SingUlarity Evgeny Konstantinov

Blockchain As a Lingua Franca: A Thing to Consider

SingUlarity
Dictionaries refuse to include crypto definitions of words
Blockchain As a Lingua Franca: A Thing to Consider
Contents

As with any new technology entering the public space and gaining traction, there’s a certain degree of word coinage and change in meaning which is above average. This indicates an interest in the field.

Communities forming around nascent technology create a common language in order to reduce communication obstacles enabling effective interaction in the process.

The human language is extraordinarily economical—we often tend to use as few words as possible to communicate our message—but at the same time it’s both flexible and adaptive. When a new concept is introduced, it goes through a word coinage or meaning change process, and there’s always a degree of fuzziness to it.

Crypto outside the Blockchain

When talking crypto, the word “blockchain” is a prime example of ambiguity. Not everything you see in the crypto space is actually “blockchain”, e.g. there are directed acyclic graph (DAG) based projects, which have little to do with the Blockchain, as there are proprietary code products that you can get involved in by purchasing their coins but still not know what’s inside the actual technology.

And while Merriam-Webster gives the same disemanticized definition of the word “blockchain” that’s currently dominating the space, the word “trustless” has not yet entered the domain of most dictionaries. This is a curious fact as “trustless” in its current linguistic norm—that is, outside of the crypto space—means an almost polar opposite to the way it’s used when talking about the Blockchain.

Learn More

What is trustless

The more broad, public definition for “trustless” is “not deserving trust.”

In contrast, the Blockchain-related definition of “trustless” is “not requiring trust.”

The concept of trust is a vast topic to cover, and there’s an equally vast amount of literature on it. It’s also the concept that’s been of greater than usual interest in the past few years, which indicates a major shift in how we operate as a society.

But first, a few words about lingua franca, which today is the English language.

English is the language of the all-encompassing Internet. It’s the language we speak when communicating across cultures. It’s global. It’s international. It’s the common denominator for the prevailing number of communities that are connected and operating in the digital space. It’s what makes the communication possible. And it belongs to us, the people.

The language is decentralized in this sense, no single authority can really control it: attempts have been made in the past, to no avail. A good example of this is Merriam-Webster’s inability (or unwillingness) to catch up with the Blockchain’s definition of the word “trustless”. Incidentally, the word itself is doing just fine without the centralized dictionary.

The world is connected, and the number of Internet users is only growing. In 2018, we hit the 4 billion mark of total users with nearly 250 million new users coming online for the first time in 2017.

And while lingua franca is very much alive and (un)happily decentralized in the digital space, the other key thing indispensable for our communication is not. The backbone of digital communication and home to many international communities are centralized platforms. Platforms with proprietary code, algorithm obfuscation, and pretty much zero transparency.

Does that make sense, to possess the natural means of communication, the lingua franca that brings us together, only to make it containerized on platforms with unclear, or at least not immediately evident, objectives?

When you go online and interact with the multitude of communities and equally invested individuals, should you be doing so on the, to use Jaron Lanier’s term, “behavior modifying” platforms that only see you as numbers in the crunch, as figures that translate into money? Isn’t that counter-productive to what this digital space is all about?

We are yet to see the true shape and effectiveness of this as it pertains to the decentralized nature of lingua franca. The technology should not be turning us into prey, this much is clear.

The technology accommodating language should be decentralized.

Join U°Community today and be one of the first to use this platform as the backbone of your decentralized online communication.

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SingUlarity Evgeny Konstantinov

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

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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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From Homo sapiens to Homo cosmicam: the stages of a great journey

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Space invasion is not a dream, the journey’s started
From Homo sapiens to Homo cosmicam: the stages of a great journey
Contents

What does a man need space for when he is not given eternity? - Salvador Dali asked sorrowfully. I'll try to console the classics: it is quite likely that it will be eternity that will be the result of a large space expedition of mankind. And this will be the process of settling the universe, long and extremely fascinating.

In my opinion, the key concept for understanding this process is autonomy. It is up to autonomy to determine this in the first place, according to which canons the relationships within the space settlements and between them will be built, how links with Earth will change. How, in the end, the very human essence will change.

A lot of analysis, a little imagination- as a result, these were the consequences.

Stage 1. Low autonomy

From this stage, we are separated by a maximum of several decades. It will begin together with the creation of orbital stations with artificial gravity and inhabited bases on the Moon and Mars. Three factors will play a key role in the formation of the system of public relations of the first non-Terrans.

First, in the initial stages, assembly of modules, installation and testing of equipment happens,  the living conditions of the settlers will be Spartan, the risks high and responsibility beyond the bounds. Accordingly, internal relations in the team will have to be built on the basis of a rigid vertical power: the station said NADO, the astronaut replied that it exists. Later, when life is adjusted, and security is ensured, there will be a smooth rollback to democratic values.

Secondly, at first cosmic settlements will be completely dependent on the earth. They can not survive and develop without regular supplies of resources and mechanisms, without the import of new knowledge and technology. Therefore, strict control and management of processes from the terrestrial control center will initially be taken for granted.

Third, with a high degree of probability, the first permanently inhabited bases will be created on the principle of "one state - one station." De facto, they will become space enclaves of the terrestrial powers: in the territory of Martian New Beijing or the lunar New Moscow, the systems of values, laws and social relations adopted in the metropolitan areas will operate.

Stage 2. Average autonomy

Self-sufficient inhabited settlements are created on all suitable for life planets of the Solar system. Landing expeditions are prepared beyond its limits. Technologies of construction of space cities have been worked out and widely available. On the planetary and orbital bases, the first generations of settlers born outside the Earth grew up.

There are non-state space cities, founded not by terrestrial governments, but by groups of like-minded people. Their participants determine the rules of the social system together, which the society will adhere to. Prototypes of such communities already exist: for example, the cosmic state of Asgardia or the concept of the orbital city "Ether.”

The connection with the Earth is still maintained, but the dependence of settlements on alma mater (translated from Latin- the nursing mother) is falling rapidly. From the center of human civilization the blue planet turns into its ordinary stronghold. Formerly established bases gradually abandon the status of terrestrial enclaves and move on to become self-government.

Diplomatic and economic ties are established between the space cities. The exchange of information and technologies, as a rule, takes place on a mutually beneficial basis, but increasingly on a non-reimbursable basis. Cultural integration is growing: today is the tour of the composite orchestra of Phobos and Demos on Jupiter, tomorrow is the week of the Martian ballet in the asteroid belt.

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Stage 3. High autonomy

Mankind has finally transcended the solar system and is actively developing planets that revolve around the nearest stars. People still remember that the Earth is their ancestral home, but they perceive it as an ordinary historical fact. This is how we treat Mesopotamia today, which is considered the cradle of the earthly civilization: yeah, so what?

The centers of public life are self-sufficient city-states scattered around the most suitable for life planets.

Around such cosmopolises an infrastructure is created from planets-farms, planets-mines and planets-workshops, functioning without human participation. The most likely form of social organization of such entities is a direct social contract regulating what is possible and what is not possible within each particular policy. Now the state is not a regulator, but a set of service functions that are almost completely automated.

It is impossible to deny the possibility of manifesting the remnants of the past. For example, the emergence of a military dictatorship aimed at forcibly seizing neighbors and creating an empire ruled from a single center. Or the formation of a hoard of cosmic nomads living at the expense of raids on prosperous planets. Particularly zealous futurists predict the probability of even slave-owning cosmosocieties. Which, in my opinion, completely no longer makes sense: to whom and why are slaves needed when all production processes are automated and robotic? Unless only in a harem…

Stage 4. Very high autonomy

At last, everything was accomplished, this is what modern science fictionists only dream in their wildest dreams.

The principles of movement in space are opened, allowing to move between the stellar systems with minimum energy for a few days/hours/minutes. Intergalactic spaceships for a man of a new era is the same as a car for us.

Compact generators have been created, which allow producing any volumes of energy from nothing.

In everyday life included the distant descendants of a 3D printer, allowing you to change the properties of matter and create anything from anything. For example, convert stellar dust to spare parts for a star. Or in works of art. Or pies with jam.

Humans are now completely self-sufficient units. Collective activity ceases to be a necessity, society loses the basic unifying functions. Nobody controls anyone, nobody obeys anyone.

People settle in the Universe individually, families or small groups "on interests." The possible options are:

● "private household": one person - one planet,

● "cobbled cottages": several people populate the planetary system and maintain good-neighborly relations,

● "communal": one planet is divided into residential areas between several tenants.

Autonomous resettlement does not mean that people will completely abandon communication with their own kind. Certainly, they will support communication through social networks of the next generation on an ecumenical scale. And on a conditional weekend fly from neighboring systems to a particularly picturesque asteroid to have a barbecue, drink beer and exchange news. And, of course, gossip: for example about how the Ivanovs from the XQ4981 system flooded the planet, and now, as plumbers drain the oceans, they moved to a summer cottage on an artificial satellite.

Stage 5. Absolute autonomy

In the famous "Monday starts on Saturday" Strugatsky characterized man as an intermediate link necessary for nature to create the crown of creation: a glass of cognac with a slice of lemon. All jokes aside, the principle is absolutely correct. Sooner or later the little man as a biological species will reach its limits, and something new will come to replace it. Crown of creation. Superman.

Homo cosmicam from the conditioned cocoon, inextricably linked with the material shell, will turn into a butterfly- a disembodied energy essence. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky called this energy radiant and the new community- radiant humanity.

Objects and technologies are no longer needed- all the necessary super-people are directly drawn from the surrounding world. Life expectancy is eternal. Moving to any point in the universe is instantaneous. Communication- at any distance. The remaining possibilities of energy entities can only be guessed. As well as the forms of their social order, if this can still be preserved.

It's a pity that you will not have to live beautiful at this time, neither to me nor to you.

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On Connecting Users and Devs And On Tapeworms: Opinion

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Each and every in crypto space is selfish. But what about the customers?
On Connecting Users and Devs And On Tapeworms: Opinion
Contents

When I think of the current crypto space  — I call it crypto to include the various Blockchain technology (some of which is not Blockchain by definition), communities and everything that comes with it  —  I am invariably reminded of John Updike’s quote on the New York literary scene and Hemingway. “Hemingway describes literary New York as a bottle full of tapeworms trying to feed on each other,” John Updike wrote.

Everything that is united today under the umbrella term of Blockchain  —  from cryptocurrencies to DAGs and Hyperledger frameworks  —  is a vast territory of the life-shifting technology. This space, with all its turmoil, trials and tribulations, is fantastic because every part of it has a straightforward and thus elegant solution to the idea of how to have a trusted ledger in a trustless environment. And that it’s even possible. This very solution,  first proposed by Satoshi and implemented in Bitcoin ,  has sprouted in a great variety of approaches to real-life applications.

And that we all are still very far from having it all leveled off and fallen into place : The prospects of what we yet have to see excite me.

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In The Spotlight

However, when trying to chart this impressive space, I can’t help observing that we are currently in a very similar position to the one described by Hemingway — the New York literary scene of the past — and recounted by Updike.

Today there are developers, entrepreneurs of all sorts  —  which is not inherently bad as the presence of a high number of venturers of all shades and colors is always a reliable indicator of explosive growth  —  individual investors and speculators, real businesses and enterprises as prospective customers.

I am not going to linger over each of these figures in detail as they all are too familiar for anyone who’s been in crypto for at least a few months, but instead, I’m going to do a little charting.

Developers develop. That’s what they do and in the majority of cases they like doing  it —  getting to the core of the tech, optimizing and coming up with new approaches.

Entrepreneurs are here to make something of themselves:  be the first, make money, help bring ideas to life — many times, it’s the ideas they believe in.

Individual investors are curious both about the tech and making some wealth. They are often autodidacts.

Speculators are  here to make money.

Real businesses: These are here to stay with roadmaps, thorough planning and traditional budgeting approaches (as in not riding the high of the Ethereum price all the way to the ceiling and then dumping in panic when everybody else starts doing so). Real businesses. Businesses that had their prospective customers pretty much signed up before they started an ICO (if they ran one at all).

And finally, enterprises ,  the most lucrative ones on this chart. Big names that give heart palpitations to every crypto asset holder. The enterprises that are going to use the Blockchain solutions developed by indie devs or real businesses will come to the exchanges and buy coins in droves. That’s what every speculator, individual investor and entrepreneur is hoping for and this is what’s driving them.

So it’s enterprise adoption , which is slow though it is justifiable, versus everyone else. There’s no room in this space: Iit’s devs, speculators, entrepreneurs and enterprise adoption expectations are all trying to feed on each other.

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But What About The User?

For the first time in a very long period, the user,  assisted with Blockchain, can no longer be treated as the consumer sheep. The user can become a full member of any platform they choose to join; they can be a real customer of any dApp with real value  —  not a perceived market differentiator value   but the real one.

The user is not your ICO fuel. The user is the one who makes all that Blockchain tech adoption possible. The user needs an easy and frictionless onboarding  —  not the marketing slang type “onboarding”, which often means hooking up an unsuspecting consumer to hidden regular payments, but real onboarding to the world of Blockchain and dApps where the user has equal rights with everyone else; where the user is always a full member, an equal citizen, instead of a tied up sheep for marketeers.

The user is what’s important today. All the dApp devs would love to let the user try out their product. The majority (if not all) of the Blockchain protocols would love the user to become a part of them, use the protocols in their daily lives like they do with all the other centralized tech.

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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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