Decentralized, Part 2

(For part 1, click here)

1. In “A Unified Theory of Decentralization” (via OLDaily), a pseudonymous author enumerates 9 problems, all of which he or she wants to be solved by decentralized solutions — a very puristic approach which I don’t find useful.

The first one is discovery and its solution is “an ongoing research topic”. For me, basic directory or registration service is a matter of a country’s infrastructure, and it is the task of a central but public operator. (A promising proposal within our current election campaign speaks of “öffentlich-rechtlich” (= governed by public law) for alternative platforms).

Maybe it is a cultural issue why some feel uncomfortable with the state maintaining a registry entry for each of its citizens and expecting them to carry an ID card. When I worked in early X.500 projects, there were different attitudes apparent, eventually prohibiting a profile of “residential person” in addition to “organisational person”, and what was left was the vacuous “internet person”.

For me, it is a given, and has been for the entire 50 years of my voter’s right, that the registry sends me, unsolicited, an Election Notification card that I can use (together with my ID card) at the polling station.

Colrored dots and arrows randomly connected, and an unconnected big black dot in the center

2. For my latest summary (see part 1) I used the imprecise title “decentralized knowledge” because I did not know a better catch-all term for what had engaged me recently. In the meantime, I read Ben Werdmüller’s post. It combines ‘centralized’ with ‘templated”, and it struck me how well these notions fit together. The latter impedes inner autonomy in a similar way as the former impedes us from the outside. And together, they cover better what I meant.

Furthermode, to think about centralistic ‘templates’ is also useful when imagining AI assistance for learning. Certainly, AI solutions based on big data can be able to align individuals with central templates such as common canons of memorized knowledge. But what about their personal goals for which there is much less data available? Still doubtful.

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