Global sentiment analysis - public sentiment as the invisible hand behind democracy and how it relates to DPOS
“In this age, in this country, public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; against it, nothing can succeed. Whoever molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes, or pronounces judicial decisions.” Abraham Lincoln
Public sentiment is the invisible hand behind democracy
Democratic networks run on public sentiment. Any network which has voters, which has a crowd, which has either proposals to be voted on or representatives to vote for, is in essence guided by public sentiment. Steemit and DPOS based consensus networks all require democracy in order to work. This requirement for democracy by DPOS based consensus networks may in fact be the main flaw behind DPOS because there is the risk that the entire network could become under the influence of popularity cults.
What is a popularity cult? It usually forms around a cult personality type which the zeitgeist of the time prefers. This cult personality type may be then put in the position of "thought leader" whose opinions hold extraordinary weight. In the crypto space there already are such thought leaders which means under any democratic style network these thought leaders may become the key players. This is a problem because most people instead of thinking for themselves on every decision will prefer to go with the flow and follow the opinions of their leader(s).
Why follow the leader can become problematic
Thought leaders ultimately centralize the decision making. While it may seem that under DPOS or similar protocols that the crowd is wise and well informed, instead what we actually see in practice is very low participation rates. We also see a heavy reliance on the opinions of thought leaders who may be justifiably experts in narrow areas, but who then go to speak on every area as many people look up to them. This in my opinion represents a potential bottleneck because a thought leader may be a genius at developing blockchains or at artificial intelligence but may not know very much about the law (compliance) or team building. In essence, follow the leader can result in tribal disputes between personality cults which can ultimately disintegrate cooperation in an industry.
In my opinion the main flaw behind DPOS and similar democratic style consensus is politics. Politics in most countries divide the people. Additionally the political disputes are easily manipulated by propaganda from both mainstream and alternative media. The crowd by itself is not wise and does not research deeply into matters and for this reason the media has extreme influence.
We can for instance see how investors react to news of a South Korean ban on crypto exchanges and we can see many investors make emotional decisions based on this new information. The speculation which takes place under the democratic style political systems is a bit different where instead of people betting on which stocks will go up and down, essentially the bets are on where public sentiment will move. If you can in essence see where public sentiment is and project where it is going to go then you can do well in politics just as if you can see where the market is and where it is going to go you can do well at investing.
The problem is most of us have no clue where public sentiment is going to go and very few have any clue where public sentiment is at any point in time. The means of determining where public sentiment either in markets or in politics is by capturing public sentiment via opinion polls and then analyzing it.
Global sentiment analysis as a new input for decision making
In the past the technology did not exist to capture the opinions of people around the globe. The world was smaller, less connected, and language barriers prevented human beings from being able to know what other human beings think. These language barriers are now removed by AI, people are now more connected than ever by social media, and the blockchain allows for a record of the consensus at any point in time. The problem today isn't that we cannot capture the data which represents global sentiment but it is a problem of being unable to analyze and process the big data which represents global sentiment.
Steemit as a product is like a machine which produces an output of global sentiment. All who post their true opinions and thoughts on Steemit have submitted that data to be analyzed by AI going into the future. The ability to process the data on Steemit will only improve over time until eventually we will be able to track in a precise manner the current sentiment of Steemit. This may not substitute for the sentiment of the globe, or even of the cryptospace, but it does give us a source of data.
Global sentiment can teach us the current "right and wrong" views of humanity
How do we determine what is right and what is wrong from the eyes of humanity itself? The only way to capture this data is by continuously analyzing the expressed opinions of humanity. Humanity is a global organism and while this organism is decentralized down to the level of individuals, with individual opinions, we require a means of combining and synthesizing these various opinions in a way which is useful to what we are trying to do. Some examples of changes in global sentiment are below for discussion:
- The global economy is improving in the minds of the global person but pessimism remains about the future.
- The views of NATO have improved in certain places. In order words NATO is more popular now.
- The views of Russia in the mind of the European person has diminished (this may be connected to NATO improving)
- Angela Merkel is viewed as more competent when it comes to global affairs than some other politicians at this time.
If the crypto space is going to catch up and do these political chains in the right way then there will have to be global sentiment analysis. The result of this analysis should be used so that decisions with regard to design or upgrading can be data driven rather than by way of a top down command and control. This requires a way to collect data in such a way that the data is kept private yet allow machines to analyze it.
The problem with transparency is that when you have too much of the wrong kind of it then people cannot express their true opinions if it deviates too much from public sentiment. People for example cannot vote what they really believe if they think their votes will be analyzed on the blockchain for all time by machine intelligence to later be used against them by those who disagree. For these reasons the votes must be private and the opinions whether expressed in public or kept in private must be analyzed so as to better inform developers and key decision makers on what actions to take.