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A digital wallet based on online meritocracy

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Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain Apr 17, 2022
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An online wallet for a digital currency based on the worth of your positive contribution to the internet.
Why?
  • To adequately incentivize productive use of the internet
  • Help ideators and problem solvers capitalize on their digital contributions
  • To solve the data power asymmetry between corporations and individuals
How it works:
Using a meticulously designed algorithm, the idea is to assign a certain value to each individual’s overall digital footprint and give it a certain score that can be translated into a special kind of digital currency. The more ‘positive value’ a person gathers with useful and creative contributions on the internet, the more cash s/he will have in his or her digital wallet. How do we assign the value/score? Positive or negative presence on the internet can be weighted and given relative values. For example, if a person has developed open-source software to solve any given problem, the person is given a certain positive score. On the opposite side, a person with a track of digital crimes/scams can be negatively scored. Relative values can be used to omit the necessity of an ‘absolute’ value. To elaborate a bit more, each individual’s average digital footprint is calculated using a layered approach. Layer 1: It weighs positive/negative contributions from the most generic online accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Microsoft, Linkedin etc. Layer 1 weights will be based on the productive contributions made from these accounts. Any sponsored accounts or non-person accounts are not included.
Layer 2: It weighs scores from more specialized online platforms. Just like researchgate has its scoring system for individual researchers, there could be the cumulative score that also counts contributions on other platforms like GitHub, medium, quora, and brainstorming.
Layer 3: This layer scouts for individuals to score them based on their intellectual contributions in the forms of peer-reviewed research, books, open-source software development or similar level of intellectual inputs.
The algorithm shall be able to assort value to accounts on the basis of a general online meritocracy: if you have been reported/flagged by more than X users within Y amount of time across P number of online platforms, your cumulative score might suffer by Z degrees. Ditto, on the positive scale, for online (& organic) endorsements, citations and referrals.
Layer3 > Layer2 > Layer1 scores because the work/input/energy needed for contribution in Layer 3 > Layer 2 > Layer 1. A modular weighing can be used to normalize the distribution of individuals: a person can have high digital worth by publishing in Nature, or alternatively by having a very positive influence on his organic followers on Twitter (with the latter being more lightly scored) . This can even help solve -at least partially- the power asymmetry between the corporations and the individuals. XYZ is first an engineer himself, and only then an Amazon worker. Hence, the work he does should have values beyond his office space. Those values won't lie in the hands of Amazon under the proposed algorithm. Rather, he could be endorsed organically by his colleagues, followers and friends online, and hence have strong extra-official merit. By-product: data equity.
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General comments

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni8 months ago
This is interesting and it seems like we (the world) are moving towards it in a way. One hindrance in calculating the cumulative online score is weighing a person's digital footprint across multiple platforms. For example, a person who publishes in Nature may not be active on Quora or Youtube; however, their work has influenced millions and they may be nominated for the Nobel prize. On the other hand, a person who cuts freely available videos by other people and makes compilations of similar actions (the best example here is the "epic fails of 2022") has 196k subscribers. I am not saying that any form of digital existence is superior to the others. How do you then compare these subscribers and video views on one hand and the citations on the Nature paper on the other? You will encounter this problem will all platforms out there since they have different metrics to judge popularity/ digital existence. Even the likes on photos may not be comparable to the views and subscribers on videos.
Also, the work of a Nobel prize winner may not (or cannot) be appreciated by all (other than domain experts) but it indirectly influences a lot of people. They may have no existence on social media platforms, making the comparison even more difficult.
Another point to remember is that a Nobel-prize winner may not want to spend time posting videos and photos or even tweets (even if they reflect the work in the lab) but want to be buried in their lab. Should such people be unwillingly included in the cumulative score metric and positioned amongst Youtubers and photographers?
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Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain8 months ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni that is a genuine concern and indeed we need to figure this out before any such thing is brought alive. That is why I proposed a kind of 'modular' weighing with an inherent bias for more rigorous work to be valued more. A Nature paper should be valued more than just a secondary synthesis video (but it is highly subjective and can draw controversy); however, I think there are various models/theories in economics that can handle such situations. Not to weigh down on any type of contribution, but the very complexity of more rigorous scientific exploration shall be more heavily weighed. Similarly, art and craft that are widely acclaimed can have more value. The other way to look into it is the primary input (in terms of energy, logistics and financing) that goes into creating any 'contribution'. A research paper in a peer-reviewed journal is not just a text or a document; it is a result of a long process that reflects a lot of physical work; which is a bit different than any other digital content that necessarily doesn't reflect any primary work directly. The idea is naive, and with continuous iterations with more philosophical enquiry, I think it is doable.
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Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice8 months ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni How about using china's social credit system as a baseline and then building upon it to make something better. A sort of metric to how good of a human being you are. I think that people would oppose it though because it sort of quantifies what it means to be a good person. Thoughts?
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni8 months ago
Subash Chapagain Agreed. The basic philosophy matters. For example, what direction (intention) would you like to take when selecting a parameter/s for evaluating or scoring an online contribution? Do you use the novelty/ intelligence behind the contribution? Or the effort taken to go there? For example, if I click a photo of a sapling every day for 10 years, that is a lot of work too. Where does that lie in the ranking - below the Nature paper or above it? Or as Contrived _voice suggested, do you use the metric of being a good human? Personally, the online contributions of a person may not have anything to do with how good the person is as a human. These are two different qualities that need separate efforts to improve. As an example, do you think shouting and cursing people entails being a bad human? Here is Gordan Ramsay shouting at people. If yes, do you think that makes him a bad chef? Definitely not, right? I mean his beef wellington could be perfect. :) Therefore, if he was contending to be a cook, he may stand somewhere at the top. If he was contending to be a better human, not so much. Pooling and comparing two unrelated things may introduce subjectivity.
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Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice8 months ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni So the key is the separation between the person and deed. We assign merit based on accomplishment, not the means taken to get there nor the nature of the person responsible. Great direction but that too hits a wall. Social advocacy might find fault here when people with a history of vices like assault or racism or pedophilia get high online merit points while being horrible people in real life.
That could be overcome by docking points for socially unacceptable behavior but that could also descend into a slander contest where people try to dig up bad things about each other in an attempt to prove their own higher morality.
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