panel with futurists (Friank Diana, Gray Scott, and Kai Goerlich) to discuss the Future of Now as a kick off to Bonnie D. Graham‘s new show on VoiceAmerica, Technology Revolution The Future of Now where we discussed our top 3 technology predictions and a quote from a thought leader to help relate the context of our predictions.

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Why Tim Berners Lee’s decentralized web (Inrupt) is important

decentralized-emergentweb

An Essay by J. Paul Duplantis 

In the forward (1946) to a new print of Aldous Huxley’s 1931 opus A Brave New World, Aldous wrote. “Only a large scale popular movement toward decentralization and self-help can arrest the present tendency toward statism. At present, there is no sign that such a movement will take place”.

Whether it is believed we are headed to the dystopian future illustrated in A Brave New World or not, I believe it could be argued we are headed toward a form of statism over our experiences. Statism as defined is “a political system in which the state has substantial centralized control over social and economic affairs”. Maybe political systems within democratic nations have remained relatively safe but it appears a system in which the web has substantial centralized control over social and economic affairs is seemingly creeping into reality.

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Emerging Consumer Interests through Tunable Ads

An Essay by J. Paul Duplantis 

I’ve been saying for years it’s not advertising if we’re interested, holding onto the promise of technology one day delivering on my wishful thinking. But here we are in 2019 with 3.2 billion users connected online through PC’s, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and smartwatches where ads influence our decisions whether by mirroring our behaviors or algorithmically choosing for us. Either way not only is there a disconnect between the advertiser and consumer interests but there is also a growing sense of manipulation and distraction.

Everywhere we look online, ad servers are tuning our behaviors and interests to a bottom line not attached to the consumer. The argument here is what is possible if ad servers were tuned to the interests of the consumer to be drivers and not only passengers in the discovery of goods and services? Ad networks subsidize the distribution of content through ads mixed in with native content marked as sponsored, delivered through algorithmic triggers from rules set by the host site, visitor IP addresses, and cookies collected. The idea behind Tunable Ads would be to allow consumers and advertisers to adjust ads, wherever found, in a personal and permission-based ad profile. The advertisers would select criteria to best represent the features and benefits of the offering while the consumer would rank criteria to serve ads better speaking to their interests.

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Reflections on the 50th anniversary of Douglas Engelbart’s Mother of All Demos

An Essay by J. Paul Duplantis 

Maybe the symposium wasn’t the line in the sand I was hoping for but could it have been the primer to bring the fathers of the information age together with the future mothers and fathers of the next evolution in communication technology?

Mother of all Demos ~ Douglas Engelbart
I recently attended the 50th anniversary of Douglas Engelbart Mother of all Demos at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, where the pioneers of the internet and the world wide web looked back to look forward to re-imagine a web more representative of the interests and capabilities of the user. In attendance were Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, Ted Nelson, Tim O’Reilly, Christina Engelbart, Brewster Kahle, Andy van Dam, Jeff Rulifson and Alan Kay via telepresence to name a few. A veritable who’s who responsible for ringing in the dawn of the internet age unpacking lessons learned and opportunities missed to help decode what went wrong on the path to an open and resonate web.

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