Everywhere around me I see more and more examples of resources, interactions and even entire marketplaces converted into virtual constructs. Abstracted. Expressed in ways that allow for sophisticated models and simulations. In fact that’s one way of looking at what’s happening at the Singularity University.
Everywhere around me I see more and more examples of situations where the core problem people are trying to solve is that of trust. There appears to be a lot of work being done trying to distil trust into something formulaic, data-driven.
And this is good. Data-driven is good. Feedback loops are good. Abstractions and models are good.
There’s something very human about trust. Something more related to the Age of Biology rather than the Age of Physics.
We’ve seen what happens when we rely on mathematics for ratings and values and decisions. Last time round it was called the Credit Crunch. A decade earlier it was called LTCM. Whatever.
You cannot legislate for ethics. Enron would have been SOx-compliant. Basle II may well have triggered some aspects of the recent financial crisis. Michael Power at LSE has been banging on about the implications of “managing” second-order risks for some time now. And he’s been right.
Some of us believe passionately in the power of what’s happening today, in terms of democratisated tools and access and community-based approaches to many things, from home to work to government and beyond. In fact, I’m personally somewhat at a loss as to why no one has really put together the right community-based vehicle for “climate change”, built as an open and transparent platform, on opensource principles and in a global inclusive manner.
Trust is about covenant relationships, not about contract relationships. In a contract you await breach and effect recourse. The question answered is “who pays?” In a covenant the question that’s answered is “how do we fix it?”
I think we’re going to spend a lot of time in 2010 learning about covenant relationships and their role in society. At home. In the community. At work. As a nation. As the world.
Stewardship, my word for 2010, is based on platforms. Those platforms need to be underpinned by trust. Not the trust of physics but the trust of biology. Because that is how value is going to be generated.