Monday, May 7, 2012

One: Life

I love life, the biological phenomenon that blankets our planet. It has been around for quite a while, it solved so many problems along the way, and it has all the solutions in front of us, free for us to implement in the systems we are designing.

I think biomimicry is going to play a major role in solving the problems we are facing with freespaceships.

We are trying to build a complex system of cooperation of millions of components. We need to figure out the most efficient way to orginise communication, interaction, allocation of tasks, sharing of resources, decision making etc.

I believe that the system we will develop here could become the base of a new form of  "government" that our space colonies will need in order to survive.

We cannot afford the economic volatility screw with availability of resources. We cannot afford to have people inactive because they can't find a job. We cannot afford to let people lack the basic requirements for a decent human life. We cannot afford to allow for profiteering dictate what we eat, what we do, how we treat eachoth+er, how we entertain ourselves, basically dominate our whole lives.

All of those things will have to be left behind down here. 

So how do we design a whole new way of human cooperation that actually works better than the current ones in place?

We copy paste.

Our own body operates on the constant cooperation and interaction of billions of cells. If we had a closer look at what systems are in place to coordinate their interaction, and if we compared that to our current large scale systems, we would find a lot of similarities already.

The question is, are our current systems the most efficient way of organising ourselves on the scales of millions/hundreds of millions/billions of people?

Could we do better?

How?

Here are a couple of propositions that we might be able to test with our system:
-"decentralised" decision making:
At the moment we elect people into positions where they make the key decisions to initiate actions we take as a society.
What if instead of elected people, anyone who is interested in a subject could get involved and become part of the system that makes the decisions? Basically increasing the amount of people involved in making a choice, or developing responses.

In our case i envisaged a voting system, where people who are interested in a subject vote with putting money towards it.

So if i am interested in zero-g agriculture, i would find and send money to the group who is doing the research into the subject.

Now as an individual i have a very limited amount of money, but if a lot of people decide to send their money that way, the research could be sped up.

But because we still don't have cheap access to space, a lot of people probably would think that rocket science needs more of our attention first, than large scale agriculture in orbit. So the collective would put resources towards different projects based on what people think our priorites are. 

So a large amount of people could collectively decide what subjects to study, who should be doing the research, and how much research they should be doing.

The global decision is made from individuals making small decisions like where to spend a dollar.

-free "decentralised" education:
I also envisioned building education into this system. Make it integral part of it. So that if somebody is interested in a subject, they can find the relevant information, and actually get involved in the research. We already have online courses, we already have a plethora of information on the internet.
But we still don't seem to have a system that would provide excelent quality and up to date education for anybody, about any subject, without any tuition fees apart from the internet access that is required. / If there are, please let me know because i want to use their services. :D /

All the research projects could have their profile where all the information necessary to understand the current state of the poject is already present and pulled together. Kind of like a mini specialised course in the subject. Wikipedia is a good example of such a source, however it is not interactive or detailed enough to be educational.

This would have a double purpose. It would help train the necessary researchers of the future, but also would help people who are interested in the subject make better decisions about where to spend their dollar.

-free crowd computing:
Both people themselves offering their expertise in answering questions, and computers that are part of the network sharing computing power and data storage.  This is already implemented by the internet itself.
Though it would be quite handy to do the physics modelling needed for engineering on the "crowd" computers.
Freely sharing data and insight belongs into this category.

-"decentralised" task allocation:
Everybody finds something to do that is within their capabilities, and that needs to be done, and then they do it. Nobody waits for tasks to be allocated to them, unless their specific role requires such standby position.
This would mean there needs to be a way for people to communicate who is doing what, and where more help is needed, what specific tasks need to be performed. 
It also needs people who want to be active and do things, which might be a bigger problem, and this is where motivation comes in.
But in the core it is merely allowing the individuals to govern their own involvement, they chose where, in what way, and how much they want to be involved. 

These are the key ideas i wanted to explore with this system.

Now i have no idea if this all is bullshit, or we could indeed use the above mentioned stuff. That is why i am here trying to talk to people to get a discussion happening so we can work out the details of our system.




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