Creating a community trust
An alternative strategy
Without the incentive of rewards in an afterlife, it seems unlikely that everyone connected to the Internet will suddenly start to act altruistically and enter into the spirit of trusting collaboration. Yet, we know millions of people would like the Internet environment to be this way. What can be done to trigger it off?
Here is where we need to stop thinking about the Macro environment and start thinking locally. It may be impossible to get everyone on the Internet to play the game sensibly, but, it must be possible for this to happen within small groups of people who have got to know each other well and are bound together through some common interest. The trick is to find these groups of people you can trust - and, more importantly, who will trust you.
This needs another paradigm shift. Instead of thinking about joining a group of people whom you can trust and respect, why not form a group of your own. In this way you can ensure that every person in that group is somebody you can rely on and trust and have these feelings reciprocated.
At first thought, the idea that you can form a group of this kind seems widely fanciful, that is until you realise that this is what you have been doing all of your life already. Everyone does it. Everyone forms a personal group of friends and long established contacts and colleagues, which they know they can trust and rely on and who trust and rely on them in return.
Consider how these groups of trusted friends and colleagues are formed. They don't just manifest out of the blue. Each friend or colleague is painstakingly cultivated through a strategy not dissimilar to the strategy of tit-for-tat. Starting slowly and cautiously at first, these friendships and associations gradually build up to a point where firm bonds are established. Not every acquaintanceship will blossom into a lasting relationship, in fact most won't, but, by a process or trial and selection a group can be formed. Isn't this the way biological organisms evolve: trial and selection? A circle of close acquaintances can be grown in much the same way as organic structures grow: through a process of evolution.
In biological systems, populations in an evolving ecosystem are limited by space and a supply of nutrients or food. In a similar way, a circle of close acquaintanceships is limited by the amount of time needed to maintain the relationships. With this limitation, a circle of trusted contacts and colleagues has a practical upper limit. As soon as that limit is reached, new associations can only be acquired by losing (or neglecting) others. This is a typical evolutionary situation. A person's circle of associates is effectively an evolving interface for interacting with the world.
Seeing a circle of contacts and colleagues as an evolving interface, it is understandable that this should change when a person changes their circumstances or takes up a new interest or occupation. The circle of associates has to change in order to adapt more efficiently to the new environment.
Seen in this light, the full potential of the Internet is revealed. It is not about mass communication at all: it is about an environment that is ideal for forming appropriate personal interfaces to the world of communication. It's not practical to communicate with everybody, but, it is practical to build up a personal group of trusted contacts.
Using the organising facilities of a computer and having the ability to create many simultaneous relationships at the same time, a very much larger group of trusted contacts and associates can be acquired in the environment of the Internet than would be possible in the conventional world of bricks and mortar. Internet communication makes it easy to continuously engage in tit-for-tat explorations for new associations. A genetic algorithm approach can be used to ensure that the circle of contacts are optimally efficient for personal needs and enable it to adapt to any changes of interest.
Once the paradigm shift is made from the global to the local, it can be seen how everyone can benefit by cultivating their own circle of contacts and associates. Investors, entrepreneurs, auteurs, specialists and experts are able to create their own personal interfaces to suit their own particular needs in the world of information and knowledge.
In the conventional world of bricks and mortar, building up a circle of associates, although requiring skill, is relatively straightforward. The limitation of available time and opportunity are a restriction on choice. Our brains have evolved a capacity to deal with this limited choice and it presents no serious problems. However, in the environment of the Internet, where choice is virtually unlimited and opportunities abound, our ability to acquire a suitable circle of acquaintances is handicapped by our brain's ability to deal with such complexity.
This is why we need a game theory approach: to provide a conceptual framework to compensate for our brain's deficiencies. We can then use the search strategy of the genetic algorithm and choose an appropriate set of heuristic rules to provide the selection criteria.