Conjure valueMy prior post “The Tale of Two Cities” demonstrates that the intangible social value conjured into existence by the bridge that connects two fair cities far exceeds the ‘tangible’ value of that bridge.  Yet, only the tangible value of the bridge is accounted for on a balance sheet such as GDP.

The Conjuring of Intangible Values

This may seem trivial until you observe that people are paid for their intangible assets (knowledge, creativity, and engineering calculations) as a percentage of the far lower number while the bankers, government, and corporate interests compensate themselves as a percentage of the far higher number.  The difference appears to be unaccounted for.

The Tail of Two Cities article concludes that the value that is conjured into existence by both the bridge and the fractional reserve system must be equal, by definition; otherwise the metaphorical breezeway that connects the two worlds would fall.

Bitcoin suffers from a similar curse as The Tail of Two Cities.  The prevailing argument against the crypto-currency is that it has no intrinsic value.  I have personally argued that a currency must represent human productivity intrinsically or else no other human would be willing to work (be productive) in exchange for it.  An article by Paul Bohm “The Value Of Bitcoin is Decentralization” makes a good point that the intrinsic value of Bitcoin is based on the value conjured into existence by increased productivity to society by what can be accomplished with Bitcoin that otherwise would be impossible without Bitcoin.

So if the valuation of a bridge crossing the river and the valuation of Bitcoin crossing the broker both suffer the same curse that there is no accounting system for intangibles, wouldn’t it make sense to solve that problem first  – i.e., measure into existence the intangible value of the Ingenesist – and then release those millions of human intentions (bridges and Crypto-currencies, not withstanding), into the system of trade?  This is the problem that Curiosumé proposes to resolve.

I believe that we first need to solve the under-mining problem that there is no accounting system for intangible assets.  Only then can there be intrinsic value in the conservation of those assets

… then maybe none of this would seem so mysterious.

engineering-image-17A bitcoin (lowercase b), as a currency, has several flaws that will continue to limit its ability to replace money as we know it.  There are millions of words published on the subject, so I’ll leave it to the reader to assess arguments on both sides.  However, Bitcoin (upper case B) as a “protocol” for the transfer of value is an extremely important innovation that engineers must not ignore.  

The opportunities for the profession are sweeping and vast, but only if they take action and build this ecosystem their selves – it is so powerful, that others will gladly do it for them.   I will try to explain this opportunity in this short 1125 word article, but please feel free to contact me with in-depth questions.

The Block Chain Protocol

The Bitcoin protocol is a brilliant innovation that cannot be un-invented – it is here to stay and it will appear in many forms long after it sheds the “bitcoin” moniker.   Formally called the Block Chain protocol,  Bitcoin was designed to solve an age old problem of double spending a currency, specifically, a virtual currency.   A currency created on a computer can be easily copied by a computer and thus negates the real productivity that a currency is supposed to represent.   The same is still true for money – paper currency is becoming increasingly complex so that it cannot be easily copied, etc.

Today, there are vast institutions from banks, corporations, a legal system, prison system, and unfathomable volumes of legislation (all imposing respective brokerage fees) acting on the behalf of sanctifying the dollar.  However, volatility in these very institutions is what threatens the value of the dollar and all currencies upon which the World depends for very basic needs.  How well is this working, really?

So, What’s the big deal?

The stakes are high.  To invent a new secure and resilient means to rapidly transmit value can in one fell swoop eliminate the friction of the massive institutions on our economy, while also decreasing the volatility and economic friction imposed on society.   This is the reason behind the media hype, congressional hearings, declarations of nations, billionaire press conferences, etc.  They are all scared to death of the disruptive potential of this little beast.  Unfortunately, bitcoin has fallen victim to many of the same deficiencies that it proposes to correct.  But these will likely be corrected in the next iterations.   

The Train Leaves The Station

The backbone of the Bitcoin protocol is called the Block Chain.  There are now hundreds if not thousands of Block Chains in existence independent of Bitcoin.  Consider the Block Chain like going down to the train station.  At some predetermined time, a train arrives and the doors open.  Everyone piles into the train and after a predetermined amount of time, the doors close.  The corollary is that the doors cannot be opened for a predetermined amount of time and no changes, copies, or corruption can take place within that time stamp, no matter what.  Only when the train reaches the next location, the doors will open. Once the doors close for a second time, they never open again and a new block is formed.  Also, there is no way to retract this process, except by repeating it forward in a reverse transaction.     

The protocol has a few more features that I’ll leave to the reader to research including a public ledger where all transactions are open for everyone to see; and the train gets infinitely long with each new opening.  The transactions are opened and sealed cryptograpically and incentives are in place that compensates exchanges (the station masters) and well as those who solve a cryptographic puzzle that creates and maintains the integrity of the public ledger (miners).  

Smart Contracts

Everyone knows that money and contracts are intimately related.  In fact, money is a contract.  A contract is defined as a meeting of the minds.  As such, where the Block Chain protocol can efficiently transmit “currency”, so too can it transmit contracts.  In fact, it is so effective for articulating contracts that it’s potential to do so far eclipses its ability to replace the existing fiat currencies.  But again, money and contracts are so closely related that even this becomes a grey area – both can exist within the Block Chain.  This is hugely significant.     

So what’s in it for the Engineering profession? 

There is a special type of contract that engineering societies such as the NSPE, ASME, IEEE, etc., should have a laser focus.  These are called Oracle Contracts; also known as adjudicated contracts, (except subject to scientific judgement rather than necessarily a judgement of law).  For example, a client would retain a contractor to build a structure or machinery.  They would deposit funds into an escrow account managed by “smart contract” in a block chain.  This means that the computer will flip the switches instead of an accountant, banker, or attorney.  At certain points in contract and “oracle” – a third party vetting mechanism – will verify that the conditions or performance of the agreement have been met, then they would flip a switch that releases the funds to the contractor or back to the client (or through a predetermined decision tree), depending on objective observation.  

It’s All About Efficiency

This is efficient for the contractor because they don’t have to worry about getting paid as long as they meet the conditions of the contract. The client does not need to worry about getting ripped off because they are assured that the conditions of their agreement will be met.  The system is efficient because high integrity is rewarded and there is little incentive to cheat which minimizes lawyers,  accountants, social dysfunction, and all manners of corruption in a public ledger that provides extraordinary analytics available for societal learning in the public domain. 

For the vast majority of projects, products, or policies in the United States and the world, a licensed professional engineer and related scientific bodies are the ONLY qualified Oracles that can be deployed to vet an astonishing variety of Smart Contracts.

Smart Contracts can be written for almost any transaction, but it is inherently an intangible transaction since a “meeting of the minds” is the true nature of the value that they articulate.  The implications of an abundant intangible economy vs. a scarce tangible economy are vast.  Silicon Valley is pumping millions of dollars into virtual currency start-ups like Ripple Labs while companies such as Ethereum  promise to make smart contracts on public ledger block chains as easy to build as dragging and dropping puzzle pieces into a web page.  This is here today – it is not a theory.

Banks, insurance companies, and attorneys will be the first to adopt smart contracts because they stand the most to lose by not doing so.  Meanwhile, engineers in the US and indeed the World are relegated to the contractor sweatshops or smothered under the weight of towering hierarchies. Tragedies such as the Oso landslide and global warming remind us of the absence of engineering oracles advocating for society and our planet.  It is imperative, now, that engineers embrace Block Chain Protocol Technologies and the deployment of Smart Contracts to elevate the profession to the top of the proverbial food chain before there someone else does it for them.       

In the first post of this series, we identified the 5 components of a financial system and suggested that Zertify, Gamidox, and Exoquant would serve to simulate their functions in a parallel economy before ultimately being adopted completely.

In this post we will identify the hack on the Wall Street Financial instrument regime.  Although exoquant is a bit technical, the basic hack is quite simple:

  • Everyone knows that money is created through the creation of debt.
  • Everyone also knows that debt is a promise to produce something more in the future.
  • Everyone also knows that innovations increase human productivity.
  • Everyone also knows that innovation is a promise to produce something more in the future.

Here’s the hack:

Therefore, a currency backed by debt and a currency backed by innovation are both backed by future productivity.  As such, two currencies backed by the same underlying asset are fully convertible with each other.  Water dissolves water and innovation dissolves debt.

Here is how the Wall Street algorithm works: 

  • People produce stuff in exchange for money
  • Bankers do not care about money, they care about the rate of change of money over time.  This is called the “interest” rate.
  • Stockholders do not care about interest rate, they care about the rate of change of interest rate over time, this is called growth rate.
  • Hedge fund managers do not care about growth rate, they care about the rate of change of growth rate over time, this is the margin on their bets; options, and derivatives, etc.
  • CDOs and other financial exotica become increasingly divorced from the fact that people produce stuff for money.

The Exoquant Analogy:

  • The value of information is derived from the rate of change of data over time
  • The value of knowledge is derived from the rate of change of information over time
  • The value of innovation is derived from the rate of change of knowledge over time
  • The value of wisdom is derived from the value of innovation over time.
In order to “see” innovation before it happens, all we need to do is identify and measure rates of change of information in communities…and so on. Technically, this is a derivative, i.e., something whose value is derived from the value of something else.   All of these metrics can be seen quite readily in the Zertify, Gamidox data sets.  Each is a “derivative” backed by the stuff that people produce rather than the fiction of debt.  The ability to predict future productivity is superior with an innovation backed currency and therefore superior to debt forced productivity – often compared to slavery.

The Silver Bullet

Innovation is a magic word.  The hack is true to the Wall Street math as well as American culture.  Anyone running for public office would not attack the proposition of an innovation backed currency.  Therefore, the hack will not trigger an antigen.
 The next and final post, The Currency Hack, will formulate this innovation currency in more detail.

The proverbial “all-you-can-eat” business model works great for some products and not-so great for others.  The opportunity, of course, is to be able to transform non-viable business methods into viable one’s using social media tools and data.  In this article, we explore how the AYCE model can be improved.

Netflix for the Sky

The Netflix model for movies has been touted as one of the greatest business innovations in the modern era of technology – not because it is new, but because it works.  Now, consider that the AYCE model has been applied to transportation, club membership, and telecommunication (cell phone data plans), etc.  Some work better than others….

I found this recent article about American Airlines experience with the AYCE model – which became their worst nightmare.  In 1981, you could buy a lifetime all access pass to first class travel on United Airlines for 250,000 dollars. While touted as a good way for AA to raise a lot of quick money, it proved to have long term liabilities that far outstripped the performance of the fund raising.  Today, a small carrier called Surf Air is now trying to use a subscription based system on a limited circuit using executive turboprop aircraft.

What is the comparable human behavior?

AYCE models impact human behavior in often unpredictable (read “unprofitable”) ways.  We’ve seen the unlimited plan for cell phones becoming a thing of the past.  Taxi drivers have not yet introduced the subscription travel plan but certain bus routes and commuter modes lend themselves to unlimited passes where an alternate single use rate and behavior record can be used as a price comparison.

I recall a wise and successful colleague in the insurance business revealed the dark truth about unlimited subscriptions.  “They are like extended warranties, the only people who should actually buy extended warrantee are those who fully intend to beat the crap out of the item that they are covering”.  Like gym subscriptions, low use members are needed to subsidize high use members.

Simulated Economy

Another way to simulate the effect of an unlimited prescription without leaving the business with an unmanageable long-term liability is to create an option-like instrument.  The buyer would hold the right without the obligation to purchase the service at a discount during a specific period of time where behavior will be regulated by market forces.

Holding the option would be priced relatively cheap so that the buyer does not feel a deep loss for not exercising the option, yet sufficient to subsidize the activity of those who do exercise the option for discounted service.  Another feature is that the option can be traded allowing holders to build a proto-economy around the asset that they possess.    This would decrease the marketing costs of the provider as the price of the options floats to meet the needs of the market.

These strategies are commonplace on Wall Street but a statistical construct for their deployment on Main Street may be emerging.  New “platforms” will arise which produce and  aggregate data in the right format to support an options type of instrument for the trade or exchange of any number of goods and services in a non-cash environment.

Maybe the all-you-can-eat buffet of the future will resemble a cornucopia of options for assets that everyone shares.  Bon Apetite.

Calculus has been called the greatest achievement of the human mind.  Yes, it is a little difficult to understand … until one day it becomes the simplest, most obvious, and glorious form of expression ever imagined.  Like a musical instrument, there is a point where all the symbols and lines can disappear and the artist can express himself or herself in the medium of the art – leading to many more great achievements of human mind.

The Science of Change

Calculus is amazing because it can make the invisible visible.  From sub-atomic particles, gravity, silicon circuits, diffusion of medicine through cell walls, to the discovery of new planets in distant solar systems – none of which are directly visible to the observer, yet their existence enables human imagination, innovation, cooperation, and social development at the most fundamental form.

Changing Wall Street

Wall Street lives quite comfortably in our homes, political system, our food , and our occupations – without being seen directly. Wall Street is utterly invisible.  Most of their work doesn’t even happen on Wall Street.  How did they accomplish this?  How were they so successful in occupying Main Street without being seen?

The Trojan Proxy

Wall Street is a mathematical construct – it exists in the form of symbols and numbers, or, “proxies” for making stuff – but not the actual stuff itself.   That is the vulnerability that we can easily exploit.  If we are smart, we can dismantle Wall Street brick by brick and they will happily walk right through the door because “our door” – the knowledge asset inventory – can be made indistinguishable from any other “proxy” for making stuff.  (I write extensively on this strategy in the prior posts).

There is a bigger message here that I hope does not get lost in the clamor.  There is likewise a very easy way to occupy Wall Street, however, it’s going to take a little mathematical cleverness. How do we make them visible to us and ourselves invisible to them.

The key is that we need to change ourselves. We need to transform, not them.  We don’t need to occupy Wall Street, we simply need to occupy Main Street because that is where they occupy us.  It is not enough to marvel at our numbers, civil disobedience, and cardboard signs.  We need a Science of change so that we can do so.

The term “Gamification” is pretty cool, except that it is meaningless.  Anyone who has ever worked a day in his or her life knows that the World is already gamed.  Anyone who follows politics and world events sees the game playing out constantly.  Everyone, including the winners, know that the game is stacked.  The last thing anyone needs is another game layer.

If you are like the majority of people on Earth, you are given a game that you can’t win playing by the rules.  If you are like the majority of people on Earth, you would do anything for a chance to play a game that you CAN win.  Imagine the value of an IPO for a gaming company with that prospectus.

What is a Counter Game?

Wikileaks – love them or hate them – is a Counter Game because they turned the lights on a game that was being played in the dark.  Bloggers play a Counter Game because media was editorialized by powerful interests.  Twitter is a Counter Game because it drives the narrative instead of being driven by it. In fact, any place where there is a broker – someone or something that benefits from you NOT having complete information – is an opportunity to introduce a Counter Game.

An astonishing array of Counter Games is forming in social media and the brokers are falling out of the sky like hailstones.  Power brokers, mortgage brokers, energy brokers, media brokers, even Google is gamed by Counter Gamers.  The better they get at hiding information; the better the Counter Gamers gets at rooting it out.  The harder they try to control a message, the better the Counter Gamers gets at disclosing the truth behind the message.

The game creates the Counter Game.

Likewise, to kill the game is to kill the Counter Game. As such, the only way to kill the counter-game is to kill the game. Think about that for a bit…Do we really want to do that?

The Holy Grail of the Counter Game is the global monetary system. Money is supposed to represent human productivity; otherwise people would not go to work to make things that everyone else needs.  The Game has caused Money to become increasingly divorced from actual productivity.  People who produce the most value are exploited while those who produce the least are most grandly rewarded.  The Game is stacked with money.

The Holy Grail of The Counter Game is to replace monetary currency with a True Value Currency.

The financial system stands on 5 pillars: currency, inventory, vetting institutions, entrepreneurs, and value arbitrage. All of these are slowly being replicated, mimicked, or duplicated in Social Media.  When the 5 pillars integrate in social media systems, a new currency will emerge.  People will use it to store and exchange the value that they create through their work. It will be a no-brainer

The Value Game

The Value Game is outlined in this short video using the now proverbial “Corporate Jet” as the turning point in the global economic paradigm.  The Value Game does not kill the Financial Game, rather, it challenges, corrects, and improves it.  The Value game has reached a critical milestone – it has been funded in dollars by investors.

This is not insignificant.

Gambling with Jobs

The US Senate recently blocked a measure designed to reduce the outsourcing of US jobs that many corporations pursue in the relentless drive to reduce costs.

Modern Globalization is a system

Globalization must be analyzed like a system. Data, Information, knowledge, Innovation, and wisdom are profoundly related in a system. If you take away one of the components, the others become worthless.  If you destroy one component, the entire structure could fail.

Everyone knows that data, information, knowledge, innovation, and wisdom are related.  If I corrupt the data, then the associated information, knowledge, innovation, and wisdom are also corrupted.  Likewise, if I eliminate any of these elements, the system fails.

Focus on Core competency – what core?

The standard argument for outsourcing is that knowledge workers are better allocated in innovation jobs so “we can better focus on our core – and heck, we can all save a little dough in the process”.  But when we outsource our knowledge economy, the innovation economy is choked off.    The knowledge economy is the source of the Innovation Economy.  The Knowledge economy is also the recipient of the information economy which transforms data and information into useful tools, ideas, and products.

Rate Of Change is Innovation

The rate of change of the innovation economy is directly proportional to the INCREASE not the OUTSOURCING of the knowledge economy.  This is the calculus of outsourcing.  If, on the other hand, it is in you best interest to keep a population poor, weak, and unable to organize into powerful collectives, then yes, outsourcing is an effective method.

Future of Banking

When I use the term “Innovation Bank”, people conjure up the image of a cheery place where anticipation reigns as starry eyed depositors arrange their intellectual property in neat cubby boxes, Patents fly like cash register receipts and companies troll the halls looking for a cure for their bottom line blues.

This is not exactly what we have in mind, nor is it too far off either. An innovation Bank is simply a knowledge inventory that contains knowledge assets that exists in the format of a financial instrument and can be deployed for the purposes of increasing productivity.  In the process, it makes 10X more of itself every time it is deployed.  It mints its own money.

The Innovation Banker

This is not much different than a financial bank. In fact, in the financial bank, everyone assumes the borrower has the knowledge to execute the business plan and the bank lends the money. Oh, by the way, the money makes more of itself  10X over (fractional reserve system) every time it is deployed.

With the innovation bank, everyone assumes the entrepreneur has the money to execute the plan, and the seek to borrow the knowledge. Other than that, they can be considered identical. The key is in the scope, depth, and format in which the knowledge assets live in a community as well as the ability to track and preserve the creation of new knowledge in a community.  An innovation banker is a knowledge banker

A Virtuous Circle

Together with the financial banking, these two system engage in the dance of the virtuous circle of innovation enterprise. Apart, they collapse into the swirling cesspool of eternal debt and infinite interest (pun intended).

Music by Phil Felicia

Do the math – Interest on National Debt can go all the way up to infinity while Austerity measures can only go down to zero.   There is tragedy looming at both ends of the political spectrum and the Golden Goose can’t fly much longer.  Captain Obama is in a tough spot.

Someone will eventually need to gently lay the economy down in a nice soft spot with a just a few critical social programs intact. A task comparable to US Airways Pilot  Capt. Sullenberger who successfully landed his stalled airliner on the freezing Husdon without ripping off the wings, catching on fire, splitting the hull, or sinking the ship with all the passengers inside.

Here is how the endgame is shaping up:

Through some secret signal, all of the World’s money barons will come together and agree to simultaneously lop off three zeros (000) from all financial balance sheets.  This will effectively reboot the world economy.  A $50 trillion debt obligation now becomes a quaint and manageable $50 billion debt.  Unfortunately, a $500,000 dollar pension becomes worth about $500 bucks.   The game will reset with champaign toasts and business-as-usual in a race to conjure new debt into existence.  The recovery is on … for some.

Those who have exactly as much debt as they have tangible assets will enjoy a net zero impact.   Those caught at the extreme ends with too little debt or too much cash will lose spectacularly.

A stoic and sober Capt. Obama is at the controls, should we be worried?

Well, maybe. Just to give you an idea of what’s happening in the cockpit: Capt. Obama will project his glide path into the visible horizon.  If he can’t make it out to Hillary’s term, he will probably try to set it down right after he is re-elected and can still blame the GOP.  The GOP will try everything they can to wrestle it down before 2012 – split hull or not – so that they can claim the presidency.  If they win 2012 without the landing, they’ll land it soon after 2012 and blame it on Obama.  Note that none of this has anything to do with aerodynamics.

Why should this inspire anyone’s confidence?

There are a few people in the back seats working really hard to build a parachute that will hedge their fall.  None of the people near the cockpit, boardrooms, or stock exchanges have any idea what these passengers are doing – they don’t seem to care – instead, they are too busy topping off their debt to equity ratios for optimum survivability upon impact.

But, the hedge instrument is playing out in Social Media, slowly siphoning the factors of production into a new economic system. Some passengers are only inches away from jump-starting an alternate economy using a social currency backed by real productivity, not debt, in a new form of capitalism.  All they need is an instrument that is only a little better than what’s flying now.  Then, all the money in the world will convert to the hedge currency.

Now THAT’s monetization.

The guys near the cockpit will never see it coming – they’ll only see it leaving.  That’s how Obama will save the World. Let’s hope he can swim.

People accumulate a wealth of knowledge in their lives as they pass from project to project and industry to industry.  Each of our social, creative, and intellectual pursuits and exposures combines to form the person who we are and the contribution to society that we represent.

Your knowledge and experience also helps others predict what preferences you may have and what decisions you may make. Corporations, advertisers, banks, insurance companies, and politicians all want to know this and they will go to extreme and expensive measures to get it – why not just sell it to them?

Peace sells, but who’s buying?

Management of companies, little league teams, Rotary Clubs, even raising a family, is extremely valuable knowledge to a wide variety of situations. Civic service, spirituality, military service, and philanthropy provide a basis for a host of knowledge attributes.  Academic accomplishment, physical achievement, artistic expression, manual dexterity, and whole body coordination provides great insight to the application of all knowledge.  Physical challenges, grief, personal struggles, and the experience of injustice further add to the wealth of knowledge one accumulates in a lifetime.

Every person is unique with a different set of knowledge than any other; therefore, everyone has something to offer to someone else.   Each person’s combination of formal and informal education is valuable in it’s uniqueness.  With the proper system and incentives in place, trillions of dollars are on the table to bid for access to your knowledge.

The Den of Thieves:

The resumes that we post on are woefully inadequate and so heavily gamed that predictive utility related to your future decisions and innovative capacity is severely compromised.

The credit score also measures past behavior by tracking negative events; many of which are outside the control of the subject such as a layoff, fraud, medical emergencies, etc.  Again, the credit score is quite useless as a predictor of future decisions and innovative capacity.

Now we have Social Media and the mad scramble to be visible in social media space.  The scourge of marketers, spammers, and fraudsters are close behind chasing your information that they are all too happy to sell to the aforementioned “clients”.

Take a Step Back … and get a grip

We are talking about your information that describes your knowledge attributes which predicts your preferences, your future decisions, and your innovation.  Yet complete industries exist to collect it from you for free, organize it, and sell it to others for a great deal of money.  There are 5000 job boards collecting resumes, 300 Million credit scores being securitized by Wall Street, and 12,000 social media sites aggregating your creative content, relationships, and knowledge attributes.

Join The Ingenesist Project:

The Ingenesist Project specifies a system where your knowledge attributes are expressed in a packet of code that you control, distribute, regulate, withhold and track as you wish.

The result is that you will be paid to learn, to know, to practice, and to participate in life as you wish.  It becomes in your best economic interest to produce exactly what you are best at, and have a talent for producing.  It will be in the best interest of corporations, marketers, Wall Street, insurance companies, and Politicians to support you in these pursuits so they can “farm” the knowledge today that will buy their products tomorrow.