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


#1

Does anyone know about research/analysis of the nature of the negative issues with current social networking services?

I am trying to understand to what extent these issues are fueled by Attention Based Business Model vs. Human Nature in the environment of Social Networking Service (a novel environment from evolutionary POV).

If we know this, we will be able to say, - what we can fix by creating Social Networking Service based on a humane business model (when interests of users and developers are aligned), and what cannot be fixed due to inherent properties of Social Networking Services (then practices of moderation, abstinence should be promoted - as with smoking for example).

Here is my personal/practical analysis of the issues (extract from my original post here):

Background

  • Emergence of Social Networking Services (SNS) – unseen from human evolutionary perspective, persistent one-to-many communication tool – “everyone has a 24/7 village fair stage with audience now”.
  • Attention Based Business Model (ABBM) – business model based on capturing attention of users and selling part of it to advertisers. ABBM is used to develop and maintain all mainstream SNS.
  • Human need and tendency to minimize mental load.
  • Human need for connection/communication, belonging to a group.
  • Human need/propensity for social competition (for attention, prestige, status; “to be liked”, “to be not worse than”).

Issues and their causal pathways
Before you go through the issues, take a moment and think about 2 quotes from the former Facebook VP for growth, – “I feel tremendous guilt … The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works.”[2]; “My kids get no screen time whatsoever…” [3]

/Psychological issues/

  • Less happiness: ABBM >> enticing high engagement >> more notifications, more interesting “variably-delightful” feeds >> more short term pleasure >> dopamine resistance>> less long term happiness [6]
  • Increased envy: ABBM + social competition >> enticing high engagement >> uncompartmentalized “all or nothing” profiles + more competition >> no opportunity for asymmetric social competition, no opportunity to switch focus >> “best moments only” profiles >> more envy >> more “best moments only” posts >> envy spiral
  • Increased anxiety: ABBM + social competition >> … >> envy spiral >> feeling of inadequacy >> more anxiety
  • Increased loneliness: ABBM >> enticing high engagement >> less face-to-face interaction >> more loneliness; || ABBM + social competition >> …(see envy path)… >> “best moments only” profiles >> feeling of
    missing out >> increased perceived social isolation
  • Increased depression: ABBM + social competition >> … >> envy spiral +
    anxiety + loneliness + dopamine resistance >> more depression

/Other psychological issues/

  • Narrow and shallow view on personality: ABBM + social competition >> high engagement >> uncompartmentalized “all or nothing” profiles >> more focus on conspicuous consumption, “shallow” things
  • Unnatural distribution of communication time (a few post, most passively consume): ABBM >> enticing high engagement >> uncompartmentalized “all or nothing” profiles without easy to use layered privacy + enticing sharing mode “share-to-all or do-not-share-at-all” >> only a few people feel comfortable to share, most just consume

/Cognitive issues/

  • Decreased attention span = ABBM >> enticing high engagement >> more notifications + more interesting “variably-delightful” feeds >> dopamine resistance >> less ability to concentrate [6, 7]
  • Decreased motivation to do “boring stuff” = ABBM >> enticing high engagement >> more notifications + more interesting “variably-delightful” feeds >> dopamine resistance >> less motivation

/Privacy issues/

  • Leakage of private, personal personality information: ABBM + social competition>> enticing high engagement >> no easy to use gradiated privacy layers tools>> enticing sharing mode “share-to-all or do-not-share-at-all” + need to minimize mental load + need for connection/communication >> oversharing >> unintended leakage of personal/private information
  • Psychometric, manipulative advertisement: ABBM >> … >> unintended leakage of personal/private information >> manipulative advertisement

/Community and democracy related issues/

  • Echo chambers: ABBM >> enticing high engagement >> “do not upset users”>> show only stuff they agree with >> echo chambers >> bad democracy
  • Fake news: ABBM >> enticing high engagement >> no incentives to create tools to fight bots and trolls >> proliferation of bots and trolls + echo chambers + more engagement from sensational news + need to minimize mental load >> more fake news
  • Psychometric, manipulative advertisement in politics: ABBM >> … >> unintended leakage of personal/private information >> manipulative advertisement

Of course, different people are affected by SNSs differently, depending on conditions and personality traits. More about issues created by ABBM fueled SNSs you can read here: [4],[5], [6], [7].

What we can do

  • Recognize the issues
  • Recognize the root cause of the issues – ABBM (Attention Based Business
    Model)
  • Understand to what extent issues are driven by ABBM vs. human nature in
    the environment of SNS !This is the question of this post. If we have an answer to it we can better handle the below points!
  • Define goals
  • Create new business model to support human-centric SNS
  • Create and maintain human-centric SNS

Technologies, protocols and standards for a better future Web
Is it all about envy? – trying to flash out "the main beef", the root cause of issues that people have with Social Media
Books related to Humane Design?
Is it all about envy? – trying to flash out "the main beef", the root cause of issues that people have with Social Media
Technologies, protocols and standards for a better future Web
#2

Excellent post Bohdan. From the past discussions in this forum, seems it’s a mix of both the attention economy and human nature. Since human nature is an important part, many people in this forum have said if we make another social network that it should be unlike the current ones. Some people have even said that we shouldn’t make another social network, but something different that would replace it. Even if we change the business model, human nature will not change so that means surely changing the type of network altogether to facilitate better communication, fewer negatives and so on.

One thing that’s rarely discussed here are business models. In fact many kinds of social networks and other kinds of new projects have been already tried endless times and failed. These projects are hard to find because they’re very small and disappear. But it’s possible to search them out and not repeat previous mistakes. It is rarely the case that we actually need to build anything at all to see if something will work – almost always researching the issue thoroughly will provide the evidence of why these projects fail or are unable to make enough revenue to support sustainable development and growth.

I think the best bet to knock out Facebook would be a radical change in technology, which is why I’ve been trying to find new Technologies, protocols and standards for a better future Web that would decentralise apps and make them modular, and let people maintain all of their own data among other things.


#3

@Free thanks for reply.

One thing that’s rarely discussed here are business models.

I am proposing a new business model – the Self-Sovereign Identity Based Business Model (SSIBBM). On this business model Validbook is going to be built. More here - Validbook - a universal platform for cooperation.

SSIBBM in a nutshell: create money based on Self-Sovereign Identity, take part of that money to develop human-centric cooperation services.

SSIBBM logic:

  • Create service that will allow people to create SSIs
  • Create service that allows SSI to prove that it uniquely represents a human individual
  • 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 all Kudos, between SSIs that proved to uniquely represent human individual only - thus create huge continuous incentive for people to participate in Kudos distribution and support Kudos value. In this way
    solving common killer of “big ideas”: the chicken-egg problem.
  • Use part of the Kudos to support development and maintenance of the set of core global human-centric cooperation services, for example human-centric Social Networking Service.

I think the best bet to knock out Facebook would be a radical change in technology, which is why I’ve been trying to find new Technologies, protocols and standards for a better future Web that would decentralise apps and make them modular, and let people maintain all of their own data among other things.

I will have to disagree with this statement in a part. There is a confusion. The root cause of the issues is Attention Based Business Model, not the fact that Facebook is hosted on centralized servers. Wikipedia is served using conventional centralized technology, and it works perfectly. Centralization is a secondary issue. We have to look how to fix the root cause first, and then into decentralization, that can make service more reliable. Decentralizing Facebook, without redesign of its functionality, is not going to achieve much.

…the best bet to knock out Facebook would be a radical change in technology…

I agree with this part of a statement in a sense that we can use a new technology of Self-Sovereign Identity to create new business model, fix root cause of the issues >> create “better” social network.


Goals of Humane Design. Goals of Humane Design is to create products that:
#4

You’ve an interesting idea with Validbook, but it does sound much like another cryptocurrency hype very similar to so many others.

I especially like the idea of giving free money to every person on the planet every day. I see before that can happen, investors are supposed to give you a lot of money.

The part that doesn’t add up for me is, how can you give money to every person on the Earth, every single day?


#5

@Free thanks for comments and questions.

You’ve an interesting idea with Validbook, but it does sound much like another cryptocurrency hype very similar to so many others.

Let me prove that it is not, just a “cryptocurrency hype”. I will be very grateful if you can challenge Validbook idea (feel free to be as direct/blunt in your comments as you can, I’ve got a thick skin). In general, as I wrote in my origianl public email about Validbook - Validbook is not an ICO scam.

I especially like the idea of giving free money to every person on the planet every day.

Kudos are not “free” money. They are just money. Money of humans. Immediately after Kudos are issued, they are distributed to self-sovereign digital identities that proved to uniquely represent humans.
I understand, why Kudos sound like “free” money - your identity receives them in a sense for nothing, just for uniquely representing you as human, but to think about Kudos as about “free” money, is not correct on 2 levels:

  • On a philosophical/logical level. Kudos are not “free” money. They are just money, – our money, the money of humans. Kudos are produced by humans - 1 living human individual produces 1 KDS per day.
    To better illustrate this point. Think about US dollars. Are they “free” money? One can think that for Federal Reserve they are “free” money. In theory Federal Reserve can print as much USD as they want. In practice it is not true, the supply of dollars is limited as Federal Reserve have to account for inflation. The same is with Kudos, humans cannot produce as much Kudos as they want. Kudos supply is limited - 1 KDS per 1 human per 1 day.
  • On practical level. All daily production of Kudos is distributed among only those identities, that proved to uniquely represent humans. Your identity needs to do some work to start receiving Kudos - provide proofs, that it uniquely represents you as living human individual. So even from practical point of view KDS are not completely “free” money as you need to do work to start receiving them.
    Distribution of KDS only among identities that proved to uniquely represent humans is done in order to solve chicken-egg problem of starting Validbook, continuously support Kudos value, and to incentivise and reward people who wants to support Validbook.

…I see before that can happen, investors are supposed to give you a lot of money.

Thanks for showing suspicion publicly (I know this requires courage, not being afraid of conflict). 2 points here.

  • Investors do not give money to me, they give it to Validbook Foundation that is going to spend it mainly on salaries of developers. Developers who are going to build and maintain production version of Validbook obviously need to live and prosper (feel good about their lives, the quality of their lives). I have transparently described in “Proposal to Cooperate” the team structure, that needs to be assembled to develop minimal production version of Validbook and its cost.
    Of course, you have every right to be suspicious of the person/people who are in charge of Validbook Foundation as they can be corrupt, incompetent, abuse funds, or simply run away with money, etc. The answer to that is - A) we have legal system that protects at least from blatant cases of abuse, B) as I wrote earlier, Validbook is not ICO scam >> AKA trust me >> investors needs to balance risk vs reward and decide.
  • It is not “a lot of money” for such project. The 200K-1M range is a very reasonable amount (see cost structure in “Proposal to Cooperate”), taking into account the level of expertise and talent of people that needs to be attracted into the team and market opportunities that these people have.

The part that doesn’t add up for me is, how can you give money to every person on the Earth, every single day?

From logical and mathematical perspective see above. Additionally to that, I do not think that every human on earth will be interested to participate in initial/daily Kudos distribution (support of Validbook). It is hard to say how many people will participate in KDS distribution, as it will depend on many factors. This is a separate discussion.
From technical perspective, KDS distribution can be done using scaled blockchains - either blockchains with Level 2 add-on (like Lightning Network, Raiden etc.) or high performance blockchains based on proof of stake, sharding (OmniLedger, Ethereum Casper). Technically, it is quite challenging, but as Lightning Network, Raiden shown, it is possible, at least through L2 hub-spoke model.

@Free thanks again, for challenging Validbook idea. I encourage you and all to challenge it more. Probably the best place will be at this topic - Validbook - a universal platform for cooperation I am looking forward where that discussion might lead us, even if it leads to the debunking of Validbook idea.
Currently, I see the following arguments as the main threats to Validbook existence:

  • Arbitration. Will there be enough arbiters?
  • Arbitration. Will arbitration be reliable enough? Will SURLHI (Statements of Unique Representation of Living Human Individual) claims be acknowledged as valid/honest correctly? In other words, how many successful Sybil identities (identities with fake SURLHI) will be out there?
  • How Validbook Foundation is going to be funded long term? Is Business Model based on Self-Sovereign Identity sustainable?
  • Is it not re-centralization? Will Validbook Foundation have too much power? Will Validbook Foundation become corrupt eventually (see issues with UN, FIFA etc)?
  • Are Validbook services going to be substantially better than services already provided by the market (Facebook, Google)? Is human nature the real cause of psychological, cognitive and community issues with Social Networking Services and not attention based business model? And if yes, will Validbook Services implementation make any difference?
  • Will Validbook development be not urgent and agile enogh? As there are no life chaning incentives (not-for-profit model >> no life changing, get rich quick / “buy lambo” opportunities) for Validbook developers/maintainters, the development might be too slow paced (common issue with not-for-profit projects - Wikipedia, government projects)?
  • Are Validbook services and protocols going to be net positive for humanity? There might be unforeseen negative consequences of adopting Validbook and Kudos in the far future.

#6

Thanks for appreciating my questions and for addressing them.

The reason I mentioned investors “giving you a lot of money” was not to offend, rather I noticed your plans call for an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) of your own cryptocurrency. That raises suspicions because as a nonprofit you could just ask for donations. As the following article details, there are potentials for abuse of non-profit ICOs to benefit the founder personally. “We have documented from various [nonprofit] ICOs, there are many common ways for the founders to take part in the financial success of the ICOs.”

This forum (and the world) is full of many such “humane” cryptocurrency ICOs, and many people including myself believe they are probably scams.

I beleive that others in this forum are not addressing your Validbook ICO idea because they want to avoid having to write criticism. It’s impossible for me to address your Validbook ICO in humane tech terms without criticising it. I’m trying to restrain myself and to be polite, but in order for me to address your Validbook ICO idea I must directly question its obvious fragilities otherwise I wouldn’t be providing a very good response.

I myself support the idea of giving money to every human being based off of some identifier such as DNA (a pity for identical twins). But where would that money come from?

Your argument that your own currency has value because it is limited in supply doesn’t seem to add up to me. Firstly anyone can create their own currency and limit its supply, and this is true of all cryptocurrencies. Ah but you say your currency is linked to the number of people on the Earth. Well than anybody could at any time create their own new currencies linked to the number of people on Earth.

Your Validbook idea seems very very complex which makes it very difficult to address. I think that cryptocurrency ICOs use complexity and the resultant misunderstandings to their own advantage. Maybe your proposal is all on the level, but you have to overcome a tremendous amount of doubt related to your use of ICOs for a nonprofit. Also you’re proposing building a social network yet that seems unrelated.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t build it. But I think the idea needs much work. You’re really in an ideal time and place (with both the world’s best developers and also the world’s lowest cost of living in your country) to advance your project and I encourage you to continue to look for and test more appropriate solutions and a simpler proposition for the world problems you’re trying to solve.


#7

@Free

The reason I mentioned investors “giving you a lot of money” was not to offend…

No offence taken. As I wrote I am thankful for you making your suspicions public. It takes effort and courage.

as a nonprofit you could just ask for donations

In the long run, Validbook Foundation will require thousands of people in its staff. It is not sustainable to support such big operations via donations.

there are many common ways for the founders to take part in the financial success of the ICOs

I am very transparent about my (as founder of Validbook) incentives to build Validbook. For myself, I feel it as mostly intrinsic - “create something great”, but it is also extrinsic - great monetary incentive. I hope I will find investors that are motivated by the same combination/proportion of intrinsic and extrinsic incentives.

It’s impossible for me to address your Validbook ICO in humane tech terms without criticising it. I’m trying to restrain myself and to be polite.

Please, do criticise as direct/blunt as you can (as I wrote I have a thick skin). If you are able to debunk Validbook idea, it will not only serve common good purpose by saving money of potential investors, but it will be help me directly, as I will not continue spend time and my resources on futile idea.

But where would that money come from?

The algorithm/math of creating and distributing Kudos in a nutshell is following:

  • Kudos daily supply is 1 token per 1 living human (7.5B KDS/day in 2018; 11.3B KDS/day in 2118). See more about world human population estimation and Kudos distribution and price estimation here.
  • Distribute all Kudos, between Self-Sovereign Identities (SSIs) that proved to uniquely represent human individual only. For example, if at a given day in 2018 only 1000 identities proved that they uniquely represent humans, these identities receive at that day ~7.5 million KDS each.
  • Use part of the Kudos (10% from total KDS production ~37 Trillion KDS) to support development and maintenance of Validbook - the set of core global human-centric cooperation services, for example human-centric Social Networking Service.

Your argument that your own currency has value because it is limited in supply doesn’t seem to add up to me. Firstly anyone can create their own currency and limit its supply, and this is true of all cryptocurrencies. Ah but you say your currency is linked to the number of people on the Earth. Well than anybody could at any time create their own new currencies linked to the number of people on Earth.

Kudos, will be valued not only because their supply is limited, but also because of its network effect. This is true for any currency, either cryptocurrency or fiat. Anyone can fork Bitcoin, but this fork will not be valued as it will not have network effect (Bitcoin already exist). Hypothetically, anyone can proclaim a new country - “A New United States” and issue its currency “A New Dollar of US”, but it will not have the network effect (USA already exist and besides this USA goverment might have issue with you proclaiming The New USA).
Now the question is - why Validbook and Kudos will have network effect? Who will believe in Kudos at the very beginning or in other words - “how to solve chicken-egg problem?”. The answer to this is the way we distribute Kudos. The distribution is done only among those identities that proved to uniquely represent human individual only. 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 to support Validbook idea, and the health of Validbook community.

Well than anybody could at any time create their own new currencies linked to the number of people on Earth.

Yes, they can and they will probably do, but it will not have the network effect as Validbook will already exist.

Your Validbook idea seems very very complex which makes it very difficult to address.

It looks complex only at the first glance, but in essence it is very simple >>create money based on Self-Sovereign Identity >> distribute that money in a such way that makes them valuable >> take part of that money to develop human-centric cooperation services >> support human rights and optimize levels of cooperation in human society by making cooperation more transparent and reliable.

… you have to overcome a tremendous amount of doubt related to your use of ICOs for a nonprofit.

Yes, that’s why I ask you to challenge it as much as possible, in the hope that this will help me to alleviate these doubts, or equally important in the hope to refute Validbook idea to not spend more time and resources on it.

Also you’re proposing building a social network yet that seems unrelated.

The mission of Validbook is to improve cooperation and support human rights. To do this Validbook aims to create a set of core cooperation services, that are better than current services provided by the market or governments.
This set of core cooperation services includes: Identity Service (a service to create and manage Self-Sovereign* Identity), Statements Service (a service to create and sign digital documents - in a sense make possible self-sovereign ownership), Wallet Service (a service to have self-sovereign ownership over money), Communication Services (End-to-End encrypted communication services like - chat, email and social networking service.), Kudos (Money is a cooperation tool. Kudos, in themselves are beneficial – they can be used as global Internet money distributed in a fairer way than other cryptocurrency, support the cohesion of a global community of Self-Sovereign Identities of Humans by providing incentive to participate in this community and take care of its health).

Social Networking Service can be arguably viewed as the main tool of cooperation in the modern world (to very big extent that’s how the world knows, discovers us). Current mainstream, Social Networking Services built on Attention Based Business Model create many negative psychological, cognitive and community related issues. I think it is possible to create “better” social network. See more about issues and possible fixes, here. It is logical to include social networking service into the set of core cooperation services and focus on improving it.

*Self-Sovereign means - ultimately free. For example, Self-Sovereign Identity means that noone can delete it or sign documents under identity’s name except identity itself (the person who is represented by the identity) or its gurdians.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t build it…

Then please help me built it. As strange as it may sound, the most valuable help right now, is to critise this idea as hard as you can. Please, show me the reason why it cannot or should not be built.


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

One of the things I’ve read about self-sovereign identity is that people should hold their own identity on their own devices. No third party should hold the identity – so then then why Validbook? See the “10 principles” in the following article:

The Path to Self-Sovereign Identity

I have also read that blockchain is not appropriate for self-sovereign identity because it is a security risk to have id on a blockchain. Encrypting this information on the blockchain wouldn’t help because the receivers can’t decrypt it. It seems most articles are suggesting that people should store their own identities on their own devices and on their own backup system or clouds.

I think you’re trying to do too much and also over-planning. It makes sense to start smaller an focus on one manageable area. The biggest companies like Google and Facebook all started in one specific area, and had working products out pretty quickly. I would suggest the lean methodology of entrepreneurship.

I’m glad you’re in it for intrinsic reasons. But everything in balance. Think first of a safe income for yourself and not making big gambles. As with all such projects, your chances of success (of course) are very low. If you can possibly improve these odds so that they become favourable, then you can continue but need to change course. If this is a side project and not your main job, then that’s fine.

I’d also suggest you could be more results-focussed – what can you contribute more immediately to society? This is more important than chasing curiosities. I think that you have a tremendous amount to offer society. Your scope could be simplified to something more manageable, understandable and effective, and your ambition repurposed into working as part of a community or leading it working on that simplified scope.


#9

One of the things I’ve read about self-sovereign identity is that people should hold their own identity on their own devices. No third party should hold the identity – so then then why Validbook?

That’s not correct understanding. What we need to hold on our devices are the private keys that control our identities. Your sole ownership over these privates keys is what gives you ultimate control, self-sovereignty over your identity. Validbook has Validbook Identity service (one of the main cooperation services) that allows you to create and manage your identity in a human friendly way.

I have also read that blockchain is not appropriate for self-sovereign identity because it is a security risk to have id on a blockchain. Encrypting this information on the blockchain wouldn’t help because the receivers can’t decrypt it.

This is also not correct understanding in regards to managing identity and blockchain. What you do not want to store in blockchain is Personally Identifiable Information even in encrypted form as one day it might be decrypted. What you do want to store in blockchain is Identifier –

  • with pointers to services where you can find what this identifier represents
  • and linked to Identifier public keys that say what private keys control this identifier.

I will not go too deep into explaining technology behind Self-Sovereign Identity. I hope that the discussion of tech side will be done by this community, where standards required for Self-Sovereign Identity are developed. Here some tangent discussion.

I think you’re trying to do too much and also over-planning. It makes sense to start smaller an focus on one manageable area.

Some ideas require long term understanding from the very beginning. For example, Bitcoin could not have been created without foreseeing network effects in long term. Validbook is one of such ideas.

I would suggest the lean methodology of entrepreneurship.

We do this with Validbook development - agile development.

I’m glad you’re in it for intrinsic reasons.

Just to be clear - I am also in it for extrinsic reasons.

Think first of a safe income for yourself and not making big gambles.

Too boring) But do not worry I am not completely crazy. I was working on Validbook predecessors for 5+ years as a part time activity and for the last year as a full time job with company of a small team of devs.

I’d also suggest you could be more results-focussed – what can you contribute more immediately to society? This is more important than chasing curiosities.

Validbook is very result oriented project. Its alpha version is already built and you can check it and have understanding how production version is going to work. Validbook is not curiosity - I do not see existential weaknesses in its idea and logic. It can be built with relatively small resources.

Validbook is going to be a manifestation of global community of Self-Sovereign Identities of humans. It is a next step in the evolution of cooperation practices.

@Free thanks for your arguments and questions. Please, help me find existencial weaknesses of Validbook idea. Why it cannot or should not be built?


#10

Simply if I can’t understand it, then almost nobody else can either.

This is dangerous because that means anyone funding your Initial Coin Offering will not be knowing what they are investing in. They would be putting their money in a black box.

My belief is that every successful idea has to be easy to understand. Yet after reading many expert articles about self-sovereign identity, I found conflicting answers regarding many key points compared to the approach you’re taking. I think you have a product here that only you understand and if you want to make something open to the world it has to be simplified and communicated in a way that’s understandable to anyone and everyone. Otherwise we’re all in the dark and have no way to know if what you’re doing is any good or not.


#11

Ok, I understand that Validbook idea might look complex, when you look at it, from the very begining in too much detail and too deeply into technology.
Let me try to explain Validbook idea at the right level of abstraction. The idea, is actually, very simple. The technology that makes it possible is innovative and not trivial (high performace blockchain, secure management of cryptographic private keys, etc), but you do not need to understand technology to use and understand Validbook idea, just the same as you do not need to understand electronics to use TV.

Validbook idea on a high level:

  • create service that enables people to create and manage Self-Sovereign Identities that represent them as humans
  • create service that enables Self-Sovereign Identities to prove that they uniquely represent human individuals
  • create Kudos - tokens with daily supply 1 token per 1 living human per 1 day (for example, in 2018 total daily production would be 7.5B KDS/day)
  • distribute total daily production of Kudos only among Self-Sovereign Identities that proved to uniquely represent human individuals. This will create strong continuous incentive for people to participate in Kudos distribution and support Validbook right from the very beginning (solving common killer of “big ideas” – the chicken-egg problem). For example if at a given day there are 1000 Self-Sovereign Identities that proved to uniquely represent humans, then each of these Self-Sovereign Identities receive ~7.5M KDS.
  • give part of Kudos to Valibook Foundation to use for the development and support of human-centric Validbook Services (low-engaging non-addictive social networking service; end-to-end encrypted email service; digital signatures service, self-sovereign wallet, etc);
  • as end result improve cooperation within human society by making it more transparent and reliable; support human rights.

@Free please, let me know what points are not clear or make you doubt - need more clarifications. I will try to explain them as good as I can. I very much appreciate your arguments. Hopefully, this dialog will help others to understand Validbook idea also.


#12

If the identity is self-sovereign, then why would it need to be related to Validbook? I thought the idea of self-sovereign identity is that it’s independent, can be ported and is also kept by each user.

In that sense, I don’t see how self-sovereign identity is related to proving someone is a unique person. Someone could easily have multiple self-sovereign identities (this is notmal for self-sovereign ids) and there could be multiple use cases just like Validbook and it’s cryptocurrency.

With self-sovereign id is that there are many different validators and and it’s an open system where people can use their id anywhere. Validbook seems more like the Scandinavian id system in which private companies provide id. To me Validbook is different from self-sovereign identity because it seems like a private company (or government) providing id, and that seems to be in conflict with self-sovereign id. I know what you’re going to say that Validbook is not a validator itself but only helps people manage their self-soereign ids. But isn’t self-sovereign id supposed to be portable and also held on the users’ own devices rather than with a third party?

Also I see no connection whatsoever between self-sovereign id and cryptocurrency and social networks. I don’t need a real id to use a social network. Also self-sovereign ids do not represent individual humans (rather they represent the multiple ids and multiple characteristics of any person) so can not be used to distribute cryptocurrency evenly amongst the world population.


#13

If the identity is self-sovereign, then why would it need to be related to Validbook?

Validbook provides web service to create and manage your Self-Sovereign Identity. Also it provides Self-Sovereign Identity protocol based on DID specs. The idea is that software providers will coalese around this standard to create applications for people to manage their Self-Sovereign Identities on different devices.

The fact that you use Validbook service and standard to create and manage your SSI does not mean that it becomes not sovereign. It is still sovereign because only you have private keys to it.

In that sense, I don’t see how self-sovereign identity is related to proving someone is a unique person. Someone could easily have multiple self-sovereign identities…

Yes, humans, things and virtual entities can have as many identities in digital world as they want.
In order to distribute Kudos, we will have service that will enable humans to prove that some Self-Sovereign Identities uniquely represent them in digital world. They can still have as many other identities as they want, but they can have only one identity with claim that it uniquely represent them as human, therefore have a claim on their share of Kudos distribution.
If the uniqueness of this representation can be proved, then we can distribute Kudos of all humans to those who proved that their Self-Sovereign Identities uniquely represent them. By doing such distribution we create continuous incentive for people to participate in Kudos distribution, that will support Kudos value.

Someone could easily have multiple self-sovereign identities (this is notmal for self-sovereign ids) and there could be multiple use cases just like Validbook and it’s cryptocurrency.

Yes, there are various use cases, where SSI can be used in pseudonymously, anonymouslyor with real/legal name. Using SSI to prove uniqueness of representation of a human is only one of use cases.

I know what you’re going to say that Validbook is not a validator itself but only helps people manage their self-soereign ids. But isn’t self-sovereign id supposed to be portable and also held on the users’ own devices rather than with a third party?

That’s right, Validbook helps people to manage their SSIs by providing services and protocols. People, still retain control over their identities as the private keys that control these identities are always under the sole ownership of the people.

Also I see no connection whatsoever between self-sovereign id and cryptocurrency and social networks.

The connection is that by using Self-Sovereign Identities we can create new business model - Self-Sovereign Identity Based Business Model. By using Self-Sovereign Identities we can create cryptocurrency that can be distributed in a way that is more fair than distribution of the current currencies. Then we can take part of that currency and use it to create and maintain a set of core human-centric cooperation services - end-to-end encrypted, sovereign, low engaging, non-addictive. These cooperation services will optimize cooperation level in local and global communities, by making cooperation more transparent and reliable, as well as support human rights.
As current social network services fueled by attention based business model is the main cause of psychological, cognitive and democracy related issues , they are the first candidates to be improved and replaced with new generation, “better”, “humane” social network service.

I don’t need a real id to use a social network.

Validbook do not require your “real”/legal name for you to use it.

Also self-sovereign ids do not represent individual humans (rather they represent the multiple ids and multiple characteristics of any person) so can not be used to distribute cryptocurrency evenly amongst the world population.

On Validbook we have Validbook Identity service and Validbook Arbitration service. By using them, you can prove that one of the identities uniquely represents you as a living human individual.
Also, Kudos will not necessarily be distributed evenly among all world population, especially at the beginning. They will be distributed evenly among those humans who made effort to prove that some SSI uniquely represent them as humans, either because they want to receive Kudos or because they want to support maintenance of Validbook Services.

@Free as always, thank you for the question and arguments. Please, let me know where do you see weaknesses in Validbook idea. I will be glad to try to explain or explore them with you.


Sovereignty Enabling Technologies and Humane Design - two sides of the same coin
#15

Glad to be of help by making arguments. It doesn’t seem like I’m influencing you at all though, your model is unchanged and your mind seems fixed in defending Validbook at all costs rather than changing anything in response to the many critiques I’ve written. I think you’re trying to do too much at once and it would be better to stick with a minimum viable product in my opinion. Also there are three critical questions that I would like to ask again to get clearer answers please.

What about my question of portability? Your answer, “Validbook helps people to manage their SSIs by providing services and protocols,” doesn’t answer my question at all.

According to The Path to Self-Sovereign Identity:

“Portability. Information and services about identity must be transportable. Identities must not be held by a singular third-party entity, even if it’s a trusted entity that is expected to work in the best interest of the user… Transportable identities ensure that the user remains in control of his identity no matter what.”

Shouldn’t users hold their self-sovereign identities on their own devices rather than on your own Validbook central repository? I know you answered this same question but actually there was no argument or rationale given. It seems the article below contradicts your answer “What we need to hold on our devices are the private keys that control our identities” because you can see clearly in the following article they are saying to “store identity data” itself directly on user devices.

According to A gentle introduction to self-sovereign identity:

“Self-sovereign identity is the concept that people and businesses can store their own identity data on their own devices… without relying on a central repository of identity data.”

“You would have an app on a smartphone or computer, some sort of ‘identity wallet’ where identity data would be stored on… your device, maybe backed up on another device or on a personal backup solution, but crucially not stored in a central repository.”

I am including long quoted texts here (the maximum length allowed under copyright law) so please follow the links to the the original articles for additional details.

My third question is how do you intend to verify that each identity is a unique living person? This is the core of your entire organisation, but there seem to be no details. Can you give a specific example of how this would work, for example Drabiv brings his internal Ukrainian id card to the Kyiv city hall and they verify that he is a unique legal Ukrainian resident. That way we can see critically how the main part of your system works, and see what the flaws are and how people can cheat it. Thank you.


#16

Also there are three critical questions that I would like to ask again to get clearer answers please.

Let’s go through them!

What about my question of portability?

The key to understand portability in regards to identity is this, – “Information and services about identity must be transportable.” as you have correctly quoted from Christopher Allen’s 10 principles of Self-Sovereign Identity.
Portability, does not mean that you have too keep all information about your identity on your local devices. You can if you want to, but for convenience, it is better to keep different information about your identity locally and on different clouds. Some information, like your CV you can keep on LinkedIn in public access, some information like your government issued ID document you can keep on a secure cloud drive in an encrypted form. The key point is - in order to keep sovereignty over your identity, you have to keep private keys that controls it (used to create digital signatures that prove ownership over the identity) under your sole ownership (locally in encrypted form and in protected location). Also, the best practice is to publicize the existence of your identity and what keys control it on blockchain, because public blockchains are immutable (so noone can delete or update your identity’s keys except you). The DID spec provides the way to do it.

Shouldn’t users hold their self-sovereign identities on their own devices rather than on your own Validbook central repository?

Validbook does not have “central repository” for identities. Identifiers that tell us what identities exist are stored in blockchain, along with Public keys that tell us what private keys owns these identities. Information about identities may be stored locally or in a cloud, depends on the information. Private keys that control identities stored locally under the control of people that own the identities. Private keys are never seen by Validbook servers. They always stored locally in encrypted form.

My third question is how do you intend to verify that each identity is a unique living person?

This is the central question to the viability of Validbook and Kudos idea.

There can be many digital identities created and managed on Validbook. Not each of them will claim to uniquely represent a living human individual, but some identities will make such claim. This claim is called – “Statement of Unique Representation of Living Human Individual” or SURLHI for short. (BTW, all Validbook Statements are made and signed based on Verifiable Credentials spec.)

Now, how we will know which SURLHI claims are honest and which are not. After all one person can create many fake identities (aka Sybils) and make SURLHI claims for them, in order to receive Kudos for each identity.

To distinguish honest identities from Sybils we will use Validbook Arbitration Service. This service enables arbiters to estimate validity of SURLHI claim.
Alpha version of Validbook Arbitration Service
Core definitions related to SURLHI arbitration
Detailed description of SURLHI arbitration

SURLHI arbitration in a nutshell.

Identity makes SURLHI claim >> Identity provides proofs of validity of SURLHI claim: weak proofs - ownership over digital assets (social networks accounts, blog, phone number); strong proofs - endorsements from identity’s community >> randomly selected arbiter looks at provided proofs (most importantly analyzes - Endorsers Ego Graph) and if arbiter has no “reasonable doubts” makes decision to validate or invalidate SURLHI claim. If arbiter has “reasonable doubts” they send SURLHI back into the queue.

Now, the question - “Whether unique representation of living human individual can be established?” comes down to “Can we establish unique representation of living human individual based on the graph analysis of identity’s Endorsers Ego Graph?”

This is the core question. To represent the importance of Endorsers Graph the starting page of Validbook has on the background a dynamic graph made from 500.000 nodes and 10M links. (Try to zoom in and zoom out to see it - http://futurama1x.validbook.org/) It also symbolizes the global interlinked community of Self-Sovereign Identities that represent humans. To put it more eloquently, – “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I think, in practice, by analyzing Endorsers Ego Graph (Endorsers Ego Graph is Endorsers Graph viewed from the perspective of one “Ego” node) arbiters will be able to establish validity of SURLHI claim with high level of confidence (95-98%). This estimation based on the below assertions.

  • We can show arbiter the number of paths between identity and Giant Component that includes known valid and trustworthy identities - this will be the most important way to eliminate Sybil identities and Sybil communities as they will not have many connections to the Giant Component.
  • Arbiters will be able to see and explore shortest paths between identity in question and the known high trustworthy identities. For example, if identity claims to uniquely represent student in a University X. Arbiter will be able to search Ego Graph for shortest paths to the head of university. In real life honest identity will have a lot of short (1-3 hops) paths from student to the Head of university, for fake identity it will be very difficult to obtain these paths.
  • Graph analysis is natural, “evolutionary fun” activity for people so arbiters will have easy time to uncover false SURLHI claims.
  • On Facebook, people generally do not add unknown identities to their friends, this will be even more so when endorsing SURLHI as it is much more official.
  • Understanding that Sybil attacks can be beat in decentralized crowd-sourced way is based on the fact that Wikipedia exist. Maybe not the perfect analogy, but the fact that Wikipedia works (there is not so much fake information on Wikipedia, even on very controversial articles), gives me hope to think that Validbook will work also.
  • The level of proofs to have your SURLHI acknowledged as valid will be floating - depending on the level of Sybil attacks at different times and in different communities. The burden of proof to prove the validity of SURLHI claim is on identity that made SURLHI claim.

Arbitration practices will be constantly evolving and with time (10-100-1000 years - hard to say) SURLHI validity will be close to 100%.


#17

@Free I just realized I have not added a specific example based on my own identity as you suggested.

Here it is.

After I created identity on Validbook and created its SURLHI statement, I would make Statements of Ownership with evidences that prove my ownership over my social profiles. Most importantly Twitter - @drabiv, and also Facebook and LinkedIn. By proving ownership over these social profiles I would make possible for my community (people who know me either in real life or through Twitter, etc) to be sure that this Validbook Identity represents the Bohdan Andriyiv or Drabiv (whatever the name they know me under) that they know. After they become sure about my Validbook Identity they can endorse my SURLHI claim - basically saying “I vouch for the truthfulness of the SURLHI claim made by this identity. In other words - I know that this identity uniquely represent a living human individual. I have not endorsed another Validbook Identity that uniquely represents this human individual.”.
When I have enough SURLHI endorsements, my SURLHI will be arbitrated. An arbiter will be able to look at at my endorsers and at the endorsers of my endorsers and so on - in other words do the graph analysis of my Endorsers Graph and decide if he can trust my SURLHI claim. If he is “beyond reasonable doubt” convinced that my SURLHI claim is valid he will acknowladge it as “Valid”.

@Free please do question Validbook idea more!
It will help others to understand it better and it helps me to understand how to explain it better. Maybe you can help to find existancial weakness in Validbook idea - this might save a lot of time and resources for potential investors and me. Thanks again for the questions and arguments so far!


#18

Aha! Thank you for explaining your system. Therein lies the danger of relying on the internet and on social media in attempting to identify every unique person on earth.

Firstly, many people are not online or not online very much and we should respect that. Some people choose less or no internet by choice. Others are children who don’t even know how to write yet alone use the internet. Other people are adults but can not write are hospitalised and so on. Many people are too poor or just living away from civilisation and don’t have access to the internet. Also a key principle to humane technology is that if people want to be offline, we must respect their wishes to be offline and not hold back any opportunities from them.

Secondly, I think given humane tech we should never rely on social networks for anything. For example I do not use any social networks at all so I would not get my free money from your proposed scheme. You must also consider that you would be giving money only to people who have large number of social connections online. You would be leaving out everybody who is disenfranchised or that has few social connections – by choice or not by choice.

Thirdly, it seems the system would need to violate privacy because in order to validate social connections it would have to be reciprocal. Both parties would have to have their connections to each other permanently stored in your system or in another public place.

Fourthly, you would never be able to get this system started because of the network effect. That’s because you pretty much need to have much of an entire community of people signed up, and these people must also give you most of their social connections before you can validate anyone is a real person. As you propose to do this for the entire world, it would be impossible to start because you couldn’t give out any free money until you had say 1/3 of the world population in the system (and all of the social connections) which would be the minimum necessary to validate your users’ uniqueness.

My analysis, especially for the first two reasons, is that Validbook is impossible and also is not humane technology. I hope you find this review useful.


#19

attempting to identify every unique person on earth

Validbook is not meant to identify everyone on earth. With time (100-1000 years) it might become a way to find /contact practicly anyone on earth by using information people decided to make public. But it is not what Validbook is about, right now. Currently, it is about creating new business model (Self-Sovereign Identity Based Business Model) that will provide source of revenue to develop and maintain core cooperation services. Participation in validating SURLHI claims and subsequently in Kudos distribution is a voluntary activity.

Firstly, many people are not online or not online very much and we should respect that. Some people choose less or no internet by choice. Others are children who don’t even know how to write yet alone use the internet. Other people are adults but can not write are hospitalised and so on.

Not being able to use Internet (because of no access, being too young, illiterate, incapacitated, etc) will not prohibit you from participating in “SURLHI game”, completely. DID specification, allows you to have guardians. You can ask your guardian to create your identity, make SURLHI claim, get it endorsed by your community, etc. Regarding children, naturally, parents are their guardians and they will be able to create for their children Self-Sovereign Identities, make SURLHI claims and endorse them.

Many people are too poor or just living away from civilisation and don’t have access to the internet.

We have to provide them access to civilization and the Internet. In modern world it is an inalienable human right to have digital Self-Sovereign Identity that represents you as a human individual.

Also a key principle to humane technology is that if people want to be offline, we must respect their wishes to be offline and not hold back any opportunities from them.

I agree. If someone does not want to take part in SURLHI validation, or to take part in Kudos distribution, or to be part of Endorsers Graph, or to support Validbook in general, it is their right. They will still be able to use Validbook protocols and services under pseudonymous (unlinked) identities, if they want to.

Secondly, I think given humane tech we should never rely on social networks for anything.

Current social networking profiles will help to bootstrap Validbook. They will be used mostly at the beginning of Validbook existence (first ~2-10 years). With time Validbook identity will become a Base Identity for most of people, hence, besides endorsements from their community, no additional proofs, like ownership over other social profiles will be required.

For example I do not use any social networks at all so I would not get my free money from your proposed scheme.

You can still receive endorsements from your community. It is just that you will have to prove to a few of your first endorsers that such and such Validbook identity is the identity that represents you, either by meeting them in real life and showing them on screen what identity is yours, or by calling them or messaging and writing via text something only you and your first endorsers would know.

Kudos are not ‘free’ money. They are money of humans. You can decide to take part in the initial Kudos distribution or you can decide to not take part in it.

You must also consider that you would be giving money only to people who have large number of social connections online. You would be leaving out everybody who is disenfranchised or that has few social connections – by choice or not by choice.

This might become true in practice, at least at the beginning of Validbook existence. That’s why I called distribution of Kudos such that can be deemed fairer then distribution of traditional crypto- and fiat currencies. I do not call Kudos distribution absolutely fair process. Although, with time, it will become fairer and fairer.

Thirdly, it seems the system would need to violate privacy because in order to validate social connections it would have to be reciprocal. Both parties would have to have their connections to each other permanently stored in your system or in another public place.

This is partially correct. By participating in SURLHI validation you will make your community (people that trust your SURLHI claim and you trust their’s SURLHI claim) public. In practice, for most people, it will mean making public, the people that they have met, got acquainted with. Similar to what we see now with Facebook friending.
Important to note, that you can still not endorse SURLHI claims of people that you do not want to have on the first level of your Endorser’s Ego Graph.
The privacy and social implications of making community relations more transparent (making more clear/public “who knows who”) is a big and complex question, that deserves it own topic.
Privacy is ever changing thing - as technology changes, different sides of lives and information become more or less private. Here is a very good article about this - https://medium.com/the-ferenstein-wire/the-birth-and-death-of-privacy-3-000-years-of-history-in-50-images-614c26059e

Fourthly, you would never be able to get this system started because of the network effect.

Distribution of total daily Kudos production, only between SSIs that proved to uniquely represent human individual creates huge incentive for people to participate in it, right from the beginning. For example, if at a given day in 2018 only 1000 identities proved that they uniquely represent humans, these identities receive at that day ~7.5 million KDS each. There is a huge incentive to join this thousand and become 1001st identity.

Kudos distribution solves the common killer of “big ideas” - the chicken-egg problem.

it would be impossible to start because you couldn’t give out any free money until you had say 1/3 of the world population in the system

Theoretically, Kudos distribution can be started with 3 individuals or arguably even 1 individual. But in practice I think we will start Kudos distribution with about 10.000-1.000.000 valid SURLHIs.

My analysis, especially for the first two reasons, is that Validbook is impossible

Impossible is possible.

…and also is not humane technology. I hope you find this review useful.

@Free thank you for review. I do indeed this discussion very useful. It allows to explore weak points in Validbook idea, to discuss how they can be mitigated/solved, to understand how to better articulate and explain Validbook idea and its different aspects.

@Free could you please be more specific and explain more why do you think Validbook is not humane technology? Do you think this because of distribution of Kudos might be not fair enough, or because of the loss of privacy due to making community relations and people’s roles in them more transparent, or because of some other maybe long term impacts of Validbook?

I am not worried about the first two issues (fairness of Kudos distribution; public community relations), but I am a bit worried about long term unknown unknowns, - unforeseen, 2nd, 3rd, n’th order effects of Validbook and Sovereignty Enabling Technologies on human society.
As always with all technologies, they can be used for good or bad, (to be more precise for good for many or for good of some at the expense of many). It is possible, that adoption of Validbook and Kudos might have unpredictable negative consequences, or be used for bad purposes.
I understand this possibility exist, it needs to be explored independently and extensively. Often with new technologies (and Validbook, in a sense, is a new cooperation technology) they provide great opportunities and great dangers.

I think Validbook is inevitable. It is going to be built in one form or another. We need to be transparent and very conscious about all dangerous possibilities that it brings and put checks and a balances to mitigate them.


#20

Thank you for your detailed responses as well. I misunderstood – I thought that your goal was to have every human to sign up eventually, where actually your service is meant to be optional just for those who want it. In that sense it’s a bit like signing up for Facebook – that explains the similar name.

I wanted to just be clear that I don’t think Validbook is doing anything bad. I just meant that it doesn’t meet the humane tech principle of privacy. Once thing I really respect about the service is the fairer distribution of cryptocurrency – this is a dream to make the world a fairer place. But the negative, only those who are online and have a strong, publicly visible social network can get this cryptocurrency. It seems to create many new issues even as it attempts to help solve the problem of wealth distribution.

Can you imagine the new conflicts in such a system? People would have to make a choice between keeping their privacy and being offline vs being about to receive free cryptocurrency. Isn’t that a bit like Facebook where people trade their privacy for the use of free social networking? In some strange ways you’ve created a new type of attention-based model, where people will now be spending their attention validating each other’s and their children’s and their husband’s and their grandparent’s identities (“participating in SURLHI game”) and looking for schemes to cheat the Validbook system in order to get more free cryptocurrency. Even one person proving a few dozen social connections is hard work – and there would be the dilemma of violating the privacy of my closest friends, colleagues and family by exposing our social connection to the world. I would personally be upset if someone told Validbook and the world that they know me. You see the problem is that even people who are offline completely get sucked in to the system by other people adding them as connections. It’s all too similar to the Facebook and Linked In (“Forced In”?) user acquisition disasters.


#21

@Free

I just meant that it doesn’t meet the humane tech principle of privacy.

Validbook Services provide more privacy to its users than traditional services, for example from Google, Facebook. Because Identities on Validbook are based on public-private cryptographic key pairs it makes it natural and relatively easy to have end-to-end encryption on all data that is not shared publicly.
As Validbook is not based on attention based business model it has no incentive to aggregate user’s data and then based on this aggregation sell attention of its users to advertisers. Because no data aggregation happens, this means Validbook has no incentive to not allow data end-to-end encryption.

…only those who are online and have a strong, publicly visible social network can get this cryptocurrency

This is true at the beginning, with time as Arbitration Practises become better, people will not need particularly big social network to take part in Kudos initial distribution.

It seems to create many new issues even as it attempts to help solve the problem of wealth distribution.

Just to be clear, Kudos distribution is not meant to solve wealth inequality. There are not enough Kudos to fix this problem. That is another reason, why you should not think of Kudos as of a free money. They are not free money, they are just money which initial distribution is done directly to humans and not to banks or treasury as with traditional fiat money.
Kudos distribution is done in such way in order to support Kudos value, and then use part of Kudos to create core cooperation services that will make cooperation better (more transparent and reliable) and support human rights, among which are the right for Self-Sovereign Identity, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. This is the mission of Validbook, an end goal of Kudos distribution.

Can you imagine the new conflicts in such a system? People would have to make a choice between keeping their privacy and being offline vs being about to receive free cryptocurrency.

You have to be specific about what privacy you mean.
In order to be part of Endrosers Graph people will have to make public part of the people that they know and trust their SURLHI claim. You do not have to make public all people that you know.
For most people the large part of their social graph is public anyway (via LinkedIn, Facebook, to some extent Twitter). So in practice, Validbook will not change much in regards to exposing people’s communities - they are already public.

On a general note. I think to know how person is connected to other people is a natural thing. Once we all lived in villages and we all knew who knows who, how people connected between each other. Now because of the Internet we will have a Global Village - a global community, where everyone will know public connections between people.

Identity connected to community is important. It is more accountable as it has reputation risks before the community. More accountability is not necessarily a bad thing, more often then not it is a good thing and we need more of it especially on the current Internet.
Accountability is - important in high stakes situations (selling, buying, signing contracts). It is also important to combat fake news propagation, trolling.
Note, you will still be able to create anonymous identities if you want to discuss something sensitive and controversial on the Internet.

being about to receive free cryptocurrency.

Again Kudos are not free cryptocurrency. It is cryptocurrency that is produced in the amount of world human population, and distributed to the digital Self-Sovereign Identities that proved to uniquely represent humans. Such distribution meant to support Kudos adoption and Kudos value, it also supports the health of community who take part in Kudos distribution.

Important to understand, Validbook SURLHI Endorsers community will be interested not only in Kudos distribution per se but in support of Validbook services that make cooperation more transparent and reliable and support human rights for privacy and freedom.

Isn’t that a bit like Facebook where people trade their privacy for the use of free social networking?

Again you need to be more specific and strict. It is complicated issue. To be precise, on Facebook people trade their attention to freely use the service. There is no major privacy loss on Facebook. There are some situations like with Cambridge Analytica and some manipulations to entice people to over share to drive engagement - but to say that on Facebook people trade privacy for free service is not correct.

To contrast Facebook and Validbook Social service people:

  • on Validbook people will not have to trade their attention for free service!
  • on Validbook people will not be manipulated to over sharing
  • on Validbook people will have e2ee on data that is not shared publicly

In some strange ways you’ve created a new type of attention-based model, where people will now be spending their attention validating each other’s and their children’s and their husband’s and their grandparent’s identities.

You compare completely different levels of attention usage. To endorse someone identity will take a few seconds, similar to accept or send friend request on Facebook. It is short and rare activity.
This is incomparable to the attention abuse that Facebook is doing by creating addictive feeds and enticing envy spirals which cause people to spend 2+ hours per day on the service.

Even one person proving a few dozen social connections is hard work

It is not. It is a relatively small effort and in for it you receive self-sovereign identity that represents you as human, that allows you to cooperate more securely and share in Kudos distribution. Beside your personal gain, humanity receives set of core cooperation services that make cooperation more transparent and reliable (e2ee, digital signatures), built not on attention based business model, hence no manipulations.

there would be the dilemma of violating the privacy of my closest friends, colleagues and family by exposing our social connection to the world. I would personally be upset if someone told Validbook and the world that they know me.

You may decide to not include part of your community into your endorsers graph. You also do not specify the nature of connection.
Important to understand, connection become visible only when it is mutual. So if someone endorsers your SURLHI and you do not endorse it back, this connection does not appear on endorsers graph.

You see the problem is that even people who are offline completely get sucked in to the system by other people adding them as connections.

This is a consequence of living in communities. Human is a social creature. Even, the most solitary recluses were brought up and taught by their communities. Without denying ability for free will and individuality, to very large extent humans are defined by their communities. We all stand on shoulders of each other, part of a single planet-wide community. Validbook just makes this visible.

Validbook can be viewed as an Organization of United Humans. If we have Organization of United Nations, why can’t we have Oranization of United Humans? Sovereignty enabling technologies, allow people to cooperate directly, to be peer in relations with anyone. Validbook is a result and enabler of such cooperation.