Ben Goertzel: Decentralizing Social Media Big Opportunity

Ben Goertzel is one of the foremost experts in the field of Artificial Intelligence. He is also one of the biggest proponents of open source and decentralization.


He started a number of projects that combine the two. SingularityNet is his main blockchain project. It is designed to decentralize and democratize artificial intelligence. The basic premise is that it will bring developers of AI together with those who require it, providing a decentralized marketplace where access is increased.

Goertzel's view is that AI is presently controlled by a few governments and a handful of large corporations. The focus of this technology is to spy, kill or sell us stuff. That is the core of what AI is used for.

Being in the field, obviously the activities of Big Tech regarding censorship got his attention. Anyone who read his writings over the years will easily conclude where he stands on the subject. Far from being a right-winger, he supports the ability to debate and interact openly. This is not on the agenda of the present social media companies.

Blockchain offers the idea opportunity to move past this.

Of late, Jack Dorsey is out promoting his support of decentralized social media projects. He long espoused the idea of Twitter being decentralized. This is a pipe dream according to many, including Goertzel.

My own strong feeling is: Twitter is not going to solve this, as good as its intentions may be. The centralized Big Tech world is not going to solve this. Government is not going to solve this either. It’s far too slow-paced and obtuse to deal with fast-evolving issues that are highly complex in both human and technological dimensions, in a way that’s compatible with the subtleties of Western constitutional and business law.

Many of us in the crypto industry pointed out this fact. The transitioning of the business model of Twitter to one of decentralization is not going to sit well with shareholders. In short, a decentralized, open platform where the users are not the product does not make them money. At the end of the day, that is what shareholders mostly care about.

Obviously, Goertzel comes from a much higher level in that his focus is usually upon AI. Since there is so much debate about the safety of it, a lot of the decentralization process comes up.

Academic boffins like Nick Bostrom are worried about superhuman AGI repurposing human molecules to add extra memory capacity to their hard drives. But there is far more evident risk in Big Tech’s use of narrow-minded machine learning algorithms to maximize shareholder value at the expense of human well-being, intelligence and compassion.

There is a valid point that is being made here. As worrisome is AI can be, the present path of Big Tech and how they are using algorithms to program (read enslave) humanity is of far greater concern. This might be simply due to the fact that it is here today and something that is affecting our ability to make decisions down the road.

Goertzel believes the answer for social media includes 4 different compontents:

  • Open Source Code
  • Decentralized Control
  • Democratic Decisions
  • Explainable AI

For further details of these, he goes into them here.

When we look at Hive, we see a number of these factors already in motion. Thus, we are seeing the foundation being erected for what tomorrow's social media will look like.

It is easy to get tunnel vision when we are looking at certain problems. We see the monumental task before us yet fail to realize there are a lot of people involved working on solutions.

The recent actions of the social media companies have put a lot of people on alert. This is only going to grow if they keep following the same path. Tens of millions of people in the United States are now aware there viewpoints that are censored. Therefore, how can anyone trust what is being put forth without sound debate.


We tend to take it for granted that, on Hive, an account cannot be shut down. At the same time, whatever is posted on the blockchain resides there as long as there are people running the software around the world. It is immutable and cannot be edited. This is amazing when you think about it. Our present Internet is siloed to the point where we need permission from the likes of Google or Facebook do operate. If they do not like what we are saying, they can wipe out our accounts and history in an instant.

The same is true for the financial institutions. We see companies like PayPal with the same power. They can go through and simply close people's accounts, cutting them off from their customers and the ability to pay.

Over the next few years, the merging of social media and finance will take place. This will give even more power to these institutions if we allow it. We already see that with apps like WeChat in the China. That is one of the major payment platforms in addition to being social media.

It is refreshing to see Goertzel point out that this is not going to be solved by Big Tech and governments. The point that they are too slow really hits home. This is the premise of the "Great Race" which is taking place. Tens of thousands of coders (maybe more) around the world are pushing forward open source, decentralized projects. The totality of this is what is going to solve some of these problems.

As always, we keep plugging away, providing more opportunities for people to get involved.

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