Technologies, protocols and standards for a better future Web


#1

This topic is for discussing new technologies, protocols and standards/specifications that exist, or are under development, that can solve current problems with privacy, surveillance capitalism and monopolisation, and lead to a better, more humane World-Wide Web than we have today.

This is a wiki post - meaning you can edit it by clicking the icon in top-left corner - that maintains a list of candidates

While this forum is not the proper place to really elaborate the pros and cons of these technologies, we can at least discuss them, and - if there is enough interest - create a project where we’ll compile much more in-depth information.

Requirements

Some requirements for future web technologies are:

  • Privacy-respecting / privacy-first approaches
  • Security-first IT
  • Control of your own data / transparency on how its used
  • Standardization (no walled gardens)
  • Decentralization (no single parties controlling the conversation)

Upcoming standards and protocols

[list standards and protocols here as a link + short description, create sub-bullet for related info]

  • Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) - https://w3c-ccg.github.io/did-spec/
    – A standard that enables creation of Self-Sovereign Identity.
  • Verifiable Credentials - https://w3c.github.io/vc-data-model/
    – A standard that enables creation of credentials with cryptographically verifiable information. These credentials can be used to create and sign digital documents, for authentication purposes, etc. This standard can be used together with DID standard to enable interactions between Self-Sovereign Identities.

Candidate technologies

  • [list existing technologies here as a link + short description, create sub-bullet for related info]

WebSonar Libraries Candidate
WebSonar Libraries provide a privacy solution while still allowing resource content sharing. This is accomplished by dynamic conversion of off-line content to html in response to a search or browse request that can not be initiated by robots. In addition it does not use port 80, the standard web path crawled by the robots. The user can set their own access credentials, making some libraries public and others private. The libraries are accessible with a standard URL from any browser on the network. Each library can support thousands of documents in PDF, image, audio and video formats.


Goals of Humane Design. Goals of Humane Design is to create products that:
#2

To start the thread I’ll move some posts from the great discussion 3 Criteria of Humane Technology - which was unfortunately derailed off-topic by my own doing :flushed: - to this location…


#3

Right, thanks. I’m at the point where I think it would be just easier to redesign the internet than try to “fix” the way services currently run on the internet.

Have there been any suggestions of creating a new internet protocol or interoperability standard for the purpose of improving privacy and being more humane? It seems to me that the internet is more than ready to evolve to some next level, it’s just that at the moment the next level doesn’t seem to exist.

As many have suggested, I would think a new internet standard could let users keep their own data, probably on trusted third party cloud services. Any internet services would only ever be able to “borrow” your data and only when you allow it, and these services would have to agree to the terms that they can use this information for nothing and must not save it. For example, if you purchased something online they would never even know your email address. If you posted something to a social network, they would never have any information at all, it would all be stored in your own cloud services and you could move it or delete it at any time. The data could be stored and served privately from your cloud(s), say in JSON format with an open and interoperable format similar to schema.org. New businesses could be built on top of this and attract many new users.


3 Criteria of Humane Technology
#4

This is what Ethereum and more broadly Web3 Foundation are trying to do. You might be interested in reading this post about Web3 as a “Secure Social Operating System” written back in 2014.

Are those the kinds of protocols you are imagining @Free?


#5

No, I am sorry, but I would not advise these. The problem with everything blockchain is that it all sounds super… but it really is not, and maybe will never be. I’ll refer you to my previous post to explain that and be sure to follow the links to my earlier posts here and here.

With regards to new internet standards I’d like to point to this post: Towards the Vision of The Decentralized Web!

More specifically the project Solid, led by Tim Berners-Lee, is quite interesting. It is based on latest W3C standards… an ongoing application research and evaluation of the next-gen web.

The schema.org that you mention, @Free, is just one of many Linked Data ontologies that can be used to make web data more meaningful and self-describing.

Interesting new developments regarding decentralized social media standards are ActivityStreams and ActivityPub, both based on Linked Data (JSON-LD). And in parallel the W3C develops other social media standards.

With regards to privacy Decentralized Identifiers (DID) are interesting. See also this PDF on Combining ActivityPub with DID.

There is much more, but these are directions I’d be looking at before waging into anything blockchain-related.

PS. I really liked DatProject.org before (but going their own way… the cool Beaker is based on them, though), and IPFS.io looks promising too (the non-blockchain part)


#6

Those were all really relevant and interesting links, @aschrijver. Thanks!

I appreciate – and share much of – your skepticism about blockchain, @aschrijver. But I also invite people to educate themselves and come to their own conclusions. I think this article in the NYTimes does a good job at looking “Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble”.

To share my personal perspective: I don’t write off “everything blockchain” because it is over-hyped and has attracted scammers or because many of the ideas are not yet viable or able to scale. That was all true of the first dotcom boom / bust era.

And while some people/projects in the blockchain space demonstrate fraudulent or unethical behavior, I also encounter many blockchain researchers / economists / lawyers / developers / thought-leaders who are motivated by many of the issues that we are all passionate about on this forum: privacy, identity, transparency and new non-extractive economic incentives / business models.

I definitely agree with you that “blockchain” is not the answer to all of these problems… but it is still worth bringing up and questioning and discussing. As someone who is a member of both the CHT and the blockchain communities, I see this moment in time as a unique opportunity to build whatever it means for tech to be “humane” into the blockchain culture and protocols now, when it is still very nascent (and not wait for it to be too late).

Which perhaps is a good segue back to the original topic of this thread: what does it mean for technology to be humane?


split this topic #7

A post was merged into an existing topic: Creating synergy on this forum and between community and CHT organization


Creating synergy on this forum and between community and CHT organization
#8

Yes, you are absolutely right in saying this, Mamie. I shouldn’t have said “everything blockchain”, but - having studied many blockchain initiatives on a technical level, and astounded to find most of them lacking at the time (little more than a year ago) - I felt compelled to add a warning. With this forum having many non-technical members, I think any mention of blockchain should at least be accompanied with one.

For a layman it is next to impossible to be well-informed, so my warning is:

  • Do your homework as best as you can (preferably with a technical eye, or a technical advisor)
  • Know that the technology is still very immature (5-10 yrs from maturity according to Gartner)
  • If you commit yourself, financially or otherwise, assure that you can afford to lose your investment

With that out of the way, I see 3 areas where blockchain can be interesting to the CHT community:

  1. Investigating viable applications of blockchain in our future web (this topic)
  2. Investigating cool, innovative application/business model ideas (but without the underlying technology discussion)
  3. Separating humane / inhumane and viable / unviable uses of the technology

I think it is a good idea to make 2. into a separate topic. Point 3. should maybe wait, until the hype/controversy subsides a bit, but on the other hand many people fall victom to misguided or fraudulent practices at the moment, and CHT could help them. And it could lead to some lively discussion, and attract new members.


#9

Hi @Mamie, thank you for the links to Gavin Wood’s pages about what he hopes will become “Web3”. I found the content very useful.

As a software engineer, I think blockchain is just one technology that could be possibly used to solve just some of the aspects of decentralised systems. Blockchain is currently very slow (compared to other web technologies) and expensive, and because of its complexity it will always be much slower and more expensive than other types of databases, so it doesn’t seem like a very good choice for normal web applications. However, the exciting thing about blockchain is that it can run decentralised applications for things like voting and consensus building where speed and cost of transactions isn’t very important.

Gavin Wood of “Web3 Foundation” doesn’t seem like someone who’s pursuing humane tech. For example, his “Foundation” doesn’t appear to be a nonprofit which seems misleading. His audience in talks look like bankers. He recently issued an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for a cryptocurrency linked to this “Foundation” where he raised millions. There is a lot of sentiment that is saying that these ICOs besides being ludicrously overvalued also have holes in their structure allowing companies to not return any unlikely future profits to investors. Also this first thing I noticed about this Gavin fellow, a Brit, is that he’s moved to a tiny canton in Switzerland named Zug which just happens to have the lowest tax rate in the country of just about 10% for rich people. The country also allows secret bank accounts, and I’ve heard that this guy took money out of his previous project called Etherium and didn’t report it. Etherium has been tremendously popular with speculators, yet the distributed apps it runs are pretty pathetic if you’ve ever had a chance to check them out in person. It’s pretty clear to me his motivations are to make himself rich at the expense of naive investors.


#10

Hey @aschrijver, all.

You have mentioned a very interesting set of technologies in this topic. IMO, Decentralized Identifiers (DID) is the most interesting of them.
Decentralized Identifiers standard opens way to creation of Self-Sovereign Identity - identity that is ultimately free. In other words it can be deleted, updated, only by theperson who owns this identity. Any actions made under the name of the identity can be done only by its owner also.
Such Self-Sovereignty is achieved by rooting (storing) Decentralized Identifiers in blockchain. Thus, for decentralized applications to work we need a functioning blockchain at least to store there the most important information.

Decentralized Identifiers (DID) and related to them Verifiable Credentials standards are used in Validbook development - to create Validbook Self-Sovereign Identities and Validbook Statements (http://futurama1x.validbook.org/statements).

Although, the future is indeed decentralized, I would caution from putting too much focus on decentralization. Decentralization in itself is a red herring. Just decentralizing current services will not fix their psychological, cognitive and community related issues (I wrote more about it here). The root cause of these issues is in Attention Based Business Model. Thus to fix them we need to address it first, then apply Humane Design and then for more reliability we can host services in a decentralized way.


#11

Thank you very much! I will have to learn more about these very exciting projects.

The idea I was thinking about is very similar to Tim Berners-Lee’s Solid project. While there are many different use cases and solutions for a better future web, I think it makes sense to focus on the areas which are currently most broken. Much of the web works very well! My thoughts were for each user to keep and serve their own information directly to peers, allowing for information to be kept private, information to be ported and also modular app design which would allow switching. Here the most obvious use case is social network. It’s all very similar to Solid which I didn’t know about before.

The idea is that ordinary web servers are the best technology for this, any good database on a small machine can perform millions of reads per second and at least 10,000 writes per second. (Compared to 4 total operations per second for the entire worldwide Bitcoin network.) We just need a better way to arrange the web into new standards. I will take a look more at @aschrijver’s links.


The nature of issues: Human Nature vs. Attention Based Business Model?
#12

After observing the response to the recent data exposures one might conclude that the general public does not really care about privacy. I imagine some believe that they don’t actually possess any information that they are not willing to share, while others may determine that it is already too late to lock the barn door. You could argue that; like quitting smoking or being honest, it’s never too late to start, but I believe the main problem is not apathy but the absence of a viable alternative.

So let’s explore what would that might look like and how it could be accomplished? The goal would be a compelling alternative to FaceBook and Google. Tim Berners-Lee is currently working on a solution that he calls ”Solid” with the aim to provide “users the freedom to choose where their data resides and who is allowed to access it by decoupling content from the application itself”.

In order to solve the privacy problem you would also require a way to exclude the robot indexers while at the same providing a web presence to enable sharing of your content. Funding a project of this scope is problematic. Benefactors would expect a return on their investment. If you solve the privacy problem you will not only forgo any advertising revenue but will also threaten the current model. Assuming you can actually establish a viable network foot hold there will likely be acquisition pressure from the status quo.


#13

@Cowboy IMHO, I have made a compelling and realistic case on how to create and fund services that can become human-centric alternatives to Facebook and Google Services.

The proposal is to build Validbook - a set of core cooperation services funded by issuing sovereign money (blockchain tokens) based on unique representation of humans by their digital Self-Sovereign Identities.

I call this business model a Self-Sovereign Identity based Business Model - SSIBBM for short.

SSIBBM in a nutshell: create money based on unique representation of humans by digital Self-Sovereign Identities, take part of that money to develop human-centric cooperation services.

SSIBBM logic:

  • Create service that allows people to create Self-Sovereign Identities
  • Create service that allows people to prove that their Self-Sovereign Identities uniquely represent them as living human individuals
  • Create Kudos (tokens with daily supply 1 token per 1 living human (7.5B KDS/day in 2018; 11.3B KDS/day in 2118)
  • Distribute total daily production of Kudos, only between Self-Sovereign Identities that proved to uniquely represent living human individualsy. For example, if at a given day in 2018 1000 identities proved that they uniquely represent humans, then these identities should receive at that day ~7.5 million KDS each. Such distribution creates a great incentive for early adopters to join the Kudos distribution, as well as it creates the continuous incentive to participate in Kudos distribution, and support Validbook idea. This way of Kudos distribution solves common killer of “big ideas”: the chicken-egg problem.
  • Use part of Kudos to support development and maintenance of the set of core global human-centric cooperation services, for example human-centric Social Networking Service (Validbook Social).

Here is more about Validbook:
Original post about Validbook on this forum - Validbook - a universal platform for cooperation
Discussion about Validbook weaknesses - The nature of issues: Human Nature vs. Attention Based Business Model? (It is quite long, better to read from the bottom up)

Validbook alpha version is already built - http://futurama1x.validbook.org/
(As Validbook is built on Self-Sovereign Identity idea, you will need a cryptographic key to login. To login as a main test user - download and use the following key https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_ZDoXh4aBUQXR50PLRusZRF7XvEY3OQx/view Password to keystore file - “123456789”. After login go manually to the home page. Use Chrome browser. In production version the process of login will be seamless, as we will use browser extension to store key.)

I am looking for community of like-minded people who would be interested to cooperate on building production version of Validbook as investors, developers, thinkers.

Right now, I am the most interested to find thinkers who can criticize Validbook idea as hard as they can in order to find and expose the biggest weaknesses in it so that investors and community of open-source developers can decide if it is worth to invest their money and work into Validbook development.

I will very much appreciate if you can review Validbook idea and criticize it, so that its quality and feasibility is publicly scrutinized.


#14

First I would like to commend you for actually having a vision, the persistence to work on a solution and the wisdom to seek counsel. Einstein was told two things when he mentioned wanting to solve the problem of gravity: one was that it simply couldn’t be done, the other was that no one would believe him even if he did. In response he created his greatest achievement, the theory of general relativity.

Rather than critique your work I will share some of the lessons I’ve learned following a similar journey. General acceptance of a new idea is very difficult to obtain. Human nature in general tends to be both sceptical and inert. Google and FaceBook are now successful because of the Network Effect and the fact that they have convinced advertisers that their members might be willing to pay. It doesn’t matter if this is true or not because at this time they are the only game in town. This is your competition.

Creating a viable solution will require funding. You have four choices: ad supported, user pay, venture capital, or a White Knight. In our case we chose the fourth option, a patron who will finance the project development costs through to completion who does not expect any compensation. If you follow this path you may be able to provide your solution for free to get started. Once you have financing resolved the next stage requires a great deal of patience. It will take years to massage your solution to the quality required to begin to attract the audience needed to build a new network.

We desperately need more people like you that believe we do not have to accept exploitation or mediocrity in our lives and are willing to do something about it.

Cheers
Duane


#15

@Cowboy

Creating a viable solution will require funding. You have four choices: ad supported, user pay, venture capital, or a White Knight.

There is another choice to fund Validbook - Self-Sovereign Identity based Business Model. See in my earlier post its description.

It will take years to massage your solution to the quality required to begin to attract the audience needed to build a new network.

I disagree. Kudos distribution solves the chicken-egg problem - the common killer of “big ideas”. Here is math of Kudos distribution and Validbook prototype implementation. After production version is made the adoption of Validbook services and Kudos will be very rapid. I think the problem will be to mitigate problems caused by too fast growth, rather then with convincing people to use Validbook and Kudos.

We desperately need more people like you that believe we do not have to accept exploitation or mediocrity in our lives and are willing to do something about it.

Thank you @Cowboy. Let’s join the forces in one way or another and build Validbook! Here is public “Proposal to Cooperate”. Here is a discussion about wether Validbook can or cannot, should or should not be built.

Einstein said - “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”.

That’s why Validbook is based on the higher level paradigm of thinking about design and mission of Internet services, than the paradigm that was used to design current services fueled by attention based business model.

The mission of Validbook is to optimise levels of cooperation and to support human rights among which are the right for Self-Sovereign Identity.

This higher level of paradigm of thinking about the mission of Internet services, changes the way we think about design of core Internet services. It is now about optimising cooperation levels, making cooperation more transparent and reliable.

This way of thinking helps us to design core cooperation services with better functionality, privacy and security, then services currently offered by the market built on attention based business model and way of thinking.