After the latest industrial (19th-20th century) and information revolutions (brought by the Internet in the 20th-21th century), the next one is coming. It might be dubbed the Decentralization revolution, and it has already begun, boosted by the rise of several new technologies, like photovoltaic, blockchain and VTOL aircrafts. These are already spreading in places where they are the most useful. The scattered lands across the Pacific are among the few which are taking the maximum benefits out of it, and it is only the beginning.
Since the beginning of recorded history, centralized organisation patterns have been the rule. Even in nature, it is a predominant model. Think how the brain gathers data from the body surrounding it, and then sends back decision data: orders to every muscle. Think about how the sun rules all motion in our planetary system from its center. Think how ant colonies or honeybees swarms organize around a central home base. Human social history shows that we aren’t strangers to this phenomenon. It has governed our way of perceiving reality since ages, and consequently, our way of doing stuff.
Centralization, the legacy of a very successful survival instinct
Long, long ago, we began gathering around a family member, then a tribe chief, then a Lord, then a King, etc. Originally, we did that in order to get better chances of survival. Like wolves packs, it was easier, collectively, to fight off large predators, hunt big game and grow kids, united around the most capable members of the group.
Fast forward ! Eventually, some of us began doing that to get more comfortable, like most of the urban populations of developed countries nowadays.
Knowledge is power : information gets centralized
One vital ressource had to be centralized over time by scattered human groups in order to survive, and later thrive: information. As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. All significant information or event observed by a member of the group was reported to a central figure of authority. The latter would then make decisions accordingly, with the objective of leading the group towards a more secure future.
Today these central information-gathering, decision-making, leading figures have evolved (at least in democratic countries) into governments and human grouped into nations. It has changed only in size and complexity, but the same centralized pattern thrives in every layer of human society. Think about the headquarters of multinationals, of international banks, of political parties, of sports federations, etc. The list never ends.
Blockchain: when all the information is “everywhere” at the same time
However things are changing today. It’s a revolution… again! The blockchain technology emerged quite quickly, publicly demonstrated with the bitcoin, the first massively used crypto-currency, launched in 2009. Currently, a host of new crypto-currencies are developing worldwide, the most renowned being Ethereum at the moment.
This technology is, in fact, extremely useful because it is “trustless”. It is so secure by its nature that trust is no longer needed when transactions are made between two parties. The reason is that with blockchain, information is no longer centralized and distributed to the periphery, but rather duplicated in “blocks”. Changes in the data has to be recorded in each block of the chain. Each one has the same amount of information at any time, since the updating of data is not possible unless it is done in the whole chain of blocks. This principle favors transparency and traceability. It is currently one of the most quickly emerging technologies, with some of the biggest organisations on the planet switching massively towards it in various domains of application, like distributed cloud storage, digital identity, smart contracts, digital voting, decentralized notary…
To name just a few: J.P. Morgan Chase, IBM, Thomson Reuters, Microsoft…
Instant information access increase for the Pacific
Here in the Pacific, this tech is taking us much more quickly out of our isolation. It had already begun with the Internet revolution but now blockchain is sure to take us at a way higher level of “connection” to the information. Soon, we won’t even have to rely on big data centers to get foreign information as we will also have the whole of it, like everyone else, “at home”. It is already being felt in the banking sector with money transfer becoming as quick and seamless as it is in large developed countries…
Don’t miss part two next week on energy decentralization…