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The New Technologies of Freedom

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These are the new technologies of freedom. These tools present a historical unprecedented opportunity to recapture individual freedoms in the digital age – to expand individual rights, to protect property, to defend our privacy and personal data, to exercise our freedom of speech, and to develop new voluntary communities.

This book presents a call to arms. The liberty movement has spent too much time begging the state for its liberties back. We can now use new technologies to build the free institutions that are needed for human flourishing without state permission.

The New Technologies of Freedom is part of a joint project between the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub, an academic research centre based at RMIT University in Melbourne Australia, and the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation.

“This is a book that says that while legislative change matters, liberty is something we can build … We’re asking the liberty movement to direct at least some of its attention towards building new technologies, new products, new services … Because the point is not just to protect ourselves – it’s to create a more free world.” Chris Berg, September 17, 2020.

Book Details

The New Technologies of Freedom
Darcy W. E. Allen, Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson
The American Institute for Economic Research

Reviews for The New Technologies of Freedom

1 Comment

  • The New Technologies of Freedom: 3 Takeaways for a Future of Liberty

    A review by Luca Proietti Formaggio

    The New Technologies of Freedom explores how technologies being developed today may allow for greater decentralisation and competition in industries that have an adopted orthodoxy on ‘how things are done’. This review, however, is concerned with the most unique ideas discussed in the book, primarily the impact of blockchain and smart contracts on assurance and privacy, blockchain voting and competitive AI.

    Blockchain has often been touted as the death of government currency. This is a conclusion that ignores that blockchain embodies a trade-off: greater privacy for slower speeds being one example. However, blockchain allows for decentralised ledgers. Thus, at its heart, it is decentralising trust as it allows everyone using the blockchain to “come to a consensus as to what is the state of the system”.

    This has wide uses within assurance which is an area of the economy concerned with assuring all parties involved that their respective counter-party is telling the truth and that the trade will go on as stated. Blockchain allows us to verify certain facts, which can be expanded to things such as birth certificates, which is traditionally the purview of the state. This can be combined with smart contracts, which code in a set of triggers that cause a contract to execute. For instance, when $1 is put into account A and a deed to a share X is put into account B, an exchange will happen. This allows blind trust to exist, since we do not need to trust the other person, just the code itself as well as the consensus ledger.

    This de-hierarchialisation will change the face of law, accountancy and banking, allowing humans to set more resources aside for creation of goods and other services, and provides an alternative to the traditional legal system which enforces contracts through force. This is the most likely innovation to be widely adopted, simply because of its capacity to be adopted without necessarily disrupting government control, and because of the potential it has to save businesses large amounts of money. Alternative innovations do not necessarily lower costs, and quite literally take away governments’ ability to censor and watch our activities, meaning they may not see as much widespread adoption.

    Blockchain voting is perhaps the most innovative idea explored within the book. It involves the use of a decentralised ledger to give everyone a unit equivalent to a vote, which can then be traded on a free market to allow those who aren’t interested or affected by policy-making to sell their votes to those who are more interested. This has a lot of applicability to anarcho-capitalist societies where this allows them to have voting without a centralised organisation running the voter roll. Instead, this system is analogous to how companies allow equity holders to vote, or give their vote to a voting bloc, allowing that voting bloc to represent them.

    Finally, competitive AI is a solution to the much-hyped issue of AI taking over society, which posits that AI is incremental and that it is specialised instead of general. This means that AI will not instantaneously become super intelligent, but rather trace a constant road of improvement that focuses on becoming hyper-specialised in one task as opposed to challenging humanity in every area. Therefore, our ability to control and harness the power of AI is through CAIS – comprehensive AI services – where each AI specialises to become hyper efficient in a particular field, actually stopping other AI from taking over. This is in a very similar vein to how we think of competition in a market, where firms stop other firms from becoming monopolies by specialising in particular areas and becoming competitively efficient in that area. It also utilises AI against itself, so that while one AI does action X, another AI checks action X to ensure quality.

    The book discusses how AI can make deepfakes or fake videos very efficiently, but another form of AI can be used to detect these fake videos. This opens up the possibility of using AI to promote liberty, in areas such as fraud investigations, which pair well with smart contracts in areas of assurance. There are also other solutions, mainly in the realm of cybernetic implants which would allow humans to specialise in various tasks and utilise the power of machine intelligence where it is efficient. This would allow humans to compete with machines while unifying the power of both – although the ethics of such a system is still up for debate.

    In conclusion, The New Technologies of Freedom succeeds in laying out not only technologies that could change the world and facilitate greater competition and decentralisation, but also how they can do it, and the benefits and drawbacks. It explores many other areas, including privacy, decentralised currency and freedom of speech, but ultimately, I believe that the areas discussed above are the most innovative and perhaps the most likely to become widely adopted. Yet if there is one idea that we can distil this book into it is that the future of liberty looks brighter due to these new technologies of freedom.

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