Friday, November 30, 2018

Little Lost Lammas bicycle

Those dockless bicycles keep showing up in the oddest of places  in Cambridge -

some are in small (3rd policeman like) huddles outside what can only be a student party venue, but others are in the middle of nowhere, so perhaps they are part of a very good Dr Who episode where people walking across Lammas Land (or the reality checkpoint in the middle of Parker's Piece) suddenly mutate into bicycles (or they are alien bicycles lying in wait to feed on early morning joggers or dogwalkers)

I think we need to set up some drones to spy on them and see how they move around at night

**** update update update ***

Since writing this (nearly a year ago, nov 2018)) more and more of these bikes are appearing, in random places, and they mainly appear in two colours, emergency stop orange, or disaster lime green. I have been successful in tracking them, and now have uncovered their true, fiendish, purpose.

It is clear that we are being fought over by two alien species, and these bikes are the method for extracting smart humans from earth, and teleporting them from places where the beaming-up works best, to alien planets where these smart people can be forced to work on weapons systems to defend the aliens from incoming attacks by super violent hegemonic swarms of free-market borg.

In the first round (as reported in the excellent documentary, This Island Earth, the inhabitants of Metaluna directly took scientists to development centers and rarely used much stealth tech. The second round has seen the Thermians, frustrated at the lack of skills amongst 2nd tier actors (as seen in Galaxy Quest) who relied on pure blind luck, rather than intelligence, have combined forces with the Metalunans, to deploy these fiendish traps, in the form of weakly powered electric bicycles, thin disguises for matter transporters. As has been known since the very excellent Watkins Study of Ley Lines, there are only certain places where these transporters can achieve the range necessary to get from the surface of Terra, to the distant orbs of Metalina or Thermia. This is where the unwitting riders are misdirected to on their drunken way home from pubs. Once beamed up from, the bikes are now drained of power and await collection by passing ship (or policeman - what did you think that big blue hat was really for - its an emergency recharging unit, of course) and then returned to more likely places to find nobel and fields folks, or indeed, the occasional footlights polymath, to enlist in support of the defense technology development programs so very far away.

*** update #2 **

it seems we were wrong - from 20,000 meters, it is clear that the abandoned bicycles are left in the forms of messages back to home base on Tralfamadore, to explain that more dilithium crystals are no longer needed as a synthetic substitute has been found in the form of humbugs from a local sweetshop. Rumours that the bikes are left by works who are employed in digging the new Cambridge underground railway between Parkers Piece and the Three Horseshoes in Madingley are completely unfounded according to the Morlock spokesman from Pembroke.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


so i'm not exactly a technophobe, although i had no internet/computer at home til 2001, or smart phone in my pocket til they got small enough that you could still keep it there and cycle.

however, i do find the "advances" of tech over time pretty annoying more than half the time. lets give 3 examples, from recent upgrades...

cables/connectors - so here I Have to say that SCART TV plugs were one of my all time hated things, so when we got past the SCART/RGB cabbles for games consolves and went to HDMI, the world did actually improve (mostly).....even connected laptops to TVs and digital recording boxes got a lots less I finally threw out all but 1 SCART thing (coz I still have one VHS video recorder/player for all the kids Disney tapes they still occasionally want to watch in genuine lo-res glory...but why isn't it all just wireless? oh, and reliability - i have a box full of broken ipods and phones - but the walkman tape decks still work after 30 years - digital built in obsolence back with a vengenece - where's Ralph Nader when you need him....

data storage - just binned a bunch of CDs but still have drawers full of USB sticks. have on my desk two "floppy" discs just to show incredulous kiddies - and also two sony walkmen tape players and data things for them....ha ha am i better off paying for cloud storage? hmmmm...i do have 2 terabyte SSD boxes which are quite ok, but they are USB and half the people in the house just upgraded phones and laptops so have lightning and USB3 sockets/chargers, so welcome to dongle hell (and expensive hell too)

television/music tech - so while the screens got bigger and higher res and crisper and lower energy and cheaper, the idea of a smart tv is completely daft - i don't want some bunch of bogus apps running on the tv's meagre ancient slow processor  - i just want a nice display. while we're about it, i don't really want the screen to have speakers - i think people that make good audio gear really know what they are doing - but if I disaggregate all these components, i go back to a cable  & wireless mess again - in fact I have both so i have the annoying (but least bad smart tv, and every screen on the house has an old mac mini and then there's wireless adaptors for the hi-fi - so now I have an interconnection management nightmare - perfectly smart and non-technophobe members of my household cannot figure out how to just turn on and watch BBC1....without just unplugging everything and starting from scratch - not good - another lesson for why the internet-of-things is a despite aforesaid HDMI, half the time, half the TVs are left in the wrong resolution/aspect ratio by the last thing that was connected and someone has to manually reset things...

I'm not grumpy about any of this at all, no really...

here's some historical artefacts mentioned above:

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The wrong Fears of the wrong AI.

The unfortunate revisionist appropriation of the AI name for Machine Learning has also led us down the garden path after a red herring in a total wild goose chase for accountability of algorithms. While that is an entirely reasonable thing to do, it always was back when algorithms were just human bean counters with clip boards (I am sure you could find people like that controlling the tasks for slaves constructing the Ziggurat of Ur (c.f. the me of Enki  in Stephenson's novel, Snow Crash).

These algorithms can be deployed with a lack of transparency or explicability, and in ways that offer no agency to people subject to their outputs, and so on, as discussed in many places in recent years (or just "computer says no").

But real AIs will be extremely weird, and the clue is in the A bit. We recognise intelligence and we have started to see it more widely than previously - the smart tool-making crow, the chimps that play tricks on each other that clearly demonstrate a theory of mind, curious cats, the possibility that dolphin's language supports teaching of abstract concepts (left/right, counting, colour etc), this is all natural, evolved, and embodied intelligence.

Why would an artifice that had complex, adaptive, and possibly social ways to perceive and manipulate the world around it be anything like things we recognise above (tool, making, humour, language, curiosity)? Can't we use our so-called intelligence (and creativity) to imagine some AIs that are really radically different? Where might we find such ideas? I'm thinking, perhaps, in mythology - however, a lot of gods are only human - indeed, tales from Asgard, from Mount Olympus, from the Vedic era, smack of soap operas.

Perhaps from more pointless activities (what is Art for, after all)? or from the emergent murmuration properties of innumerable spelling bees? Perhaps the closest to what I'm talking about are the eccentrics (Ships) in Iain Banks' Culture novels...

And its most likely that a real AI would not represent any existential threat to humans, as we are doing a good enough job of that ourselves without any help from smart machines. The only hope would be that AI humour would rest in some jape like saving the human race from itself, just for the lolz.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

The Chinese Remaindered Book Club - the CRBC

In this club, members can only borrow a book for 5 minutes and must then pass it along.
After reading a month's worth of books, members come together and try to reconstruct the
books they have read from these snippets.

The books are all acquired for free from the remaindered books lists of low-ranking publishers.

Incredibly, the reviews written by the CRBC are amongst the most highly sought examples of literary criticism in the history of the world,. offering deep insight into plot, character, authorial quirks, the influences and cultural norms and divergences of the life and times in which the book was written and set.

Except that none of the books described can be found anywhere in any library or book shop, nor are the publishers to be discovered at their addresses. The ISBNs appear to have never been issued, and serious investigations at the Library of Congress and Bodlean have come to nothing.

Membership of the CRBC is by invitation only, and the names of the current active participants is a closely guarded  secret.

Attempts to ghost write the books based purely on the reviews have led to despair and ridicule.

Monday, November 05, 2018

evidence-resistent policy - four thoughts

I read the Professor R.D.French's provocative article on four schools of thought on evidence-based policy, which did not seem to be terribly optimistic about our chances as scientists to influence policy makers (and at some level, may even have cast doubt on whether we should try).

It prompted me to think these even more negative thoughts about policy making itself, which might suggest that people that accumulate evidence, and wish to have an effect ("impact"), may just do better to look elsewhere - as with French's article, I group these four thoughts under for R's

Redundant - perhaps the tension between consideration of politics (popularity/fear etc) and evidence is such that it cancels out, and policy is made that essentially has no effect - an example of this was when presented with evidence of how to improve road journey travel, a policy maker said "oh no, if we do that that way, we'll be accused of spending too much money, and if it doesn't work we'll be accused of wasting money" so policy was to do it a way that cost little and did nothing.

Reactive - a lot of policy may just be a response to de facto behaviour - examples here might include some countries legalising of THC, where the alternative was to continue with the ludicrous position that half of the population were criminals. here policy makers are responsive followers, rather than leaders (which may also be the case above too).

Resignation - a decision has been made and can't be changed, despite al the evidence, even evidence that the population doesn't like the decision any more (think "invade Iraq" or "leave Europe" or Thatcher ignoring civil servant advice on the poll tax - flying in the face of policy because one is resigned to the decision is a suitable path to resignation in the other sense of the word:-)

Reality - some writing on EBP says that scientists should not be so arrogant. However, nuclear war, climate change, anti-biotic resistant bugs - these are very different matters from austerity and keynsian economics or fake news and brexit - to get these in proportion, they're potentially total extinction events. of course, there may be some of the same schmoozing and influence necessary to get some significant change of direction, but in my view we need something more fundamental like a shift away from capitalism (I didn't say socialism), since there's no evidence there are any ways to connect with longer time scales in the current scheme of things. And evidence suggests we must, and policy makers show little sign of understanding that these are game changers.

p.s. after discussion with Ian, lets note that natural & life sciences have probably had more success influencing policy, and perhaps the resistence is highest for input from social & economic sciences, where the evidence may more in dispute, or even the entire methodology or disciple in some doubt (recent results on lack of reproducibility in psychology, or lack of predictive value in macro-economics appear to lend credence to the policy makers' distrust of academic advice, for example, in those realms).

Saturday, October 27, 2018

an alphabet of data

who ate my data
who bartered my data
who curated my data
who deleted my data
who exfiltrated my data
who faked my data
who googled data
who hoarded my data
who imitated my data
who japed my data
who kyboshed my data
who lambasted my data
who mumbled my data
who nimbied my data
who ogled my data
who perfumed my data
who quarantined my data
who rationed my data
who stole my data
who traded my data
who undeleted my data
who valued my data
who whistleblew my data
who xeroxed my data
who zeroed my data

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

brief review of proof copy of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff

I was sent an unbounded proof copy of this book by an editor at the publisher, so what you get in a bookshop may not be quite the same.

tl;dr This is like Jaron Lanier with teeth.
i.e. if you read You are not a gadget, and then the polemic,
"Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now", or you want to go back in time, have read Jerry Mander's "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television", you have a head start.

However, you also have to have read Hannah Arendt's revision/update work on the cycle of 0wnership by capitalism, and much much more. The chapters are also all prefaced with fine quotes from Auden (except a couple of outliers with Leonard Cohen and Hildebrand) from sonnets from China.

The take home (perhaps) is the coup from above, where surveillance capitalism is (perhaps) distinguished from any other capitalism by 3 extraordinary properties:

1. a position of extreme privelege (why do those old rules apply to our shiny bright new stuff?)
2. massive asymmetry of agency, and necessarily also of legibility and status in any negotiation.
3. disregard for democracy in the deepest sense (there is no demos)

The book is largely descriptive, but has a mass of detail, reminding me of a (more readable) digital world version of Piketty's Capital in the 21st century, although he also had some modest proposals for remedy/redress, which are still possibly not out of reach, whereas this work seems somewhat more pessimistic, although I need to read it again and see if the seeds of surveillance capitalism's destruction are contained within.

Monday, October 22, 2018

emergent morality

There's old work from Kropotkin from observing animal behaviour and seeing both coopeation, and sacrifice repeated exposure that suggested (without invoking any magic/superstition) that, while the gene may be selfish, that isn't all there is to society.

A simple one-shot game theoretic approach doesn't deal with this, so people moved on to iterated games, and most famously (at least from my reading) showed that the prisoner's dilemma is not a dilemma at all when you consider multiple iterations (repeat offenders learn to "trust" one another).

At a fancy level, this is sometimes ascribed to a theory of mind, where "you think that I think that you think that I lets call the whole thing off" - actually, this is a short cut - you don't need a theory of mind to explain cooperative strategies in dumb animals-  you just need a population carrying out the iterative procedure - the cooperative strategy has higher survival value over the multiple encounters and multiple individuals. What "empathy" does, is simply allow planning, so you don't have to go through all these iterations to learn the better soluton - you just imagine them. So instead of being dead like both Iago and Othello, or Macbeth and his wife, you choose life.

There are exceptions - the lone indvidual making a single encounter is incented to renege on this. In social terms, this is why villages distrusted travellers - they know that the traveller is going to try and game their trust and not have to put up with any tit-for-tat strategy, as they will be long gone before the second screen. I'm wondering if this also explinas why people get more "conservative" as they get older - they have less to lose as they approach death in terms of retaliation or exclusion.

So this is explored quantitatively in some interesting real world scenarios in this paper on what I'm calling  emergent morality

Now just how does this get adopted (or rejected) as a social norm/ethic? Well, we need to run the population dynamics together with some model of encounters - how many people are a) only going to meet a group just once or b) going to exit the game (i.e. die) real soon?

This would then give us a (stable?) distribution of cooperative versus selfish behaviour. Note here when I say "selfish", I mean rational selfish in a short term way - the cooperative players are also rational selfish, but in a longer term sense (they iteratate, whether really or imaginatively)

We can then extend this to include a small number of mutants (bad apples) that engage in Byzantine behaviour (Loki, disrupters etc). And then we could use this to design mechanisms for society that lead to fair collective outcomes (aka maximise social welfare) despite some fraction of selfish, and some (usually small) fraction of byzantine players. Such algorithms exist (see the literature on BAR Fault Tolerance for Cooperative Services ) but assumes that you "just" use the altruistic players to improve performance of the system designed for selfish/rational and byzantine/bad nodes) -

I'm thinking more, how do you build such algorithms for systems like Wikipedia, or social media content moderation, or even liquid, full online democracy?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

26 connections to everywhere

why do "clients" connect to servers? given we know
1/ everyone, pretty much, is connected to amazon, facebook, google, twitter,  youtube etc,
2/ the IPv4 address space is full up
why not just have the cloud call every address?

we know  there will never be more than 26 services in the world, (because currently, you need autocomplete asap in the browser on any url you type, and most people sadly use english, which means most web sites are shackled to the roman alphabet - hint to any startup there you won't make it if you can't find a spare first letter:)

so then we could just have a well known port for each of these 26 services, and punch a hole in the NATs in the world for those well known ports (or if paranoid, restrict it to source IP prefixes in the owned space of amazon, facebook, google, twitter, youtube etc)

resistance is futile, impedance is high, time for a volte-face?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

truth drains away

You know about making sure you've turned off all the taps in your home when you go away? water, gas, and even electricity (some devices may be on standby, but can wakeup and catch fire - of course, if you were clever-lucky, you'd have a flood from a leaky faucet at the same time which would put out the fire. but if you were dumb-sad, the fire would ignite the gas leak and blow up your lovely home).

For the same reason, we should go around making sure all the digital devices (TV, Voice assistant, Smart Toiler, laptop, tablet, phone, watch, fitness widgets) are all turned off, whenever they are not in use.

The reason is that these devices contain truths. However, in today's Internet, truths drain away.
Gradually, truth leaks out of the device, leaving behind only fake news and advertisements  for things you don't want (all the more so, because you aren't there then anyhow).

The rise of falsehoods on the Internet is our own fault - it is because we are careless with our personal truth - all our 1s are turned into one great big zero. or worse, the sign bit is set and negativity overwealms us all. The value of the leaky Internet is minus the square of the number of leaky users.
for 2 leaky users, the net worth is -4, for 1000 users, its -1000000. if half the users stopped being leaky, the net would be worth nothing. if just two thirds of the billions of users were to stop being leaky, the net would be actually quite useful once more.

its just plumb good sense.

Friday, June 01, 2018

data is the new tobacco

google famously said "don't be evil". i've now repeatedly heard people from national intelligence agencies say, in public, "everything we do is lawful". one analytics company said that they make ethical decisions on who they won't work for but provide s/w for the above.

just who are they kidding, apart from themselves?

as i mentioned previously, someone at a recent event on ethics and privacy enhancing etchnologies said (under chatham house rule, so i can't attribute it)
"Data is the new fur", and at another meeting (same constraint)
"I can't see why mum's are proud of their kids going to work for Alpabet Soup, they wouldn't be like that if it was a tobacco company".

Either of these would do to get some sort of re-adjustment of the public enhagement such as this report from the RSA with all the above...

fur or baccy, choose your poison...

at one of the events, we ended up with one of the organisers saying "the problem here is capitalism. and patriarchy...."


Thursday, May 31, 2018

digital person(ae)

regarding decentralised, fair analytics?

some possible discussion/questions

1. who can proxy for a hub in the home, for great grandfather...the bank, the kids, the bbc, the GP, all of the above...(see 4)...

2. price discrimination v. differentiation - do we need "cloud neutrality"

3. how near to privacy/security/utility tradeoff curve are we in practice in central v. decentralised cloud/analytics?

4. what about identity systems? are we ready for multiple pseudonyms each with a subset of our attributes (am-over-18, or am-a-citizen of country x) instead of centralised id with everything?

5. who will power the infrastructure when its completely decentralised?
we're a long way from microgeneration...

6. in edge ai, what are the distributed analytics _coordination_ challenges

7. in edge ai, what are the distributed analytics _privacy_ (diff?) challenges

8. how do we get assurance (sousveillance/someone-elses-pov dashboard) in the decentralised world?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

edge to edge bogus arguments in systems design

since the arrival of blockchain tech, we're seeing a lot of bandwagonning on

what most the pundits pushing for this is "just-inside-the-edge" computer/storage/services -

i.e. its still owned by network providers or co-lo kit from a good-old-fashioned-cloud service - same-old same-old. it is getting lower latency/higher availability, less backhaul network costs and (possibly) able to localize service behaviour to geographic jurisdiction, which are all ok things to do.

but it isn't p2p.

but it isn't end-to-end.

e2e was/is the liberating architectural feature of the net that lets anyone run a service. that lets value scale super-linearly (between n*ln(n) and n^2 depending who you believe).

p2p was a failed tech predicating on everyone running things e2e in their home, pocket/car. it failed because of three barriers
i) asymmetric capacity in access networks - this is hard to blame on anyone - its a feature of using old copper capacity and how shared medium spectrum works for fixed and wireless broadband. slowly, it is becomine less the case (last time i looked, 10M out of 35M households in the UK had fiber, which doesn't have these constraints.
ii) IPv4 address space depletion leading to being NATted to death, rather than deploying IPv6 (or anything else).
iii) software deficiencies leading to patriarchical firewalling of systems with vulnerabilities, rather than fixing the root cause (poor systems security).
iv) add yours here....

if you don't run the ledger, file service, social network, messenger platform in your home/pcket/car, it isn't end2end. if it isn't p2p, it isn't e2e. if it isn't e2e, its still 0wned by someone else. even if you have a spare set of keys.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Quantum Computing and Quants and the Turing Institute's mission

so people are afraid of quantum computing.
people should be far more afraid of today's algorithmic trading systems.
the world is run by a bunch of computer programs which have never been scrutinized - they might just each be nonsense, but in combination, even if they are all very correct, they certainly create nonsense. The fiction that the world is running on some financial fantasy academic structure known as a market is a wonder to behold - essentially, the sustained collective delusion in the face of obvious massive fractural objections (american exceptionalism:  why is the dollar worth what it is, aside from military might? protected markets inside China; split level economies like Brazil and so on) - all this is like the medieval world where the SMith would charge one price to shoe the farmer's horse, and another (massively higher) price to shoe the Lord of the Manor's horse - why? and why didn't anyone run arbitrage on this? because society and people don't mix with the idea of money really at all well.

So a lot of work in machine learning and AI and finance purports to address problems like money laundering and fraud and so forth. And yet we live in a world where the whole operation of existing algorithms is based on a false belief, that they operate in a market. Many of them operate in the casino that is the stock market, which is even more divorced from reality than the rest of the economy. Here algorithms are in an arms race, and yet it is an odd arms race, as unlike warfare i nconventional battlefields where we can pick apart the guns and planes of the other side from time to time and take their ideas, or at least reverse engineer them, the algorithmic race in the stock market is too complex and too fast to allow this - code just interacts via the symptomatic (observed) behaviour of the system, and rarely if ever directly interacts with other code. Most weird.

SO the real first duty of ML&AI in the world of finance should be to expose and fix these structural problems - first, to model the worlds economy properly (e.g at least as well as people like Piketty, but more so, dynamically), and to build a sound system for running investments without casinos like the stock market, but also without fantasies like Adam Smith's invisible hand.

So what has this to do with Quantum Computers[1]?

Well, QC promises to run some new algorithms in a new way - there aren't any signs of a full working QC piece of hardware yet, and there are precious few actual algorithms[2] so far, but one in particular has grabbed a lot of attention, which is the possibility to factorize numbers super fast compared with good old fashioned von-Neumann computers (faster even parallel and distributed vN machines) - this is due to the qualitatively different way that QC hardware works (highly parallel exploration of state spaces, scaling exponentially with the number of Qbits).

So what does this threaten?

Well, it threatens to break cryptograpy, which means our privacy technologies for storing and transmitting (and possibly even securely processing[3]) data are at risk. Bad guys (or just curious people) will be able to see our secrets.

So two thoughts
A) why can't we just devise new QC encryption algorithms, which just moves the arms race along in the usual way (a million bit keys for example, or something really new we havnt thought of yet)? Then we are back to the same old normal world where most data breaches will be because of social engineering or stupidity and self inflicted (minister leaves unencrypted USB stick on the bus) wounds.
B) Maybe we get more cautious as a whole and just don't send stuff around so glibly or provide remote access to our computers so readily. Maybe access control and authentication and just implementing least privlege properly could work most of the time, and the whole idea of crypto saving us was a chimera and a delusion, just like the whole idea of the market was a snare and a delusion?

my 2 q-cents.

1. not to be confused with quantum communication where we use entanglement just to detect eavesdroppers - a perfectly sound, existing tech with a very narrow (point to point, not end-to-end) domain of usefulness.
2. shor's algo for example. one puzzling thing is that we had hundreds of algorithms for von-neumann style computers before we had any working hardware. why is it so hard to conceive of algorithms for QC? seems like it is a poor match for how humans are able to express methods for solving problems (which are many, and varied, but don't seem to fit ensemble/state space exploration, except perhaps in MCMC:-)
3. eg.. homomorphic crypto - possibly also at risk from QC, although re-applying ideas like garbled circuits to a QC machine shouldn't be too hard:-)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

How science progresses - falsifiable, probably or paradigm shift, likely?

Reading Staley's excellent introduction to the philosophy of science was reminded of reading Popper's Objective knowledge back in the 1970s, but now I'm a recovering Bayesian, and am immersed in social science explanations like the structure of scientific revolutions by Kuhn, or even the whole idea of funding/groupthink/paradigms, I'm now convinced we don't have a good basis for choosing the right description of the process (or classifying best practice) until we study the past, both its pre- and post- states - i'm thinking that people choose to run occam/popper after they intuit a new paradigm shift (e.g. copernican model of planets) and use some confidence models to decide that, when the new theory has objectors, the objectors are outliers, whereas the old new outliers the new theory explains were more important than the new old outliers - of course, the new theory can still be wrong, but the smart money is that it isn't...

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

what if you were the only real person in the world

Anyone read Theodore Sturgeon's fabulous short story It Wasn't Syzygy?

Trying to wean people off facebook by creating an alternative (e.g. advert free, subscription, but open to link to other platforms) system, so everyone always starts by saying "you can't beat the network effect". so at what scale does this network effect magically become unbeatable? for example, the web has beaten TV even though TV had a billion users. Metcalfe claimed the value was n-squared, others have toned that down tho n log(n), but i think it's ignoring the _negative_ contribution level from spam/phish/troll/advert/attention grabbing, which inevitably grows with the network, but usually, over time, faster in the end. so here's my proposal anyhow: we invite you to our new net which has "everyone" in your network on it, but initially, your friends are al just bots emulating your real friends they make you feel at home there. now you tell your real friends about your safe new, ad free social net, and as they join, they replace the avatar/bot of them (a bit like the opposite of the stepford wives). oh, did I forget to tell you. we already did it. No, really, We didn't have to do it, they are doing it to themselves - c.f. Dr Wu's fine book on the attention merchants...

 so in fact we can model this from the fact that the network is directional, and end points (humans) take more time to create new content than to consume (new to them) content - so even if we aren't all couch potatoes, this asymmetry in creativity versus consumption means that the network will tip from peer-to-peer, to being dominated by a small number of producers and a large number of consumers - the cost of creation will drive the quality of creation down, but the quantity up (to keep it new - well known to pornographers for example - c.f.

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misery me, there is a floccipaucinihilipilification (*) of chronsynclastic infundibuli in these parts and I must therefore refer you to frank zappa instead, and go home