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“Code is the law”: how to avoid substitution of the principle of decentralization (part 2)

“Decentralization” and “autonomy” mean joint management of society and its organization. And registries can provide excellent technical support, including in the construction of many new scenarios of interaction between participants and new forms of business, in testing in practice and comparing different “rules of the game”, in choosing the most effective. Registries provide a common logic for the whole community, a common vision of what is happening as a relationship of strict facts arising from each other. And the mechanism of “smart contracts” allows users to determine the logic of the “second level” – just as on the basis of the Civil code, people can write contracts and statutes of their organizations, issue bills, shares, powers of attorney, act as guarantors. TheDAO or “Internet States on the blockchain” is already a claim to multi-level self-government.

But while the claim is unjustified, and our “shoemakers – without boots”: the registers themselves are essentially DAO, but do not provide their own self-government. It is useless to argue about whether the voting procedure for hard fork Ethereum was “correct”, since its rules and the code providing for their operation were not provided. For comparison: the constitutions contain the order of their change, the charters include provisions on reorganization and liquidation. There was another dispute: can the problems of a large investment Fund (TheDAO kept 15% ETH), entail a change in the “legislation”, the logic of the registry? The answer is simple: “See the regulation.” And if it is not, then there is nothing to argue about, and it remains only to choose between “arguments” like “TheDAO is too cool for failure” (not just the slogan “too big to fail”) and “the immutability of Ethereum above all” (as “the principle of decentralization”). Without verification of identity, there is no equality in voting, only “wallet voting”. “Voting on the blockchain is the most honest” – but manipulations are possible with full transparency, and there are no words or lines of code about the correct voting methods. What is the organization of society is its efficiency and quality of life. “Decentralization” as a joint organization requires an accessible language of organizational management, a language to work with the “rules of the game”, arrangements – but so far we have not moved away from the code, the language of machines.

Largely it prevents the development of technarchy idealism, positing “value” some properties of art (e.g., “unchanged”), the subordination of the person to technology, or even its exceptions. So far, only practice is sobering, but the problems of the scale of hundreds of millions of dollars should be provided in advance. The development of registries is in the direction of supporting self-regulation, albeit spontaneously, “by trial and error”. Ethereum introduces the tools of verification of contact information. The projects of other registries, Aeternity and Tezos, provide mechanisms for joint decisions on changing logic. BOSCoin not only takes a step towards the “language of people” and provides a mechanism for revision of history, but is also conceived as a register-DAO. The mechanisms for budget proposals and voting on them are similar to TheDAO. And even more emphasizes the focus on community self-government is that it is a member organization – members make contributions and are included in the collegial governing body, having more rights than ordinary users.

Thedao’s lesson is that there is very little code to write to support self-regulation. The emphasis on it takes the attention of enthusiasts from the theory and methods in the field of law, regulatory organizations and organizational management, “third Cybernetics”. It is worth to understand, for example, why such “decentralized” organizations as cooperatives are less flexible and effective. And such “hierarchical” corporations as Apple or Google, on the contrary, successfully apply self-management of employees in many processes. The right to “property” in the information age is increasingly becoming the right to make decisions, including on the rights of others. Digital assets and contracts, especially in physical devices (TheDAO started with the smart locks project), will help to demonstrate this fundamental shift tomorrow. For example, thousands of investors will quickly organize and keep track of your DAO on the “car sharing” or “auto shops”, in real time, make decisions on controls and tariffs, will receive the dividends.

Automation of “chaos”, which in our case means writing code with unresolved, ill-conceived issues of joint management, always leads only to “automated chaos”. And instead of replacing “imperfect” people with machines in such an important area as the organization of society, it is better to leave this business and creative task to people, providing its full support.

Enthusiasts call registries “the second Internet”, but it does not hurt to remember how ARPANET began with “the first”. His ideologist, D. Engelbart, in the early 60-ies set the main task of the Internet: to help improve the “collective IQ” of communities, their ability to organize and solve any problems. And more than half a century after the grant to Engelbart, in 2016, (D)ARPA says the same, but loudly – as a “decisive challenge to the paradigm of artificial intelligence.” In the new concept, Agile Teams, machines should not replace people, but increase the efficiency of their interaction. It’s time for technologists distributed registries to clarify social objectives and practical prospects and challenges of decentralization, and therefore to systematically improve the technology.

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