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Digital Abundance

There is a clear need to provide a “why” or justification for a reputation economy. What would be so great about it? The main answer is that it would enable digital abundance. What is digital abundance?

Digital abundance is a situation in which nearly all digital goods are available for free.

What does that mean exactly? Well, we need to consider what digital goods are. They are everything that has been turned digital and encompass:

  • Software
  • Programs
  • Games
  • Operating systems
  • Texts
  • Books
  • Essays
  • Papers
  • Stories
  • Articles
  • Magazines
  • Images
  • Photos
  • Paintings and other artwork
  • Music
  • Videos
  • Data and knowledge
  • Patents
  • Genetic codes
  • Blueprints for 3d printed products
  • User manuals

All of those things being free and usually coupled with liberal licenses means that you can mix a vast amount of material for no cost and make something even better out of it. Everyone will be able to use the best software tools that are available. Everyone has access to all relevant knowledge. This means that we can use the highest quality tools and materials to create the best possible products, while essentially only paying for the cost of the energy and materials, if they are involved.

So, products will have insanely high quality at ridiculously low costs (which will mostly be essentially zero, if those are digital products). This is not only a dream for consumers, but also producers will profit a lot through the free availability of the best tools and materials.

The only problem is that creators may want to make a living out of what they create. This is where the reputation income economy kicks in: Income is generated by reputation, which is raised by giving away great products for free! This is what the Quantified Prestige system can actually do, once it’s fully established! And that’s exactly why it’s such a game changer!

Any questions or remarks? :smiley:

Do we need a reputation income economy or a contribution based income economy - whereby people are rewarded based on their overall contribution to the greater purpose. Or are they they the same thing in the end?

You would hope that by the time you depart from this world you’ve made a net positive contribution - I guess someone has made a stab at a formula for that somewhere. Maybe it could be used as the basis of a rewards system that ultimately provides some sort of ‘income’.

Ideally, a reputation income economy would be a contribution based income economy. But since humans are quite fallible, this ideal won’t be reached in practice. The system should adopt to make that approximation better and better, however.

The basic problem is how to measure “contribution”. Such measures are very much subjective. And trying to measure some objective metrics can easily lead to perverse incentives. This is why subjective reputation is still one of the best metrics we can use. It’s not perfect, but it’s not much worse than the best reasoning done by humans.

Hehe, yes, many “altruists” would certainly hope for that :smile:

Creating such a formula is quite hard and fraught with problems, see above.

I often hear from alternative reputation systems that are based on formulas or algorithms. They don’t convince me, because it’s easier to cheat algorithms that to cheat people. Also, the problem of perverse incentives is minimized with reputation. Sure, people can have “perverse values”, but that’s a different problem that needs to be addressed separately :smile:

Um, am thinking. Here’s a scenario taken from my experience in business. One person I knew had a very good reputation - however I am convinced his contribution to the business was actually negative. I think he was very good at manipulation of people - he could charm the pants of many people but I saw how he played the game very well.

I’m currently attempting to write a book about the impact on mankind if we found out we couldn’t actually travel far from our planet (it’s called “Tethered Man”). One of the concepts I’ve thought about introducing in the book is the concept of a ‘People Programming Language’’ - whereby some ‘jedi’ knight type individuals (probably politicians) have mastered the art of manipulating anyone they come into contact with by any means. This programming language is eventually adopted by machines that mean they can ultimately control mankind. This last section isn’t really relevant I know…just I am now thinking of using a reputation based income economy in my story line :smile:

Yes, that’s a valid concern. My response is that people will probably become more critical and try harder to find out whether good reputation is actually justified or not. The Quantified Prestige system has some basic incentives that make this slightly more than wishful optimistic thinking. :smile: For example, the number of esteem points you can allocate to other persons is limited, so you need to think hard (invoke system 2) whom you give them to.

Anyway, the ability to manipulate (or more neutrally influence) people is a great advantage, no matter what system people are currently living in. This is a fact of reality that one needs to deal with.

What’s it with all the futurist types wanting to write books all the time? :wink: Anyway, it’s an interesting concept. The concept of the “People Programming Language” reminds me of the “me” (or what they were called) in Neil Stephenson’s book Snowcrash.

I’m currently thinking about how to write a visionary story or explanation about how a digital abundance economy would work, why it would be so great, and what would be possible in it that isn’t possible in a more conventional economy.

It’s one thing to say that people would stop paying for all of this:

but it’s another thing to consider the actual implications of that. Especially since the implications would be different for different people.

But let’s think this through step by step. What can be free are digital goods, while energy and material goods will still cost something. What about services? They could be paid in Esteem, or Fluido, depending on the business model of the service provider. Since Esteem is worth more, payment in Esteem may be preferred. So, in the best case, the only thing that people still pay for are material goods like food, fuel, houses, clothes, tools, electronics, decorations, furniture, and so on. The basics of those could be covered by a basic income.

Anyway, education can be free. There are already MOOCs, and this trend will probably become much bigger. Also, teachers, tutors, and mentors can be paid with Esteem, so education is pretty much covered. Also, all educational materials are freely available online. And they can be improved collaboratively, which will improve the quality of education. People can get as much education as they want, whenever they want it. The same goes for certification. Of course, they still need to invest time and effort into that.

Entertainment will probably become much better, apart from being free, if it only consists of digital goods. This is because the content creators can use all the best software tools, and the best content from everywhere which they can remix for their own products. Reuse of content of others will be simple and easy, because very liberal copyright/left licenses like CC-BY or CC-0 will be the norm about everywhere.

Software will be amazingly good, because open source will be a very robust standard and more people will have programming skills than ever, which they use to improve open source software, especially if they are rewarded with Prestige for doing so. Software being free and of great quality will reduce the costs and increase the quality of nearly all other goods and services. Finally, if you need customized software for your specific needs, you could pay the programmers with Esteem.

Related to this is science: All scientific data being open and free will improve the speed and quality of science. Citizen science will get a real boost from that. They can also be rewarded with Prestige for doing science. Citizen science will minimize the problems in science that come from conflicting interests, for example between the pharma or food industries and consumers. Ordinary people have the greatest interest in actually knowing the full truth about the products they consume (at least they have the greatest incentives for that). So, they could come together in citizen science organizations to examine products or even develop superior products, whether in collaboration with the big industries or on their own.

Which brings us to product design. Design processes will probably become much more open and include customers who want to have a say in how the products should be designed. They can also be rewarded with Prestige for doing that. This will make the economy much more interactive and increase the quality of products. This is, if people decide no actually buy products instead of printing themselves. In that case, they will be able to download the blueprints for about any printable good imaginable online, and print it on their own, or in a 3d-printing shop / station.

Work will be easier and better, because all the software tools will be free and of the highest quality. The machines and tools you use will leverage very good software, too. But work will also be more fun, because you won’t have to work to cover your basic needs, and you will rewarded with Esteem for doing work especially well. Though it’s likely that workers will get accustomed to that too soon, and that they will simply expect this reward mechanism to work. If they get too little or no Esteem, they will feel disappointed, which may compensate for the good times when they get Esteem unexpectedly, or in amounts that are much higher than expected. Anyway, more immediate feedback is generally useful and makes about everything more fun.

Entrepreneurs might have the option to pay their workers in Esteem, though that might still be quite rare. Company profits could be distributed among the employees, or even external supporters (which could also be customers), according to an internal QP system. Because all relevant information and software is free, the costs of creating a company are much lower – well, that’s partially true already, but the available information and software will be of much higher quality, which will also result in much better products, though the competition will of course have the same advantage. Anyway, the costs of doing business will be lowered, so that many more people will be able to start businesses. This may make competition worse, but if the economy becomes more collaborative rather than competitive, the opposite might be the case: More businesses will be able to flourish than ever. This will certainly be good for consumers, because they we have a wider range of companies and products to choose from (which is also a problem, but there will certainly be good solutions for that, too).

Oh, and there are psychological benefits for product creators in a digital abundance economy: If they are digital goods, they can be provided for free, which enables a much wider audience to enjoy those products. This is probably more emotionally satisfying than to sell those products to individual customers and potentially even argue about the price. Prices for digital goods are zero in a digital abundance economy. In the case of providing a service, getting Prestige for providing that service rather than payment in money will also feel more rewarding. Finally, if material goods are sold, they will be of higher quality, and cheaper. Which means that they can reach more customers.

The economy will of course flourish. If the digital abundance economy contains a basic income, people’s basic needs are definitely met, which will reduce problematic egoistic behaviour. Also, work can become much more flexible. And due to the immense performance of the economy, the amount of work required to produce the same amount and quality of goods is reduced, so people can have more free time. Which they can also use to further their education, and become better people.

Instead of being focused on urgent problems, people will be much better equipped to deal with the really important problems of themselves, their groups, and the world at large. These problems can then be attacked much better and actually solved quickly and for relatively low cost.

Technological development will be vastly accelerated by all of these factors. This will also accelerate economic development, which will eventually lead to a level of abundance that will allow all humans on the planet to live in prosperity. This goal may actually be achieved already around the mid of this century, under ideal conditions. The results would be amazing:

  • No poverty
  • Great health for everyone; longevity escape velocity may be reached, so that deaths will become a rarity
  • Free access to all information, knowledge, entertainment, and education for everyone
  • A great amount of optional spare time for everyone
  • People will be better educated and will have much better conditions to become better persons, which will eventually minimize suffering
  • Technology will make us super-powerful, so that we can colonize space, and fix nature
  • Society can become much more liberal, because less economic oppression is required in a flourishing economy, and people will have more time and knowledge to deal with political problems more effectively
  • The general level of abundance and the more liberal society will allow for the emergence of a truly fractal society in which people are free to live with like-minded people in the ways they choose for themselves
  • The rate of economic growth may start to grow exponentially (which actually means double exponential growth of the economy), up until technological and economic maturity is reached, at which stage things will become thoroughly utopian!

But let’s come back to the question of what can be done in a digital abundance economy that can’t be done in a conventional economy… well, there doesn’t seem to be anything that strictly cannot be done in the current economy, but in a digital abundance economy doing anything will become much cheaper and easier, and better! And that will actually make projects viable, which are currently not economically viable in the current system!

Edit: Rather than economic growth becoming exponential, it may be more realistic to assume that sustainable economic growth through increased efficiency will increase quickly and max out at perhaps 8-30% (rough guesstimate) per year. Growth rates like that sustained over decades would have a dramatic transformational effect, especially when they happen in the context of a digital abundance economy which probably requires novel methods to meaningfully measure economic performance, because most goods and services will be free or cheap as dirt.


##Digital Disclaimer! A lot starts good but rambles and consumes more then you’re ever likely to get back or enjoy…
:broken_heart: I think the cost is something more than we might ever know or expect… this is half the problem if not more, we simply don’t know… and / or don’t want to spend the time calculating or making the checkpoints as that might kill the fun and reveal the truth too much…
To have the actual cost factors & numbers… would be a huge start to align everything else we base on money and really do the math…

##Digital Abundance
Digitally it seems abundant but only perhaps because it’s upheld by a huge infrastructure (The stock of basic facilities and capital equipment needed for the functioning of a country or area).

Prior to anything existing or digital content available or copied, the many investment companies had to pump lots of money and find a way to get paid back also (I could be wrong about this and people are like Tesla merely creating without looking for payback)
Every second (tick tock) we are paying in many ways (ISPs, hardware, precious metals, factories blah, blah) and paying off something made in ways we can consider COSTLY… very!

So we might think it not a lot of cost now (and definitely as humans we can decide anything can become cheap instantly) but it is quite a lot and we’ve missed it due to distributed costs (or what’s that word of making things cheap in chain?)

It’s costing all of us in a distributed way which = £/$millions per second…just going round being spent? Perhaps someone can get it cheap but it’s not going to be at the end of the pipe, more like at the very beginning of the pyramid. Splitting things to get more focus paybacks.

###Challenge / test
A nice flowchart or diagram is welcome to show me the moves how we become on top of things.

##The solution: If only…

  • we could decide why we’re doing all this and if the cost makes sense to stay on-line and convince those that have more power to give it up and risk us having the possibility of it instead!.. of course we’ll involve them in the process and say NO!
  • And if only everything wasn’t made for profit (undoing some of the good) because with that built-in we definitely will or are finding it hard/impossible to un-do that first foundation when when building on top of it trying to fix / do things that it simply can’t. The foundations are compromised as far as I see it, and just in physical break at some level of change either direction.

List of all components / stuff / shit - abundance of another kind!

  • heaps of machines, power units, cables, the redundancy, the heat, plastics, back ache, out-of-date-style-of-‘new’ (ok just look around your office or where ever you are - I’m going to save writing the whole parts list for computers, printers, networks or whatever)… so there’s lots…
    ###important questions
  • how did all this get made…?
  • how many factories?
  • distribution lines? ships, trucks and trailer haulage,
  • Buildings, land, patents, Antennas, wires dug in the road, crossing
  • power lines and cables above, power packs, (ok you get the point). Most of this ‘stuff’ is made abroad / off-shore / out-sourced so it’s not consuming / ruining anything I can see here perhaps.

People (or individuals somewhere else) are mining all this stuff, working in factories and I’m sure those things aren’t all great for them. Just plastic factories, PCB robots, metal presses etc… Hope they have the more expensive type of masks… nuclear power plants… it’s like a Command and Conquer game - how else are you going to grow your people / army? No grow is perhaps better to see where we are.

Ultimately all this digital stuff burns energy and unless we’re using it for good, for example making everything free all the time, then we’re still hooked on money for it’s supply and critically we’re still connected to most business groups who have to make all this ‘stuff’.
They (or groups of us well paid) are almost always better than us for making things worse / taking more than giving… Also when you throw it away it damages the earth or litters it (or Africa or wherever it’s dumped labelled as donation / charity goods)… all this might be far reaching but simple values seem lost if you consider your hard disk failing and loosing all those hours or throwing away of such abundant things for them simply never to compost well like nature (which grows more nature)… but take up a lot of space before, during after usage to what effectiveness? answer on a postcard. Plastics don’t compost, shame that… And now it’s in the sea, I don’t blame the companies for pumping it there, what else to do?… (this link is a small review / media link to it, really good)

This post is a bit more say and spray so forgive that and see the main points of each bit. The above link I wouldn’t mention if I didn’t feel bird and sea life eating our plastics (shredded and un-shredded plastics) is a really good example of more things to come - really good example of the really bad. Bd bad bAd bad. :slightly_smiling:

##Imagine we’re already there
I think digitally we have all we want / legally or not . but we don’t know what to do with it… yeah definitely takes time all this to figure it out, but ultimately I think we have to accept the equation that someone else made all this and it’s their system, not ours, and it needs us to keep using it. Can’t beat it, and so big wins for them even in us trying in this way on a ‘computer’. “Yeah buy more and use it against them!” - Ziggy my computer tells me I’m losing at a rate unsustainable each day… but the expression feels good at least.

##Can we measure it? Isn’t that one of the biggest problems if not?
anyone want to try and make a basic sketch of how using even 1 computer to do all this helps or uses energy?
I like flowcharts or something clear like a diagram that demonstrates things, a basic form of simulation logic… so if I could choose something nice like that even in a general sense (because you can always look at it in more detail later or make a mini-flow chart from any general blocks)…
flow chart software… that’s an idea… my laptop takes X amount per hour + cost this much and lasted 10years… I’ve used it xxxxxx hours and achieved Y… quite hard yes. I know time has been consumed and that’s a bunch of energy and I’m not pessimistic at all about the time I used… perhaps a bit more ‘wary’ let’s say now… coming into the early hours of the morning…

Converting things into digital (needs trees probably in the first place) means we can then have something in digital which I guess we’d eventually want to convert back efficiently in to real life again which might fail to keep our bodies alive… the laptop power pack isn’t going to keep us warm enough or fed and we better sort out all the duplicate copies stored everywhere too!

##We like soduku / eye-candy
All this digital abundance, seems a bit like soduku eye-candy - a constant moving of the same puzzle pieces, no disrespect. I know also we don’t have another way so much… and this has a few benefits in trying at least (keeping sane is also another benefit perhaps) but who produces these medium, metals, cables and what cost to the whole infrastructure (or other countries we ship the containers to) I think all is clearly a massive and increasing cost (and a mess frankly) BUT most importantly it’s not in our hands. We just gotta stop buying the crap!

Do we have much choice but to minimise that and plan our exit / way out? Should we constantly sleep with the same people we don’t like and then think we can avoid sleeping with them? Is this title like an old batman quote by the narrator at the end? Tune in next time for ‘save the world’ part 55500303 (I wrote this like some kind of title to encourage a bit of “…to be continued” type of thing.)

##we can’t make - oh wait maybe raspberry Pi we can…

ok sorry this part goes back to what we can’t :slightly_smiling:

  • the hardware and software changes - business has big control on (we can’t make the hardware on such scales and the changes make us always catch up and we can’t afford the constant time lost perhaps). Can we make a raspberry Pi from picking raspberries or mining some metal from, err that place around the corner ?
  • the legislation, distribution or law to ‘know your customer’ and similar things, things that connect more to other things might just turn around and be used by businesses (as always?)
  • fairness… we can’t make fairness using unfair things… can’t we?

Overall we’re all competing by using money, it put us there and also we can’t leave each other alone considering money only comes from 1 or 2 sources and total debt = > total available - what a position for the little one’s to start not knowing about until there are double digits beings only to go to university and party for a bit and realise… oh shit…

Things that are just as bad as good ultimately don’t escape the top level of ‘bad’…

We might just have to leave what is tempting alone for these reasons - did you mum & dad ever tell you you played too much on your computers ? Well that might be continuing even as we speak… Fun isn’t it… I’d like to hear some thoughts on how all our plugged in plugs, costly electricity (sorry Tesla) and heavy hardware (or even light precious metals and toxic plastics) are going to win it for us.

No such thing as digital zero marginal cost economy… what do you think?

I’m writing a little quickly as my eyes are almost burning! Yes not joking, yet another limitation of the digital abundance, retinal limits… perhaps less is more for this poor organ being over-worked more than ever on a regular and daily basis at work and then at home… [insert ‘poor eye’ pic here]

For me most of this sounds like trying well in some way but still ends up being the answer of getting away from consumptive systems, eventually connected to monetary systems and without completely agreeing to work together it’s more energy that not really organised and just one side trying to convince the other whilst one needs them more and shafting them better.
We might have to use what got and call it a day if it doesn’t work… processors and other parts are all up to a great speed - what we gonna do with it! Not sure we’re ready for more production of it, more stepping (2Ghz, 2.2ghz, 2.45Ghz… 3Ghz… oh look 3.3Ghz… 3.8Ghz… ok now RAM 25mhz… 50mhz… oh look it’s 100mhz, 400 DDR DADA, 500 DAD…) all this stuff and the evolution of it by business first and then us… or them simply them being us (but changing our individual badges to one’s hired by them) so shooting ourselve in the foot!. What company do you work for…? Is it doing more good or bad? :slightly_smiling:
How many programmers, how many designers… all under the banner of business and doing things that way… How am I or we going to compete with that? In a sentence please other than believe it’s possible more than kamakaze or something…

I think that’s already very possible and scalable, even in an infantile way. Pay a few people and they’ll train it up nicely so it still needs a little help… but does more damaged, I mean extracts more… sorry I mean does more good business.

One can be less easier to cheat than the other, but things are still hard to cheat or they just become deliberately allowable backdoors (part of business ‘family’s’ or ‘groups’).
Reminded me about one of your comments about duplicate posts or split posts that can help increase stats (and maybe reputation) in some way and that discourse not affected by that - pretty amazing software.

People love numbers and maybe getting away from that helps in some way allow other things come into focus, if not being more at rest with one’s self with the knowing that complex numbers or computers never truly represent us the people individually. And unless it’s instant and want to tag everyone then people and their minds changing are going to skew things.


Maybe a type of trust, not to mess with some things and also make the right decision off-line too from solid principles will keep us on a good course for everyone. I trust on-line = mostly entertainment for the masses