Ownership and Transparency, dual challenges


Resilience Project notes: Dr Paul S Prueitt; January 28, 2008


Mission Statement


Our social, economic and ecological environments are challenging humanity in ways where resilience comes into question.  With this sobering thought front and center, the Resilience Project starts with two observations.  First, that ownership over computer algorithms has created a specific type of software infrastructure.  Second, that a nationally funded Resilience Project would quickly come to define a specific alternative.  The alternative must provide the individual with increased capacity to understand her or him self as well as social complexity.  It cannot be exploited by for-profit enterprises; rather it must arise from deep-seated political commitment.  There must be an implementation plan that accounts for market disruption and transformation, as well as an interface to school and higher education.   For these reasons, the Resilience Project must be lead by the White House. 


Sustainability Entrepreneurship is the key to human survival


The current communication infrastructure has provided services to humanity.  However, the Internet and television also have profound negative impacts.  Our society's social resilience and sustainability is put into question by the control of information spaces and through demands produced by the business sector.  Our individual behaviors are manipulated by a complex system that is directed not at finding private wisdom but at increasing consumption of products produced by large corporations.  In spite of the political system we as a society have found ourselves nearly powerless to address the consequences of an imbalance in consumption patterns.


Consumption patterns need not be wasteful.  However, the current consumption patterns place the world’s cultures and environments in jeopardy.  A shift in production and consumption may be mediated if all individuals have better access to real information regarding products, both the individual consequences of purchases and the overall consequences of production. 


We Resilience Project’s founding communities do not make an argument against capitalism and free markets.  Free market dynamics does provide a foundation for a solution to the global sustainability concerns.  Given a “Blank Slate”, unencumbered by the previous ownership issues, the solution develops as a refinement of the practices of individual and small community entrepreneurship.  Our argument is that information control is unwise, unhealthy and not consistent with the concept of free markets. 


Entrepreneurship relies on transparency in two ways.  The successful entrepreneur knows how one’s business works.  To create a new business the entrepreneur needs to understand many details.  Where does each resource come from?  How should accounting ledgers be set up?  Where and who are one’s customers or clients?  All of these things must be clear.  If one is also practicing sustainability entrepreneurship one needs to know over all impacts that one’s business process has on all other systems.  Sustainable consumption also requires transparency. 


Ownership and capitalization


Entrepreneurial activity almost always relies on the management of ownership.  One needs to know where are the properties that are owned by the business, or for which the business has caretaker responsibility.  For example, suppose the business is a recording studio and the product is a digital object.  It might be required that the business must in theory know if there is illegal production of copies of this property.  A larger system is needed to create a consumer market for legal use of the digital object.  The definition of “legal” ownership is thus a key aspect of new entrepreneurial activity that wishes to product digital property.  The issues related to the production and distribution of digital property can be resolved using instrumented and generative digital right management, but there is no wisdom as of yet that allows such a management system to come into existence. [1] 


The founding group and others note that no viable capitalization process is available to support the global solution to the digital right management issues.  In fact, global solutions to a whole range of solutions are difficult to define and take great skill in implementing.  At core to the resistance are the issues related to transparency and ownership. 


Initial Phase


The initial phase of the Resilience Project will study ways in which a service infrastructure supporting sustainable entrepreneurship and sustainable consumption maybe put into place. [2] This aspect of the project is critical since if there is no action related to changing the paradigm of ownership the mere provision of transparency will not lead to an increased ability to do anything about what we are coming to see and coming to understand. 


Natural science and information


The proper use of natural science will better inform computer science about the natures of human communication.  At the ground level, clear human communication is needed if we are to identify and advance solutions to the economic and environmental imbalances.  We envision systems of computer science that are more aligned with the natural science.  We have designed these systems and yet have, up to now, no way to capitalize the deployment of these systems.  The right to address the problems we have been attempting to address are “owned”. [3]


The only picture that is larger than the current reality of ownership is natural reality.  Using natural science the new service infrastructure could make the everyday use of computers as natural as everyday use of human language.  Specifically natural science gives us an ability to take next steps in the development of human communication mediated by ontological models.  This has been the approach the Resilience Project planning community has taken. 


Next steps


Proposed next steps start with the development of an Internet sub domain for scholarly interaction about services provided by schools, colleges and universities.  Because of prior work and given the right leadership, we may quickly showcase service architecture consistent with missions of university institutions. 


Following close behind is the clear possibility that a high-level e-commerce domain will be used to support a new type of commerce system.  In fact, having a single contract source for "permission" to use a “SafeNet” may eliminate many of the un-anticipated negatives of the current Internet.  The contract authority may be a public trust with strong guidelines and standards. 


The criticism


There is a strong argument from both the liberal and the conservative side of the political environment against the provision of a part of the Internet where all transactions are viewable.  This argument does not recognize that the concept of a grid transparency does allow the protection of privacy issues as well as the protection of digital rights. 


Role of the Speaker of the House of Representatives


The need for a series of conferences sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives arises from the profound obstacles placed on innovations related to sustainability and resilience activities.  Technical and scientific consensus is needed to address the issues of social complexity, the possibilities of “over the social horizon transparency”, and the power of the status quo.  These issues need deep framing. [4] The Resilience Project planning community proposes to the Speaker that she is the proper sponsor of a process that creates this deep framing. 


When a way forward is found, the development of technical and public consensus will be represented in new standards.  This process will be completed within 120 days.  The reasons for this short time line are urgency and the fact that members of the Resilience Project planning community have already completed much of the standards work. A review by a larger community of the work already done will occupy the majority of the 120 days. 


For reasons that will be come clear, these anticipated standards would provide transparency of a special kind. [5] The movement of digital objects within this standard may be governed by publicly well stated and, provably, simple services. Service architectures will be oriented towards generic processes such as those that provide a real time map of worldwide commodity transactions, or the current climate conditions.  These maps must be developed and updated using ongoing measurements and multiple scales of observations.  Political decisions about such things are a carbon tax are assisted when these maps are both available and publicly available. 


This grid transparency concept is also referred to as "stratified transparency".  Understanding how this will work is not hard, but the understanding does seem to require a shift in underlying assertions.  The key is to allow a direct response to actions so that actions lead to learning experiences.  What do I wish to buy?  What is good for me?


In living systems, action results in consequences and these consequences are then measured in the process of perception.  The barriers to transparency are familiar to individual human beings as we experience precisely the same transparency and barriers in our relationships with other individuals.  The stratification of transparency establishes gaps in the flow of data where security measures manage transactions that are not authorized. 


The evolving semantic desktop concept


Global context computing is a technology existing as a potential optimal paradigm.  In natural science we see context computing as Darwinian evolution.  In computer science and mathematics context computing is the basis of various forms of "evolutionary computing", including genetic algorithms and parallel distributed processing.  The classes of algorithms that generate a context landscape are well known by those who have worked on semantic extraction technology.  Context landscapes are to be the next human/computer-interface. [6]


[1] Cox Brad (1991) “SuperDistribution”  www.digitalcollege.edu

Prueitt, Paul S (2006) “Digital Media Opportunity” URL:


[2] SOA (service oriented architecture) standards based on non-proprietary data object definition are well underway in many parts of the world.

[3] It is part of the preliminary work of the Resilience Project to suggest that the 338 billion spent by the OMB on IT consulting during the years 2000- 2006 have hard wired the ownership of global problem solving. 

[4] Lakoff, George  http://www.georgelakoff.com/

[5] Given the intangibility of digital objects whatever the form they assume it has been difficult to find a discipline to integrate them in the present patent law system (everywhere) and to keep a balance between the scope to duly compensate the inventor/creator and the need to stimulate the creative mind.

[6] CoreTalk web site is an example of semantic desktop specifications.  www.coretalk.net