A-D ConverterCuriosumé is an analog to digital converter for knowledge assets.

The single most destructive characteristic of the Market Capitalism is the dependence on resources extracted from the Earth to fuel constant economic growth. Natural resources are finite while constant growth model is infinite.  There are several ways to manage this disparity; the first is to expire Capitalism, the second is to base that dependence on an infinite resource. Given the shortcomings of most viable alternatives to Capitalism, the latter is likely more plausible than the former.

Many perils to society that manifest today have their beginnings in the thesis by Adam Smith called “The Wealth of Nations”. In this document Mr. Smith outlines the conditions of Capitalism where a merchant class would arise to efficiently allocate land, labor, and capital in various combinations in order to produce all of the useful things that society needs. The working class would hold the system in balance; too much growth would result in a shortage of labor that would constrain capital through higher wages (supply and demand). Government would be hardly necessary in a self-balancing system. Ironically, A great deal of innovation has arisen from the prospect of eliminating labor, which allowed growth to continue beyond the natural constraint.

Karl Marx identified the inevitable situation of constant struggle between the working class and the merchant class. One group strived for greater wages while the other strived to lower wages. From this struggle arose a spectrum of adjustments ranging from labor unions and calculated government regulations (Socialism) all the way to full State allocation of public resources (Communism). Herein lies the dawn of geopolitics and competing ideology.

It is fairly easy to see from this short history where hierarchy, competition, politics, exploitation, environmental crisis, and monetary corruption are intimately related. Today, these elements are enshrined in our culture in B-schools, sports, warfare, education, 2-party representation, etc. The result is that people are forced to compete with each other for jobs, money, food, water, air, education, civil liberties, etc.

But it does not have to be this way. A relatively simple modification to the existing paradigm can realign the economic incentives, and therefore social priorities, from consumption to preservation of our planet without necessarily triggering a collapse and subsequent reboot.

Consider the proverbial “basket of goods” – an economic standard used in a variety of analyses including Relative Price Index, Forex, Gross Domestic Product, etc.  The basket of goods consists of unit quantities of tangibles such as food, housing, energy, transportation, etc.  Now consider the human knowledge required to produce that same basket of goods. One can easily imagine economic standards articulated as either the tangible basket of goods or the intangible basket of goods. Both have the same outcome.

Yet, knowledge is an infinite resource that can underwrite so many more dimensions of human existence than a select basket of goods.  The problem is that there is no accounting system for intangibles as there is for tangibles. There is a reason for this – it is called control. Therefore, to create an accounting system for knowledge assets is to take control of productivity and the currency that represents it.  That is the evolution we ought to focus on.

This is a much simpler challenge than trying to solve every problem that our civilization faces individually. This is a much easier problem to solve than trying to change the minds of entrenched ideologies. This is a much easier problem than changing all the laws and institutions that exist to make the old game as fair as it can ever possibly be.  In fact, the solutions for our most complex problems as a civilization are stunningly simple to create.

Did I mention that Curiosumé is an analog to digital converter for knowledge assets?


(Editors note:  We are publishing the documentation and tutorial for the Curiosumé application for review and comment)9233187-large

Introduction To Curiosumé

Curiosumé is an open source specification for the analog-to-digital conversion of knowledge asset objects.  Designed as a system to replace the résumé as a means for describing the interests, skills, and abilities of people, things, and ideas —  it functions as a personal digital API for the trade and exchange of actionable knowledge.

Since semantic knowledge assets are machine-readable, they generate matches, proximity measurements, relevance and importance rankings, and predicted probabilities of various outcomes.  As such, the economics of “intangibles” becomes computable and meaningful.

By activating knowledge assets within an economic system, social entrepreneurs may readily trade and exchange intangible assets much as they do with tangible assets.   Curiosumé facilitates trade of intangibles through a unique distributed network of objects and assigned attributes.

  • Ownership of one’s Personal API
  • Anonymity until point of transaction
  • Deploying multiple personas
  • Combining multiple personae
  • Imaginary personae
  • Measuring proxies for economic output, matching, assessing, scenario testing
  • Anonymity and privacy

Use Cases:

The use cases for Curiosumé will be a numerous as the number of entrepreneurs who can articulate the protocol in a market.  Since Curiosumé eliminates “Competition” from the onset,  there is little or no economic incentive to lie, deceive, or cheat.  This allows the market an opportunity to defer vetting mechanisms to downstream applications that can compare (for example) a submitted persona against a control personal as a cryptographic key to unlock a transaction or block chain, etc.  In essence, making cheating too expensive to sustain.

  • Individuals may overlay their own persona on any dataset to visualize and discover adjacencies, paths, and connections.
  • Individuals may interact with the web using a Personal API
  • Protegé and Mentors may find each other in close proximity in community or within an organization.
  • People with special skills can find worthy and productive collaborations in communities or within the organization.
  • Trade in knowledge assets is facilitated through “anonymous until point of transaction” protocol.  People will provide better data knowing that they have complete control over their personal identities.
  • Build Social Currency; multiple personas may combine Curiosumés to establish the knowledge inventory for a team or to discover the probability that a group of friends may produce any mutual affinity efficiently together.
  • Any product or service may be described in Curiosumé format and compared to a community listing to discover customers, partners, and employees.
  • Curiosume data is pre-normalized allowing any user to make predictive assessments about any collection of personas relative to a project, product, event, itinerary,  or interaction with any physical asset.
  • Cryptographic; a personal API may be used as a private key in unlocking smart contracts on the block chain protocol
  • Toll Booth on Big Data; marketers, employers, or data aggregators would pay individuals for access to their persona.
  • Instead of advertising to a demographic, marketers may identify specific knowledge assets and may offset prices based on the social values or proclivities of the persona.
  • Economic development agencies can take a knowledge asset survey of a region to identify what institutions or industries they have a strategic advantage.  Or, they may retrain or import specific knowledge assets in order to grow into new industries – with great precision.
  • Philanthropic  institutions can assess need and impact prior to committing to directed giving by assembling strategic knowledge assets around a specific philanthropic goal.
  • Corporations may assess their ability to enter a develop a new products or enter a new market based on a Curiosumé survey
  • Competitors may assess the ability, and cost to defend against their competition disrupting a new product initiative.
  • Corporations can better tailor their products to what customers actually want to buy rather than trying to “market” what the company already knows how to produce.
  • Corporations can make hiring vs training decisions with better clarity based on a Curiosumé survey.
  • The college “degree” system may evolve in favor of boutique personas designed for innovation in an industry.
  • The financial industry (from the NYSE, Banks to VC) can determine the probability that a company may be able to execute a business plan given their Curiosumé survey
  • The Insurance industry can mitigate risk exposures by assuring that the right collection of knowledge assets are deployed to, say, a construction project.

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 taking over completely.

In order to accomplish this, we need to start with an accounting system hack. Fortunately, standard accounting practices are quite robust with double entry balancing of assets and liabilities.  Luckily, the problems only arise with the definition of what is an asset and what is a liability.  That is a relatively easy jailbreak.

The Price Is Wrong

The problem is that we “price” assets from low to high, from bad to good, and from loser to winner, etc., with little regard for proximity, environment, community, or time, etc.   The financial system needs to artificially create losers in order to price the winners.  This is fairly obvious for tangible assets like cars, tomatoes, and real estate, but not so much for so-called intangible assets like people.  This is hugely inefficient on so many levels and therefore vulnerable to attack.

The collaborative advantage

Zertify classifies human knowledge assets on a scale of 1-6 beginning with “teacher” and ending with “student”.  Students and teachers do not compete with each other and therefore intermediate levels represent various degrees of collaboration, not competition.  The teacher bias represents supply of knowledge and student bias represents the demand for knowledge, this establishes a trade vector in our proto economy.

Technically, the 6 segments represent 6 standard deviations on a normal distribution.  This allow for communities to organize around their diversity rather than recoil among their similarity. This arrangement also allows the for the usage of an important body of predictive mathematics.

Benign.

This simple hack is important because it is benign to the current economy and will not trigger an antigen. Corporations, governments, and communities already seek to match the right knowledge asset to the right demand asset for knowledge – this is actually improved under the new accounting system.

Therefore, the hack is true to the math because it provides the existing financial system with an equivalent predictive asset while eliminating irrelevant bias and costly competition.

The Resume Must Die

The objective would then be to move away from the resume system and establishing a community knowledge inventory system under a commons based ontology.  Everyone would have their individual API which they own, manage, control and transact. A person’s CV would be expressed as a string of code that  is anonymous until the point of transaction. A tremendous amount of data will be derived from Zertify which will feed into the next hack called The Value Game.


Adam Smith From the un-encyclopedia

Long before the word “economics” and “capitalism” were even invented, a Scottish social philosopher and political economist named Adam Smith describes how wages are determined by competition between workers and competition between employers – not necessarily competition between workers and employers.

 An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

Published on March 9th 1776, The Wealth of Nations, in part,  describes the fundamental dynamics of labor markets at the dawn of the industrial revolution.  In essence, when workers compete with each other for a limited number of jobs, wages fall.  When employers compete with each other for a limited number of workers, wages increase.

He also described what happens when workers decide not to compete with each other; and instead form unions.   Unions effectively distort the market toward increased wages.  Likewise, Adam Smith describes what happens when employers decide not to compete with other employers (tacitly or implicitly) for workers.  This activity also distorts the market, except, towards decreased wages.

Why are we fighting again?

Adam Smith does not mention specifically that these mutual distortions manifests in workers and employers competing with each other in lieu of competing with themselves.  Since the 1780’s, vast resources have been committed to preserving the fight without really questioning why the fight needs to exist in the first place.

A fish has no word for water

One of the ways that corporations form tacit collusion is with arcade job descriptions and skill codes.  When a company or an industry develops its own language, this makes it very difficult for outsiders to enter and insiders to leave.   Yet, this is precisely what needs to happen in order for the diffusion of innovation to flow across the entire economic spectrum.

For example;

A medical instrument manufacturer and an aerospace company and a sporting equipment company would have very different ways of describing the environment that they operate in.  However, an engineer designing a carbon fiber composite aircraft structure would be equally adept at designing a composite athletic prosthetics.  Yet today, engineers from multiple industries are rarely interchanged.  In fact, interchange has been largely suppressed.

Innovation Economics

If workers were able to cross industries they would benefit from increasing employment options and the ability to shift rapidly with economic cycles.  In Adam Smith’s analysis, this would drive wages up.  On the other hand, employers would also have a greater pool of qualified workers to hire, which in Mr. Smith’s analysis would drive wages down. Both would benefit from  increased exchange of  knowledge, access to innovation, transfer of wisdom, and diversification of risk.

If workers and employers could produce the exact same labor relations outcome by collaborating among themselves, there would be no need for the massive infrastructure of social division and political rhetoric that we have invested in preserving the fight.

Public Knowledge Asset Inventory

The Internet has made collaboration and interchange vastly more efficient than competing yet our economic system remains in the 1780’s.  We are watching a public knowledge asset inventory forming outside the construct of corporations.  We are watching corporations begin to index their skill codes to the public knowledge inventory rather than their internal ontologies.

We now need to recognize the importance in which we formulate this public asset.  If we do it right, astonishing value will be released.  If we do not, the invisible hand of capitalism will remain, well, invisible. As such, even a distorted image would be an improvement.


99% of Americans don’t have a game that they can win playing by the rules imposed on them by the other 1%.  But in order to keep this game in play, that 1% utterly depends on the remaining 89% who still have jobs to show up for work and do as they are told. The spectre of the 9% fallen is an incentive, of sorts, to those still walking.

These are the 89 percenters…

…who already occupy Wall Street with their knowledge of systems and processes to implement procedures and methods that support the connections and networks of the remaining 1%.  Without these people in place, the system will fail faster than S&P can calculate a credit score, literally.

The 89% know what each other know

The logistics manager knows whom to call when the packages are late.  The account manager knows all of the customers by name.  The service team knows exactly how to get the computer systems back online.  The loan officer knows where the money is.  But only the 1% know where the knowledge is…and where it isn’t…

Knowledge is money

As RIM recently learned, if the computers go down, all the money in the world will not bring them back.  Most companies have an off-line life span of only a few days or hours before irreparable damage occurs.  Only the right knowledge in the right place at the right time can save the firm.   This is a huge monetary vulnerability.

The Public Knowledge Inventory

I found a great picture of the Occupy Wall Street Library from here.  The great irony is that OWS felt the need to build a Library that represents the ideas that they have between their ears.  What they really need is a “Library” for the knowledge that actually lives, breaths, and acts in the minds of the 99%.  Only then can they deploy the force that they need to move enterprises.

Divide and conquer

As long as Americans are fighting with each other, there is little chance that they will organize their knowledge assets and deploy their knowledge assets in a manner that serves social priorities instead of Wall Street priorities.  This is the big shift that the World is waiting for.  As long as people fear losing their jobs, they will comply with the 1%

What scares them the most?

The greatest fear of any company is to have their key employees poached by a competitor.  Companies have gone out of their way to implement non-poaching agreements between known competitors and NDAs against unknown competitors.  Companies hide key players behind a mountain of bureaucracy, misinformation, and obscure titles and job descriptions in order to hide them from the open market; yet they willingly poach other firms when they can.

The cry of the 99% is income equality.

Let me suggest that OWS consider knowledge equality as a superior alternative.  So instead of the OWS book library, they should form a public knowledge Library.  A public knowledge inventory would make knowledge transparent to all people and all companies equally.

Then Let the Poaching begin

If the 89% were not scared heartless about getting another job, then they would be far more willing to join the movement.  In fact, the MVPs would be the most powerful voice of the movement – the top innovators and visionaries toiling their life away for a company willing to raid their pension fund or drop insurance coverage at the drop of a hat.  Nobody is going to tell them to take a bath – they are the water.


Millions of people are looking for Jobs.  Meanwhile, employers complain of a chronic “skills mismatch” that prevents them from hiring people or initiating new innovations.

When an engineer is laid off from an airplane manufacturer, a company like Starbucks has no idea what that person knows even though aircraft and milk steamers have a great deal in common from the perspective of the Engineer (both are pressure vessels subject to extreme environmental conditions).

The same is true for a marine engineer, and HVAC engineer, or an electrostatic coating machinery engineer.  Each of these disciplines has far more in common than they have differences.  However, if you compare the descriptions for any of these jobs, they sound like they all happen on different planets.

God forbid you are not an expert on MS Excel, which only takes a few hours for almost anyone to learn – yet not tagging that radio button can negate 20 years of experience that only 1% of people have the desire, discipline, and intellect to achieve.

The same holds true for many talents and professions. There are serious problems with the way that we discern the supply and demand for knowledge assets.

What is needed is an intermediate knowledge inventory in the commons that everyone can index to.  So when an engineer tags “pressure vessels” the term registers into the resident ontology of all observers.

Why is this better?

Of course companies are trying to eliminate variance and risk by hiring a person who has been trained by someone else – preferable a direct competitor.  On the other hand, the mantra of modern business is to innovate.  Innovation does not happen by duplicating yesterday’s ideas. Mixing diverse combinations of knowledge assets, and not all common knowledge assets, accelerates the process of Innovation.  Think of all the music that is yet to be created for lack of musicians to play the different instruments.

An intermediate knowledge inventory solves both problems by allowing companies to introduce diverse knowledge assets without introducing irrelevant knowledge assets.  It also gives people far more mobility to pursue specialties that they are most talented and interested in.  As such, the allocation of knowledge assets would improve to match supply of knowledge with the demand for knowledge in an innovation economy.

There is not a shortage or work, only a shortage of knowledge about knowledge.  


Teachers are “threatened” with layoffs. In some cases, the profession is openly mocked. Meanwhile, corporations are staring blankly at the knowledge gap in their industries.  The older generation is retiring, moving on, and taking their knowledge with them.  Teacher’s unions are busted and disappearing. Apprenticeships are a thing of the past.  Everyone is asking “where are the jobs – there is plenty of work to do”

Education is obviously a financial instrument.  Think about that for a minute – it is an investment like any other investment. Wall Street has an arbitrage instrument for every market anomaly – why not education?

What would happen if teachers were given an equity position in their students?  Isn’t this what families do to prepare their kids to take over the family business?  Isn’t this what happens in corporations where executives pick proteges?  Isn’t this what happens in politics where knowledge is traded among a closed group?

A school like Harvard University or MIT certainly hold and equity position in their students. What if every community viewed every child as an asset instead of a liability?


If we follow the Wall Street accounting model, the supply and demand for knowledge assets are cast against the factors of production; land, labor, and capital.  The typical corporate human resource department looks to the community for labor units within commuting distance to a factory, and who are willing to rent their time in exchange a minimum amount of money.

But Land is Obsolete

Technology has made the idea of “land” as a factor of production almost obsolete.  Knowledge assets travel over the Internet and can be deployed and organized in many ways across long distances without a factory.  Indeed there are server farms and automation houses where things are made if needed – but these are hardly factors of production as they once were.

What exactly is a Labor unit again?

Machines have replaced much of what we once called “labor”.  I am sitting at Starbucks where a smiling robot is the only thing missing from the age of automated lattes.  The social, creative, and intellectual capital required to create, design, maintain, and serve the technology is what ushers us into the knowledge economy and the associated innovation economy.

Capital is arbitrary

Everyone knows that money is created out of thin air when someone allocates their future productivity to the bankers balance sheet in exchange for a place to sleep.  When this game loses its entertainment value, “capital” as a factor of production will also become obsolete.

The Supply and Demand for Knowledge Assets:

Knowledge assets are deployed by teachers and replicated by student.  Teachers represent the supply of knowledge and students represent the demand for knowledge.  In between these two extremes are collaborations – that is, varying combinations of teaching and learning that ultimately results in a productive outcome such as a latte, automobile, or computer program.

If we sample a population of knowledge assets across some geographic area (Land) we would expect to find something that looks like a bell curve.

If the bell curve has a different shape, this tells us what things can be made and what things cannot (Labor).

So when people allocate their own productivity, they are in effect assigning their productivity to a community balance sheet (Capital).  They are saying “this is what we are willing to make because we have the freedom, liberty, and we intion to pursue our happiness”.

Hardly a Wall Street model.

The result is that the social, creative, and intellectual assets of people must now replace Land, Labor, and Capital as factors of production in the new value economy.  Trying to produce anything less would be inefficient in a Capitalist system – perhaps some may have noticed as much lately.


Illustration from Wired (reversed) - Aegir Hallmundur; Benjamin Franklin: Corbis

Debit Cards and Credit cards routinely handle conversions from Dollars to Pesos to Euros and Yen.  The calculation is simple because there are known conversion rates between them.  In Fact, the credit card or debit card is buying the other currency much in the same way that they buy the pair of Levies, IPad, or bag of Tulip Bulbs being purchased.

Trading coupons for coupons

In other words, a debit card or credit card should also be able to use IPads, Levies, or Tulip Bulbs to buy money.  Of course, they would not use an actual IPad any more than a bank uses an actual Dollar – they trade a 100% coupon of a dollar for a 100% coupon of an IPad.  By adjusting the exchange rate between IPads and Dollars,  a 50% coupon for an IPad equals 300 Dollars and it is easy to see we are in very familiar Groupon territory.

The Dollar as a black market Currency

The debit card (or any form of mobile payment system) can, in fact, be used to trade what in earlier technological eras would be called a Black Market currency.  For example, After the Mexican currency crash of 1994-1995, I personally witnessed people empty WalMart to the bare shelves literally overnight, only to find those items circulating as currency the next day – in exchange for Dollars; the black market currency of the less developed World.

Drive the economy in reverse in order to drive the economy forward

With a high velocity and frictionless payment processing system, the economy should be able to operate in “reverse” just as easily – if not better than – it operates in so-called “forward”.  Here is why:

Suppose that Big Box retailer issues a coupon for 50% off all of it’s products for one Christmas Season because they want to beat out every merchant in the country.  The contingency coupon gets applied to all the credit/debit cards of all people that have ever shopped at the Big Box.  Since the local merchants are driven to failure and they’ll need to liquidate anyway, their response is to also honor the Big Box coupons.  This will initiate a spiral and all retailers will begin to accept each other’s coupons.  Soon, the brands such as Nike, Coca-cola, and Canon will be pulled into honoring retailer discounts.   The “coupon” will become the currency instead of the dollars.  The exchange rate between products will be determined by local arbitrage.

Lose the friction, improve efficiency

First, it would become very difficult to tax these transactions.  It would also be very difficult to inflate or deflate a dollar currency against these transactions. Arbitrage opportunities will be based on the true social value of a product in a community.  The dollar denominated conversion factor will become increasingly arbitrary.  The the new currency will be a social currency because people will now favor whatever products have the highest Social Value in their community relative to the knowledge assets of the community.  Advertising friction will disappear.  Assume Market Friction was 50%…..what changes?

In the end game, social priorities will drive Wall Street priorities

Social Currency is real currency.  The technology exists today to make it a frictionless exchange.  The economy may actually run better in so-called “reverse”.  The only thing missing is a True Value Social Game

References:

Sepp Hasslberger The Future of Money

The March issue of Wired Magazine carries an article titled: The Future of Money: It’s Flexible, Frictionless and (Almost) Free.,