IAS Project

The aim of this project is to gather the opinions of various research groups and projects, and tie them together to shed some light as to how they could cohesively help minimise the identified problem.
“The new citizen is to be won over to an acceptance of this [new legislation] by promising him greater freedom from government, just as big business is to be promised lower taxes and less intervention and thus to be retained as a rich and powerful ally. But this new freedom to be enjoyed by big business means that it can then control the new citizen at the very same time that government reduces its protection for him.” (Benn, 1989, p.112).
The problem is: the incentives of private-sector IT business models.
Step I
Identify problem.
🚨 Problem: incentives of private-sector IT business models
Multiple Sources.
We are interested in one specific layer of private-sector IT companies: the governance layer that shapes the firm and decides its direction.
has to do with current private sector business models for technology companies. The issue with it is relational to society at large.
Infrastructure Layer: Centralized Surveillance (the purpose of firms)
The economic incentives that steer operations.
“Surveillance is frequently considered the business model of the internet” (P2PModels), for both firms and the state.
Governance Layer: Disempowered Communities (the shaping of firms)
No decision-making power to the communities that use such technology.
Economic Layer: Concentration of Profits (the result of the previous two)
Profits not proportionally redistribute to contributors.
🤖 Case study: OpenAI
What is the current business model and structure of OpenAI and ChatGPT?
What are its economics?
What has changed throughout OpenAI’s development?
Step II
Identify solution.
📚 Theoretical solution 1: ‘epistemology-cum-ethics’.
Paper by Federica Russo.
The aim is to justify the inclusion of ethics in the design process.
“A glass-box epistemology should explicitly consider how to incorporate values and other normative considerations at critical stages of the whole process from design and implementation to use and assessment” (Russo).
The trust should be in the process that leads to a technology, not the technology as an output.
Assessment strategies should be inclusive and not just done by experts.
💸 Theoretical solution 2: ‘regenerative by design’.
Podcast by Kate Raworth.
The aim is to make private technology firms regenerative by design.
Make firms that belong in the circular economy - make business regenerative by design.
A criteria must be followed:
Internal and external values
Governance model
Ownership model
Finance model
“There is only so far that you can go within [a regenerative] framework of business and finance in the mainstream stock market, there is only so far they will let you lean towards transformative design and then they will pull you sharply back. We need to transform; we need to change the way businesses are owned and financed, and the regulatory environment in which they operate, if there is any chance of business being part of the solution rather than the problem” (Kate Raworth).
👥 Theoretical solution 3: ‘Public-stack’
Project by Future Internet Lab (Waag).
The aim is to unpack all processes that are part of application development.
Foundation (assumptions, incentives, legal bounds, purposes, aims)
Design process
Public research.
Tech stack
Infrastructure (networks) and hardware
Operating system
User (democratic society)
Influence of technology on intentionality.
Censorship resistance: algorithmic reduction of choices.
Power for change.
Theoretical solutions in place, how do you actually get the private sector to follow such processes?
In brief, the implementation of the solutions is to regulate the (identified) current fundamental incentive structures of the private sector so that a new set of incentives can take hold and begin the new value-sensitive design process.
The aim is not to
Step III
Implement solution.
Open-web capabilities
Informational congruence of decentralised networks.
Governance abilities of DAOs.
DAOs potential to alter private sector incentives.
Decentralisation as a metric
Architectural decentralisation
Political decentralisation

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