Why We Started Atomflow
Updated: Feb 16, 2020
We started Atomflow with the vision to change how business is done, how governance is done and how the economic aspects of our lives interact with the social and technological challenges. Atomflow is an intelligent AI-driven decentralised infrastructure that aims to efficiently decentralise businesses, socioeconomic and social activities, and governance. To provide a matrix which we control, that is fair, inclusive and built on our conscious decisions and actions.
P.S. "We" refers to Atom Zero and consequently to MentorLycon. This post was first published on the Atomflow Blog. Republished with permission.
The importance of blockchain technology cannot be overestimated. Not because of the surge of cryptocurrencies' speculative value, rather because of the notion of decentralised trust central to its architecture. The notion of decentralised trust existed prior to Bitcoin and decentralised decision making popularised by blockchain. In fact, the Byzantine Generals Problem on which decentralised trust was based has been thoroughly studied and formalised at least since 1978 by Robert Shostak. The problem, in plain terms, is to reach consensus amongst generals in the presence of bad actors who aim to betray the plan agreed upon and thwart it. Marshall Pease and Leslie Lamport later provided proofs that for consensus to be reached 3N + 1 actors are sufficient to reach Byzantine fault tolerance (BFT) in the presence of N bad actors. Well built blockchains are manifestations of Byzantine Generals Problem or Byzantine consensus.
The notion of decentralising trust escapes our conscious thought of trust going from one end to the other, from one person to the other, from one organisation to the other. Decentralised trust is more of a swarm of actions and interactions. Think of nature, for example, an ant colony working towards a common goal, a process in which an enormous number of individual ants trusting each other’s actions. A process in which all collaborate, communicate, investigate and actuate. However, such an ant colony is an idealised form of collaboration. There are ant colonies that compete with one another, colonies of one species competing against other colonies of different species. However, the balance between collaboration and inter- and intra-competition is sustained, nonetheless, not obvious at first glance unless one looks deeper.
Blockchains and mainstream distributed ledger technologies appear at odds with adhering to this immersive collaborative model. If one identifies a single feature that characterises incentives in blockchains, one would easily conclude they foster constant competition against all other players. This constant competition can be likened to an ant colony in which each ant stacks its own food, that is, a colony doomed to collapse or at least to morph into something else which is so distant from what an ant colony is.
AI-Driven Decentralised Autonomous Governance
It became clear to us that to decentralise business, social activities and governance, collaboration and competition must be sustained at productive levels. Otherwise, a decentralised system to attain the above goal would reduce to “each player to their own”; a degenerate system encompassing numerous selfish tiny subsystems or a very inefficient one at best. But what constitutes a productive level? Is there a productive level rational ratio? If there were an almighty power with a holistic view into all matters and it would lend us a hand into finding such a balance, that would certainly help. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how one sees the world, we do not have such assistance. What would help is to have a constantly and incrementally learning swarm of intelligent agents collaborating together to produce such productive rational ratios unaffected by our own biases. That is, in essence, a decentralised trustless AI model. Trustless in the sense that agents do not assume trust but they learn and have consensus on the event horizon when each navigates the same path in the system. Moreover, it means that we do not have to assume prior trust in one another to interact, rather we assume a guaranteed quantum trust that is either there on the path two or more players take or not there at all. In other words, we assume rational trust based on past and future actions, not based on intentions, reputation or a central authority.
AI Business Infrastructure
However, all of the above is well and good but without the means to implement, execute and operate business logic in such a decentralised environment in an efficient and scalable manner, then it will not go further. It became clear to us that we needed to build an efficient AI decentralisation machine. That is, an infrastructure based on AI to decentralise “things”. If this machine is programmed to enforce a specific paradigm of doing things, it is bound to fail. The history of technology proves that either small and very specialised tools or holistic general-purpose systems which enable their users to attain their own goals in the most efficient ways possible survive and thrive. Unix and the Internet itself come to mind as evidence. Nonetheless, this infrastructure must be easy to use and enable full automation of complex tasks. This is the unique idea that summarises the major difference between Atomflow and other blockchain and DLTs.
Why Build Atomflow?
But why are we really building Atomflow? Delving deeper into what we have been talking about so far, one finds that all of our constructs intersect at many points within the social and economic structures of societies in which we live.
Commissioned by the UN Secretary General, a group of scientists and economists under the name of Group of Independent Scientists authored a new report draft to be incorporated into the UN Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 with their lead author being Paavo Järvensivu. Their conclusion is simple yet impactful: capitalism as we know it is in a phase of imminent demise. This is in acute contradiction with how the world is run today and with incremental changes based on limitless growth presupposed in the economic models we currently rely on. Quoting the report “It can be safely said that no widely applicable economic models have been developed specifically for the upcoming era.”
The interplay of energy production and consumption, rising inequality, rising debt levels, slowing economic growth, rising AI, robotics and automation and ineffective governance models pose a risk to our very existence.
The portion of human labour employed into agriculture, for example, has been in decline through the centuries.
Number of declining professions is also on the rise. You could consult Occupations with Largest Job Declines by the US Bureau of Labour Statistics to confirm.
How many jobs would AI and automation wipe out? Technology is an incremental business but once it hits a threshold it causes major disruption. Is AI bad? It depends! Taken as a rival, most probably it is, nonetheless, inevitable. Taken as an ally or an agent that works for us, it is an agent for good.
Social movements and calls for basic social income in different parts of the world as well as reducing monthly man-hours are not groundless. Possibly, we reached a point where human labour is abundant and our expectations of living standards are increasingly higher. But then how should we be incorporated into the socioeconomic process if we do not contribute to it in the traditional model? The answer is probably we will not be. We become marginalised. Quizzically, business owners would not give people on the street salaries for simply passing by a company’s headquarters on a Monday.
It turns out that we need in some way to capture the interactions amongst economic, social, technological and ecological aspects if we are to change our future for a better and more holistic outcome.
We are building Atomflow to incorporate people and business into the socioeconomic process by decentralising business, social and governance environments and the models themselves and not least by enabling different stakeholders to be part of this global infrastructure. In doing so, stakeholders generate revenue and income through enabling real-world economic activities and collaboration. We aim to make doing business easier, more inclusive, collaborative and sustainable. At the same time, we aim for financial inclusion and to enable building economies of the future.
We are building Atomflow to make a general-purpose sustainable environment for business and social activities that is efficient, effective and scalable. Associated with this environment and AI infrastructure, a self-regulating financial system that reflects real-world value and provides the means by which it grows and be sustained.
Authored by Kareem Alkaseer. Edited by Dr. Henry Wild.