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Tag: probability

How To Use Data Correctly

There is a raging debate about data usage, privacy violation, and even epic technology data hacks.  The reason is simple – data has value.  Ultimately, data are convertible to value – in some form or another, including money.  That means that data are a convertible currency.  This is not necessarily bad, however, there is a right way and a wrong way to convert data into value.

The wrong way is to steal it from it’s rightful owners

You and I, by our motions, movements, communications and the pursuit of freedom and happiness create a huge amount of data.  This belongs to each individual.  When two or more   people interact with each other – the data they create belongs to them, and nobody else.  This is a very powerful relationship that others seek to exploit.  Equally culpable are those who don’t protect their data and the data they share with people around them.

The right way to use data is to play a game

If you observe any game that people play – from children’s games to sports, and even gambling – they all have one thing in common.  Each player has the same information as all the other players.  The game is largely the ability to influence the information with data. Kids know the probability that a they will be tagged and influence their strategy accordingly – but they all play on the same field. In a basketball game, gravity behaves exactly the same for every player on the team. Poker players know the probability that their opponent will draw a flush – there are only 52 cards.   Stealing Data is like slanting the playing field, stealing cards from the deck, or changing the influence of gravity.

Fair Market Value is a Value Game

The underlying assumption of market capitalism is that everyone has the same information.  Two people holding the same Carfax report can have a rational and fair negotiation about the value of that used car.  As such, the used car market is efficient.  Package labeling, truth in advertising laws, and pharmaceutical disclaimers are an attempt to keep a market efficient so that the market can arrive at a “Fair Market Value”.

The Value Game

The Value Game being tested now at Social Flights is a real life game where real people fly to real places to do real things on real nice airplanes.  There are no badges, tokens, little pink cows, wiggly worms, mayorships, or leader boards.  The Value Game is a real economic game built on real data that real players create, own, and share only with other real players.

How to use data correctly

The Value Game will process a great deal of information to make Social Flights operate efficiently.  Data must be normalized to calculate the probability that a flight will fill so that everyone can make a rational decision about price.  Normalized data can be used to create a seat cancellation insurance policy to reduce price volatility.  Normalized data can help travelers buy an option on game 7 of the World Series, before game 5 has ended. Normalized data can be applied so the player knows exactly how much of a discount to require from a vendor for accepting a coupon. Etc.

The Value Game does not need to know your name, address, phone number, or credit score to compile useful information.  The Value Game does not even need to know such information about your friends, family, or professional relationships.  Nobody needs to know your private information –  unless they intend to use your data incorrectly.  After all, thieves need to know who to restrict your data from – you.

Game Over

The first law of Gaming: If you can’t win a game playing by the rules, stop playing the game, or change the rules. It would seem that Egyptians would add a corollary “Change the Rulers”.

This is not trivial.

Billions of people are walking the planet Earth with the nagging feeling that they cannot win their game playing by the rules they are given.  If America was once the shining beacon of opportunity where hard work and perseverance were the main ingredients of success, and Americans are feeling that they can’t win playing by the rules, then you can expect two things to happen:  People will stop playing the game, AND the rules will change.

Interactive Entertainment

Looking on the sunny side, we see Gaming companies achieving astonishing valuations in Silicon Valley.  What is even more remarkable is that a similar thing is happening concurrently with Travel, Coupons, and Alternate Currencies.  Many people stand back aghast at the sheer size of some of these bets; $120M for Tripit, $5B worth Zynga, $6B for Groupon, $50B for Facebook.  The Market capitalization of Apple ($320B) is almost 2 times greater GDP of Egypt ($188B).

It would be foolish to underestimate the value the gaming component – now called “Interactive Entertainment” – as enabled by the Internet.  Gaming is an extremely mathematical science where designers predict the probabilities that a player will favor one strategy over another.  The better these prediction become, the more interactive and, ostensibly, the more entertaining a game becomes – at least to some people.

The Calculus of Gaming

It is no coincidence that the calculus of gaming and the knowledge assets deployed to the gaming industry are functionally identical to financial and marketing industries such as banking, insurance and demography.  Banks set the price of money based on the probability that you can pay it back (credit scores).  Insurance companies set the price on premiums based on the probability that you will experience a loss (actuarial data).  And Demographers predict what you will buy and who you will vote for. After all, a Bank is really just a game that bets that you will win and an insurance company bets that you will lose, and demographics keeps the game, well, unfair.  But together, they all hedge each other’s risk, not yours.

Watch The Integration, closely

From prior articles; The Travel industry is a proxy for how and where ideas are spread.  The Coupon Industry influences human behavior to accelerate the disruptive innovation and to create new value simultaneously. The Gaming Industry will define the rules by which the new game will be played and provide the ability to predict when, where, and how to value social capital. When the integrated is complete, the ability to capitalize and securitize a new social currency (next article) will emerge to hedge, and then replace, the dollar.

Game over.


(Editor’s note: The above post is #4 in a series [1][2][3][4][5] introducing The Value Game to a new class of business methods.  The first real world application is Social Flights; a collaborative production / consumption game being deployed to the market.  If this works, the new business method class will be generalized throughout the economy to catalyze the convertibility of social currency.  Please join us at The Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco on february 28th 2011 where we will unveil the work to the technology community)

The Global Financial Crisis; The End Game

The year is 2024, no burning cities, no mass hysteria, no bread lines; the economy is on an exponential growth curve.  It took a while, but the financial crisis of ended in an anticlimactic sort of way.  Sure, lots of hedge fund bankers became unemployed, some went to jail, and many companies once deemed titans of industry have disappeared, but nobody seemed to notice much anymore.

Government debt has been eliminated and Wall Street has become the steward of what has become an Innovation Economy rising from the ashes of debt economics.  The transition, in fact, was surprisingly smooth.  Social Network applications such as Facebook, Linkedin, G+, and many more, developed a clever way to make knowledge tangible outside the construct of Wall Street and the traditional corporations and people began trading knowledge like currency.

When inflation hit, the dollar started to fall in value, people began trading a different currency called the rallod (dollar spelled backwards).  The rallod was backed by future productivity resulting from innovation rather than future productivity supporting debt.  When the dollar finally crashed, it pegged to the rallod and the economy began to grow again with an astonishing, yet peaceful, transfer of wealth and power to open sourced self-regulating communities; i.e., society in general.  The vicious cycle of debt economics was reversed just in time.  It’s still hard to believe what happened.

Today the engines of economic growth are tens of thousands of hot new start-ups that exist in the form of “Value Games” related to specific technology areas rather than the old corporation model.  They automatically cluster around a technology and spin off other start-ups at an incredible rate in a strange nesting arrangement called the “tangential innovation” market.  Most innovation is open sourced because the “Patent” (and protectionism in general) is no longer the center of the innovation finance universe, rather, the “secret sauce” of social, creative, and intellectual capital is the most valuable asset today.

About 15 years ago, something resembling the human genome project mapped all knowledge in the form of social, creative, and intellectual capital that exists in society to a very high granularity.  An API standard was created to represent knowledge assets like packets of code that are processed by a community algorithm. The CV/resume is an old bar joke now. Thanks to a visionary government, 1st amendment protections were built into this inventory with anonymity laws and privatized TOU; creators own what they create.

An open source percentile search engine was created to enable entrepreneurs to build unique collections of knowledge assets and predict the probability that various combinations of these assets could successfully execute a business plan.  High diversification induced hyper-innovation around technologies and the resulting innovations are spun out to be reabsorbed by different and diverse communities of practice in continuous iterations forming a virtuous vortex of new systems, methods, and solutions.  Sketched out, these arrangements looked like electrical “integrated” circuits.  Wealth creation is intense.

Since the knowledge inventory has mapped all knowledge and the Percentile Search Engine calculated probabilities and scenarios, the Innovation bank formed to make most worthy and optimal matches between knowledge surplus and knowledge deficit in a community.  Since the probability of innovation success has become predictable, innovation risk is now diversified away.  Innovation insurance products abound. With near-zero innovation risk the cost of venture capital has approached 5-7 % instead of 500-2000% of less than a decade ago.  Banks now issue innovation bonds on the public market to finance innovation in society.  For an investment of such high return and such little risk, participation is near universal.  This created another virtuous circle; the more innovation that occurs, the more money is created.  The more money that is created, the more innovation occurs.

Instead of having jobs, many people in a geographic area are pinged by the Percentile Search Engine which calculates the likelihood that their interaction together will increase the probability of successful execution of a business plan when combined with other knowledge assets.  Instead of earning wages, people collect micro-royalties specified by contracts on capital asset sub-sections. These micro-royalties add up to substantial residual income enjoying a multiplier effect as their work continues downstream over their lifetime. The government funds social security through it’s own innovation ventures. Service workers such as police, teachers, fire fighters, nurses, local merchants, etc., are key beneficiaries because of their impact on the community is directly associated with productivity.

Many of the senior knowledge workers have determined that they can earn more money by taking an equity position in their students, and the students of their student.  Unlike a decade ago, pyramid schemes in innovation economics are sustainable and generate astonishing profits.  Mentors have entered the landscape in vast numbers and apprenticeships have become abundant.  The income potential for the “creating creators” boggles the imagination.   Again, a virtuous circle has formed between the mentor and the student. In aggregate, wisdom is being retained, refined, and transferred efficiently throughout social networks.

University “degrees” have disappeared in favor of unique combinations of knowledge assets that are continually SEO’d for best Percentile Search Engine Placement.  People do not compete directly, rather, they compete with the Percentile Search Engine in the local market place by cooperating among each other.  As owners of their knowledge assets, the entrepreneurial spirit is ubiquitous.  No individual has either a monopoly or an identical knowledge set as anyone else.  Everyone has perfect information about the knowledge assets in a market.  People are pinged for different reasons at different times for different rates depending on supply and demand.  Continuous education is a social event in itself, often mistaken for recreation!

Even the poorest areas of the planet are getting into the action because, by definition, the parts of an economy with the highest potential for technological change correspond to opportunities that return the highest dividends in an innovation economy.  Arbitrage opportunities between master and oppressor have disappeared worldwide.

Like a neural network, the economic system of tangible knowledge is self-correcting, fault tolerant, and self-regulating.  Governments across the globe tried to stop the social network driven innovation economy – but they eventually gave up.  It was like trying to stop water; it flowed between the cracks and simply eroded the barriers.  The most incredible outcome is that innovation now reflects long term social priorities instead of short term Wall Street priorities.

Oil production has been replaced by superconducting wind turbines, global temperatures have stabilized, all cars are electric or “water leakers” (as the hydro’s are affectionately known), many diseases have been cured, and the list goes on.  It is hard to believe this happened in only 12 years.  Then again, the Internet had only been widely used 15 years prior to 2009.  Did I mention, we’re finally sending a multinational expedition to Mars…

The Credit Score Analogy; Part 2

Now we look for a similar situation for Knowledge Markets.

In the cuurent times, the hiring manager is the person to know if you want to get a job. The manager would read your resume and compare it with “bell curve” in their brain about what has worked or not worked in their past. This was a great system for the industrial economy, but it falls far short in the innovation economy.

The world is evolving so fast with new technology, new disciplines, and global cultures that what worked in the past may not work in the future. Innovation favors different combinations of knowledge where the Industrial economy favored similar knowledge. A hiring manager may not accumulate sufficient experience in a lifetime to make a proper assessment in the complexities of a diverse, global, and technical future market.

If we look in society, there are many vetting mechanism in place. Social networks are by far among the most exciting and important new technology that can serve this purpose. Social networks must now evolve to become a local vetting mechanism for knowledge assets.

Just like the reporting agencies in the credit system, Social Networks can serve an extremely valuable function in permitting human knowledge to emulate a financial instrument by acting as the “Recording Agencies” who have verified the asset in terms of quality and quantity. The knolwedge Inventory acts as the independent variables that are used to calculate the probability of market success. The difference is that the credit score measures mostly negative events while the new system will seek only positive events and can be designed to give the participants much greater influence on how they appear to the market.

One thing is missing. The credit score uses the FICO equation; Innovation Economics will use something called the Percentile Search Engine.

The Credit Score Analogy; Part 1

We have defined the currency, the factors of production, and the inventory of the Innovation Economy; we destroyed the old resume system and turned it into a computer language that makes knowledge appear like money in the eyes of the entrepreneur.

Now, we need a system that keeps the game free and fair. For example; EBay does little more than protect the feedback system, Craigslist uses community flagging, Linkedin keeps track of comments and contacts, etc. All markets must have a vetting mechanism in order to operate efficiently. Entrepreneurs do not invest in places without a good legal system and where property rights are not protected. When vetting fails, investors leave – It is that important.

In the Innovation Economy, the knowledge market is analogous to the credit market.

In the old days, the banker was the person to know if you wanted to be successful in town. If you needed to borrow money to start a business or buy a house, the banker would review your work history and financial records as well as your reputation in the community where you both live. If you were deemed an acceptable risk, the banker would lend you money from the deposits of local companies and individuals.

Then an engineer named Bill Fair and mathematician Earl Isaac created the first behavior scoring system to predict credit risk. They formed the Fair Isaac Corporation FICO and their invention came to be known as the FICO credit score. With the credit score, the local banker is almost irrelevant; now a Saudi Billionaire can lend money to a young couple in Boise to buy their first home – and neither of them are aware of the other. The credit score is responsible for the creation of a lot of wealth because it made many more entrepreneurs who invested borrowed money in business. The credit score even allows you to recover if you hit hard times – you just pay more a little interest until you prove yourself solvent again.

The credit score isolates about 22 or so measurements of financial activity and puts them on a bell curve relative to everyone else. These include how much debt you have, how much your assets are worth, your income, etc. These ratings are run through the FICO Equation and out pops your credit score. Anyone can now predict the likelihood that you will default on your obligation.

All of the data that feed FICO are collected from public records, your employer, and the people who you borrow money from – all of these organizations have a vested interest in a system of correct credit scores.

It is interesting that you and I do not compete for our credit score because it is not a ranking system. The old saying “No credit is worse than bad credit”, although inaccurate, is cited often because with bad credit, you are visible to the system and it can adjust to find a suitable interest rate. With no credit, you are simply invisible.

We lose some privacy with FICO, but we accept these terms well because they provides us with tremendous benefit to finance a business, automobile, or a home without needing to save cash. Likewise, we lose some privacy engaging each other on the Internet and in our community, however, the benefit of Social Networks far exceed many perceived privacy issues.

My personal complaint with credit scores is that they track largely negative events and seem to predict failure. What if we had a system that tracks success and used that data topredict varying degrees of success.

In the next section, we will identify the institutions that exist in society and how Social Networks can act to duplicate the benefits of the credit score without the downsides….watch

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