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“Governance comprises all of the processes of governing – whether undertaken by the government of a state, by a market or by a network – over a social system (family, tribe, formal or informal organization, a territory or across territories) and whether through the laws, norms, power or language of an organized society. ….” –

Technology changes everything… and you can’t stop it.  

Technology is mostly good yet sometimes bad but you can’t stop progress. Technology enables better health outcomes, it allows people to be more informed and better educated, it allows for easier and more affordable communication, it allows for automation and productivity increases… (the list is long) but just as important technology can produce negative unexpected outcomes. 

Technology’s unexpected negative outcomes in the past had less potential to harm society than what is upon us today and in the near future. In the past technology disintermediated companies… In the future, technology has the opportunity to disintermediate society-hence, GOVERNANCE IS THE FUTURE <<–hint, hint, entrepreneurs there is a business opportunity here.

Governance – The Past

Up to today, governance frameworks that have had an impact on how technology is used have mostly been left up to industry groups with some government oversight and mostly due to data security concerns (PCI-DSS, HIPAA, NERC, FISMA etc..) but now countries are mandating good governance as well (GDPR being one example) primarily due to privacy.  Farther down in the technology stack there are many governance organization – you can find that lineage here for the Internet as an example. However, there is little from these past frameworks that can prepare us for the future and unfortunately, our governing body (US Congress) is ill-prepared for the job but I do think we will be OK because of the governance vacuum will create an opportunity for entrepreneurs to fill.

Something Fundamentally Changed – Every Company Is Now A Technology Company

Up to now, technology has been thought of as an enabler of productivity… a driver of capitalism… but unfortunately, many companies still believe their IT team is responsible for technology.  Many still believe their executives need to understand technology but it’s their IT teams job to enable it and Securities job to lock it down… they still believe their exec’s jobs are revenue & profit (selling more widgets, increasing the margin of the widgets they sell and finding new widgets to sell) … but something fundamentally changed–Every company is now a tech company (here) (here) (here) – Disintermediation due to technology hasn’t (and will not) stop.  The power of data required good CEO’s to turn their companies into technology companies–but ready for this: now you may become irrelevant because of what you do… or how you are structured to perform what you do…

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Robotics is here now and will drive a wrecking ball through some major job categories. Blockchain-Cryptocurrency economics’ will change how companies are built and how value moves between entities. CRISPR-CAS9 will produce incredible healthcare outcomes and quantum computing presents unimagined breakthroughs.  These technologies are more powerful than anything society has ever witnessed.  

  • How CRISPR-Cas9 will change the world (here).
  • How Artificial Intelligence will change the world (here).
  • How Blockchain-Cryptocurrency will change the world (here). Corp structure (here).

Governance – The Future

“The real problem of humanity: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology… and it is terrifically dangerous, and it is now approaching a point of crisis overall.” – E. O. Wilson

Governance in healthcare is more straight-forward (although poorly executed many times in the US). The impact on healthcare in general from CRISPR-Cas9 is already being examined and regulated across the world. (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here).  However, some countries may be getting out ahead and teaching the rest of society about the need for a global view of governance in regards to gene editing.

The governance of Artificial Intelligence has been more challenging as there is not a great framework to call upon. (here) (here). AI as it relates to justice, data quality and autonomy involve identifying answers to questions surrounding the safety of AI, what legal and institutional structures need to be involved, control and access to personal data, and what role moral and ethical intuitions play when interacting with AI. When a citizen’s life can be shaped by algorithms who is in control of monitoring those that created the algorithms and the outcomes of such algorithms? In the past, we’ve seen machine learning racially profile bias, unfairly deny individuals for loans, and incorrectly identify basic information about users. The development of AI governance will help determine how best to handle scenarios where AI-based decisions are unjust or contradict human rights.

Cryptocurrency was born out of anarchistic libertarianism but fundamentally has the opportunity to re-shape how companies are built in the future, how securities are traded and how money moves. It is now a question of ‘when’ versus ‘if’ given the worldwide momentum of Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, EOS, and others (including layer 2 solutions and DApps). No, I’m not referring to SEC regulation–I’m referring to how governance frameworks play out for different levels of the stack (some examples are mapped out in this paper). However, as this progress shakes out governance will be the key to ensuring we manage the disintermediation in a way that doesn’t wreck economies.

‘The problem is that currency and capital respond differently to economic growth. Capital appreciates with economic growth and currency depreciates with economic growth as an economy grows.  Inflation is commonly thought of as the printing of new money but really it increases in prices over time as a result of economic growth. Capital as an asset type appreciates as the economy grows and is more scarce than currency.  We print more currency to keep up with inflation to ensure stable prices hence it depreciates with economic growth over time. What happens over time is that capital becomes more concentrated and we have a lot of people living their lives in currency and only a few living their lives in capital.   In crypto if we combine these into a single asset (Bitcoin) we don’t get the same income inequality or wealth inequality however by separating the access token (work token) from the currency token we risk the people who acquired the asset tokens early on may become concentrated over time as the economy grows.‘ – great A16z podcast on the subject

More notes to come…

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