SingUlarity Evgeny Konstantinov

A Case for Reddit, Billy Milligan, Facebook, Gmail, and Cryptocurrency

SingUlarity
Evolution of communities puts self-governance on top
A Case for Reddit, Billy Milligan, Facebook, Gmail, and Cryptocurrency
Contents

Reddit

Back in 2005, Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman — two undergraduate students of the University of Virginia and dormmates — had an idea for a food ordering app that they pitched to a computer scientist and entrepreneur Paul Graham. Paul Graham liked the idea and told Alexis and Steve to pitch it to Y Combinator — a startup accelerator that Paul co-founded that same year and that’s one of the most successful today.

The pitch didn’t go well with the Y Combinator investors and was rejected, but they liked Alexis and Steve as a team and told them to come up with something else. The two undergrads quickly came up with the idea of Reddit that Paul Graham immediately called “the front page of the web.” Reddit was given funding, developed in a very short period of time, and went online in June 2005.

At first, the new social network was very barebones with very few users, and to create the effect of a crowded house so that it would show some activity on the website, Alexis and Steve started registering fake users and submitting news and links worth of attention through different names. This way of attracting new users can be crudely called the Billy Milligan effect. Alexis and Steve had to pretend they were a number of different people who used the website until they reached a critical mass when Reddit would be able to function on its own.

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Facebook

A year before Reddit, Mark Zuckerberg launched a universal student directory at Harvard called TheFacebook. The directory was a centralized place to keep all student photos and basic student information. TheFacebook, unlike Reddit, was launched to an existing userbase — Harvard students — and within the first month more than half of the undergraduates registered on Facebook. Facebook was initially restricted to Harvard.

Gmail

Gmail was launched in 2004, but due to the limited infrastructure to support the users, Google decided to make Gmail invitation-only and limited the invitations to 1,000 opinion leaders and their friends and family members.

Gmail invitations, due to the closed nature of the service, became highly demanded and a market was quickly formed around them. Regular invitations were selling on eBay for $150 with some accounts soaring to as high as several thousand dollars.

As Georges Harik, product management director for Gmail at the time, puts it: “The limited rollout had been born of necessity, but it had a side effect. Everyone wanted it even more. It was hailed as one of the best marketing decisions in tech history, but it was a little bit unintentional.”

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Blockchain

Reddit, Facebook, and Gmail happened well over a decade ago, and the Blockchain technology and interest have advanced and spread in the meantime. Getting early in a product, project, or a service poised for success is always an advantage, be it a cool name on Gmail, the account age on Reddit, or making use of Facebook monetization.

With Blockchain and cryptocurrency, as the latest years show, getting in early is a solid advantage, and due to the decentralized nature of the technology, this can be a life-changing experience. It is to many.

To quote Michael del Castillo of Forbes:

“By giving early adopters of a budding social network like Steemit access to a token that potentially appreciates in value and gives them access to the service, developers could create an incentive to join long before the actual network effects are competitive with established centralized social networks like Facebook and Twitter.”

Community support through getting coins of a new service shortens the period necessary to reach the critical mass to not only keep the network going but letting it truly flourish on its own. With Blockchain and crypto, no longer does a project need to play Billy Milligan or simulate an elitist characteristic of an invitation-only service.

The service has to be good though, and decentralization allows it to be self-governed and ready for the community embrace, for the Blockchain protocol and algorithm are transparent and independent — the complete opposite of being centralized. You can’t pull a Billy Milligan on it or switch it to a doors-shut exclusive place. The protocol and the decentralized nature of Blockchain make it completely community-owned.

But again, the service has to be good.

The U°Community platform is not yet another social network on Blockchain just because of Blockchain. It’s an integral part of Blockchain and an interface to it.

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On Fanboy Wars: Opinion

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From supporters to maximalists while bringing benefits to individuals and communities
On Fanboy Wars: Opinion
Contents

The term “fanboy wars”, coming predominantly from the video game industry, does have a derogatory shade to it, but it is the most accurate one, so I suggest we stick with it.

I am talking about the fanboy wars in crypto.

For ages people have been ardent supporters of competing products and the competing products have also been there for ages, and Blockchain is no exception. Going through the entire history of fanboy wars is out of the scope of this post, and there are literature and books covering this topic specifically, backed by significant amounts of research and with fascinating historical (and often hysterical) anecdotes to illustrate.

What I’d like to dwell on briefly is two examples: video game fanboy wars and crypto fanboy wars.

Video game fanboy wars

Way back in the day — in the 90s actually — it was Genesis versus Nintendo. Remember that? “Genesis does what Nintendon’t” to which Nintendo retaliated with “Nintendo is what Genesisn’t”, and blast processing, and so on. The console war that was later joined in by Sony with their PlayStation and ultimately the PC.

None of these wars would have happened without communities supporting either side and taking a vigorous part in the process. And none of the community members would have been vigorous if the video games didn’t raise strong emotions in the users, who were majorly kids at the time. Because that’s what video entertainment in general and video games in particular attempt to do — give the user a high and cause an emotional response and maybe provoke thoughts.

The members of the warring communities were heavily investing in the process because the games stirred them.

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Crypto fanboy wars

The video game industry is again booming today, but the fanboy wars took a new incarnation in crypto. A much more complex and intricate one because the people involved in it are majorly adults and because money is involved. A lot of money.

Gaining money in crypto — as in doing an X or multiple Xs or losing the value of your assets — probably causes the same level of emotional response in adults as it does in kids, but because these are grown-ups playing the grown-up games, the tactics are much more nuanced. There are shills and influencers with their own hidden (or open) agenda, identity fraudsters, and confidence tricksters.

However, the major force is one of the sincere project supporters with a genuine drive to tell the world of their discovery and learn the technology and spread the knowledge. The major — not the only one, but majorly prevalent — cause for the drive is their investment in a particular project and the financial gain that they experienced. Based on their investment, people hold ground for the camps at war because often there are competing projects and competing supporters.

The heated discussions abound, but they happen on the platforms rife with shady actors. Discussions are good. Leveled discussions are very good for they help to understand the technology better and weigh all the pros and cons of a particular project. And the knowledge spreading that happens and the content that is generated in the process is hugely beneficial for the entirety of the crypto scene and the world as a whole.

What if this space was uncluttered and all the shadiness removed? I am not talking taking away the anonymity, I am talking better structure and transparency that’d ultimately reduce the animosity. What if there was the technology that’d help us with that? You know, like the one many are warning about? Like BLOCKCHAIN.

Remember the Bitcoin early adopters when it was novel and we considered ourselves pioneer for simply mining or purchasing Bitcoin? Remember how some of them turned Bitcoin maximalists and turned against Ethereum when it was only emerging?

Remember how some of the Ethereum supporters became in their turn Ethereum maximalists when NEO showed up?

See how much at war are some of the Vechain and Waltonchain supporters?

What if all of that was happening not on makeshift social platforms that were never designed to endure all the disputes and discussions and all the content generated, but on a platform built precisely on the technology we are arguing about? There would be so much to gain for the community as a whole with all the obfuscating flak removed.

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Сreative Сommunities in Space and Crypto Give Shape to Future Social System

Opinions
Equality based on trust and mutual respect is a viable prototype of democracy 2.0
Сreative Сommunities in Space and Crypto Give Shape to Future Social System
Contents

Aliya Prokofieva is founder of the international space company “Galaktika,” space exploration visionary and active public speaker. She writes for U.Today on the cutting edge tech and disruptive projects that may change the life of billions of people.

Whatever sociologists say about the growing popularity of individualism in the modern world, man was, is and will be a social being. Without denying the importance of individual genii, it is necessary to recognize: it is collective actions that ensure the progressive development of our civilization.

A notable phenomenon of modern social life is communities, the new forms of social groups that Thomas Hobbes defined as "a certain number of people united by a common interest or common cause." Compared with formal teams, they are much more effective and mobile, more focused on the outcome, and reveal the individual capabilities of participants better. It is communities that have all the chances to become a link between the traditional forms of social order that prevail today and those that will replace them in the future.

Working in various projects, I was able to observe the activities of such communities and identify the criteria that they must meet in order to become successful.

image

What makes communities effective

Here are the conclusions I came to:

1. The community needs a goal.

It does not matter what it will be: taking care of homeless animals or finding solutions to the Navier-Stokes equations. The main thing is that

a) it is clear and concrete,

b) it had high value for a certain circle of people.

Communities without a goal or with unclear targets are not viable- this is easily seen from the example of today's Internet. Instead of interested participants, they attract a crowd of trolls, ready to kill any idea. The exchange of views on such sites quickly gets sidetracked from the means of achieving the goal itself. The result is a massive outflow of capable members and the sudden end of the community.

2. Community members should be associated with joint activities.

Groups, united by the exchange of information or the discussion of common interests, have the right to exist, but they look like blank cartridges: from what they are, the surrounding world is neither hot nor cold. Here everything is simple: if nothing is done, nothing will happen.

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3. Community activities should be of public benefit, i.e. not limited to solving the personal problems of its participants, but to project the result into an external society.

The more people outside the community that feel the positive effect of his work, the higher is his social value.

For example, the social significance of a group of volunteers who decided to equip the courtyard of an apartment building will be limited to the circle of its tenants. However, if after this, volunteers take care of neighboring yards, attract new participants, embrace other areas, they will soon become a significant public force citywide.

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4. The task of a result-oriented community is not to suppress, but to promote the individuality of participants.

Equalization in such social groups is similar to death: it sharply reduces the level of responsibility of members of the collective. As a consequence, the effectiveness of joint activities will be zero. The maximum benefit to the community will come from a participant who can say to himself: this is mine, here I will be able to realize my abilities to the maximum and get a worthy reward (not necessarily material).

5. Full participation in decision-making is a distinctive feature of a properly organized community.

Social groups built on a tight vertical of power have no future. In the modern world, fewer people are ready to be content with the role of a pawn in another's game. A joint search for the right solution; the ability to listen and adequately assess points of view that are different from one's own; the willingness to accept a collective verdict, even if it does not agree with their ideals, is a consistent step on the road to a new type of democracy.

6. Trust is the ultimate catalyst for any community.

Communities in the past had to live, and many still do, on platforms that are not transparent in how they operate and the commoditization is obfuscated. Decentralization and the Blockchain technology are changing that. Blockchain transparency is what will shoot communities to the next level. The essence of the immutable ledger is that your every action is always yours. The Blockchain is for you, the individual. This forms trust. There are projects like U°Community that build a transparent community platform with dynamic reputation.

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The "Ether" orbital city

These considerations were fully taken into account when forming a group of like-minded people united by the idea of ​​creating the orbital city "Ether.” The result was a project that met all the criteria of a successful community, which could well become the prototype of a new model of social structure.

First, it has a well-defined goal, understandable to the participants and having a significant value for them. The idea of ​​creating a city in orbit with a population of several tens of thousands, equipped with an autonomous life support system and its own biosphere, is a powerful unifying force.

Secondly, the "ethereal" community is capable: it includes many high-level professionals competent with various fields of knowledge. But even more enthusiasts, keen on the grandiosity of the goal and ready to learn in the process of achieving it, improve themselves and make a feasible contribution to the common cause.

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Thirdly, the community's activities have a high social value: its result will be a breakthrough not only for the participants but for the entire population of the Earth. The engineering and social technologies obtained in the process of working on the project will become the property of not a narrow group of people, but all of mankind, and will bring the day when we begin to consider outer space as our second home closer.

Fourth, the scale and level of complexity of the tasks to be solved are such that there is space for self-realization for everyone. The theoretical physicist and engineer-designer, power engineer and biotechnologist, space designer and city manager- practically any professional experience multiplied by the ability to generate non-trivial ideas, will be in demand and appreciated.

And, finally, at all stages of joint activities, from the development of the concept to the full settlement of the station, key decisions affecting the future of the "Ether" are done collectively. Each member of the community has the right to vote, and every voice will be heard. Equality based on trust and mutual respect is a viable prototype of democracy 2.0.

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SingUlarity Evgeny Konstantinov

The Acromegaly of Leviathans

SingUlarity
Brief historical reasoning for decentralization and self-governance
The Acromegaly of Leviathans
Contents

Thousands of years ago people lived in communities, and the communities had vast unclaimed lands between the settlements. The communities were small and people were able to observe each other daily and communicate with each other. Trust of various levels and straight distrust were created through community member interactions and this formed the reputation of each member.

Trust is the energy and lifeblood of any community, and no community can exist without trust. I am not talking complete trust here, but trust degrees and trust as a whole.

Step 1

As communities grew bigger, they claimed more and more land that was available — the area expanded and eventually became too large to control its borders.

Governments started coming about around the same time, although how exactly they appeared is still a topic for debate and research. At high level, there are four theories about how the governments came into existence:

  • Force Theory — the seizure of power over a population and control of the seized population.

  • Evolutionary Theory — starting with a primitive family with a relatively natural distribution of power that grew into something bigger that eventually turned into a government.

  • Divine Right Theory — God gave the right to certain people and dynasties to control a population. The rulers are in turn accountable to God.

  • Social Contract Theory — members of a population willingly give power to a number of people to work for the common good of the population.

Regardless of the theory, what’s important is that as the communities expanded, much of the power and resources were delegated and used in an attempt to control and patrol the borders. The communities soon morphed into city-states and the trust started going steeply vertical. The trust that was given to the governments was necessary to rule and develop the city-states. The neighboring city-states then joined into countries and governments became more powerful. And it made sense.

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Step 2

Fast-forward to the last quarter of the 20th century when two things happened:

  • Collapses of the totalitarian governments;

  • The advance of the Internet.

In 1992, Francis Fukuyama published a book titled The End of History and the Last Man, in which he argued that a universalized Western liberal democracy might be the final form of human government. In contrast to the totalitarian governments, the democratic ones involved citizens in making decisions and promoting the well-being and common good of the population.

To quote the book:

The most remarkable develop­ment of the last quarter of the twentieth century has been the revelation of enormous weaknesses at the core of the world’s seemingly strong dictatorships, whether they be of the military-authoritarian Right, or the communist-totalitarian Left. From Latin America to Eastern Europe, from the Soviet Union to the Middle East and Asia, strong governments have been failing over the last two decades. And while they have not given way in all cases to stable liberal democracies, liberal democracy remains the only coherent political aspiration that spans different regions and cultures around the globe.

The vertical trust of the totalitarian governments made them too heavy and acromegalic in infrastructure to maintain control; citizens no longer put the trust flow through the totalitarian centralized institutions and without the energy of trust, the leviathan governments collapsed. Democracy was celebrated.

What happened around the same time was the advance of the Internet and the connectedness of the world. Bulletin boards were almost immediately formed, and these were pretty much the first communities of the Internet, where people didn’t have to know each other in real life or even be in geographic proximity. They were independent, self-governed, and the energy of trust that flowed through these communities was almost horizontal. And there was a lot of energy in that.

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Step 3

Again, fast-forward to 2000s, and the now connected digital world went through the history of the humankind at an accelerated pace. The online self-governed communities gave way to almost totalitarian services like Facebook. At first, the trust went from vertical in the real world to distributed in the digital one with the spread of the bulletin boards in the 90s, and then it steeply became vertical again with the corporatization of online services.

And it was relatively fine at first — after all, these were the places where a lot of the communities lived now — sites like Myspace, Reddit, Facebook and so on — and thrived too. But then, the social networks crossed the point of being relatively healthy and became the same acromegalic leviathans, and the energy of community trust started leaving them.

At the same time, what we are witnessing today both in the real and the digital world is the crisis of trust — from real-world institutions to the centralized online services, trust is leaving the vertical structures and is becoming more and more distributed.

As Rachel Botsman succinctly put it in her fantastic book titled Who Can You Trust?: How Technology Brought Us Together and Why It Might Drive Us Apart:

When we look at the past, we can see that trust falls into distinct chapters. The first was local, when we lived within the boundaries of small local communities where everyone knew everyone else. The second was institutional, a kind of intermediated trust that ran through a variety of contracts, courts and corporate brands, freeing commerce from local exchanges and creating the foundation necessary for an organized industrial society. And the third, still very much in its infancy, is distributed.

With the rise of the sharing economy and the advance of the Blockchain interest and popularity, we are clearly past the vertical trust wave crest and it’s falling down into the state of being distributed, more or less horizontal, and community-based.

Communities are coming back to self-governance, community members work with each other fueled by the energy of distributed trust, and Blockchain-based platforms are the next thing to happen. And it’s happening now. U°Community have created a platform with the core ideas of self-governance and independence in mind — a place where there should be no obstacle to the flow of the energy of distributed trust.

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A Machine Gun for Zombies: Opinion

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How to ditch your inner zombie at the cluttered crypto space?
A Machine Gun for Zombies: Opinion

Chuck Klosterman, a popular essayist, wrote a very entertaining piece on zombies for The New York Times back in 2010.

Titled My Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead, the article takes an off-the-wall perspective on the popularity of the zombie culture and how it can be both a reflection and an evidence of our day-to-day lives.

I suggest reading the entire article because it’s just a lot of fun, but the important bit that I’d like to focus on is the one I’m quoting in full:

A lot of modern life is exactly like slaughtering zombies.

If there’s one thing we all understand about zombie killing, it’s that the act is uncomplicated: you blast one in the brain from point-blank range (preferably with a shotgun). That’s Step 1. Step 2 is doing the same thing to the next zombie that takes its place. Step 3 is identical to Step 2, and Step 4 isn’t any different from Step 3. Repeat this process until (a) you perish, or (b) you run out of zombies. That’s really the only viable strategy.

Every zombie war is a war of attrition. It’s always a numbers game. And it’s more repetitive than complex. In other words, zombie killing is philosophically similar to reading and deleting 400 work e-mails on a Monday morning or filling out paperwork that only generates more paperwork, or following Twitter gossip out of obligation, or performing tedious tasks in which the only true risk is being consumed by the avalanche. The principal downside to any zombie attack is that the zombies will never stop coming; the principal downside to life is that you will never be finished with whatever you do.

The Internet reminds us of this every day.

It’s been eight years since the publication of the article, but the digital world —  surprisingly — hasn’t changed much for the better.

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Collective knowledge VS individuality

When we think crypto — as in the Blockchain and crypto space — the way the information is structured (or, rather, completely unstructured and cluttered) is even lagging behind the rest of things.

There are various Blockchain courses — both entrepreneurial and from established institutions, and there are scattered wikis that are entirely dependent on the volition of those who run (or abandon) them. The sense of decentralization that flairs this space and community-centrism are a contributing factor to the information chaos that holds sway. This is not inherently bad, as this shows that community does rule this space, and every community is individual members.

And the individual members possess and spread and share the information. They also do information exchanges and this way move the crypto space forward.

Community members are knowledge bearers. At the same time, they are individuals, and individuals have their own agenda that ranges from complete selflessness for the common good to being driven by lacking knowledge to the no-holds-barred money making.

There’s an enormous amount of collective knowledge in the crypto space, but there’s an overwhelming amount of individuals. In your search for the knowledge, you very often have to rely on what complete strangers say, and you listen to what they say because they are a part of that subreddit that you are following, or a forum where you can see their badges and past messages, or a member with a weird name (and thinly veiled shill tactics) of a telegram group of a project that you support.

There’s almost always a group of people that you trust, but in your search for knowledge — and because you want to be early in the new projects and developments — you wander out of your safe closed circle and investigate and research. And when you wander out, there’s always an onslaught of zombies — people that you don’t know and can’t check their agenda or how trustworthy they are. You start going through them one by one, and you are killing off those that are suspicious or — to use the zombie terminology — braindead. The process is time- and resource-consuming, exhausting, and not incredibly effective, but it’s pretty much the only one possible right now.

Imagine if — before taking a part in a conversation with a stranger, before fishing out the information that you need from them — you were able to decide if the interaction would be constructive and of benefit for you at all. Imagine if you could immediately see how trusted they are and if they have weight and what their agenda was before they got your full attention and it was all transparent and immutable?

Time and trust are as important to an individual as they are for all the communities because these are the factors that move this space forward.

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Space Spiders: Opinion

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Aliya Prokofieva is founder of the international space company “Galaktika,” space exploration visionary and active public speaker. She writes for U.Today on the cutting edge tech and disruptive projects that may change the life of billions of people.

Another solution has been found for the implementation of my plan to transfer production to space and create an orbital city. The details are below.

Actual web is a gem technology

It is common knowledge that spiders are fine weavers.

The thread that spiders produce has unique characteristics fully adapted for hunting. It is durable for its thickness, sticky, elastic and perfectly forms a network without any knots or additional fasteners. Now, for example, Japanese scientists are experimenting with some species of spiders, using genetic engineering, in order to get the most durable natural fiber. Carbon nanotubes are interwoven into this fiber to create a completely new quality- this "rope" is almost impossible to break. The ratio of the cross-section of the filament to the force applied to the break has no analogs in the modern world. These developments have not yet been put to practical use which is necessary for mass production, but scientists, as they say, are on the home stretch.

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Countdown starts now

Not only has the web itself prompted scientists new technical analogies with the arachnoid species- the spider, developing a thread, moves on a web, making circular and radial movements. The carriage of the inkjet printer, where the cartridge is installed, moves in the same way, but only within the limits of the size of the device. Currently, 3D printers are very static devices.

What if we make the printer move in space and create extended 3D structures? This would be a great solution for outer space!

Then there would be no need to transport parts from Earth and their installation by astronauts to outer space. Another important point is the absence of seams or other joints that affect the rigidity of the structure.

It is these considerations that prompted the developers of Tethers Unlimited to create an arachnoid-like robot-3D printer SpiderFab. It's amazing how much this robot look resembles a spider! It has four limbs, each of which is a separate printer (the developers are going to increase the number of "legs"), the inflated "abdomen" is a container with the material for printing. Also, the robot has an autonomous power plant with a solar array for constant recharging. The robot will be able to move in the process of printing and create frame structures in the image and likeness of natural cobwebs.

The introduction of such a robot will solve the global problem- the creation of objects in space with such dimensions that the present state of technological development is not yet capable of. As I wrote above, the expensive delivery of parts and elements from the Earth will no longer be necessary. Also, all the "delights" of space mining will be revealed, when the elements extracted on asteroids and planets will be used. Space materials researched will allow creating such composites for printing, which were not possible under terrestrial conditions. Such a printer will be able to print any complex object in orbit, from a part or a spare part to gigantic stations. This would lead to materials being in abundance!

And now imagine a whole fleet of cosmic "spiders" that weave in the high orbit of the Earth an openwork skeleton of a giant object, in the near future finding the outlines of a space city... And this is no longer a dream!

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