Blockchain Workshop #1 Governance by Design
Abstract: “New kinds of governance are emerging from the convergence of state actors and information and communication technologies. New institutions are emerging from big data and algorithms. This has significant implications for questions of security, law and citizenship, as states partner with or in some cases are even replaced by network platforms. Today, Google might determine your citizenship; Facebook your credit worthiness; Twitter the likelihood that you are a terrorist, and so on. The processes involved in making these very significant decisions are rarely transparent and the technologies used to do so tend to be consolidated in the hands of powerful commercial actors.
In light of this, the blockchain seems to offer forms of governance beyond the state or the market, supporting decentralised forms of consensus, trust and decision-making as well as shared ownership of knowledge infrastructures. If the removal of the state sounds too extreme, the blockchain can also operate with a partner state, acting as a tool to encourage transparency and accountability on the part of an elected government.
This talk looks at the positive implications of distributed databases such as the blockchain for governance, but also considers what it means to govern through technical infrastructure. On the one hand the blockchain is a radical technology that offers the possibility of a persistent state for the Internet and consensus outside of human error or individual accountability.