The project brief required the critical and creative exploration of an aspect of the future of work and to consider how the proposed systems profoundly implicate and impact individuals through the currency of our most valuable commodities: time and labor.
Deeply intrigued by blockchain technology and its wide-ranging implications, I chose to focus on DAOs, specifically their operational and governance structure. During the research phase, I found it quite frustrating to discover critical reflections on the socio-cultural implications surrounding DAO voting mechanisms, so it took me awhile to encounter something interesting. When I discovered the oracle problem, something clicked and I wondered how other public infrastructural systems establish reliability , trustworthiness, accessibility and frictionless user experience. Then, one day when dropping off a letter at a nearby mail box, I was struck by the similarities of mail infrastructure and blockchain technology insofar as they both moved information around the country, especially verified voting ballots, based on various factors, such as coded information (e.g., zip code, street, number),and it is accessible, relatively reliable and simple-to-use.
Similar to the ways in which the ancient Greeks traveled to and consulted the Oracle at Delphi, I envision a network of public oracles that form the human computer interface of the blockchain network. By using the metaphor of the ancient Greek oracle archetype, I draw parallels to the stated values of blockchain technology: "truthful", a public resource, democratic and functionally mythological. Much like the interaction with the Greek oracle (minus the sacrifice and hallucinogens), users can interact directly to the public blockchain through the use of computer vision and artificial intelligence. The interaction uses natural language processing and facial recognition for identification purposes.
I'm very proud that I decided to stick with my interest in blockchain technology despite the challenge in understanding the implications of DAOs. By no means do I believe that project is exhaustive, rather I see it as more about the questions it raise for me to consider in the future. That being said, I do not see blockchain technology, especially DAOs, as liberatory as many of the Silicon Valley proponents herald. Overall, I see blockchain technology more as a piece of the cybersecurity puzzle, integrated into the underlining infrastructure of cloud computing. Unfortunately, during the prototype phase, I ran into the constraint of time and the lack of cohesive narrative structure, so I ended up pivoting to another method of conveying my message.
Lastly, I wonder about the personality of the public-facing artificial intelligent agent and the accessibility of the technology to everyone. What advances in technology would need to occur for this type of experience to manifest, and who would be responsible for the maintaining the technology's infrastructure? Could the responsibilities of the USPS expand to include such as service?