Technology to secure Credits
Blockchain is not the Bitcoin, often confused as it is, got spotlights from various media in the last few years. Indeed, Bitcoin blows hot fever in the world and dilutes underlying technology Blockchain as a security program for money transaction.
Basically, Blockchain is the protocol to change data around the world at the same time whenever transaction made, so that cannot be forged or tampered by an attacker. Even if anyone modifies data from one computer, no matter it belongs to a person, bank, Federal Reserve or government, it will not influence anything in the data chained with blocks in the world, unless entire data in the world changed at the same time.
Theoretically, if change over 50% of the world’s data all at once, possible to forge the blockchain, but it is not practically possible. The reason that Bitcoin is working as money is based on this “unmodifiable data” technology.
Since the notion of ‘unmodifiable’ is absolutely necessary not only for money but also for our entire modern life relying on credits, future society’s data are expected to rely on Blockchain respectively. Banking, real estate, stock trading … If there is a document that cannot be falsified by any kind of transaction, nothing else to close the deal.
Blockchain elsewhere than Money transaction
If you want to share photos on the Internet, for example, but you don’t like someone stole, use and even commercialize it, blockchain will be the solution. No matter how many times copied or altered, they cannot change the identity of the original author, so you can find all the duplicated copies in a single search, and see at a glance who copied when, and who took it again and again.
But the biggest and the strongest demand to temper the information is coming from governments. In a bureaucratic or dictatorship society, surveillance, inspection, alteration, and deletion of people’s words and writings are commonly carried out. Sometimes subtle and invisible ways, but more often with institutions and organizations openly driven by the government with a name such as “social stability” and “national integration” …etc
The interesting thing is that the higher bureaucracy/dictatorship, the stronger ‘censorship’ applied in proportion. Yes, it really makes sense you judge a certain society’s freedom & vibrancy, with a quick look how the government censors people’s voice and words. It tells the truth about how much the society (and the people inside of) is falsified precisely.
Here, the Blockchain can be a deadly poison that leads to “bureaucracy/dictatorship” to death. What if the government agency cannot change, erase or prevent someone’s writings? Bureaucrats and dictatorships stand on the same ground. They own and monopolize the power to manage information for their “authority” and “legitimacy”. They select who will get the data in hierarchies, who will be prohibited from those data and who will get false information. In that society, anyone intentionally or accidentally gets forbidden information, regarded as ‘enemy’ of a nation, treated as so brutally. The notion of ‘unmodifiable’ is, because of that, a deadly poison.
Limitations, opportunities, and risks
Nothing perfect in the world and Blockchain is not an exception. Blockchain does not have the ability to classify what is real information or a fake one. It is a protocol that prevents others from changing the information, but it does not prevent the original author spreading false or fake information. Rather, it protects that false information at the same level as the authoritative government report.
How do we deal with the flood of false information that the public generate and consume?
It’s a big question, that’s why the media that distribute that information get attention. Facebook’s Zuckerberg was called into the US Senate and questioned how did Facebook distribute fake news in the US presidential election period, as you know. Though Facebook did not intend to play a role in the presidential election, there is a doubt as they prioritize certain posts based on keywords, number of views and comments.
You can expect Facebook only interested in how many hits on a news, no matter it’s fake or genuine. They provide the perfect platform to spread fakes, falsify people and eventually influence political events, something like a presidential election. A piece of fake news created by a Georgian youth can change US President which the Russian government couldn’t dream with its entire forces.
If there is a service that filters out ‘fake’ information from ‘real’ one in such overflowing data flow, it will be greatly appreciated in future society I believe (a kind of credit rating of information?). When everyone take what they want to see (& believe) according to their preference, like ‘Parents Union’ in Korea watch only ‘TV Chosun’, not listen any other channels, hit the street every weekend, shouting ‘Release innocent snow-white president Park, Geun Hye…’ a society fall into a different kind of risk. Old days, government monopoly data, nowadays, everyone consumes real & fake information without knowing what is what. A society that consumes information that suits each individual’s taste inevitably will be cracked for itself and conflict with others.
Just as there is a Bank credit rating agency, there should be a mechanism for ‘information credit rating’ especially for the news that will have a major impact on society. (But did I say just before, governments are doing this more or less and Blockchain will remove it?)
Who will do that at the end? Whether an ‘institution’, a ‘corporation’ or ‘personals’ tied into the cloud, it is unknown. I have not seen any serious attempts in here (yet). There may be some unexpected opportunities in these areas….