The blockchain seems magical: a system that can verify itself. Distributed trust.
Any problem we have today with high transaction costs to bridge it is easy to imagine bridging the gap with some kind of proof of stake, or work, or reference technology.
This in many ways is the ultimate continuation of the “control revolution”: creating a money that is not a token so much as a network. Something that knows about itself at all times, allowing transparency of a level never before possible. Truly cybernetic society with feedback loops abounding. Imagine a future built environment more like a forest than a static city: where the environment knows how to grow and adapt to what we need.
Yet this world will not simply happen. And it will not allow us to just escape from existing theoretical and historical realities. We are in complex times and complexity is path dependent. We search the fitness landscape from where we are not where we wish we were - unless we take a random shot at mutation.
As we have seen as the internet has matured, promises of utopia are merely waiting for the other shoe to drop. We live in a Topia, the jungle of reality. Both Dys- and U- versions of topia miss the mark on the full truth, yet they do help us shape our trajectory.
We will have to be on guard for both opportunities and downsides as we navigate the future. Through history we have learned that once systems are in place it is difficult to uproot them. Even new shiny systems emerge from the old.
It's important to ask when trying to use technology for "good" what is it that we mean?
There is much to consider as we turn the internet into the cyberspace of fiction.
A nose for guiding theories and scientific investigation of base principles will be required. I was fortunate to study at Georgetown's Communication Culture & Technology MA program where I explored standards setting, new economic theory and the limits of the calculable, social network analysis and the evolution of technology, among lots of other amazing trans-disciplinary pursuits.
As our understanding grows we see how to avoid the lazy monopoly scenarios - after all simple experiments show us that inequality is a natural emergent behavior of any economy with unequal starting points. Indeed power laws abound in many areas of our world...
Figures from "The Origin of Wealth" by Beinhocker