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Identity 2.0: Truth and verifiability in the age of the Internet? | Fabian Vogelsteller | The Dev is in the Details #4

March 6, 2024

 In today’s episode:

  • Identity paradigms: the evolving concept of identity in the digital age and its implications for trust and authenticity.
  • Blockchain and decentralized identity: how blockchain technology is revolutionizing identity management and enabling new forms of verifiability.
  • Challenges of information verification: the vast ocean of data on the internet and the role of decentralized systems in addressing these issues.
  • Ethical considerations: identity verification and the importance of privacy and consent in digital interactions.
  • Future prospects: the future of identity technologies and their potential to reshape our perception.

​​Fabian: We kind of have this concept of an identity needs to be confirmed by someone and that, mostly the someone is then an authority. 

A society can only evolve in a truthful and organic way if it has the freedom to choose, but if your freedom of choice is restricted by the fear of repercussion…

 we should be able to create our own identities or profiles or whatever accounts, and then….

Lukasz: Welcome to the Deaf is in the Details podcast. Today we have a very special guest, Fabian Vogelsteller, who is the Ethereum developer known for creating the missed browser, Web3.js, the most commonly used Web3 library, the ERC20 standard which allowed creation of other tokens on Ethereum network. But he also co-authored a book on Meteor.js, created for Indura, a flat file CMS system. Currently founded a new company called Lukso.
Fabian, welcome to the show.

​​Fabian: Hello

Lukasz: It's a pleasure to have you here. I would like to discuss with you today this idea that, in a modern world where AI became so common we're already experiencing some situations where proving the truth of the content is challenging. Have you seen any of the content which someone posts online pretending to be someone else? Famous politicians and what not speaking in words that we wouldn't like to hear from them?

​​Fabian: I mean, yeah, I mean I have seen this. I mean we are moving towards the internet age of AI and things can be changed and altered. There are still ways to kind of see it. Yeah, I mean, I think what we need is digital signatures on the things that we create, so then you don't have this problem anymore. You can clearly say, okay, this came from this source or that source.

That would be definitely way more of a problem very soon.

Lukasz: Who would be issuing these, the digital signatures?

​​Fabian: Signatures always have to come from the person who's signing. We kind of have this concept of an identity needs to be confirmed by someone. That mostly is someone that is an authority. So we think about our government has to do it, or some other trusted institution. The federal post gives you the passport in the US and that's not even federal. Federal is just the company name, funny enough. I think this actually should go the other way around. We should be able to create our own identities or profiles or whatever accounts and then, from that on, we can create all kinds of system of how we want to verify them, of how we want to confirm them as either a real person or a person that's important. And I would also say, not everything has to be backtrackable to a human necessarily.

Lukasz: EU currently, every individual country in the EU is trying to build their own identity system for their citizens. This obviously comes from the top, from their ministry of IT services, or whatever else they're called, in different countries. Poland has one, I believe Estonia started this trend. I believe Germany is developing one right now, but this comes with a certain degree of trust. Citizens of that country, citizens of Germany, would receive a possibility of installing an app which gets verified by authorities and then, whatever they do let's say bank transaction or whenever they travel or anything else the German government is having their back, so to say. Right, because this is the verified identity. It's probably also harder to forge because there is some sort of central authority that controls that. Would you say this is the right route, or would you say there are challenges with this in any way?

​​Fabian: I mean the idea to create a digital ID is there since a long time. I mean, this is not a novel idea. I mean even your current passport in Germany has a digital signature or has the ability to digitally sign. There's an NFC chip in there that can digitally sign and then you can use NFC to issue these signatures. The biggest problem is actually we can digitally sign with these passports. Technically on any computer we could do that with the right software.

The problem is always what's the ledger or what's the registry where this identity kind of is confirmed or sits, and I call this the root identity problem. So where do you go look to find something about someone? What's the entry point? And there's actually a lot of developments that happened over the past. And one, if you look into the identity space the ID document, identification document, and this is basically the idea of that you use a lot of keys that sign each other. You sign a certain document structure that then has other keys and you basically have this kind of certification chain that you create.

But even that system has a problem that there's no clear one spot where you go look, and that's actually the reason why no identity system so far has been really successful. And when it comes to governments, you know, rightfully so people are critical and skeptical. 

Because now you know they can basically, technically if they could hold the database and they want to, I don't know annouce you as a citizen non grata. They can just remove you from the database or put some flags on it and suddenly your background cloud is inaccessible or, you know, you can't get a registration here or there anymore, and I think this is rightfully so. The fear, you know, of centralized systems. Then obviously data information all of these things, identity system in some way solve a part. They don't necessarily right now solve privacy, especially when they're based on chain, but they solve the self sovereignty, the fact that you control this identity, that no one can take it away, and then it's in your hands to do whatever you want to do with it.

Lukasz: It sounds very much to my liking, but in practical terms, I currently have my digital ID called mObywatel. It's a Polish issued ID and because, as you just described, polish Ministry of IT is owning the profile technically not me, right? They issued it for me and it's my ID and, yes, they could cancel it for me anytime, although I think that that is like there's a big question. Why would anyone do this? Because it would put the entire system in doubt, right? Everyone would start doubting it. It would lose trust.

​​Fabian: I mean everybody already has it, then there's no way back, right?

Lukasz: True, yes, that's an interesting idea, but even like nowadays, let's you know, this is a song of the future. But, focusing for now, when I go to Berlin, I cannot use it because when German police would stop me, they would still require from me an actual, plastic, real ID, because that's what they know. They have no means of verifying that the virtual one that I'm showing to them is actually real, because there's no, no collaboration, no tools, no frameworks, no standards or even legislation across EU, or just Poland and Germany as a bilateral agreement, how they can verify that I am who I say I am - based on some screen of an iPhone, right? How would that be sorted like at this level?

​​Fabian: I mean, first off, I'm not an identity expert by any means, although I invented a system that you could call a blockchain based identity system and I have been, you know, at one conference of the Web of Trust people, so I don't know a bit about the idea and so on. The way I see it is, actually you can obviously verify with digital signatures the reason why this doesn't work, because obviously this policeman doesn't have the right software to verify it. Why we have no digital identity? I mean it's good so far because, again, if that would be built the wrong way or in the control of the wrong people, that can be quite bad.

On the other hand, I differentiate in two different identity systems. I call the soft identity and the hard identity. The hard identity is what everybody tried to solve these last few decades, you know, and that's the idea of having a passport, having medical data, having like important personal information somehow linked to some digital identity system. And not only is it the hard identity problem because it's more kind of, like you know, difficult, more important for you, you know, in terms of safety and whatnot, but it's also the other one to convince people to adopt a new system, putting all the information here, relying that that system will be their access control for you know, your insurance, or for the doctor, or for you know I don't know government agencies and whatnot. Honestly, I think this is the tougher approach because, again, we don't have perfect decentralized systems yet tested out in grand scale and we should have a central system to do that. My opinion.

But there's the other thing called soft identity, and the soft identity is basically what you have in the internet, right, your YouTube account, your Instagram account, all these identities that you are online. I mean like a profile picture of a Mickey mouse or be it like actually you as a person on Instagram doesn't even matter. They are the identities, profiles that you create, that you use in the internet. And they're soft because you do use them for play, right? You just post whatever you like and you show pictures here and there, or you become a pod podcaster or you do whatever you want, and that might be more hard or more important down the road, but you know, for some time it's just like fun and play.

There's a lot more experimentation possible here. We can play around and see what kind of cool new account system can work. So far we still don't have any that's widely adopted. In fact, what you have in the internet, the accounts that you have in the internet, they are not really accounts. In an like that, you could compare to an identity system, because you only have access to certain websites and you use your email as an identifier and you use a whatever password, but the person who provides the website is the one who, ultimately, has control over your account, right? They can just close it, they can alter data as they wish. None of these accounts in the internet are yours by any means.

Lukasz: I mean it's all in terms of conditions.

​​Fabian: So none of that is something that you take with you. When you leave the platform, right, you just close it and create a new one somewhere else. Not only is this very inconvenient in terms of user experience, because you know need to invent a new password - email combination every single time you go to new platform but also nothing on these platforms is actually yours. That's kind of solved with blockchain technology in some degree, because it gives you this ability to control something that you know, if you have the right access control systems around and right towards around is truly just yours if you want it to be.

Lukasz: If you consider that there's a lot of social media experiences where you pay for them and there is a best interest of that organization of the company. Let's take YouTube that you have mentioned. You have premium account where you can do better things as a creator, but also better things as a consumer. Would you not say that this is kind of against them to damage your reputation and damage their reputation in turn as well, as a result of that feel around with your account?

​​Fabian: Yeah, the problem that we're facing right now in the world is, I mean, as long as you just believe in the standard narrative of what's happening in the world and as long as you're not being very questioning about what you're being told, as long as you're not running swimming against the stream, you're fine, right? Nobody will care whatever you do or not do, because you're following along. But the moment you do something that maybe you know, I mean we want to have a free society, ideally right? We want to have a society where this can evolve towards truth and towards a healthy society and not just towards some whatever story mix match that media feeds us and that leads to potentially World War III, as we are currently actually facing almost. So, the moment you actually have a more dissident voice towards whatever is the current narrative, then you very quickly learn you know how much is your account or not. I mean, in fact, youtubers are blocked and banned, not for even political reasons, they're banned for all kinds of random stuff.

In fact, you make a living off this. If you're a really strong YouTuber, they cut you out. That's cutting your living. This is literally like you could say, as like an employer fires this employee who is there since 50 years and technically has like two years of termination period and then he gets like off the next stage just because there was never any clear. I mean, there's nobody who prevents that right.

Lukasz: So ultimately, you're saying this is a protection against cancel culture.

​​Fabian: Censorship and cancel culture. It's actually the only way a society can only evolve in a truthful and organic way if it has the freedom to choose, but if your freedom of choice is restricted by the fear of repercussion of what you're saying, what you're doing… I mean I grew up in the GDR, you know. I mean I was on six when the war came down, so it's not that I was so impacted by the Stazi or anything else, but my parents and others lived in a society where they had to be more careful. You know, what they said, when they were political, saying things, and you know everything was, like you know, nice and fluffy as long as you didn't complain. The moment you complain, and the moment you'd complain too much, you might have ended up in a jail or being tortured or being observed and whatnot, right?

Lukasz: I can totally relate, and I think as a person who also comes from an ex-communist state. But and I think nowadays we also see, you know, there are other countries in the world where or I guess, organizations, but especially countries where you see that happening live and we kind of feel morally superior, like we have a moral high ground, right, because we have freedom, some democracy. You put a lot of emphasis and trust on people, freedom and choice and all of that. But if we, for a second, agree that there is no some hidden agenda, right, let's say I don't believe in any of that.

What if there is an AI that impedes us? And I don't mean AI as its own consciousness, but I mean as a set of tooling, because your trust in people having freedom means that they're extremely self aware and willing to do what they're already not doing in a much easier world without the AI tools, which are highly specialized to fake reality. And this is still before VR becoming mainstream, right? Or even pluggable like Neuralink from Elon Musk, right, and a couple of years where it's going to be harder and harder to even distinguish what you feel and taste and see and smell, because that thing will be feeding you potentially this information to your liking, right, it's going to be pleasant and nice and fluffy, as you said. How do you jump from that assumption that society I agree society deserves to know, deserves the freedom. But how do you get from there to knowing that they will get there, instead of going the easier path right, the impeded path by AI and different tooling?

​​Fabian: So it's suggesting basically people are maybe not as smart to make the right choices, so they need to be guided in ways. That kind of the idea?

Lukasz: Potentially, but the problem of guiding to start with is that it immediately represents someone else's opinion, right?

​​Fabian: Exactly. I mean, that's pretty much, I guess, what the World Economic Forum type of people think. If we want to just go back into our history, we would have to go to the Greeks and why they invented democracy and all these ideas of actually people have self-sorrenty and human rights and they should be able to decide. I mean, we can repeat this, but honestly, I personally have a more spiritual approach to this. I do believe we inherently all have a direct connection to the truth energy. We can truly know instinctively what is right or wrong. We are being confused, right and not everybody has a really good tap to his gut brain, so they are not very that connected and be able to decide for what feels right or what feels wrong. But when you then move over to collective, over a large population, and if you would really be able to know what is their opinion at a given time, I assume and I think very likely we would have the more right choice or the choice that is more likely to be aligned with the truth energy. Why I believe this? Because I believe we have all this indirect connection.

What is preventing this happening is number one: we don't have transparency. If you make a poll right, these polls are completely unrealistic. They're calling up people, right? Mostly, whoever answers these polls are people who have time, so not the makers, right? Some of the takers. The second: they're probably also very happy that they finally get attention. So it's the grandma, you know, that goes to her phone and it's maybe like the guy that always wants to give his opinion anyway on everything. So you get a certain type of people that now answer whatever political party they favor right now or not.

So one thing that I see is problematic is that we can't really know what people currently think, and the other thing is that the information that we have available is not very trustable. Especially when you look over the last few years we have basically big media corporations that fed everybody pretty much in line information when it came to global event, right? Sure, you know, if you watch television, you have party A saying something, party B. There's differences, but when it came to global events, for whatever reason, they all had the same conclusions pretty quickly on whatever cause of the event, whoever is the guilty one and whatever needs to be done. When you start to look into the background you realize, okay, this is actually not really truly the case and you're being pretty much, you know, lied at over lots of things. And this is now becoming because the internet is there and you had, you know, all these social media platforms, YouTube, whatnot.

They were way more free in the past. You could find all kinds of content. So if you dig long enough, you find a lot of things that you know make you question more what's being fed as the narrative, and now you can see this again. You know, on an X, which you know chooses purposefully not to censor, that there's a lot of more information coming up. Yes, you can't know what's right or wrong, but you see there's a lot of more diverse opinions on certain issues. Then you were made to believe all your years before. So I truly believe that if there is, if you would have total transparency or total the total ability to know really what is going on right now, and have a bit of a broader picture of a certain event, for example, certain things, and you have the ability that people can truly voice their opinion or maybe life vote globally or whatever, we would have a very different world, very quickly.

Lukasz: I guess it boils down to the fact that once you stay in certain community, you tend to bubble into it, in the sense that you're going to be fed information which just follows your narrative, right?

I mean, we've seen this with election campaigns across different democracies in the past 10 years, I would say. But with that in mind, I think there's initiatives of private entrepreneurs, like there's a website [AllSides] where they give you information and they give you links to all possible sites, from very left through the entire center to the very right, and they described every source, they give them point systems and then you can read this through. And even they use I guess they use AI to tag information inside to say okay, this mentioned in this event that there was that kind of victim and this mentioned that there was this kind of person causing it just to reframe the conversation and the reader has a chance of making up their own mind on the narrative from various different sources on the same event. And sometimes it's really, it's really funny because they show that very radical ones on either side do not even mention certain events, right? So some catastrophe or something.

​​Fabian: Oh, absolutely filtering. That's really how you prevent, like, people knowing things right. I just want to mention something to this. This displays into the idea of how we can make information and more truthful information to surface. It's not to say there is one true, and somebody has to figure it out and now tell everyone, right, but there's one figures out what's right and wrong and tells us all of this stuff. It's about allowing people to show and see there is diversity and then they can use their gut brain to figure out what they think is more true or which aspects they want to. They have to be able to pick their own worldview together.

But we have been basically trained, by the way of how articles are written, that there is this kind of like consensus, this imaginary consensus. So when you read an article, right, they use words like government or regime, right, they're already informing you of who's the good and who's the bad guy very clearly just the way they're writing it. But then also they write in such a language that it's always sounds like it's objective. It has been pretty much checked by a lot of people and they came to the conclusion that this is what's happening. That's the lie. They actually don't know, they're probably not even in front of the event or even close to the event.

They're just spinning up a narrative that fits their own belief system and I think if people learn more than that, it's just belief systems and different kind of perspectives in reality, and nobody has figured it out. Neither does the consensus exist in any large events mostly confusion in the beginning for quite a while. Then we can actually have more systems that let information surface and we need better verifiability and maybe systems show you okay, there are different opinions. If I can see there's different opinions, I already see - okay, there's no consensus. And now I need to stitch a bit more myself together the picture and this gives you, like, the ability to understand that the world is actually not black and white, but it's more like gray, and you will better understand whatever is going on, whoever the difference interests, over time, rather than having one version of the story.

Lukasz: Absolutely, man. But to be honest with you, it was always down like that, wasn't it? Like, if you look back to a thousand years, like going back to ancient Greeks, when you had the storytellers, they were doing that too, right? The narrative, and I think it's human nature at the end. In every single one of us, and hence I would challenge whether this is solvable, right, that's such a problem.

​​Fabian: I think it is solvable. Then everything is storytelling. You're correct, but it's easy to tell a cowboy story of the good and the bad and we are the good and there's the bad or show there's different kind of narratives that led to a certain event and everybody has their own perspective and probably their own right right side in the story. How can we solve this the best for everyone? Rather than trying to create enemies that need to be somehow attacked. If you look at our current politics of the last 50 years, it has been always very simple there's one bad guy that's crazy, and then there's good guys. We need to figure out how we save the world. That's not how the world works and it's a very simplistic mindset in general.

Lukasz: I mean you need this because you need people permissions to rule and continue with certain you know actions where without population support you wouldn't be able to do. But this was always the case. That's why I'm not seeing this as a big thing. I mean it's easier to reach to these people now. But you know, people complain about kids or grownups being tied to their screens constantly. But the truth is, 50 years ago people were tied to newspapers and magazines constantly, or video games which just came out, and before that I don't know something else.

There will always be, a current generation addiction and interest, so to say. And with radio coming out and all of these things, there were always tools of some sort of you know, spreading certain narrative, let's call it. Whether it's good or not, I don't want to judge it. What would you do about it? What is the solution where you could actually verify? Because actually those are two different problems, because even if I am the spreader of narrative, I could still confirm I am who I am, but it doesn't make the narrative right. So how do we? How do we peel that on you and how do we peel that? You know different layers of that problem.

​​Fabian: Yeah, I mean I have some ideas of how I would approach this. I mean number one first, it should not be about the right narrative or like the right person who spreads the right. It's not about finding the right media outlet or the right journalist or the right Jesus that comes along and tells you what's right and wrong. It's about showing the opinions and then letting actually a true urge and your gut decide for yourself and teach people to think and observe different perspectives and understand that there is no consensus and there's been consensus formed over time organically, and we need to have the tools that allow that consensus to form. But right now, a big event happens. Within the next hour or minute, the media tells you what's happening and who's the good and the bad guy. That is impossible. Any consensus could be never found that fast and it only works because there's already pre narratives that build up that picture, which just confirmed that. But probably all these pre narratives might be also not correct. So I think it's about building tools.

Number one you mentioned this AI thing. Actually, my master thesis was an app called I news and the idea was basically you have a screen, you have two sides. It shows like the. I would look through articles and look if they're supportive or native of a certain topic and then we just split them in two and you can see what are the extreme different angles. By seeing that and polarity of you will be able like you described we were able to see that's different opinions, right, and then how they use different phrases. Right, here's called terrorists and theirs is called freedom fighter or government and regime, and that really shows you okay, wow, okay, there's a whole different angle onto the same topic. I thought everybody agreed it's a regime, right, and suddenly you will have the ability to choose for yourself.

And the other thing what we definitely need is an adult high spike to identity. We need the ability to verify where information is coming from, because there's obviously a big difference. There's some journalist, you know, posting a video while sitting in Berlin in his news office. You know that you found online, versus the person that was on site with his cell phone and just recorded something, right, and at which speed it was recorded, and you know was it manipulated the video or altered in any way, or it comes directly from the device. I mean, all this is technically buildable because you could make these devices sign the content and then the user who created it even signs it with his digital identity. 

Lukasz: And there's no way to fake this?

​​Fabian:  If it's digitally signed that depends on how it is done. There's lots of technical problems to be solving along this chain, but if it's digitally signed you could not fake it. But on top of this, you need to then obviously trust the device. But maybe there's a hardware standard that could be built that makes this more trustable, or if so, yes, maybe you can fake it. It would be very, very hard to do it for a single device. Then on scale, you can't do it. Therefore, it would be probably likely trusted. So, because it's not about the single information that someone can fake, it's about the mass amount of information that starts to trickle up over time.

Lukasz: I mean, if you have a special correspondent to some military conflict, you could just simply bribe them to. You know, do whatever you like them to publish, to whatever you like them to publish.

​​Fabian: But again it comes to the first solution. Right, it's not about trusting a single source, it's about having a spectrum of information. I mean, if you have an event, that's probably not one person that sees it, there's probably many who see it. Right, if somebody says, hey, there was a gas attack, then you have later the doctor you can ask you have, like, not only the one guy who claims on a video that there was a gas attack or was what X, Y, Z. it's like the doctor, you can ask,  the people who were in the hospital. There's just a lot of information.

And through the more amount of information and the aggregation of information and making this available, I mean a big problem we have in the West is that you know, like, exactly like I said, a lot of things are not necessarily lying. They are lying by omitting, like, for example, a certain state. You know we have a sentence that we talk. You can take any sentence out of my text I'm saying and make me look like whatever, right? You just say context, blah, blah, blah and then run the sentence. I can sound like whatever, right?

Same here If you just leave out, you take a speech and take one sentence. You leave out the rest. It can make the person look like whatever and it's about omitting. For example, why do we don't see equal you know, if we have a conflict, let's say Russia and Ukraine. Why we don't see equal amount of I don't know interviews or interest in one side than the other? Why it's just one sided and the other is ignored? Because there's a default belief that bad, because we know blah, blah, blah and therefore no need to talk to him or her or whatever, right? This is just an example.

Lukasz: That's a rather intensive example. 

​​Fabian: We have right now a good example where Tucker Carlson went just to Russia to give an interview and then you know people want to oust him or, you know, sanction him for just going there and having an interview, which is insane if you think about in democratic, open, journalistic terms. That should never be the case.

Lukasz: Consider that this is the guy who represents certain narrative himself, and I would say rather on the towards the radical side as well, right?

​​Fabian: Again comes down to what you believe and what, what, what newspapers read before and what other information read before. I mean, I think that's exactly what's important to not like. It's not about believing somebody says, somebody says stuff, somebody says. It's about yourself, and even you know, even the most wrong person can say right things. And I think it should be more importantly about I'm using something rather than shutting someone down just because the shape of the form is not right, just because it doesn't say the right way or the nice way or the whatever you know clear way. He is wrong, so we don't have to listen to him. I think that that's a change. Value, content not by the form.

Lukasz: And you don't think there's. There's black and white anyway, like there are certain cases in which you wouldn't like to spread something which is you know, I don't know racist content or something, or abusive content.

​​Fabian: I think it's probably about the intention. That is also important. Again, you take this completely out of context. It's about the intention of somebody truly, you know like, wants to denounce a whole group, which is totally arbitrary to do, and then for what? And then also maybe it's interesting to look at what is the way this person coming from right? What does this person's life experience? What does he believe in this or that? If that's true and that would be interesting to look at and probably you will find a lot of truth and a lot of understanding in that as well, if you start to understand that person better, why would he even say that in this extreme form? If he would ever say something like this. I think it's more about understanding rather than trying to say okay, box X, or you fall in box X, therefore, I don't hear you anymore. You get like canceled, exactly you know how is that.

Lukasz: FabianI feel there is a lot of examples in history which we would now judge black and white after, you know, 100 years. And the question is either way, is it even possible to start that conversation with the general public right, expect society? Because it's a lot of work which we're talking about. So I would argue with you I would agree with you on the term that like hey, I want to check my sources, I want to, you know, see what I'm hearing here or there is to my liking. As a matter of fact, because of that and doing that research for a while, I very carefully picked people.

I follow on different social media and I tend not to watch certain channels, because you know, we had a massive problem in this country, you know, last year is that the public television set was just a tube for government right, without any filter, so to say, where even I received some bashing indirectly, because there was a statement in it once I don't remember, I believe in 2017 or 2018, that people who left Poland are not really Polish, whatever that means, right. So I found it really funny how this was phrased and how I am not a real Polish, and what does that even mean by definition. So I hear you and I understand that, but it's a lot of work to sit down and on your busy day where you have to pay the bills and go to work, and is there any way that we could have authorities, but not like government, only elected, but like authority? For example, you are my authority when it comes to these topics, right, an encryption, a lot of this stuff, and blockchain. I totally you have my trust because you know.

When I look through your or Twitter before your Github and so on, I see, okay, this guy put half of his life into this. He clearly knows what he's talking about. Right? How can we structure it around individuals or organizations that would get trust because of the work they did? We have such an organization in this country as well. We have this orchestra, which is like an organization which, in January, gathers money for public hospitals. There's a lot of controversy about it, but because of politicians and whatnot, but the truth is they actually create donations by community, gathering money and funds to help hospitals and kids in those hospitals that gain specific illness. Right, and they have 25, 28 years of proven track record. They are an authority for me when it comes to charity in this country, all right. So how do you, how do we make it easier in society?

​​Fabian: Yeah. So I mean, I think it's not about distrusting anyone and it's not about like, oh, go figure out everything yourself. I think it's about, first off, having systems that allow us to better see, having more verifiable and trustable systems, because they are designed a certain way that they leverage or that their surface truth more likely just because of the way they are assigned, you know, either they have signatures embedded using cryptography, time stamping, or they're assigned by devices itself, or they're assigned by you know the identities of the profiles behind them, or because their websites that you know show different spectrum of like what's going on, rather than just one side. Maybe it's a verifiable AI, or maybe it's a social media site where you can choose your own algorithm rather than using whatever algorithm you're given. There's many, many ways of how we can build software and tools that will make this transparency more likely and more possible. So that's one thing. So through that, it will be probably easier for you to understand what's kind of going on.

At the same time, I honestly believe that we also in a very there's a lot of information that we believe that is extremely wrong and we have no idea. We are a little bit. You know how I see it, we're a little bit like you know when, when the earth was flat and then it took a hundred years or a few years for people to realize it's actually round. We are like this on a political grand scale. We do not understand who are the powers that be and that we pull strings. For what reason. They do it with a very simplistic narrative that is just based on, you know, excellence happen, crazy stuff happens. We just need to react, or constant reactivity. Out of nowhere. Something crazy happened. We just now do. We need to react and we identified the evil guys that are only doing this for purely selfish reason. There's no meaning behind what I do is there's no history behind any of this. It's just like it's a bad person, it's a crazy event, it's the lonely crazy person and whatever.

So I think that needs to resurface a lot of knowledge, and I think we will, and we are in very wild times. That means any transition to a more truthful society will go through a level of, let's call, disturbance in the force, if you want to call it like this. Why? Because if you it's like, even almost like a, like a patient, you know if you lift, if you lift and denial for a long time. You know there will be a bit of a depressive time that you have to go through in order to get out of the denial that's just given, and we as a society very likely have to do that as well, because there's a lot of false information lies that will now Just start to unwind over time and it might be very shocking for many as well, and that will go ahead and hand with the right tooling to verify this and or to verify and all what is going on.

And it's, I think, really also leads us to the fact that we need to understand more that we are responsible Not only for the things we're doing, but also for the things that we are believing and and the things we just taking in. And it's obviously Way more convenient to just have one truthful source to tell you what's going on. Some smart journalists who have thought it all through already, and they tell you what's going on and why, and they've all analyzed or whatever. Not sure that would be nice. Maybe with verifiable AI algorithms you might have that, and then you can least pick a who's you know how could he analyze it. And there's no tribalism and Corruption involved anymore, because AI doesn't care emotionally at all.

Lukasz: I Understand about Controlling, but I don't believe that we can eliminate, you know, tribalism, because it's I deeply believe it's embedded in our DNA.

​​Fabian: It's an hour, it's an air, and you there, I agree. And it's not about eliminating it, it's more about making it visible. Making it visible and it's because that will also help every individual to better understand when they are. You know what we are, certain groups, why they are there where they are, why they believe what they believe, rather than seeing things as one side and the other, seeing them more as kind of like people in different places, at different Evolution of their own, like self or ego, or interest, right, I mean stepping aside from a philosophical side for a second.

Lukasz: I think what everything you just said in the last two, three minutes is helping with. You know a big, big problems. Who have with troll farms, right, initiatives where you have people banging in fake comments towards certain idea, faking a picture, showing a picture from ten years ago, pretending it happened yesterday, right. All of this Could be eliminated with some of the ideas you proposed, with signatures, with verification that this actually happened, with System which connects. What about company like Google? I mean, they index everything quite objectively, right, I mean they can decide what gets surfaced, where I get that, but they would have everything index. Someone like that would have everything index and could say, well, this picture also popped up there are ten years ago, so beware, right, what? Why don't you think someone?

​​Fabian: I Mean I think they could build these tools. I mean, the question is like, sadly, is not just a troll who comes up with pictures like this, it's even our idea. I mean, this would one good example. When there was this, a campaign against Syria and Assad, the state media pulled out this video that they got from some American journalist on the border Showing like how some people get beaten up in a jail. Turns out that video was four years ago from Iraq, right With Saddam Hussein was jailed there. You know, I mean, this is not only and obviously maybe they didn't do it in purpose or maybe that didn't fact check Anything, but it's literally people ten minutes to figure this out through YouTube that the video existed way before. It was from somewhere else, but it it's.

Lukasz: It's it confirms to believe of the journalist, maybe in this case you know, and then he just blindly wants to believe it and a couple of years ago we had a story like this with one of the soccer players and I'm not into soccer so I don't remember his name, but it was a funny story which went something like that there was speculation in Poland he's going to go to Italy to play at their league and some Italian newspaper Picked this up and wrote an article about it. And then Polish side said like, oh look, there's even confirmation there, right, and they starting writing each other's bias and this was not intentional. I think that we humans we just love the thesis, the idea in our head, and then we Filter for everything that just matches that. You know, yeah, and then that cool.

: But also what it shows how much how lousy journalism is and how much copy and paste. It is right. People just a rewrite Reuters and AP articles like this is. This is the business of of journalists today is like this few in news organization that actually bring in the content AP, reuters and others. The others just take it and rewrite the thing and put it in the newspaper. Where's the research? Where's the confirmation or the checking? This it's not. It's hot at this Reuters blind trust level and you know you just need to be a little bit steering right, left and right there and the rest is copy and paste your stuff anyway. So it's, there's a lot of error. Let's say there's a lot of Potential error possibilities in such a system, right?

Lukasz: But this is solvable, like I mean, you have in the independent, independent journalist you can just sponsor through. You know those. I forgot the name. Patron is the website right when you can just pay them a monthly subscription and they write. Well, obviously subjectively, but you just preselected.

​​Fabian: Bring this up so funny enough. I mean pretty much what. What I'm working on since the last few years ties all of this in some way. I mean creating a Internet independent account system, called universal files, where people can create a, an account. It's based on the Luxor blockchain, so it's based on a decentralized network when you can have a profile. Right, you can pick wherever you want to be if you want to be in a profile. You can transact globally, you can log into websites if they support this and systems like this.

This is the basis for a decentralized system and that, on the end, will allow for, for example, you know, decentralized journalism, where now you can not only have a journalist that can be funded by his peers or his readers, but you can even have them collaborating together, forming a DAO, a decentralized, autonomous organization Inside a smart contract, saying, hey, we're pooling our money and we are now doing some voting mechanism of how we operate. All very transparency, transparently and obviously. Each, each journalist, has their own story and belief system in opinion. There's no objective journalist, probably anywhere in the world. This is this, not a thing. Activism like this doesn't exist, and I think we should rather embrace the Subjectivism of the different individuals, feel to everybody that this is subjective, and then you can obviously delegate your trust wherever you like, who you feel Rings more true with your inner gut feeling, and then, on top of this, ideally we have better systems to create transparency in how information can be, you know, passed on or identified or or created in the first place, and that would allow, probably, a better society.

That's. That's not just run by some media mogul, moguls who literally we own 90% of all the newspapers owned by very few companies. That then all our friends, probably More or less you know and hang out in the same house, as once in a while, it's not that, you know, even these media moguls could control every narrative, and it's also not about controlling every small story, but when it comes about bigger stories, you can push them either or you can make them disappear. There are ways to do this. Well, I find really funny and you see this actually there's actually some really funny videos when they cut together news anchors, for example, when it's about the vaccine topic or other topics.

This like actually Sentences that are being told to say, and you can cut videos together where you have hundreds of news Anchors at the exact same. So how I mean. You know, like you can say how is it possible that everybody gets even the exact same sentence? You will never Recognize this if you are not. You know cutting it together like this because you just watch it live and sounds like they're all believing the same identical.

Lukasz: So consider this, consider this if you're recording enough content on video you know, imagine you're recording five different TV stations for 10 years Then these people will eventually say these words, and then what's gonna happen? Because there's just a finite number of words and circumstances they report on. It doesn't even have to be the same event, however. You can still edit this to make it look like that. I'm just saying that even that argument could be faked towards the Well same objective narrative you're trying to present, right, like I'm saying that this, this can be done. Hmm, yeah.

​​Fabian: I mean, like You're, you're talking about statistic and surely likelihood is potentially there, but then the Anyway, sure, no, sorry, sure. This is about a short period of time and it's about the exact same events and it's set in the same context of the same things that are happening. So it's not necessarily one talks about.

Lukasz: Actually we don't know this, because they show the shorts that are mixed, are saying that they speak about the same thing. The short itself is setting the narrative that they're talking about the same topic, but it could be from different pieces of time, even about different topics, as long as they say similar words. You know what I mean. Like, and then it makes them feel like they go from a single script.

​​Fabian: I Mean I have a few of those, not just one, and I have seen over the years as well, but sure, you know, can be purely coincidences. Well, yeah.

Lukasz: And going back to look so what is stopping you from discussing this with someone really high on Even you level, like a commissioner or someone, to present this as an open source, free standard right that people could just apply and use? So you, because you know there's a lot of good standards that you actually introduce this as well For protecting people, right why don't they have this conversation at that level?

​​Fabian: It's. I mean, it has mainly two reasons. Number one this is meant to be soft identity, not hard identity. Right, you can build a hard this system, like I explained earlier on on this for sure. Second, it's not privacy we're serving right now it's a public blockchain. Profiles or whatever you do is on the ledger, visible. We actually even building the tools to make it even more Visible so that you can see what other people are doing. So people learn it's a public profile.

We don't have perfect privacy On chain and that's actually, you know, can be good or bad, so that's why I wouldn't recommend for such a system. But even more importantly, plugchains are not unlimited scalable. So I let you know if theorem is full, if there was two million transactions a day around, yeah, around two million transactions a day, luxor is very similar to theorem, so it will allow for two, three million transactions a day. It could be scaled up, you know, to you know maybe triple or quite triple this amount, but this would not fill the requirements of, you know, 300 to a million people in the EU. So Scale.

Number one is one restrictions, and you can see this here. You know what's what's happening. For example, you see the network activities. Or you see people are placing bets, you know Burning brown pigs, listing things and doing all kind of stuff sending some, gotting some money from, cook and send and what. Whatever they do, you know buying something. And then you have all these profiles that people created, yeah, that you know. Right now it has 14,000 profiles Already created, and this is life since two and a half this website, this URL, this is public right.

Lukasz: I could just put that in footnotes and everyone could check it out. Super yeah.

​​Fabian: Anybody can recreate a problem right now. And then you have interest profile. You know literally your decent rest account. Yeah, if only you remember your password where you can. Yeah, this should be on the only password base, but more, like you know, I love it, but it's radically transparent.

Lukasz: Right, because why would I want anyone to see my transactions? Where's the space for privacy in this?

​​Fabian: so you can build systems that are privacy preserving on top of such a system. This system self inherently doesn't do it, and the reason is not that I don't want it. The reason is that is the technological limit of what's possible. And right now, as we speak, a blockchain can either be Very transparent and that's because the network verifies everything, and every computer can download the whole network and verify the network or you use a knowledge proof based, privacy based network. Then the whole network is private, but what you can do is limited and slower way slower and eventually because computing the serenade, which is extremely slow and we saw some tens of right now and you can't build completely arbitrary things and certain things won't be possible. Right now there is no system which combines both together. We can say, okay, now one is in the public transaction and now one is in the private transaction. That would be great. We do not have it yet. So it's a limit of the technology. That's why it's the way it is.

Lukasz: And for average person, non-techie. That looks very similar to some other social media we already have right, such as I don't know, facebook or even Xcom or something similar, or Instagram itself. Why or how would that compete with them? Because they already at scale, and I get it. The scale comes with centralized system, but how can this offer an alternative if it's not yet scalable? Will it become scalable at some point, or is there a different reason for it to not be scalable? And we don't, you don't mind that never being scalable? What's, what's your thoughts on that?

​​Fabian: I mean dear the, let's say the. The wish to make it scalable is Wished that the whole blockchain space you know has, and a lot of people working on. So, yes, it would be ideal if it scales Limitly, maybe the universe for reason. That is not scalable yet. But this is like any technology. You know. I mean the first. You know I'll see these were not high-risk and now they are 8k. The first VR headsets were not as great as in our division brought. It came out.

Blockchain is not as super fast and scalable as it might be in a few years. So the protocol can change the underlying protocol. If people choose to change it, it can change. There's a lot of development and research going in into making this more, more Scalable. That will be a bit of time that it takes, but even if you have just a few million transactions a day, that allows for a lot of activity and a lot of people doing a lot of things. And it also, I don't think in such a new and unproven territory of decent-dressed public accounts, we need now grand-mart participate. We don't need the adopters.

The wild man's, the one who want to play around and then discover the internet again, right Is they will be the one who will be a bit more risk-averse. You know to play around and see also more as play, and sure, there's also transaction values and people send money around and do things like this, but this is what creates the innovation. You know, like the people build systems that allow all of these things is decentralized means it's not run by us, it's run by everyone who wants to run the network. Anybody can participate, is permissionless and it allows for a new level of innovation that you obviously definitely don't have on Facebook, because now anybody can event a follow-up protocol, a reputation protocol. You know can create new kind of NFTs or odd or or a thousand form communities or build whatever they want to build. They can build this and they can all help now to build a decentralized social network and community and online you know Interactions that we do while face and any kind of centralized system. They build it. They build everything, they control everything, they own everything and they decide and here it's the people that will decide.

And then it's different websites who say I want to choose this follower system that is very popular, or second, take the second most popular one, or I use this Oracle that I find useful and maybe that's only shown on this website, on the others not. But the data where the users are and how do you the interaction and the transactions are happening. That is separated from any interface. So it's a whole different paradigm of how you have to think about an application. It's not anymore the server is owned by a company and the website is owned by the company, and the data is owned by the company and you just have an access through your email and your password.

It's now everything's on the blockchain, based on protocols that you can either. You know they're either more trustable or less trustable, more verified or less verified, but they run a certain way and they can't be changed if you wanted to have it this way. Therefore, they become trustable and now anybody can build the front ends for it and can make whatever you know. Use the same data in different ways. For example, create a different social media stream that is filled out a different way. Then maybe another website would do it.

Lukasz:Okay it. You know, when I listen to it now, it reminds me of something else. It reminds me of iOS versus Android discussions which are going on for now what? Two decades. Almost right, because iOS is closed, one right, but because of that it's so polished, so to say, and there is not that much Malware I would say I mean, this is subjective but Versus Android, who is completely open and anyone can build anything. And then you know, in Android itself you have probably a million calculator applications, some for the official app store, some through it, dozens of other app stores and some even side loaded without any app store. And I always felt very lost in all of that, don't you think that allowing for that, that much freedom to development community to build whatever they like on top of that Quite amazing technology, I must say I'm really impressed. It's actually going to create choice chaos, so to say. Right like people will be over harm to choose the best solution.

​​Fabian: So this comes down to. You know, I would say, if the data layer and the and the websites and the front ends Are separated, then you obviously you pick now which window you want to look through and you obviously will pick the way that you like the most, maybe the one with less choices, more curation. You know the websites we build are pretty looking. You know other people build websites that also interact with deluxe, the blockchain and profiles that might be look completely dark. So people to make their choices. I mean, I personally would like to see us and the things that we build as the apple of blockchain and but not in terms of the restriction, but in the terms of the user friendliness and the looks in the fields, because that's what I think Really important as well. I mean, even though saying before right, like content over form, I think both exist. You know needs to be look good and be accessible, but also the meat needs to be there as well, otherwise something doesn't become successful. But you know there will be the kind of Linux type nerds that want to build the most. You know an early kind of edgy thing. You can build this on top of these standards and on top of this network, but most people probably have the more created, more simplified version of it, and this is, you know, what we started here is.

This is a new endeavor, right? I mean an interesting thing. I mean an internet account system like this has never existed, not on our hands. I mean, we have this in web three since a while called a public and a private key, but I wouldn't call it an account system, neither was it used ever as such. So, and now we have a full on profile. That's the first, that's first ever like, like in, in this flexible terms and this way of really being totally, totally generic in the way of what I can do.

And yeah, so I think, step by step, you know, we have to discover, you know what people do with it and so on and what kind of front ends will be built. But it has, it's its principle, this openness, conspiracy, obviously, and self-sorvancy, build in. I know that's the things that you don't necessarily get, no matter what the promise of the company is, because the technology is. That's why Google had in this source code Don't be evil because they knew the power they would get. You know, I mean, will dust sensor compared to duck that go? So didn't work out there. It's just coming in the code I.

Lukasz: Think they even took it out. Now, right, they don't use this anymore. Oh, the don't be evil motto. Fabian, I can't wait to see how this will develop. You know, this is amazing. I'm really curious if we're gonna connect in a couple of years or a few months or whatever, and we can see how this have, you know, grown and outgrown your own expectations. Really awesome.

​​Fabian: Thank you, lucas. Thank you for inviting me.

Lukasz: Thank you, fabian. This has been a very interesting and insightful conversation. Dear listeners, let us know in the comments what are your thoughts on the truth in the age of AI. We cannot wait to hear from you. We catch you in the next episode, you.

roi calculator - it staff augmentation vs. hiring
ROI Calculator – IT Staff Augmentation vs. Hiring


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