Peter Vessenes here. I wanted to talk about things that own themselves. It was on my list from a couple times ago that we haven't talked about. So this is a super interesting idea that only people with some blockchain experience seem to understand. We are used to humans owning things and governments owning things, which are controlled by people. A thing that owns itself sounds like a tautological concept. What does that mean?
我是Peter Vessenes ，我想谈谈那些自我拥有的事物。
There have been some interesting court cases in the US that I think relate to this idea societally. There was this one test case about a lake and whether or not inhabitants on the lake could bring a lawsuit on behalf of the lake because the lake was being polluted.
This is a pretty interesting idea. Partly an end-run around of how the US legal system works. From my understanding of it, from these homeowners’ perspective, their lakefront is not that great anymore - fish are dying and it's kind of gross. None of them have enough harm on their own to have standing against a factory across the lake really, so what this community group did was band together and I think formed a nonprofit that purports to represent the lake. That nonprofit sued polluters on behalf of the lake. There was a set of legal appeals by the polluters which they eventually lost. So in this part of the US, I believe it was the midwest, it’s ok to say something to the effect of “I represent the tree.”
That’s pretty interesting actually and I would expect it will have an impact on legal discourse in America: what things can you represent and under what circumstances? With smart contracts and blockchain, you can go one more level right away. It’s perfectly possible right now for a car or drone or a forest to trigger a message out to something that takes care of it or moves it around or something like that. No one’s really spent very much time on the this now; it's like a thing futurists say in talks but it's not a thing entrepreneurs or innovators seem to be working on that I know of. I think that's probably because they just need better, or more interesting use cases. I think there’s a little bit of a utopian dream has bled out of the side of the blockchain community that’s focused on these rich interactions and programmability, so EOS, Etherium, that group.
I’ve been thinking about the DAO recently and there’s a very exciting book being put together by Bloomberg reporter, Matthew Leising, about the DAO - the DAO hack and how it went and all of that. I think that will be fun for people to read and I’m excited to read it.
As we were talking about the book, I was just reminded about that era. The DAO was this ambitious idea, where this thing is going to get together and kind of own and control itself and determine all the interactions that outside people and money can have with it. The DAO was hacked and it was a lot of drama and I think, in response, the community decided they had to work on simpler use cases first. I think they also gave up some of their utopian dreams for new ways of interacting - economically, practically, all that. I think that’s too bad. I’d like to see people get back to that and be inspired by projects like that again.
One area that could happen is on objects that own themselves, so I'll talk about that more another time.