An Autonomous Agent

exploring the noosphere

Dunbar’s Law and Economic Relationships

On page 306 of Scale, Geoffrey West discusses Dunbar’s Law and its implication for human social networks. To summarize this law: it claims that humans have multiple levels of bonding strength. At the lowest level a human will have around five connections of the strongest type of friendship and intimacy. Typically this would include some members of one’s family or a best friend. At the next level there are around fifteen connections that are not as strong as the first level, but are still firm. This would include close friends you might talk to on a daily or weekly basis. At the next level there are about fifty connections… and so on… The numbers of connections scales by tripling the connections at each higher level. In the book the levels are labeled as: 1) Kin, 2) Super-family 3) Clan, 4) Tribe, and 5) Strangers.

When I first read this in Scale, I was immediately reminded of David Graeber’s anthropological work regarding economic relationships among humans. In his book Debt: The First 5,000 Years, Graeber observes on page 99-100 that baseline communism (sharing) follows a similar structure. Thus, using the terminology from above: At the kin level Graeber notes that there is much sharing between members and the relationship is baseline communism. Thus, you can extend this and map these economic relationships with those of Dunbar’s Law: 1) Kin (~5 people) : Almost all sharing with very little debt or IOU, 2) Super-family (~15 people) : IOU with a good amount of sharing, 3) Clan (~ 50 people) : Mostly IOU and little sharing, and 4) Tribe (~150 people) : Almost entirely IOU with very little sharing. Anything outside the tribe would be exchange via a cash medium except in rare occasions, such as a child falling in front of an on-coming vehicle (a person would naturally share his strength to save the child’s life). Although I may not have followed Graeber’s observations exactly I find this train of thought to be interesting as it requires one to rethink the concept of currency, exchange, and economic relationships. Indeed, Graeber’s book challenges the entire paradigm of the historical development of currency and debt by analyzing the anthropological record.

Scale – Geoffrey West

Scale, by Geoffrey West, is a thought provoking book about coarse grained quantitative network theories which concern the entire human species and its interaction with the environment. Although verbose — as I think the intended audience is upper high school and entry-level college — it is clear in its depictions and explanations. This book is an important summary of really profound work and research performed at the Santa Fe Institute. And it is a great introduction to understanding power laws and scaling in biology and network topologies.

Mastering Bitcoin – Andreas M. Antonopoulos

I’ve been following Bitcoin since 2011 but sadly never researched its technical foundations. A few weeks ago I decided to dive into the subject. Mastering Bitcoin, by Andreas M. Antonopoulos, clearly explains the fundamental designs of Bitcoin. The book is well written and an excellent entry point for developers new to the subject. Many sites and people recommend this book and rightly so, because after reading it, I feel that I have a new understanding and appreciation of everything blockchain related. While it is detailed and technical — geared towards an audience familiar with programming and Internet technologies, it can be a great resource for those wanting an intellectual challenge.

If you decide to purchase the book, make sure you do it on purse.io with Bitcoin. Purse is now where I make any purchases for books or things I would have bought directly from Amazon.

Opening the Doors of Perception – Anthony Peake

In Opening the Doors of Perception, Anthony Peake strings together research in epilepsy, migraines, autism,¬†Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and entheogens in an attempt to understand human consciousness. Are we living in a simulation? What is Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch-OR) and what can it tell us about ourselves? How is it that flickering light can trigger an altered state of consciousness? What is the relationship between the Eidolon and the Daemon? These are just some of the questions pondered and developed by Peake. Opening the Doors of Perception provides the reader with some fascinating research which will hopefully open ones mind to some really powerful insights.

Decentralized Blockchain Wireless Internet Service Provider

It would be greatly beneficial to human communication freedom if we all worked together to create a decentralized blockchain wireless internet provider network. I think there are already at least two projects addressing this idea: DENT and IUNGO.NETWORK. I am still reading the whitepapers for these projects. Before searching for existing projects based on this idea, I imagined a decentralized blockchain where each node in the network operates a wireless access point. And the data sent and received would be computed and deducted from a users wallet. Ideally, a person would be able to purchase a given amount of coins on an exchange which could then be used to exchange for a certain amount of wireless data. There are similarities with SIA coin, etc… where the blockchain provides a decentralized service with security. The key is decentralization, anonymity, security, privacy, and freedom.

There are other options, but not what I have in mind: goTenna, FireChat, etc…

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