Yesterday marked the crowdfunding launch of splicious, a social-networking-type application that exemplifies the many apps that can be built on the underlying platform for distributed computing & connecting. Even though splicious will rock in the processing & presentation of what Indie Phone’s Aral Balkan calls “Small Data” (following the compelling sentence “I’m not interested in Big Data – I’m interested in *My* Data”) I think splicious apps are actually bound to become a hit *before* the Internet of Things becomes unwieldy to wannabe-Luddites like me.
In a few months, splicious will NOT just be interesting to developers, because it’s so straightforward to build very attractive things on this platform. I see splicious’ “social network”-type app as the first mainstreamable peer-to-peer, distributed online tool for direct personal and social empowerment. Imagine, for example, being able to find out which neighbors you’ve never met have kids the same age as yours — after validating through authorities that both you and they are not known sex offenders, or whatever other anonymous-but-personal-background-check-like info your neighbors require before they entertain this kind of a relationship — which they have a standing query out for. A less life-alteringly joyful but powerful example: Imagine being able to validate that you are indeed a unique citizen who has yet to cast her vote, without associating your name or meta-identifiers while casting it… and, now imagine you changed your mind, and you’re able to correct your vote just as easily & confidentially. Any program claiming that capability so far has been a proprietary ‘black box’ — uncheckable, unaccountable, and worthwhile to crack/tamper with.
Splicious is about Trust — well-founded, well-developed Trust. Therefore, splicious is about context, accountability, and reputation. And about packaging each bit of information in its own encryption and letting it swim around and mix, like individual seeds on the wind, so there is no worthwhile hacking jackpot of associable information.
Transparency Splicious is built in the clear: all the code is Open Source, and the programming language used is very closely related to the math language that security analysts employ to check the authenticity and security of processes. In other words: it’s relatively simple to check that splicious is coded to do what it was promised to do; no more and no less. Wire it to cheat people, and you will be caught. This (yearsss’ worth of) intricate groundwork makes it easier for app developers (and their lay funders, for example) to spec and build awesome stuff on top of it in any language they like, yet do so both transparently and without all of the vulnerabilities inherent in so many of the industry standards of the past. Here’s one of our brilliant coders talking about what excites him – and makes splicious tick: splicious ask. Scalability and Viability Truly distributed social networks have unique challenges on the building/launching/maintainance/development path, to do with scalabilty and financial viability. How can a distributed, anonymous-by-default, peer-to-peer platform like splicious (where there is no central authority, no central hub or storage, no central database to hack in a single swoop) sustain itself financially without perpetual fundraising? I currently see the following 3 ways:
- Every time we support each other (directly, peer-to-peer, with the integrated Bitcoin support button, ♥, pronounced ‘honey’) we ensure splicious’ financial sustainability with a small fraction of BTC – completely anonymously, and in proportion to how much value we’re getting out of the service and able to express in this way.
- Every time we notice a big or a feature we’d like fixed, done, or made, or a beautification/layout improvement comes to mind, we can add our 2 cents, in the form of informative remarks, monetary incentive, and perhaps labors of love, to the codex of code-to-be.
- Every time we invite a friend to connecct via splicious, we are inviting the mainstreaming of a new paradigm in communication: pull over push marketing, the intention economy, and straightforward accountability to appropriate-level connection.
My Personal Interest Until splicious grows to handle and attract mainstream use able to sustain it in these small and subtle ways (which will be when we have 1 million participants May 18, 2015) there will be an iterative, relationship-building, confidence-building, transparency-&-accountability-based crowdfunding relationship. This, the first of four crowdfunding iterations, is meant to invite impassioned interest from 1000 participants. The next (after proving the promised features are built in spec) will invite 10,000 participants. Then, after the 3rd, 100,000-participant round, the last of four 3-month stints will fund, attract, and prepare splicious for 1million users. Hopefully it will look fun to code-illiterate people like my neighbors, who couldn’t care less about privacy, but who want to have the functionality of labels and location-searches that allow for meaningful local semantics and incremental intimacy to emerge more like nature, and less like instant coffee: by introductions, by getting to know people based on what we have in common, and increasing interaction gradually. I have longed for a tool that accounts for the uniqueness of each relationship, and allows us to playfully and respectfully discover our complimentary needs and desires – ways we fit in each others’ lives and make everything sweeter. Clearly, I’m in love. As a spiritual practice and a sociological experiment, I actually do the face-to-face ‘work’ (play) of getting to know neighbors well enough to appreciate their unique dreams, talents, and desires, and then connect them to one another like a good hostess does – based on complimentary/shared interests. I’m excited for the tool I feel they/we/I desire in my heart; one that allows my neighbors to deny me access to intimate information unless they see and value the use I will put the data to; one that frees me from data-entry & maintenance; one that ensures I can do double-blind and controlled comparisons with data that is offered to me completely unidentifiable/anonymous, and yet is validly unique and connected to someone I can pay in research results/Bitcoin/gifts, and can still ask questions of over time – also anonymously… ah, the list goes on. I’m excited for this tool to become available to me and my colleagues, to help us validate the value of (and fund!) our work, and for it to be a thing neighbors love to use for entirely different reasons: because it is better than e-mail, Facebook, and their personal filing systems combined. Splicious does some really heavy lifting for us all, and is more fun and intuitive than the alternatives. Conclusion I’m in love – not with splicious, but with the world I wish to see, and already see, but need this high-quality tool to display/prove/reflect to itself… to foster high-quality connections with high-quality integrity… to validate, keep safe, and yet highlight, celebrate, & foster that which is good and true and just all around me – in responsible, respectable ways. I’m curious what your dreams are for our social/digital/mental environment?
Please spread the word to fund the splicious *you* wish to see! http://rkthb.co/42500