Interview With Cory Doctorow and Richard Koman On O'Reilly

Full Article Here
"..But the second-order effect is it will figure out who you hold in high esteem, who has an opinion about some restaurant you've never been to. And this opinion, and this esteem is called Whuffie.

Koman: And there's left-handed Whuffie and right-handed Whuffie.

Doctorow: That's right, well, it's idiosyncratic. Unlike things like Google PageRank, it's not a beauty contest; it doesn't tell you what the average person thinks is right, or beautiful, or worthy of esteem, it tells you what people like you--people who bought this book also bought clean underwear--think about this resource. And because it's not domain-specific, because it spans all these domains, it's got this incredibly rich dataset, so it's like people who are like you on lots of different axes telling you what to think.

Now, everyone sort of runs their lives as a consequence of this because those few resources that are scarce--like esteem itself, attention, locations--are themselves regulated or apportioned according to Whuffie. The way that happens is that someone asserts that they are in a position to control the distribution of that resource. A group of people--an ad hoc--comes along and says this is our restaurant. And if people behave as if it's their restaurant, if people sit at the tables when they're told to sit, if they order food when they're told to order, if they eat the food when it comes on a plate, then in fact, those people are running the restaurant. But they're only running the restaurant for as long as someone else doesn't come in and successfully assert that they are now running the restaurant. And so there's this built-in incentive to always behave in a way that always makes everyone feel good.

Koman: So this is not unlike deciding who's going to run Venezuela."


In a disfunctional NetMood?

I have been waiting for further developments in the NetMood reader featured to the right and at the bottom of the page. It seems not to be working, even when I go the NetMood site it reads "0". I have emailed them and asked what gives without response. The other problem I have is when you click on the bottem mousover text that says "Rate this site - See live stats" it takes you to the NetMood site which is a little confusing. It does say NetMood has added RSS feature and gives a link ,but it doesn't explain what that means. Maybe I am missing something obvious. More when I am in a better NetMood.

Dean Kamen and his amazing Segway

Buy one today for 5 grand at Amazon This is the follow up to an earlier archived post "It's the 80's so where is our rocket packs?". BoingX2' had this post about this Jetson's scooter being sold to the 'FedGuv for the military. Watch out Saddam we got space scooters! (Said in a Dana Carvey doing George Bush Senior voice.)

The Segway has been met with mixed reviews. Some think it will be a flop. I think differently for a few reasons, it has the potential to drasticly impact automobile clogged urban areas, it can go indoors as well as out meaning more mobility for the handicapped and elderly, and it really is an amazing innovation. Be sure and view the video [Slow pipe | Fat Pipe] to better understand it's potential. I also know that many cities have penned major legislation for integrating Segways. So get used to them. I think that because they are almost comicly ugly like a mixture of a lawn tool and a lawn mower Segways induce negative response. Also, the marketing is angled towards the sophisticated and the english butler name sounds upity (Correction: pr: like "segue" thanks Mike Hartley). When they come out with shiny chrome and hot colors, rename them to Pavement Rockets, and show Tony Hawk grinding one along a stair rail and catching big air, then they will catch on. Maybe even dangle them with some beads and a latchook bag for the Granola set.


finacial Whuffie and individual rights

See here for the dapper MIT Prof Chrysanthos Dellarocas' elaborate formula for keeping folks from fixing online reputations. It is a well done, 8 page document with scientific graphs and mathematic calculations.
It leads me to think about other reputation systems and how they work. I was hosed by a guy on Ebay (here is his email, go ahead and feel free to spam him. I know I have entered his email to every spam list I can find for the last year.) He had what appeared to be a great rep. But I noticed too late that every time I went more than 10 or 20 levels deep it went from great whuffie to dismal cussedness and claims of fraud. He had figured a way to fake reports likely by selling stuff to himself. Also, I was thinking about credit ratings and fairness. In a way credit ratings can punish those who are down, and reward the decadent. For instance if you apply for a job and they check your credit (financial whuffie) and it is hashed they don't give you the job. Sadly, if you got the job chances are you could mend your poor credit, which came from a job loss in the first place. And the guy who get's the job with his good rep has no motivation to work his tail off, because he can always get another job and live off his cards until then. I learned about this once when I hired back an alcoholic who I had previously fired; he had motivation to work harder than someone without a bad reputation.
Furthermore, they are giving $30,000 lines of credit to chimpanzees now days. Pampers come with the Visa logo on them, as some things in lif are out of reach for highschool students, but for all the rest, there is Mastercharge.
It also has produced a whole market for high interest "bad credit" purchasing. On the positive side I have clients who pay me before I send them to collections so they will not mar their high credit rating. And all these credit card abusers are motivated to go to consumer agencies to pay thier debts and repair their bad reputation.
I guess we have to face that in light of Enron and all the stock crashes, the credit industry has been kinda out of control. So possibly it is not a good model to observe. I remember buying a car at 19 with nothing but my good looks and a new job. Being amazed that they just let me walk off the lot with 3k worth of liability. I had always seen credit in the light of Gunsmoke, when uncle Festus would buy chaw on his tab at the old store because his credit was good. And when the family with a town drunk for a husband came in for supplies they were turned away as their credit was no good. (Festus would take the chaw out of his mouth and pay for thier supplies, what a good 'ol deputy.)
Nowadays it is like people think they have a right to credit. Regardless of reputation. The economic slapping we are all taking will likely correct all this. Anyhow food for thought. I think one way to keep Whuffie fair and balanced with a human face is to put high rewards to those who help others. The tendency for capitalists to use whuffie as a tool of greed, would be just as dangerous as using it as a governmental tool of manipulation. A set of balances and controls would need to be implemented to keep it the friendly sounding Whuffie from becoming a sick and depraved tool of oppression.

Whuffie Architecture

Nice blog from a legal eagle at UnBillableHours.com. In some of his prior posts he talks about Whuffie for lawyers and judges. And today gives a cool review of the classic film Lost Horizon. Also this link to a New York Times article on the need for a website for whuffie.
"What do you think? Would a Web site that rated individuals be a flagrant violation of privacy, or a useful database to make the world a better place?"
All accredited professions would have a Whuffie category including judges and lawyers. I have already pretty much decided that If someone give you negative whuffie it auto deducts points from your total WUPM (Whuffie Points Per Million) A negative Whuffie report can only equal one. So a few false reports or even debatable ones would mean nothing. And serious crime, project failure, divorce, or children charged with a crime would be a larger set amount of WUPM loss. You would have to create controls from vengeant cussed despots who would simply file a stream of false negative whuffie reports. (If you got caught filing a flagrantly false negative whuffie report, it would deduct major WUPM from the offender.) The more I ponder Whuffie though, I am thinking there would have to be a committee or jury who would investigate and rule on whuffie disputes, as well as whuffie cops bustin' underground coder labs manufacturing false whuffie information software, spammers sending email that threatens to dink your whuffie if you don't buy their product or fill out their identitheft forms, and card shark dot-conmen manipulating whuffie fraudulently. This troubles me as implementation and operability are important benchmarks of a credible system. (I am sure, well paid groups of e-telectuals from the likes of Opencola and Paypal/Ebay have studied these issues at much more length then I, however, I like to think that my objectivity gives me a valuable perspective. Likely I am just self involved.)

This broken link repaired from a previous post:
Man with serious Whuffie: Isaac Asimov. I had read several of his books and new that he was a legit scientist and theorist who was a well accomplished literary giant but read this list of his books. It's friggen' uge. It has it's own moon orbiting it!


"Here in lies the rub"

"Whuffie is how much esteem people hold you in. And currency is a really rough approximation of Whuffie, because ideally you'd want idiosyncratic currency. So in other words I want to know that when you buy something from me, or you and I exchange some service for goods, or favors, or what have you, that your currency trades highly in my personal market because the people that I have a lot of respect for respect you very highly. Or don't."

(Hmmnn..ya' think he's sick of explaining Whuffie to people yet?)

"Damon Knight, who was one of my teachers at the Clarion Workshop, who is really one of the fathers of our genre, he founded the Science Fiction Writers of America, wrote the canonical Twilight Zone episodes, just a fantastic writer, I brought a stack of his books for him to sign when I went to the workshop where he taught. And on like three of them, he crossed the terrible titles out and wrote in the title that he preferred."

(I am a huge fan of old Twilight Zones: Like the one where the lady is being chased by a mini spaceman with a kitchen knife.)

Quotes from raw interview with Cory Doctorow by Dylan.


Mr.Oren picks up track back

Mr. Oren picks up track back from this site and comments his lack of confidence in reputation "currency". Although his point is well taken I think he needs to do more due-dilligence and read Cory's book. It appears that he doesn't think whuffie could be considered viable currency. Of course he uses accountant speak like "fungible". So I have to question his trust. (joke) I guess shared whuffie would be co-mingling funds. Also, would the IRS require whuffie earnings statements?
What he misses in all the whuffie banter is that "Down and Out In the Magic Kindom" is set in a time with a cashless society-leaving whuffie as the only form of social capitol. I do agree that right now social trust is no more a literal currency then marketing or advertising, they produce currency bu they are not the currency themselves. Especially when you cannot transfer your aquired good Ebay comments to another user. But that doesn't mean it couldn't be done.