Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Am I Imagining Things?

Back in 2012 the birth of civic crowdfunding tricked me into imagining that we were on the path to pragmatarianism.  Now there's a similar innovation that has me imagining the same thing.  Once burnt twice shy?  Or am I going to be like Charlie Brown who is forever tricked by Lucy?

There are two websites, both still in beta, where users can use their money to "grade" the content... Cent and Honest Cash.  I shared some relevant thoughts in a comment that I just posted on Simon de la Rouviere's website...

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You already know that Cent is doing something similar... "seeding"... but not sure if you know that so is Honest Cash. It is like Cent, but a lot newer, and closer to Medium in design. Check out my post... The Greatest Movie Ever? People could reply to it with their nomination, unless it has already been nominated, in that case they'd spend their money on it. My main point was that it would be very useful to be able to sort the replies/nominations by value.

For both Cent and Honest Cash it's possible for participants to spend money on ideas, but neither startup currently allows demand to drive their development. Well, neither website has a page that displays all the feature requests sorted by value... yet.

I think the following quote does a good job of summarizing the startup status quo...

"We are biased toward the democratic/republican side of the spectrum. That’s what we’re used to from civics classes. But the truth is that startups and founders lean toward the dictatorial side because that structure works better for startups. It is more tyrant than mob because it should be. In some sense, startups can’t be democracies because none are. None are because it doesn’t work. If you try to submit everything to voting processes when you’re trying to do something new, you end up with bad, lowest common denominator type results. ”— Peter Thiel, Girard in Silicon Valley

What's remarkable is that he doesn't even consider the possibility of a startup being steered by a market. He doesn't say that having a market at the helm would be good, or bad, or horrible, he just doesn't even mention it. Like, the thought didn't even cross his libertarian mind.

And now I'm a user on two startups where we can spend our money on any and all proposals for the startup. For example, the demand for autosaving drafts on Cent is $.75 cents. What's the demand for this feature on Youtube? I don't know. Nobody knows. Youtube might know how many users want this feature, but this would only reveal its popularity... not its value.

Basically this boils down to whether or not it's truly beneficial to see and know the demand for things. If it is, then... there goes the status quo. There goes democracy, dictatorships and committees. Right? If so, this is big. Really big. Impossibly big! And so far it seems like I'm the only one that sees this possibility, so I might just be crazy. What do you think?

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Now I'm thinking about Murray Rothbard fantasizing about a button that he could push to destroy the state.  He really hated the state.  Personally, I think the state is merely a symptom of economic ignorance.  If either or both websites cure the disease, then the state will be fixed. 

Is it sad that Rothbard won't be around to see the state fixed?  I'd like to travel back in time... "Hi Mr. Rothbard, I'm from the future and... uh, where are you going?"  It would be convenient if I could show him my cell phone or something. 

Seldon, a godlike AI in the future, will resurrect Rothbard by reverse engineering his mind using everything that he wrote, which is quite a bit.  Rothbard will be reborn full of hatred for the state?  Heh.  I'm guessing that Seldon will fill in a few blanks. 

On Robin Hanson's blog I had a debate with Nitronaut about uploading your mind.  He kept bringing up the point about consciousness not carrying over and I kept trying to explain that the only thing that mattered was the continuation of the mind. 

Anyways, hopefully Simon de la Rouviere will reply to my comment and share his perspective.  Two heads are better than one.