The digital revolution has led to an explosive growth in data acquisition, storage and analysis, fundamentally reshaping our collective knowledge base and interactions. This shift has transformed us from a society of physical ownership to one based on data, licenses and intellectual property, spurring the growth of dematerialized resources. Unlike physical assets, dematerialized resources like datasets or algorithms are non-rival goods - they can be copied, reused, and distributed infinitely at virtually no cost. It has opened up a world of new opportunities, but it has also created a concentration of informational and technological power within tech giants. We are at a decisive turning point. As value creation relies exponentially on knowledge-intensive activities, tech giants get exponentially more powerful. But what if we could unlock knowledge creation through trusted and incentivized collaboration without the need for a third party?
We need knowdledge
In light of pressing issues such as climate change and natural resource scarcity, the urgent need for knowledge creation becomes evident. We don’t know how to go to Mars, we don’t know how to predict cancer, we don’t know how to farm in a desert, and we don’t know what present would please our mother for her birthday. Knowledge is the limiting factor to the common good for individuals, companies and society at large. Knowledge, in its various forms, is a powerful catalyst for progress and innovation, impacting all areas of human endeavor from economic growth and social development to technological advancement and cultural enrichment.
How knowledge is created ?
The creation of knowledge is fundamentally linked to the resources at our disposal. At the very foundation of this process lies data - the raw, unfiltered observations collected by humans or machines. Data acts as the initial resource, the raw material that serve as the starting point of our understanding of the world. However, data in itself remains unintelligible, a jumble of signs and signals, until it is put through a process of interpretation and contextualization. It is here that the second resource, digital services, come into play.
Data Data encompass any form of discrete or continuous values, structured or not, that may be further interpreted.. This includes anything from sensor readings from IoT devices, financial data, corporate data, user-generated content, and much more. Data can be seen as the smallest units of factual information that can be used as a basis for calculation, reasoning, or discussion. Data can range from abstract ideas to concrete measurements and touches virtually every aspect of our lives even more now as our world becomes increasingly digitized and connected.
Digital Services On the other hand, digital services represent the cognitive aspect of our digital resources, the brain that interprets and leverages these observations to generate knowledge. Like our brain needs to process sensory inputs to make sense of our surroundings, datasets need to be processed to extract valuable knowledge from them. These digital services encompass all the algorithms, models, and software that enable us to harness the power of data. They address the question of processing time, transforming raw, unstructured, and often overwhelming datasets into digestible, actionable information. The variety of these services is as vast as the data they process, ranging from simple data sorting algorithms to complex machine learning models.
Sharing resources is key to create new knowledge
Sharing digital resources is a crucial lever for generating new knowledge. Indeed, the non-rival nature of data means that sharing them does not hinder their use but, on the contrary, multiplies their potential for exploitation. Sharing data enhances perspectives and interpretations. A dataset, utilized by different actors with varied approaches, can lead to a multitude of analyses and discoveries. It's akin to observing an object from different angles to grasp its full complexity. Moreover, sharing digital services such as algorithms, models, and software fosters innovation and the creation of new analysis methods. Open source is a prime example of how sharing can stimulate innovation by providing access to a wide array of tools and enabling everyone to contribute to their improvement. Nevertheless, despite the obvious benefits of resource sharing for the creation of new knowledge, it must be recognized that it is not yet the norm.
Why sharing is not the norm ?
Resource sharing is not only a question of collaboration; it is a strategic necessity to promote innovation and to create new knowledge. However, today's prevailing issue is that individuals and organizations tend to veer towards a siloed approach when it comes to handling data and knowledge. They create isolated data lakes and restrict access to proprietary service, effectively imprisoning valuable knowledge within walled gardens. The pace of technological advancement has far outstripped our ability to fully exploit its potential, leading to significant barriers to sharing digital resources. These obstacles range from issues of trust and incentives to technical complexities and costs.
Trust plays a critical role in the decision to share resources. In a world where data breaches and misuse are all too common, there's a legitimate lack of trust. Providers need to be confident that their consents and rules will be respected. Furthermore, the risk of data becoming accessible to untrusted parties or being mismanaged by third parties is a significant deterrent. The question of perceived value and incentives is another major barrier. The value proposition of sharing digital resources is often unclear. Even when it is explicit, the conventional data marketplace model is flawed. Fixed prices on data are suboptimal because the true value lies in the knowledge generated from the data, not the data itself. This muddled value perception creates a lack of desire to share resources that doesn’t outweigh the risks and costs. Technical complexities and costs present a substantial barrier. The current landscape is fragmented, making resource sharing a complex and costly endeavor. The myriad platforms, protocols, and standards introduce technical challenges, while data integration and transformation carry significant costs.These technical difficulties further contribute to this contributes to the siloing of resources and knowledge
This context also fosters centralization which poses significant challenges, especially in the realms of data and knowledge sharing. The central issues arising due to this structure encompass:
- Provider dependence
In essence, these issues result in a digital environment where resource sharing is not standard practice despite its undeniable benefits. Overcoming these hurdles is a crucial task, and one that OKP4 is committed to achieving. It aims to break down these barriers, fostering a more open, equitable, and knowledge-rich digital landscape.
Challenge to open the knowledge silos
Given our previous analysis of the limitations of sharing , it's clear that the first challenge we need to address is the establishment of an open, decentralized infrastructure.
Decentralized Infrastructure Challenges
Decentralized infrastructure is a must to ensure equitable and autonomous access to digital resources, boost the reliability and resilience of the sharing system, and foster a vibrant and diverse ecosystem for innovation and collaboration.
- Trustlessness: A decentralized infrastructure must eliminate the need for trusted third parties, ensuring maximum impartiality and transparency, crucial for secure sharing of digital resources.
- Permissionless: The principle of permissionless access allows anyone to participate in the network and share or use digital resources without prior authorization, thus facilitating the democratization of access to data and knowledge. and maximizing opportunities.
- Availability and Sustainability: A decentralized infrastructure provides a constantly available settlement layer. This constant availability in the infrastructure is key to guaranteeing access to digital resources at all times. Moreover, its decentralized nature ensures its sustainability. Thanks to its distributed structure, the system remains viable even in the face of disruptions or technological evolutions, thus ensuring the long-term viability of digital resource sharing.
Openness is a critical principle to ensure transparency, encourage innovation, and promote large-scale collaboration in digital resource sharing.
- Transparency: Openness should be accompanied by transparency so that users understand and trust the sharing system.
- Open source: The adoption of open-source code principles facilitates massive collaboration, complete transparency, and rapid innovation, all essential for efficient development and sharing of digital resources.
- Auditability: The openness of the decentralized infrastructure allows anyone to audit the system. This means that any interested person or organization can verify the system's proper functioning, including compliance with access and sharing rules. This auditability enhances transparency and trust in the system, which is essential for ethical and equitable sharing of digital resources.
In response to these challenges, blockchain technologies play a crucial role. They can offer a secure, transparent, and decentralized infrastructure, extending their value beyond financial transactions to peer-to-peer data exchanges and secure collaborations. This is increasingly important in a data-driven world where privacy, security, and the ability to customize solutions are paramount. Hence, the relevance of blockchain technology in creating a more open and interconnected world of secure data sharing is profound, and its potential stretches across numerous sectors. Given the sensitivity of the data and knowledge sector, the infrastructure must be as resilient and neutral as possible. Moreover, due to the intricacy of this field, there's a specific and adaptive design requirement that fosters sharing while managing these complexities efficiently. That’s why the modularity aspect is essential.
Modularity offers flexibility and adaptability for infrastructure and when sharing digital resources.
- Composability: The ability to combine different elements to create solutions tailored to specific needs is essential for customizing digital resource sharing.
- Freedom of innovation of business models and consent rules: Modularity provides the opportunity to innovate in terms of business models and consent rules, addressing a variety of needs and contexts in digital resource sharing.
- Scalability: To ensure sustainable digital resource sharing, the infrastructure must be able to scale to meet increasing demand without degrading performance.
There are a multitude of revelant solutions that have opted for a more or less modular architecture to perfectly cater to their specific use cases.
However, despite these more resilient and neutral sharing solutions, their technical specifics do not allow for easy interoperability. For instance, some solutions will be Web 3 native and centered on the Ethereum ecosystem, which restricts their interconnection with Web 2 solutions (whether open source or not).
The most relevant aspect in the field of resource sharing is interoperability, which brings together all these relevant solutions and combines them to create the next generation of use cases, combining the intelligence of Web 2 with the disruptive contributions of Web 3.
Interoperability is essential to facilitate data and knowledge exchange, promote collaboration, and stimulate innovation across technological boundaries in digital resource sharing.
- Technology Agnostic: Being technology agnostic, though it could be associated with openness, is crucial to ensuring that the solution is open to all technologies, thus avoiding technological blockades and promoting diversity and innovation in digital resource sharing.
- Interpretability: The ability to understand the operation, meaning, and interactions of digital services is essential to promote understanding and trust in the digital resource sharing infrastructure.
- No tech lock-in: Interoperability helps avoid tech lock-in, ensuring the solution can communicate and interact with various technologies, crucial for smooth digital resource sharing.
- Interconnection between independent systems: The ability to connect and integrate independent systems is essential for optimizing digital resource sharing and fully leveraging technological advancements.
This is where the protocol comes in. OKP4 aspire to interconnect a multitude of datasets and digital services to generate knowledge, all the while respecting the rules of consent and retribution chosen by the providers. In doing so, we believe that we can democratize access to knowledge, decentralize informational power, and build a governance infrastructure for digital resources that is truly fair and sustainable.