Top-down versus bottom-up
This is a debate that has raged for a long time. For the most part, what we see is a top-down system. No matter where we look, we see hierarchies that tell us what approach the world favors.
Of course, a case could be made that the entire world did not decide this, only the few at the top. This type of system makes control much easier. In the end, though, it stifles innovation and productivity.
As our world becomes more digital, we are seeing exactly how this plays out. It is also exemplifying how unnatural our constructs truly are.
Presently, we are witnessing a top-down versus bottom-up battle take place before our eyes. The old system is trying to maintain the status quo while a new breed of technology is taking the natural approach.
This can be evidenced by the way we handle data.
Few can contest that we are generating an incredible amount of data. It is only growing as we produce more devices that are connected to the Internet. Some say the amount of data generated is doubling every 12 months. Whatever the pace is, we are getting overwhelmed by it.
Our present data structures are mostly centralized. It is collected by the likes of Google, Apple, and Facebook. They have huge server farms to amass and analyze the data. Data mining is a huge business and many of the tech companies are using it to their advantage (and profit).
Through our digital creations, the subject of intelligence comes up. This is sparked conversation about what is intelligent and how is it achieved. Is it something that is evolutionary? Are there ways to replicate it?
While that discussion is ongoing, one thing we do notice is people are looking towards nature, especially when it comes to developing advanced systems. All around us are extremely complex organic systems that computer scientists are starting to model. Many are of the belief this is the path to our next evolution is systems design.
This is where blockchain enters the equation. In nature, we do not see a top-down design but, rather, one that appears to be a bottom-up approach. Organic systems tend to be wide in breadth, adding to their resiliency. Top-down structures can topple easier when confronted with an opposing force.
Presently, one of the forces attacking our systems is the data generation. Since it is growing at such a rate, process power is having a difficult time keeping up. The advancement of this technology appears to be slowing, meaning that companies are having an issue handling it all.
Centralized entities lack flexibility. This is another area of vulnerability. With blockchain, the attack vectors are reduced simply through the decentralized nature of things. Here we see a system that is processing data all over the world. No one entity is responsible for it all. In fact, it is a system whereby different nodes take care of a piece of the entire processing, thus providing more output overall. The total certainly exceeds the sum or its parts.
Resiliency in our common terminology today could be phrased as security. We know how centralized entities get hacked all the time. This is a major flaw in the Internet. Decentralized systems alleviate this to a great degree.
Since there is no single point of access, it is much harder to hack a system of this nature. Couple that with the fact that they are designed to process data in many sectors and then compare the results, it makes it near impossible to attack all the nodes at once.
This is why Bitcoin, in spite of being open and "out there" for anyone to go after, has yet to be taken down. With the size of the network now, it likely never will.
We can take this premise a bit further. It we step back and look at the totality of decentralized blockchain networks, we see all this presenting a scenario that is impossible to attack. Nodes not only exist all over the world but operating on completely different networks. Thus, even attacking one will not have any impact on the others.
It is a topic that is taking on a more important meaning as we see the present system trying to deal with this new design mechanism. Governments are doing their best to harness what is taking place, not realizing it is fruitless proposition. Decentralized networks are simply following the path of nature, resulting in systems of ever increasing complexity. Each day more nodes show up, providing more processing power to the overall.
Another top-down segment, corporations, are also under attack. Different industries are facing immediate uncertainty as these complex systems start to establish a foundation. Once that is in place to the degree that people can seamlessly build upon them, we could see things collapse rather rapidly.
Over the last couple years, we saw a lot more development taking place. This too can be see as operating on an exponential scale. It is a scenario that will only hasten the pace of the decline of what is standing in the way.
It is often hard for us to wrap our minds around complete systemic change. After all, throughout our entire lives, "this is how things were". Nevertheless, that does not mean we have not seen major changes over the last few decades.
The attack vectors of the present system are being exposed. Unlike the past, there is now alternatives popping up.
We also have to factor in the organic expansion that is taking place. Like living organisms, what we are creating is spreading at a pace and in directions that is beyond any single entity's control. When something is permissionless, the hivemind of all involved takes over. Anyone is free to hang whatever he or she desires on the network. This is how things move from simple to complex systems.
Anyone who has tried to stay on top of all that is being developed will realize how complex this system already is. It is impossible for one person to know all that is taking place. There is no grand plan or centralized scheme. Instead we have tens of millions of people involved, each basically doing what they desire.
This is only causing the system to become more complex, making it even harder to rope in.
Ultimately, the "intelligence" that is present is growing. We are seeing innovation advance into areas we did not think of before. Due to the nature of this system, there is nobody to deny any experimentation. This is only enhancing all that is taking place.
The true power of blockchain has yet to be fully realized. Instead, we are still learning what is possible. In the meantime, while embarking upon that, we are coming to know how complex this system truly is.
So while the researchers try to uncover what is taking place in nature, we are replicating it, even if only at an intuitive level.
It is the main reason to be confident in the future success of blockchain.
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