Holochain Forum

Why Build Ceptr?

This is the part where we’re supposed to quote Einstein about how problems can’t be solved by the mindset that created them, and tell you about how Ceptr solves a bunch of previously unsolvable problems. We see what Ceptr makes possible as a much bigger deal than the problems it solves, although both are important.

Problems Solved: Humankind has built a global, electronic, communications network which enables us to collaborate on scales like never before. However, the gap between theory and practice is immense. Technical barriers constrain access and make it difficult for applications to interface with each other. We have weak tools for working on large-scale collaboration and decision-making, and the power dynamics of who controls shared data and communications keeps it out of reach. APIs and Protocols compete with one another, keeping our computing infrastructure fragmented and brittle. But what if we could elegantly transcend all of these technical barriers at once? After all, shouldn’t our technology actually help us work together? Everything should work together easily.

Audacious Possibilities: The social hurdles are just as challenging: entrenched economic interests, upside-down incentives, legal jurisdictions, challenges with large-scale decision-making, setting priorities in the face of numerous challenges, and melding diverse viewpoints into a shared perspective. Humanity is poised on the edge of a quantum leap in evolution—not at an individual level—but at the level of our collective social organisms, such as corporations, institutions, and governments. In order to make this leap, we will need the same kind of architectures of intelligence that make it possible for trillions of cells to work together in an organism.

Large-scale, collective intelligence requires communication to be virtually instantaneous (electronic), peered, decentralized, semantic, and designed to evolve in response to rapidly changing needs. Effective collaboration on such a scale would obviate most of the power structures that underpin the social barriers to change, and could make formerly intractable problems—such as climate change, species extinction, resource depletion, and poverty—readily solvable.

Ceptr is designed to provide building blocks with the expressive capacity that embodies nature’s architectures of intelligence, as well as to enable an explosion of new patterns of collective intelligence on every scale.


Yes, well said, agree with every word! :wink:

This really reminds me on the work of Francisco Varela on Emergent properties and virtual selves in his book Ethical Know-How. He wrote about the emergent characteristics of an internal network and the conclusion that many simple means with simple traits are perhaps even arbitrarily brought together to produce what appears to an observer as a purposeful and integrated whole without the need for central oversight.
One of the most convincing examples is the social insect colony. What is particularly remarkable about the insect colony is that we can easily admit that its individual components are individuals and that they have no centre or local “self”. But the whole behaves like a unit and as if there were a coordinator in its center. This is exactly what Varela means by a selfless (or virtual) self: a coherent global pattern that emerges from the activity of simple local components that seems to be central but is nowhere to be found, yet is essential as a level of interaction for the behavior of the whole.
The import of this model, how complex systems show emergent properties through the coordinated activity of simple elements, is quite profound for my understanding of Holochain in my eyes. It introduces an explicit alternative to the dominant blockchain tradition, which postulates that inputs are sequentially processed to restore a centralized and internal representation of the outside world.