BSci Quarterly Newsletter Q4 2023


As we embrace the spirit of the season and bid farewell to 2023, we are delighted to present the December edition of our newsletter. This quarter has been a journey of innovation, collaboration, and insightful exploration.

The holiday season is a time for reflection, gratitude, and celebrating our forged connections. We appreciate your support throughout the year and extend our warmest wishes to you!

May the holiday season bring you moments of joy, peace, and inspiration. Here's to a well-deserved break, surrounded by loved ones, and to a New Year filled with fresh perspectives, exciting endeavors, and continued growth for all of us. Thank you for being an integral part of our community 🙏💙

ARTICLES AND PAPERS

Tech & Infrastructure

Building With Blocks of Science
This article explores the role of models in governance, economics, and technology, advocating for model-based systems engineering (MBSE). BlockScience focuses on interdependent research in technology, economics, and governance, aiming to bridge the gap between technological advancement and responsible implementation, emphasizing the importance of understanding and respecting the limitations of models.

Objects as Reference: Toward Robust First Principles of Digital Organization
Dive into the foundational exploration of digital objects and their organization. Here, Orion Reed introduces the "Objects as Reference" theory, defining digital objects as relationships between references and referents. Understand how this theory provides a basis for understanding and designing organizational infrastructure in digital systems, fostering interdisciplinary dialogue, and advancing systems engineering - essential reading for those intrigued by the fundamental principles shaping digital organization.

Automating Compliance and Security with Shield3
Here, we explore Shield3's automated policy framework addressing compliance challenges in blockchain technology. It enhances security, efficiency, and user experience in financial applications, offering a customizable solution for enterprises looking to engage with blockchain while ensuring robust compliance.

Governance

An artist’s illustration of the Governance Modules Library by Viola Sellerino

Launching an Open Source Library for Governance Modules on Soroban
This article unveils the Governance Modules Library (GML), an open-source collection for computational governance in decentralized applications and organizations. Developed in collaboration with Stellar Development Foundation, it provides diverse modules for power attribution, identity, and rights management. The GML supports Soroban's goal as a premier governance platform and encourages community contributions and showcasing connections to broader ecosystem initiatives.

The Story Behind Neural Quorum Governance
This article takes you behind the scenes of the engineering design process behind Neural Quorum Governance (NQG), a novel governance module developed through collaboration between BlockScience and Stellar Development Foundation. It details the ideation, design, and implementation journey, offering insights into workshops, decision-making processes, and the use of the engineering design process.Introducing Neural Quorum GovernanceThis article unveils a groundbreaking mechanism, NQG, which was co-developed with the Stellar Development Foundation. It holds the potential to enhance fairness, engagement, and flexibility in the Stellar Community Fund, featuring Neural Governance with voting neurons and Quorum Delegation. Modular design and community participation are fostering transparency and open collaboration in the further development of this novel voting tool.

Constituting an AI: Accountability Lessons from a LLM Experiment
In this hallmark paper, Our Lead Social Scientist and Digital Ethnographer, Kelsie Nabben, takes you behind the scenes of our research experiment building "BSci GPT" and offers a systems lens on AI governance and accountability. She provides a foundational perspective to better understand accountability in human-AI interactions with organizational contexts and suggests strategies for aligning AI tech with human interests across contexts.

Blockchain Constitutionalism: the Role of Legitimacy in Polycentric Systems
This piece - with contributions from Nabben - summarizes discussions from the European University Institute conference on blockchain constitutionalism. It offers more on the role of legitimacy in polycentric systems and high-level learnings from the new sub-field of blockchain constitutionalism - a must-read for anyone studying blockchain governance.

SEAL DRILLS: Attack Simulations to Improve Web3 Security
We’ve written about the importance of vulnerability analysis in emerging tech. New work by our research colleagues at Shield3 and Paradigm takes it one step further, holding “SEAL Drills,” a white hat hacking project to practice detecting, diagnosing, and swiftly responding to blockchain protocol attacks. Nabben followed the group and detailed the exercises from an accountability perspective.

Governatooorr Guardrails: Practical considerations when introducing automated governance agents
This article discusses Governatooorr, an AI governance delegate for blockchain DAOs, exploring its development, challenges, and impact on human attention. It emphasizes the need for careful consideration to avoid unintended consequences in automated governance systems.

Economics 

A fungal bouquet by Jill Bliss.

An Introduction To: “Foundations of Cryptoeconomic Systems” 
In the rapidly evolving landscape of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, understanding the intricate web of interactions within cryptoeconomic systems is paramount. “Foundations of Cryptoeconomic Systems," a groundbreaking paper by Shermin Voshmgir and Michael Zargham published at the University of Vienna Institute for Cryptoeconomics, lays the groundwork for comprehending these complex systems. This article serves as a gateway into the paper's key concepts, offering a concise overview of its central themes.

Ceramic Ecosystem Mapping Report 
Explore the "Ceramic Ecosystem Mapping Report" by BlockScience and 3Box Labs, surveying the Web3 decentralized data network. This collaborative effort dissects Ceramic's role, addressing gaps in off-chain data provisioning for on-chain apps. Essential for stakeholders, the report provides a foundational understanding of potential mechanism design recommendations. Access the full report for comprehensive insights.

From Monoculture to Permaculture Currencies: A Glimpse of the Myco-Economic Future 
This journal chapter proposal explores the shift from monoculture to permaculture currencies, drawing inspiration from nature's mycelial networks. It delves into the historical symbiosis between fungi and resource redistribution, contrasting it with the impact of imperialist economics. BSci researcher Jeff Emmett envisions a myco-economic future where decentralized, purpose-driven economies mimic natural ecosystems, emphasizing the urgent need for alternatives in the face of ecological destruction. 

Podcasts & Presentations

Amber Case & Michael Zargham on Entangled Technologies & Design As Governance on Future Fossils Podcast
From talking washers to Shintoism and cyborg prosthetics, Amber Case and Michael Zargham joined the Future Fossils podcast host Michael Garfield for a fascinating conversation on the deep human needs and limiting the path of dependencies influencing tech and media design.   An insightful, playful trialogue in under 40 minutes!

The ‘Design Space’ of LLM’s (Demystifying LLM’s & LLM-based systems)
In this tech-driven discussion, Orion Reed demystifies Large Language Model (LLM) systems, shedding light on their inner workings without diving into the complexities of architecture. From the basics like tokens to more advanced concepts such as context windows, reasoning models, and generation techniques, Reed takes us on a technical journey, explained in straightforward terms.

The Technologist's Responsibility and Social Change
Amber Case leads a discussion and shares her unique insights on the intricate intersection of technology, ethics, and governance. In this recorded discussion from the BlockScience Governance Research Pod, senior engineers and scientists at BlockScience discuss the paper "The Technologist's Responsibility and Social Change" by Mark Weiser, Principal Scientist at Xerox PARC. The video delves into insights into the evolution of Ubiquitous Computing, providing a nuanced perspective on how it impacts our daily lives and sheds light on the challenges and opportunities transformative technologies pose.

EVENTS

Stellar Meridian - Madrid, Spain

(Left - Danilo Lessa Bernardineli, BSci Senior Research Engineer; Middle - Alejo Mendoza, Lead Engineer at Stellar Community Fund; and Right - Anke Liu, Senior Program Manager at Stellar Development Foundation)

Panel Recordings
DAOs & Possibilities for Governance
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) are novel systems of governance that leverage the trustlessness, open access, and composability of smart contracts. Our Senior Research Engineer Danilo Lessa Bernardineli participated in this panel from Stellar Meridian 2023 previewing developments on Stellar Network and smart contract platform Soroban. Bernardineli spoke about our work on Neural Quorum Governance, an open source modules library, and other research and innovation in novel governance mechanisms and modeling.

What's Next for Community FundingThis panel with Bernardineli dives deeper into voting mechanisms and their applications for the Stellar Community Fund and other potential implementations with insights into design and plans for a more robust community-driven ecosystem.  

A General Forum on Ethereum Localism - Portland, Oregon

Jeff Emmett presenting at PDX DAU Ethereum Localism Forum

PDX DAO Localism Forum: Regen Fishbowl
BlockScience researcher Jeff Emmett presented at the PDX DAO Ethereum Localism Forum in Portland, Oregon. He joined a live edition of the Green Pill podcast with other event attendees to discuss Regenerative Finance, community currencies, and globally connected, locally rooted initiatives.

Ostrom Workshop - Boulder, Colorado

Eric Alston presenting at Ostrom Workshop

Norms, Institution, and Digital Veils of Uncertainty - Do Network Protocols Need Trust Anyway?
BlockScience researcher and Scholar in Residence at CU Boulder Eric Alston presented at the Ostrom Workshop Fall 2023 Colloquium at the University of Colorado. He explores the relationship between norms and institutions, challenges in governance design for digital platforms, and the impact of intentional norm design on institutions, emphasizing the nuanced nature of societal shifts.

Informs Conference - Phoenix, Arizona

BlockScience Senior Research Engineer Jamsheed Shorish (L), Chief Engineer Michael Zargham (M), and Communications Lead and Researcher Jessica Zartler pose outside of the Informs annual meeting.

Informs is the largest professional association for the decision and data sciences, with over 12,000 members. The conference hosted thousands of presentations on operations research, analytics, management science, economics, behavioral science, statistics, artificial intelligence, data science, applied mathematics, and more with this year’s theme, “Harnessing the Data Revolution.”

We celebrated our 6th birthday on October 21st 🎂 Thank you to all of our clients, employees, collaborators, and supporters. It's been a fantastic journey, and we look forward to celebrating many more to come! 

ECOSYSTEM

Token Engineering Academy Newsletter
A big THANK YOU to Token Engineering Academy for featuring our work in their community newsletter!  The group provides fantastic industry information and content. If you haven't already -  check it out and subscribe to stay up to date on all the latest news from the TE field.

The AI Fundamentalist Podcast
We really enjoyed The AI Fundamentalists Podcast with Dr. Andrew Clark, our research colleague and cofounder/CTO at Monitaur. He shares the core principles of building secure and robust modeling systems that influence our daily lives and businesses.

BlockScience in Japanese
A huge thank you to @0xLide and @wecandaoit for translating our work on autonomy and cybernetics into Japanese - どうもありがとうございます! 🙏

☃️ A BlockScience Holiday Card for you ❄️

Dashing through an Einstein-Rosen Bridge, In a one temporal drive sleigh, O’er the quantum foam we go…May your holiday season be happier than a photon achieving escape velocity!



ABOUT BLOCKSCIENCE
BlockScience® is a complex systems engineering, R&D, and analytics firm. By integrating cutting-edge research, applied mathematics, and computational engineering, we analyze and design safe and resilient socio-technical systems. We provide engineering, design, and analytics services to a wide range of clients, including for-profit, non-profit, academic, and government organizations, and contribute to open-source research and software development.

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