Design Principles: Technological/Platform & Structural Aspects

Important Note: This page combines two legs of the Cosmos systems “tripod”: the economical and technological build-out. In the realm of economics, the contents here describe organizational and business strategy (or “how we’d deliver a value proposition”) and thus frequently imply the technological underpinnings to actually execute on said strategies.

For the parallel to this document in the community/social sphere, visit Design Principles: Community/Social Norms.

HOLISTIC SELF-AWARENESS/ECOSYSTEM MODELING.

“Cosmos” may be considered like a thin skin encompassing the autonomous initiatives of its members. The skin itself is comprised of shared values and ethics, shared motives (this is how we “keep our shape” and seem to be volitionally moving in a certain direction). Cosmos appreciates permeable membranes. It is not distinct nor distinguishable from its relationships: to its members, to its community, to its impacts, to its actions. Imagine Cosmos as an expressive meta-phenomena of its constituents’ interactions—like an “ecosystem” is a meta-being of its sub-systems, which are themselves autonomous and part of a whole.

If the soul of Cosmos is its members’ interactions, the skeletal and muscular structure underpinning those potentialities is the technological hardware and software. This constitutes the firm yet flexible “body.” We attain flexibility and elegance of the infrastructure through learning and iterating, honing the “body” to be optimally adaptive and structured to support its constituent members’ highly dynamic aims. For the system to be resilient, it should be complex and redundant—yet resources should be able to efficiently flow to where they are needed (for this, the system requires a robust internal “signaling” language, like stigmergy in ant colonies).

We treat the organization as an organism and establish various organismic-like models for working with the various channels and structures reflected in Cosmos’ “body.” Places where information densely collects are like nucleiu in a distributed neural net that progressively “makes sense” (and takes actions that “makes shape”) of itself and the world. Thus Cosmos’ operational controls (constitutional & playbook algorithms), which are to be transparent and affectable by all members, are like the collective “brain” of the membership “body,” representing what the body has learned about “what works” in bringing the self to greater fulfillment of its purpose.

Money (or more accurately, Litcoin) is like the blood pumping through the body. Members needs and offers are like proteins, minerals or nutrients circulating through the body. It is the platform/the AI and the organization’s jobs to integrate those primordially-soupy bits into a coherent, powerful unity. The algorithms are like valves controlling the relative balance of different accumulations of nutrients in different parts of the body. Of course, meta-intelligence is emergent, not linear. The goal is to metabolize intelligence avidly, and to emerge into ever more elegant interior metaphors/frameworks for what is real and what is possible. Like, in fact, the process towards a climax ecosystem.

For more, see Ecosystem Metaphor/Model.

SPONSORSHIP.

LitCoin and its broad functionality is key to enabling sponsorship behaviors. LitCoin (via rules like demurrage and circulation amplifiers) would be structured in such a way as to stimulate its use for sponsorship applications. E.g., Member A can use LC to pay for Member B’s access to a tool/service, for B’s membership (in part), as a tribute to B’s latest or future work (ala arts patronage), etc. LC being a gift currency means it must be gifted to have any value, thus incentivizing mutual sponsorship and gift-giving by design. Through the dashboard and other focused collective spaces (such as writing incubation zones), we would stoke and promote opportunities for linkage between members in sponsorship or mentor-apprenticeship modes.

AMPLIFICATION.

By providing a suite of services, Cosmos the platform strives to take raw potential and foster the forming and refining of it to have greater impacts in the world. Thus the suite of services is oriented around amplifying and growing the creative power available to any of our members.

By hosting generative conversations, and by being a laboratory/open canvas for applying compelling ideas, Cosmos fosters the emergence and promotion of our greatest thinking.

Furthermore, Cosmos would accommodate internal and external marketing functions: “pushing” our members’ needs and offers into other members’ “feeds,” and, through digital marketing methods and strategies, collectively marketing our members’ strongest works outward to the world. Cosmos may ultimately even act as an advocate or agent for its creatives, really promoting and driving up the value attributed to its members’ works.

LitCoin (see also: Sponsorship, above) is structured to be a means of amplification, as well. Like the mechanism of “upvoting/downvoting” on Reddit, LitCoin (as well as Cointribute) is an easy, casual way to empower the most compelling initiatives or products you encounter by registering a “vote with your dollar.”

REGENERATIVE.

Gamification of the platform enables users to observe and track where their energy is going and how it is feeding back into the system. Making a cash investment in any project on Cosmos, it is extremely clear where that dollar went and how it fed into greater value creation in the system.

Cointribute, as a coin tied to patronage and member equity, is a way of reflecting the retention and re-circulation of value created by interactions within the system. It thus expresses the principle of regenerative activity.

INTEGRATION & COLLABORATION.

There will be dedicated spaces in Cosmos for collaborative, productive activities. As well as space to bring together disparate threads with common themes into a synthesized view.

Cosmos utilizes its members’ capacities as much as possible in the resourcing of its ongoing ideation about its needs and how to meet them, AND its productive execution of those initiatives. Thus, Cosmos the institution seeks to integrate with its own membership base as effectively as possible, such that the institution is almost “invisible” while the seemingly autonomous generative activity of its members are what’s most evident.

Through its Dashboard and its AI-managed process of dynamically balancing its members’ needs and offers, the platform works to integrate its members into autonomous relationship, creating frequent opportunities for bolstering the weave of the social fabric of users on the platform. That is: AI will help automatically suggest connections and integrations between people, threads, spaces, topics, etc. This will facilitate opportunities for efficiencies to be gained, while retaining the freedom of members to choose to be redundant and multiple, insofar as it serves them.

Especially this takes the shape of Cosmos’ approach to partnering with people developing innovative technological applications that are resonant with strategies for fulfilling our mission and our values and principles. Cosmos approaches partners with respect, interest and a “how might we fruitfully combine?” attitude, wanting to discover, through dialogue, what the most optimal combination of resources and efforts could be. Thus could Cosmos’ platform be a patchwork combination of numerous other initiatives, enhancing all.

Cosmos as the platform for inclusive/open-framing, deep and robust conversations–and conversations that can, in a streamlined way, convert into action. There is an in-development framework that may serve as our data backend, being developed by Nate Savery, called Flexible Association Maker, which would enable people to come together to co-define meaning (and thus, structures and actions). This may effectively help us manage our ever-evolving metaphors and the changes to the shape/structure of our behaviors that result from revising our operating metaphors.

DIVERSIFYING.

Profound, deep affordances (technologically, and socially) to members to “customize gameplay” within Cosmos naturally leads to diversification/branching/forking of the ways and ends to which the platform is used. Wide creative freedom in how a user might apply Cosmos’ resources, components and capacities to craft a personalized, fulfilling experience. Such freedom generates novelty of behavior, action and form. Innovation is a process of diversifying and branching from what has gone before.

Opportunities for participation/engagement are marketed broadly AND specifically, on the basis of skills/interests/referrals to users. Work is distributed across users, thus helping prevent unconscious bias from influencing the shape of the development of the platform as a whole.

We provide spaces, a marketplace and a platform for users to “extend” their offerings (be it a personal artistic output or a vision for a collective utility within Cosmos) and also to “receive” information/adverts of others’ offerings through the channels and algorithms dictating what shows up on their dashboards and in their “feeds.” The algorithms guiding a user’s dashboard attention feed would be customizable. Participants will thus be diversely exposed to one another.

Furthermore, as a design principle, there would ALWAYS be a “surprise” or “chaos” factor that users can reduce but cannot eliminate, enabling cross-fertilization/discovery and “interruption/disruption” to whatever is normative to a given user. This is in recognition that visiting one’s “edge” (in a safe way) can stimulate growth.

EXPERIMENTATION.

See Praxis below.

Cosmos aligns with human-centered design practices, Agile methodology, and open source communities, all of which encourage some element of experimentation and iteration.

By allowing members to generate project proposals, lines of inquiry, etc. and then seeing how those concepts “thrive or fail” in the ecosystem of ideas, the platform invites users to experiment. Any “failed” experiments are probed for learning opportunities. (See also Praxis).

Indeed, through the platform, users can experiment in a variety of ways with how their attention is applied–with their personalized settings, their choices of activity, their social groups, and what their money goes to.

PRAXIS.

Praxis (or the intersection between thought and action) involves tweaking the metaphors from which action is motivated. We offer protocols/spaces/structures to enable open-ended meaning making (see also Flexible Association Maker (FAM), in which matrices of meaning can be built intuitively by users in a space).

We offer templated processes and places to input aspirations, which are used to foster effective, mindful and productive action of the user on the platform at all times.

E.g. Design-Prototype-Test-Launch processes for proposals in the arena of new platform services, tools or spaces. This enables members to participate in processes whereby they test the viability of their ideas against user actual needs. The generation of templates (see Playbook, and the Five Pillars) will be one may way we apply our knowledge into forms that can aid others’ initiatives.

RECIPROCITY.

Once the system is to the point that it is entirely self-managed by member activities: Trust is afforded within the system based on feedback loops of participation (manifest completion of a task) and quality rankings by those affected by the change. Trust can be accumulated and accords with different “levels” of reward and responsibility within the system. Responsibility: more critical job responsibilities (trust); Reward: higher pay rate, various benefits and perks, etc. All of this is achieved transparently (enhancing trust). There is a “ladder” that members can climb wherein little risks are taken by the user to see small returns on investment (benefits/perks within Cosmos), graduating up to bigger individual (and collective) risks and bigger rewards. The feedback loop between trust extended and trust rewarded will be kept tight to enable the reciprocity perceived by the user to feed growing channels of trust. Failing to reciprocate is disincentivized by loss of trust/down-ranking. For instance, say a person gains access to an exclusive test space on the agreement to provide a review of their experience. Failure to deliver the review might “downrank” their trust so as to disqualify them from accessing future such opportunities.

Imagine if each user interaction is auditable on a blockchain, thus enabling transparency and triggering the release or withholding of certain perks delivered by the system. That is to say, the system can measure all users’ interactions and use that in weighing factors affecting algorithms, access to certain activities/domains, and… potentially even LC exchange prices. This might, in turn, tie into Cosmos’ “leveling up” as a whole, even as its individual members are in various stages of their own “leveling up” (reaching toward their goals). How much trust and validation exists in the system as a whole at any given time? [See also: Gamification.]

As noted above in Regenerativity, Cointribute is a reflection of reciprocity between the platform and the users, in that users’ activity is measured as the value-creating means for generating profits (or surplus, which is returned to users in the form of patronage).

DYNAMIC BALANCING.

A complex lattice of checks and balances, formulas, algorithms (that can be dialed up or down by the user within critical constraints), etc. would be established to act as the effective “controls” on the whole of Cosmos. Progressively built. “Leveling up” as Cosmos would progressively involve (as a criteria to be met before crossing the next threshhold) increasing success in collective decision-making and implementation as a whole (I.e., proficiency and skill in “using” the platform of Cosmos collectively) which would reduce any control and power held, initially, by a leadership team, handing over that power by distributing it through the network. Similar to how a cooperative business development practitioner may assume more control over a co-op’s decisions at the earliest developmental stages, and then hand over control as competence and capacity is measurably demonstrated by the new co-op board and membership.

Individual “balance” is afforded by Dashboard controls. Small group control is afforded, via easily configurable components called Smart Contracts, to those who manage the group. Collective control is enabled by high-trust, distributed management. LitCoin is a means of expression for what we explicitly value, whereas other factors recognized and weighed in the system reflect concerns such as: degree of trust/integrity, risk, status/point in a process, etc. Participation is a critical input to the healthy functioning of the whole system. (In fact, it is necessitated: members must name their goals (which shapes their dashboard and other experience settings effectively), so participation with the platform begins there, and is cultivated (incentivized) progressively from there.)

The system would strive to dynamically balance its members needs with its members’ offerings—using LitCoin to fuel responsive activity. Cosmos tries to meet as many members’ needs as efficiently as possible in a few ways—suggesting member-to-member or member-to-group linkages, or linking member needs to member capacities to build out the infrastructure to serve people better (e.g. building a new feature that 40% of members share a need for, that Cosmos recognizes it can spend up to 5% of its LC reserves to fund, and 10% of members can help produce).

Another way of saying this:

The setting of intentions can occur at all scales, from the individual to the small group to the vast collective. The system coordinates and orients to “apply” its intrinsic resources and flows according to the intentions set, i.e. the intentions or aspirations are the guardrails set for what activity is supported. As is emphasized by the labeling of financial needs in terms of “enoughness,” the goal is for individuals to simultaneously push themselves with wholesome challenges that advance their abilities, and balance the attention and care given to each supportive intrinsic elements of their lives, balanced in tension against one another.