Friday, December 28, 2012

Giving It All Away

(part thirteen of The Future, a comic book)

A penthouse office with balcony, South Tel Aviv. Many people working at computers at widely spaced desks. Quiet, and uncluttered. Gideon points to an empty table, tells Miller to get himself a coffee. In a minute they both are sitting before a computer.

- First screen. "Give" "Accept" "Work"
- When everyone chooses "Accept"?
- I'll show you. Hit "Give".  "What do you have to give?" I'll write: laptop. Here's a list of people who would like a laptop, in order of number of their holdings, wealth in other words.
- What about someone selling off-network?
- You'd see an imbalance of giving and accepting.
- What if someone always gives something worthless, takes only valuable things?
- Cross checks with auction result prices, as well as an atypical ownership profile flag it.
- Then?
- The community sees and stop giving to them. That's all.
- What if someone has 100 laptops and no food? Assuming he'd get tracked trading within the community, he'd trade outside the community?
- Or give away the computers.
- What usually happens?
- When the value of staying in the community was unknown, some took all they could and ran. Now the community has proved itself they come back. And not for the gifts. You had that right. They come back for the opportunity to work together. You know Churchill's line? When you find work you love you'll never work again. Here's another page: "Your Network". See all the different groups?
- Yes.
- The red outlined are work groups, the blue home. This is my network. And this is Bayshare. I am not paid, and I don't pay anyone.  Bayshare has money income. The excess is distributed to everyone equally, but each of us in the company gives away money in or out of the network as we wish. We each have our home networks. Some people in the company are also in our home network, some aren't.  No one needs a gift from anyone, because someone or other, in one network or another will find the need and satisfy it.
- How many people in this room participate?
- All of them. That's you, by the way, a little circle red outlined in a larger blue circled work group. Any by the way, you're rich. Let's go downstairs.

Two flights of steps down they enter a large open work room where various small objects are being assembled. Like the upstairs office it is quiet.

- Hackspace is closed. We moved our physical operations here.
- How much time do you think we have?
- Days.
- Days? How much time before violence breaks out?
- Days.
- Are we ready?
- Yes. Quadcopters for transport, 3D printers for tools, Communication sets for information. All stockpiled at strategic locations. In most cases can make, or have delivered, the tools we need without delay.
- Tools for what?
- For our enterprises. And defending ourselves.
- What are we doing?
- As you see, we are making our tools, that's was first. We are now -- that sound means I have to go -- working of the basics, food, clothing, shelter.
- And giving it all away?
- And getting it all back.

- I think I need a new job. You're doing everything for me.
- Step over to my office. The first screen. We choose: "work". It asks, "What do you want to do?
- Write a new story.
- Type it in. Ok. On the new screen, we have people on one side, resources on another. Click on the box in the corner "NAG".
- What does it stand for?
- It's not an acronym. It turns on the nagging robot. Click on it. Here are documents and people to check out to work with. Some of the people will be contacted by the robot, your profile sent, and asked if they would like to help you.
- Help me write my story?
- Whatever.
- What if I don't write my story. That's the problem. I'm blocked.
- The robot won't let you go. It will nag - there it goes - "What seems to be the problem?"
- How did it come up with those words? Is Computer here?
- No. This is old technology. The robot uses a database of real human conversations. If you don't answer, it will respond again, offer documents to be read, videos to be viewed, suggest individuals to chat with. It isn't Computer, but it is intelligent: it remembers and learns which kind of person actually could help which kind of person, which document, video the most useful.
- It's Aardvark.
- Aardvark used the information its robot gathered about people to better answer their questions.  NAG uses the information the robot gathers to get people to work better with each other. Aardvark was about communication. NAG is about doing things together.
- What happened to Aardvark?
Google bought it and closed it down.
- How did you get it?
- Ask Computer. And while you at it, ask for a job. I'll ask for you. I type your name into work search, H.R.Miller. And what job do we have for you? "Commander in Chief". Will you take it?
Your training is finished. You've brought yourself up to date. It wasn't hard, you had only to recognize your own ideas put into execution. The war is about to begin. You're going to win it for us. Nothing to say? Not going to ask if I am joking?
- Friend is with us already?
- How long do you think it takes a computer to act on a plan once determined?
- Human intermediaries are involved.
- That's right. But it's done. Friend is with us. So far as it can understand us.
- What exactly do you want me to do?
- Get the people angry at the right moment.
- And reveal the presence of the alternative community.
- What will you, you and Computer and Friend be doing?
- Specifics? Police will battle protesters. Districts of civil war will be isolated. We'll help the protesters with logistics and technology. But timing is everything.
- When people can't be complaisant, are both angry at the government and willing to consider a better way of life. Alright. I'll give it a try.
- Good. Save the world. We've got a minute, or two. Work on your plan. I'll be back.

- Commander, lift up your head.
- What happening? Where's everyone going?
- Come on. A car is waiting.