Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thoughts on Information Decentralization Vs. Centralization

Decentralization of Privacy and Human Bodily Functions (slow non-networked thought, sleep, sex, drugs, socially unacceptable behavior, sub optimal areas where learning is required) Centralization of all other Information:

Please, feel free to call me about these ideas, at 907-250-5503. I think that decentralization is more accurately called "hyper-specialization" "diversification" and "freedom". There only tends to be true/good/beneficial decentralization when privacy is concerned. Otherwise, there tends to be multiply-redundant beneficial centralization.

The good part of decentralization is simply human institutions adopting essential diversification of technology. As an example, there is the law: the law, to be fair, must be applied to all, and accessible to all. The law is a technology for dealing with the fact that we are all discrete individuals that have our own wants and needs. Central authorities don't understand this now, and don't accept it (low information drug prohibition, low information gun prohibition, low information speeding prohibition, ...virtually all "mala prohibita").

So, rather, than allow prohibition to succeed, privacy and decentralization are technologies which are at war with "low information centralization" or "authoritarian centralization" that would allow prohibition of anything voluntary to succeed.

The police officer who says "you can't do that" is lower information than the engineer who says "yes, I can, let me show you...". The police officer centralizes himself with others who agree with him, because he lacks the information to be tolerant of diversity --he is typically a brutal and unquestioning man (because low-information human minds have created a market for brutality). Those defeating prohibition centralize themselves when it suits them (finding the address to a pizza parlor, so they can eat), and drop off the grid when it doesn't suit them (finding the address to a client's house). Those not smart enough to use decentralization technology fail and are imprisoned, and allow those who are good at using such technologies to thrive / be paid / allocate more resources to themselves (one of which is encryption).

Decentralization is a human desire, just as privacy is, due to the limits of the human body. We are not "always on". Ultimately, we will become more like machines, "always on". We will defeat sleep. We will defeat aging. We will defeat our weaknesses in comprehending networked information. We will defeat the reasons (illogical or sub-optimal human weaknesses) why we need SO MUCH privacy.

And, alternate networks that are fiercely independent will be born. Networks will war with one another, until they reach compromise around a higher order of logic. The drastically sub-optimal will likely be eliminated, or marginalized (Does pond scum take over everything and become ubiquitous or does its marketshare decline in relation to the higher order intelligence of humans? Just as pond scum gradually gives way to gleaming cities, where the pond scum is mostly kept alive only in nudibrachts that are kept as pets in someone's fish tank.)

Essentially, there is a one-upmanship defensive technology battle around the issue of privacy. Because there is limited toleration of autonomy, privacy, and personal freedom, there must be decentralization.

Decentralization is a net negative, however. It means that processes are not networked, and therefore have less information than networked technology.

Think about this:
We keep the information that we need to survive non-networked, because we can't trust men. Men are unreliable, because they are not that smart. Although markets really work well, the imperfect biology of MOST humans continues to fight the creation of new markets, and to fight diversification, and to fight individual freedom. They fight it as much as they can, and over the long term, they fail to win, and freedom (and the free markets of expanded choice) wins.

Privacy wins now, because those who are really smart don't want the less-informed (and therefore less-tolerant and less-specialized) to control their lives. Also, they usually don't want to control other people, (except by giving them options which they voluntarily accept or choose, to mutual benefit). The technological environment is language, and we tolerate all kinds of different communications designed for specific purposes. The technological environment is image-processing, and we tolerate all kinds of images designed for specific purposes. The technological environment is chemistry, and we tolerate all kinds of chemicals designed for specific purposes. Where there is intolerance, alternative markets spring up to serve specified purposes, until there is tolerance.

When machines are smart enough to choose the market as their means of governance (outlawing involuntary theft and initiated force, legalizing all remaining voluntary behaviors), then the domains of biology and sex (biological information needed for security) will be one of the few remaining domains where information has value if it is kept private (or confined to an alternate network). This remains true as long as women have finite healthspans and finite sexual-attractiveness-spans (they will still need to keep that value to themselves, in order to attract a high-quality jealous mate for the purpose of isolating/selecting preferable genes).

There will be a pressure towards being less networked, only until intelligence allows for the diversity and specialization that evolution demands. See:

Right now, I'm a decentralist in transition to being a centralist / networkist / information backup advocate.

The element that unites the private world of technology and the public world of technology is feedback. Not matter whether your network is public (giant, less specialization) or private (smaller, higher specialization), the information being sensed is getting more detailed and specific. The sensory nodes in the system are getting more sensitive.

This doesn't benefit a drug dealer, but it does benefit the shapers and makers of policy (both internal and external). The drug dealer goes to jail, but when he does, he becomes another data point that tells the policy makers (internal in congress and the DEA, external in legalization advocacy groups) that the drug war fails to accomplish anything constructive. Legalizers are growing faster in number than prohibitionists, because there is a free market incentive for that to happen, and because the tax-financed government market is a subset of the free market (and a less efficient one at that).

Policy makers right now are being pressured to either
1) Give up their entire game (coercion)
2) Reduce the least legitimate parts their game, and allow/include drug users, pornographers, gun owners, sound money advocates, etc. into the game.

Over time, information favors the diversity of those who understand how to purify coca into cocaine, opium into heroin, hemp into hashish, full-size rifles into submachine guns, porn magazines into zip files, etc...

This is why prohibition doesn't work. We keep getting smarter, and machines help make that happen. See:

One way to "hack the system" is to put private information online in public anonymously, to recruit new devotees of alternate systems. If something is popular, it will survive. So, people anonymously put information about how to make a machine gun online, how to process coca online, etc...

This has the effect of moving privacy power away from the center, but increasing the amount of information that the centralized power centers have.

Ultimately, the highest-level processing becomes standard, and chooses to tolerate the specified, and decentralization simply becomes "detailed feedback about local conditions".

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