Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Clique Space(TM) and control of one's life.

I'm not consumed by bitterness... yet. Maybe a seethingly large corporate body with tentacles and lawyers might be pernicious enough to steal my IP. Maybe then things might change... oh another story...

Now, to the story of this post.

People to whom I've been able to sufficiently communicate what Clique Space is have often queried the moral worth of a system like Clique Space. The prime fact that causes most consternation is the following: user activity can be tracked and controlled to the extent permitted by devices' capabilities for control. This perceived infringement on one's autonomy is cited as a source of resistance against Clique Space's uptake.

If I have invented anything, then that is merely a tool. As such, my powers are rather limited in regulating its use. This is something society will have to deal with, as issues like the introduction of a new technology have done for ages past. In fact, it isn't necessarily the introduction of Clique Space per se that society must deal with, but rather the use of Clique Space to direct further social evolution.

Anyway, I will speak about a few myths that I have heard about. Some of the assertions I make below must obey a technical consideration: an Active Affiliation can only be created if the component Connection and Affiliation are against the same Account. This could be broken in a proprietary Clique Space. However, I here restrict my discussion to how I believe the "public" Clique Space (which would set this Limiting Constraint) should behave because I would only trust a Clique Space that obeyed this consideration.

The first myth is that individual freedom will be lost. This is simply untrue. Clique Space was forged (much like a stone monkey) from the wish to have the individual Account as the prime arbiter. One cannot obtain a Connection in Clique Space without an Account. While one can create an Affiliation against any desired Account for an Account Profile to which one has the authority to do this, a Connection must Activate this Affiliation. One will not be able to create an Affiliation against an Account if a Limiting Constraint prohibits this.

The second myth is that anonymity would be lost. Again, untrue. A Clique space can handle anonymous Participants. Participants may elect to be anonymous, or they may simply not be connected to the public Clique Space or a federated neighbour. The Participants of a Clique where everyone asserted anonymity might not care to use Clique Space as Clique Space would likely be redundant in this situation. Anonymous Participants can either be permitted or prohibited simply by setting a Limiting Constraint.

A third myth: clandestine activity might be more likely to happen in a Clique Space. This is the opposite of truth. While I have mentioned before that listeners might be "clandestine" - possibly a bad choice of words, all Participants are known to Clique Space provided the medium (as represented by the one or more Media Profiles) through which the Clique has formed can reliably convey all members of the underlying collaboration.

And a fourth myth: Big Brother will record your every action. Not in the public Clique Space. Although Clique Space is an environment in which devices report their activity, each Agent Device that makes up the public Clique Space is just a Client Device that moderates the stable operation of the public Clique Space. Each Agent device is a real-time device, and no Agent Device would be keeping a log of any Client Device activity beyond any caching necessary to ensure the stability of the Clique Space. Any device that was going to record any activity would have to be connected to the public Clique Space as thought it were a Client Device.

There are probably other myths, and I'd like others to point them out to me so they could be debated.

Now for some caveats, and advice on dealing with them.

It might be wise for all users to assume that any contact they may likely have with any other user may be recorded by that other user. The public Clique Space may have limited scope to control the actual Client Devices that use a particular Media Profile, though a Media Profile itself may go some way toward restricting which devices can be Connected.

The public Clique Space may also allow users to merely observe a Clique or other activity by a Clique Space element. In this instance, a Limiting Constraint could again be set to prohibit other users from merely observing a Clique. Likewise, a Limiting Constraint may be set to prohibit other users having any knowledge of the activity of an Account, an Account Profile, a Media Profile, a Connection, an Affiliation, an Active Affiliation, or any other Clique Space element.

A particular Clique could be moderated according not only to the capabilities of the Clique Space system, but also the additional operational capabilities of the Clique's medium. This would be determined by the set of Enabling Constraints that have been introduced by the the one or more Media Profiles that are active in a Clique, just as Enabling Constraints expose the functionality of the Clique Space in all Cliques (the activity of all Clique Space elements) through a "basic" Media Profile.

Finally, on a personal note...

I conceived Clique Space as a system that I imagine would protect me against perceived and real evils that exist in a world where my dependence on networked devices is replacing my dependence on physical collocation. With a system like Clique Space, a world of virtual presence would be preferred over one taken up by travel, chronic dislocation and being forced to do something I would like to do if only I could do it from my own home as I had always desired.

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