THE TRIVERGENCE: A BUZZWORD FOR EMPOWERMENT OR ENSLAVEMENT?
Don Tapscott is credited for conceiving the term “Trivergence” in December 2021 to describe the interconnection of three technology drivers of the so-called 4th Industrial Revolution:
- AI and Robotics
- (Permissionless Crypto Powered) Blockchains
- Internet of Things (IoT)
In an article published at CoinTelegraph.com, Tapscott noted how the three technologies were converging to create not just new kinds of products and services, but a new paradigm that would transform society in broader ways.
Tapscott is a long-time technology writer and thinker, and co-founder of the Blockchain Research Institute.
As an example of Trivergence, Tapscott spoke about what’s happening with cars:
“Autonomous vehicles are a case in point of Trivergence. The car is a thing, it’s smart and can learn and, when combined with blockchain, enables a new kind of transportation economy. The nature of blockchain makes it both easy and cost-efficient to create networks that do not require a central point of control, such as a vehicle-to-vehicle information grid.”
Going deep into the example, Tapscott detailed the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI).
MOBI, a nonprofit coalition aims to use Trivergence technologies to reimagine transportation, with goals of making it “more effective,” inexpensive, environmentally friendly, safe, less crowded and so on.
Blockchain-based standards to streamline mobility transactions, promotion of secure protocols for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications and payments, are being developed by the group.
According to MOBI, these standards will allow any intelligent device, including cars, traffic sensors, toll bridges, and other forms of mobility infrastructure, to have an identity, interact, and take part independently in business transactions.
If that sounds like technology that will empower people, in some ways it will.
But if it also smacks of a WEF Klaus Shwab “wonderland” where “you will own nothing and be happy,” ordering up a vehicle when you require one, letting it take you where you want to go, and leaving it to go on its AI-powered, blockchain and IoT enabled way, to transact with another traveler, well… the transvergence is undoubtedly enabling that kind of future, too.
Of course, someone will still own that vehicle, and profit from it.
Maybe the transvergence has answers for that as well, that might have some attractions.
Blockchains, smart contract technology and DAOs are all fast creating tokenization of assets and fractionalizing of ownership that is innovative, without question.
So it turns out, if you want, you may be able to own a fractional amount of that car that just intelligently drove you from here to there.
But your “ownership” will be on a pure investment level, seeing tokens accrue in your crypto wallet, which contains the NFT (Non-Fungible Token) encapsulating your rights, as the car earns its way autonomously through day and night.
What Tapscott detailed with cars can be extrapolated to any good or service. Homes, creative outputs like a recorded song or digital book or video, or even one’s time and attention.
It’s already happening. Ever hear of the BAT (Basic Attention Token)? By using the Brave web browser and enabling their digital wallet, simply browsing the net can earn tokens.
Much more granular and verifiable than Nielsen Ratings and “click thrus.”
There are analytics and investment firms devoting special attention now to transvergence tech.
Of course, the Trivergence means that enormous amounts of data and information concerning every human activity—and indeed, every change-state of virtually everything, will be more and more comprehensively accounted for, and exploited for efficiency and opportunity by the smart technologies involved.
As Tapscott put it:
“Over time, the Trivergence will usher in a next-generation internet where nearly every animate and inanimate object on Earth generates data, a distributed ledger records and secures this data and AI analyzes the data, communicates with the objects, alerts their owners and continuously adjusts and improves the efficiency of the economy and the sustainability of its effects on the environment.”
Does that sound like new worlds freedom just over the horizon? In some ways the case can be made (see “The Creator Economy” in the Trends In Cryptos section of this issue).
Does it sound like a new world of “transaction everything” and comprehensive data-mining surveillance?
Yes, it sounds like that, too.
And for related reading from the Trends Journal archive, check out:
- “SMART CITIES WILL BE DIGITAL PRISONS” (30 Mar 2021)
- “AI SURVEILLANCE BECOMING AN EVERYDAY REALITY” (13 Apr 2021)
- “METAVERSE: THE NEW COLLECTIVE” (14 Dec 2021)
- “AND THE LATEST U.S. INTELLIGENCE ‘EMPLOYEE OF MONTH’ IS…YOU” (7 Jun 2022)