Whether you believe in free will or predestination, reproduction is something you’re not alien to. Everyone thinks about it, everyone has an opinion about it, and everyone is in some way engaged in it. There are several forms of reproduction, but all can be classified into asexual and sexual, with the differentiator being that asexual reproduction requires only one organism and sexual reproduction requires at least two. Reproduction is also one of the accepted “signs of life” along with homeostasis, metabolism and response to stimuli.
The word reproduction though is somewhat misleading in my opinion since to me reproducing what has already been produced is only relevant as long as one is practicing or learning a skill. To my mind what is described as reproduction is actually the creation of new versions of oneself, something like a code release.
There’s an old adage, that by yourself, all you can create is a mess. The suggestive connotations of this aside, the “mess” that gets created is a mess simply because it likely has relevance only to the organism that created it.
If an organism doesn’t find what it’s producing messy (i.e. it has a great reuse, reclaim and recycle policy that works) there’s not much need for other organisms. When the surplus production starts to get messy, that’s when another, complementary organism is needed that can utilize the product of the first organism in some life process of its own, if nothing else, to consume the excess. An organism that also produces a complementary output that the first organism can consume is all the more attractive. These basic principles operate for a wide enough variety of known life forms (including a few debatable ones) and can be used as a reference model.
Here’s an interesting simulation –
When applied to creating value, the same analogy can be extended. There are certain expressions of value I can create by myself, but increasingly most of my self expression requires the support of other people’s intention.
For example, writing this blog post requires me to use other peoples creation as links and sources so as to not sound completely insane. These links and references serve an important purpose. They tell the reader that my thoughts are not just my own, they are part of a shared collective which has a general purpose and general direction, which is emergent and is evident to observers who have the ability to apply the Flemish perspective . This collaboration is implemented by my citing them and thereby including them in the creation of this post. The intellectual property laws of the world, with their modern expression in the form of Creative Commons Licenses and other sharing norms are the framework in the context of which these citations give credibility to this post.
However, when there is some new expression that I want to create, for which the dataset perceivable by me is inadequate , which has never been shared so far, I need to collaborate with someone to engage with in “brainstorming” or in our current context, a “big bang”, from which conceivably a new chain of causation (which has not been explored before will begin).
Such collaboration is the basis of social equity exchange. Now in reproduction genetic codes are combined. Whether or not the human genome, or the helical strand of DNA, also represented as a chain composed of blocks linked quite strongly to each other is a good analogy for a blockchain or not, is something I will let the biologists comment on. However, my premise is that in the digital world, where we propose to model the social equity exchange, it suffices as representational enough to be a facilitator.
The Internet itself is a gargantuan distributed database, simultaneously the genesis and outcome of advancement in distributed digital data manipulation. Assuming the Internet to be an analogy for the biosphere, the blockchain could well be the equivalent of DNA, a means to store reliable, authentic data over time.
Since the blockchain facilitates the hard to revoke and hard to repudiate recording of digital events over time, the metaphor of sexual reproduction then expresses itself in this new biosphere as combination and mutation of blockchains.
As always, I prefer practical examples to theoretical ones, so let me create one by extending an invitation to engage in social equity exchange. Now, as with sex, one doesn’t necessarily want to engage in it with just anyone. It is generally advisable to co-create only with people you know and trust (there’s that word again).
I’ll use Sairam Natarajan (who has consented to participating in this demo) as my potential “mate” here.
Sairam has recently entered what he calls “the Business of Ethics”, an area around which he intends to create digital content. I am already engaged in that process (as I write). The invitation I am extending to him is to collaborate with me on creating content that covers both the technological as well as the ethical aspects of social equity exchange itself. What I am proposing is that as we develop our individual streams of content, we periodically get together to do a shared video or podcast or written article.
Now while the intention to collaborate has been expressed, no exchange has been agreed on here.
In order to do somewhat formally agree on an exchange we need what is called a contract.
A contract is a voluntary arrangement between two or more parties that is enforceable by law as a binding legal agreement.
Now, Sairam and I both live in different UKs, he in the United Kindom and I in Uttarakhand, India. If we were doing this the old fashioned way, the first thing we would have to agree on is which country’s law will we abide by, India or the United Kindgom.This question alone is enough to severely limit the value trade between geographically distanced people. So, to test if our exchange is workable, we’ve chosen to replace the “law” that will enforce this contract with the agreements of mutual conduct that Sairam and I have build over the last 18 years of knowing each other. The penalty that each of us faces for non performance is a lowering of the “social equity” we have in each other. If we repeatedly fail to perform on agreements we make, we will eventually lose all of it and considering that we have not done so in 18 years, by most risk management algorithms, we can extrapolate that into the future. Of course there is the chance that one of might live longer than the other, but that is generally the risk one is willing to carry when doing a friend a favor.
Now that we are following the law of friendship as the law, our other mutual friends (who have read this post) can all serve as arbitrators in the event of a dispute, should the level of conflict be high enough to warrant it.
By publishing this post, I am entrusting BigRock, my hosting provider, with the job of keeping a copy of my offer in existence. I will have a backup on my computer just in case and the Internet will create its own backup copies over time as people link to this article (if they do).
In terms of the offer, to make things tangible I am offering to create a website to promote his business (of ethics) online. Said website will be complete when he says he is satisfied with it and I am making no commitment as to how long that will take. The consideration that I am expecting from him in return is to create an assessment report on which countries are the best ones to set up a blockchain think tank in from a policy and business risk perspective. Said report will be said to have been delivered when I express my satisfaction with it.
Here we have altered another typical element of a contract, which is time of performance. Because Sairam and I share some value perceptions, we can set up our own event, the occurrence of which will render the contract fulfilled. Of course we could also agree on a date and time, but its more fun this way.
Now all Sairam has to do is to indicate his acceptance to me either by phone call, or whatsapp message, or email or a comment on this post from an ID (or any other format that could be attached to this post) that he is willing to endorse and we have an agreement ready to implement.
This is always been the most natural way of doing things. The legal framework of nations is created to facilitate just this sort of exchange and to resolve disputes arising therein. However, the legal framework as it exists today, simply cannot keep track of all the agreements and disagreements that exist. And that is where the blockchain and smart contracts come in. They are simply a scalable way to manage agreements between people, and to create new agreements…all contributing to the evolution of the species as a whole.
Once Sairam has indicated his acceptance (or refusal), the outcomes will also be shared on this blog (and likely on one of his)
Links and Refs:
Wikipedia article on reproduction – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reproduction
Wikipedia article on life – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life
The Pirate Organization – Harvard Business Review Publication – https://www.amazon.com/Pirate-Organization-Lessons-Fringes-Capitalism/dp/1422183181
Contracts – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contract
DNA – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA
Smart Contract – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_contract
The Hitchikers Guide To Ethereum Smart Contracts – https://blog.zeppelin.solutions/the-hitchhikers-guide-to-smart-contracts-in-ethereum-848f08001f05