Video: Rachel O’Dwyer on the Blockchain as Governance by Design

A clear explanation on the occasion of the Blockchain Dublin Meetup #1 :

“New kinds of governance are emerging from the convergence of state actors and information and communication technologies. New institutions are emerging from big data and algorithms. This has significant implications for questions of security, law and citizenship, as states partner with or in some cases are even replaced by network platforms. Today, Google might determine your citizenship; Facebook your credit worthiness; Twitter the likelihood that you are a terrorist, and so on. The processes involved in making these very significant decisions are rarely transparent and the technologies used to do so tend to be consolidated in the hands of powerful commercial actors.
In light of this, the blockchain seems to offer forms of governance beyond the state or the market, supporting decentralised forms of consensus, trust and decision-making as well as shared ownership of knowledge infrastructures. If the removal of the state sounds too extreme, the blockchain can also operate with a partner state, acting as a tool to encourage transparency and accountability on the part of an elected government.

This talk looks at the positive implications of distributed databases such as the blockchain for governance, but also considers what it means to govern through technical infrastructure. On the one hand the blockchain is a radical technology that offers the possibility of a persistent state for the Internet and consensus outside of human error or individual accountability. This has exciting possibilities for producing revolutionary or alternative institutions out of databases and algorithms. On the other hand, we could also argue that the blockchain is part of a history of devices and techniques in liberal democracy that aim to replace politics with economics. These do not produce new kinds of political subjects; they make these subjects disappear. What else might be needed to govern well?”

Watch the video here:

1 Comment Video: Rachel O’Dwyer on the Blockchain as Governance by Design

  1. AvatarKeith

    Imogen Heap has suggested the blockchain for a global music database, Mycelia, that would connect artists with fans, cutting out the middle men (unless they added value).

    Within the blockchain would be held the music (it could be extended to any digital art form eg e-books), album cover, liner notes, any associated material (eg this article on blockchain for the global commons).

    She has released Tiny Human, as an experiment to explore this idea.

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