Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ A Framework for Understanding the Power of Platforms

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

This post is about why platforms are successful and how they might evolve in the future, but I think it hints at what will become a deeper issue of discussion in the near-term. It centers around the question of governance. Asking whether a distributed autonomous organization (DAO) can remove middlemen and reduce transactions costs, Marshall Van Allstyne argues "that's only half the story. The other half of the story is again the positive orchestration of externalities... DAOs that implement governance, such as adding smart contracts, could potentially be a threat to platforms with very interesting new implications." In my own work, I refer to this as a deontic capability of AI. It's where the system determines what should be the case. This is a key element to governance, and we can imagine AI doing many of the orchestration functions performed by platforms today - not just recommending and delivering resources, but judgement-based tasks such as defining when speech may be objectionable, or defining success conditions for (say) degree completion, or creating a long-term institutional strategy.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jun 21, 2024 8:48 p.m.

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