SOTN 2022 08 Web3, Metaverse, The Decentralized Web: Is The New Internet Coming?
11:06AM Mar 3, 2022
Good morning. Thanks for joining us for this session. I am Rachel horn, Head of Marketing and comms for the file coin foundation. File coin is a decentralized storage platform that's powered by cryptocurrency. And the foundation exists as one of many organizations in this open source community to grow and support the ecosystem. I have an incredible panel here and an incredible topic to just dive into which is web three. The metaverse, the decentralized web, I think we will throw in blockchain and crypto just so that we have a full house. But I want to quickly go on the line and introduce my panelists. To my left is Bill Rockwood, Executive Director of the Future Forum and legislative director on the Hill to Representative Darren Soto. Next to him is klev Meza door public policy advisor for the blockchain Association. Kurt Opsahl is the deputy executive director of EFF and also its general counsel. And finally, at the end, we have Dr. Susan Persky, who is the director of the immersive simulation program at the Human Genome Institute. So thank you all for being here. Let us dive in. And I think, Kurt, I want to start with you by really defining some of these terms. Again, we have metaverse, D, web and web three in our in our title here. I think, in particular, if you could explain the distinction between the decentralized web and web three?
Oh, it's a very good question. But I think it's a challenging one, because people often use these terms interchangeably. Or sometimes a person may use a meaning to it that is different from how it's being perceived. They think, you know, web three, is a play on on the web to term from about 20 years back, which was describing the shift of the worldwide web into more social media user generated content, being layered on top of the original version of the web. And so web three is trying to describe layering things on top of web two, often using technologies like decentralization and blockchain technologies. Decentralized web is more of a descriptive term it is. And I kind of prefer that term because of its descriptive nature, because it looking at the goal, which is to to find a way of re decentralizing the World Wide Web. As you may recall, some of you might remember the early web, there was a lot of decentralization, you could have a web server in your house, and people could operate them and be both publisher and consumer. And over time, the the web got more and more centralized. And I think about decentralization is trying to make a web that is interoperable, that is locked, open, and more resistant to attempt to centralize and control that which can help protect against having a single point of failure that could be used for control for surveillance. And both of these concepts are within the terms. But I think decentralized web at least focuses on that goal.
Cliff, I want you to jump in here, because I know you've talked before about how web two is a chance to correct some of the mistakes of the original web and sort of where we where we are now. Can you dive into that a little bit?
Well, I'm cloud method, I lead the national policy network of women of color and blockchain, but I'm also an advisor to the blockchain Association. I've actually been in this space for about six years. And, and in the prospect of a decentralized web is for me, because as you mentioned, we haven't really come to consensus about what is web three. But for me, it is really about leveraging technologies like blockchain, like machine learning, like artificial intelligence to tackle some of the issues that plague users, right? The data is sold, and monetize without their permission. There's all of these hacks and breaches and you know, polarizing content, and no one seems to know how to solve it. So the prospect of being able to create a decentralized web, where there's peer to peer interactions that are authentic, but also being able to potentially do micro transactions. Now I am concerned, right, because, as you mentioned, you know, the web the Internet was supposed to decentralize us when we debated policy around the Internet in the 1990s. We didn't have conversations about financial literacy. And today we have a digital divide. We didn't have enough conversations about accessibility and non technical users, and look at where we are. So we not only have an opportunity to address some of the issues that plague the web, because it's still very popular, people want to use it and need it. But it's really how do we make sure it's accessible? And how do we create a decentralized web that actually is accessible to users who never were able to effectively participate?
Great. So to sort of tie those together, and then I'm going to turn to you. So the original intent the original web was it was built was this peer to peer communication platform, then these platform technologies were sort of built over top of that first layer of the web. And now we're moving back into this decentralized peer to peer interaction. But it is facilitated by in many ways, blockchain and cryptocurrencies. So, Bill, if you want now that we've sort of laid out the structural groundwork, if you can talk to us about where blockchain and crypto come in? Yeah.
First of all, my name is Bill Rockwood, as mentioned, and I have to do my standard government statement that all views are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Congressman Soto or the Future Forum. And just for a little context, he is the co chair of the congressional blockchain caucus and passed the first digital asset bill out of the House of Representatives and the first blockchain bill. So now that I did that, I forgot the question, crypto. Yeah.
What is crypto? What is crypto?
So I think this is a very timely discussion, because we're just seeing the implications of what an unregulated web two and some of the issues club brought up, have kind of just hit regulators and government folks. And like, there's actually hearing tomorrow about algorithmic bias and all those things of some of these data concerns. So crypto itself is a money movement device and blockchain the system that underlies it, I just said, it's a different way to structure data. You know, in web two, you had incentives for these big companies with data farms to just hold and gather all the data in one central place. So that whenever you access the Internet, it was in one repository more or less. And some of the issues with that is, obviously it's a huge energy consumption, because you have to run the whole machinery the entire time, you're literally telling the hackers where to look, it's like it's in there, you know, hack that. And so crypto and blockchain represent a bit of a paradigm shift just because they literally structure the data differently, you know, these distributed networks where, you know, it's localized. So if you hack anything, you only have access to the node, and you only have to use the power to operate the individual node. So I think it's more important to think of the system itself and the technology and sort of crypto is just the money piece of that where a lot of you know, even in web two, it was Wall Street and algorithmic trading that really drove those. So crypto is really the first successful use case of blockchain technology.
Great. Yeah. It facilitates these trustless transactions so that all of this can be built automatically without these central intermediaries. And as you talk about data, I think that this is a good moment to bring Susan into the discussion with a unique perspective, but a lot of this data is being is required to build the metaverse, which is the last component of this discussion. So can you chime in? I think probably many people in this room saw the Super Bowl ad for meta, which painted a version of what the metaverse could look like. But there's also a decentralized metaverse, there are platforms like somnium, and others where you can build a truly decentralized metaverse, can you talk to us about what the metaphors is and what it what the role of data build data is? Sure.
So that is the big question. I mean, I think the first thing to make sure that, you know, we all think about is that, you know, from most people's perspective in this area, we would say the metaverse does not yet exist. So you know, people who are developing the metaverse are making this or that for the metaverse. You know, what they're creating for is not what I would term as the metaverse that were hoping and expecting to see 510 15 years down the road. So I mean, that idea of the metaverse is really to have a completely interoperable system, persistent and exists whether or not you as a person are signed on. There are, you know, places we can bring together people things experiences, and make it sort of seamless, right. So moving away from these walled gardens we have now where everything would be sort of existing in the same you could think of it as sort of a metal world in a way where the world basically has a digital component or a digital twin that you could interact with. So I mean, data, of course is everything. Everything is digital, everything. depends on data. Right? And so that's going to be the huge question. Whose data? How, you know, I think a lot of visions people have for the metaverse are that we are all creators. We have ownership, we have an economy, you know, these are the things that are going to lie on the bedrock of whatever what else has, has already talked about, you know, but in general, I think the way to think about it is, it's this convergence of a maturing of a whole bunch of technologies all at once. You know, my perspective on it is from the XR immersive kind of component. And that's what we sort of think is going to be one of the main ways that you're going to enter interface with the metaverse, you know, is to sort of have it available to you in 3d in a way where you feel like you are there, as opposed to sort of sitting in the room, you're sitting in wearing your headset, or you know, whatever the technology starts to look like in 10 years from now. So it's a huge kind of concept. They're different people have definition, different definitions. But that's, I think, a place to start.
That's great. Also, I want to note that, if we have time, at the end, we'll open it up to questions to start thinking about that now. Now that we've sort of laid out these technologies and what they are, and I think, Susan, you started to talk about this, like the Why They Matter question. And I think we've seen, you know, like, when you look at what's happening in Ukraine, now, it is such a strong use case for decentralized communications platforms. So people whose voices are being oppressed, or in the case of like, you know, against the spread of misinformation, like the tools built on these decentralized technologies really shine filecoin, which is the project that I work on, is this decentralized storage technology, but our mission at its core is to preserve humanity's most important information. And that means making sure that people's voices who are otherwise unheard are heard, making sure that, you know, misinformation is is appropriately, you know, noted and that people can understand truth from fiction, and that we're cataloguing information online. So, Kurt, you know, from eff vantage point, I'm sure this is pretty close to what you're working on to how do you think about these decentralized technologies for civil liberties,
as I think there are very important for civil liberties. And in part, because of the challenges that we've had with the centralization of control where there is a single location, which has the potential to become a sort of a one stop shop, for government to come to obtain information about the users or for a black hat hacker to come to take the data that is there. Or for the the corporation itself to be gathering the the information and using it in ways that maybe the users don't like. And so sort of decentralizing and moving away from a centralized model can make it more challenging for these activities. And I think, you know, highlighting out of the situation in Ukraine and in with Russia, is that if you are faced with an authoritarian regime, that it is good to, to have it. So it's harder to get at your information and harder for them to be able to censor that information. And we have seen in the wake of some of the the news coming out of Ukraine in Russia, they have taken steps to restrict access to social media to Twitter, and Facebook, in an attempt to use their more centralized control, and pressure that can be done. And this is in line with some things we've seen around the world where a push for localization, trying to get the servers of the large companies to be in the jurisdiction subject to the jurisdiction, so that they can enforce their their laws on censorship and preventing conversations. And so having more decentralized methods of communication or being able to share share information, can be very helpful in fighting against that. And there's some technologies that are being promoted now. Like, there is a Breier app that can allow people to communicate with their smartphones, in a situation where the Internet is out with encrypted communications. And you know, thus far, I don't believe the Internet has yet been shut down in Ukraine. But that may be something to at least prepare for. And you can also have technologies that will allow people to get information out that are that are hard to hard to stop. And getting information out from a conflict zone is very important for helping people find out about misuses. So yeah, I think decentralization is can be at least well, well made, decentralization will be critical for civil liberties.
And it's not just about actual communication. It's also about getting funding to people. Right. So I'm sure you have something to say about that.
Yeah. Yeah, I think what we're seeing in Ukraine is what we've seen in terms of global adoption of cryptocurrency. globally and even here in the US, people who have been locked out of the traditional financial system are gravitating towards cryptocurrency. And that's the same what we're seeing in, in Ukraine when it comes to the currency when it comes to the central bank, you know, shutting things down, and people not being able to access their monies. But people able to get them cryptocurrency and certainly communication as well, people who have been locked out of communication systems here in the US, we know that black and Latino communities lead mainstream adoption of crypto by double digits. And that is because of having been locked out of the traditional financial system. And I would say, you know, there's there's full disclosure, there's concern about in the Ukraine, right, both sides are using cryptocurrency, right. But I think we need to focus on the people who have been locked out, you know, dictators, leaders, whatever you want to call them are always going to find tools to do what they need to do. But in the past, the only reason that there will has maintained is because the masses did not have any options. They didn't have any access, they didn't have any resources. And now they're empowered with a tool like cryptocurrency, where they're not just crypto, they're not just like that of communication, they can get communication out in a secure and safe manner, but they can get access to necessary resources. So be safe, and actually have that level of freedom and control.
Anybody else want to weigh in on where we are with these technologies and helping people? Yeah.
And I think one aspect we need to also keep in mind is the unalterable nature of distributed ledger technology, you know, two instances that predate this that are really important to bring up. Now, if you look at the Russian election hack of 2016, the original six or 14 subpoenas that came out of that were actually because they were Bitcoin transactions, that they could trace back to the the people involved. And you can't alter that one of the greatest weapons of you know, authoritarian states is their flow of information. And when you can't alter those things, it creates, you know, a truth aspect you can't hide. And also, that was one of the reasons that China had such a strong reaction to crypto, because people were using the Bitcoin network to share pieces of sensitive information. And once it's out there, that can't change it, you know, that it's a government free system. So I think that's one piece, that there are going to be these misinformation and amplification, things through, you know, social media, but I think that's one of the things that scares dictators most about these technologies is once it's out there, you can't go and alter it, there's somewhere that that code exists. And I think that is one of the the core values of a lot of people that operate in the system.
Right? And, and, to add to that, it's, you know, there's this myth or misconception that Bitcoin is anonymous, it is not a pseudo anonymous, and you can figure out and we've seen cases of government being able to retrieve, you know, stolen assets, because you can work backwards through the system.
And blockchain forensics has been a huge tool for law enforcement, here in the US and globally, as well. And many people are not aware some of the biggest blockchain companies exists to help governments and law enforcement track the public keys. So while it's not about club being a criminal, it's about truly being able to finally follow the money.
I feel that we are too far into this conversation and haven't talked about policy, which is like we are in DC talking about, I think we should like to pivot and Bill start with you, you know, from your perch on the hill, sort of what are the policy considerations around data or other issues?
Yeah, perch on the Hill that that may. I think we are again, at a bit of a pivot point. You know, especially in these discussions where, you know, again, we have a big hearing tomorrow. So I think we're at a bit of a nexus between the old Internet and the new Internet. And I think even if you look at blockchain and crypto and some of these, you know, even further down the road topics, I think they unease a lot of policymakers because there is a layer of understanding. So there's this dual conversation where it's advancing this policy discussion, but also there's a lot of one on one slash, this is what this stuff is. You know, I think a lot of people recognize you know, that maybe Washington wasn't as engaged on the front end, in the rise of the Internet, there was a very hands off thing. And I'm not saying that's bad, but it's just we need to be very thoughtful. And there needs to be a layer of education. So when some of these things do come down the road, we don't have to educate folks and policymakers, if a bad thing happens, or when a lot of people hear these things, they immediately gravitate towards the negative, you know, the technology is a tool, it's neutral. But we need to make sure that and that's why I keep saying pivot point, because I think we are at a point where the average member of Congress or a lot of agencies are starting to get more involved. And but I would say, for the folks involved in this space, that you have to have a degree of patience, and you have to meet the person where they're coming from, you know, if they're asking questions, even if they're stupid or rudimentary, you have to be able to have that conversation, because I think that's the biggest thing that will help everyone on the policy front is if we can bridge that divide between, you know, the private sector and the great work they're doing. And the people that are just coming up to this, this speed on this stuff. Now.
I think this past summer's infrastructure bill was like a huge wake up to the industry, you know, about, you know, the level of understanding of words like broker who is a broker, what is a broker? And I think it really galvanized the industry. klev What are you seeing on the hill and in the White House?
Yeah, it's interesting with Blockchain, cryptocurrencies held to this unrealistic standard, right. When you look at the arc of legislation, how long did it take us the past campaign finance reform? Did we did we ever pass social security reform? I'm not sure. But it takes a long time. But there's this, you know, there's this desire to move quickly move quickly move quickly. The good news is, there is a lot of legit legislation already in place, right? This is not an unregulated space, you know, Blockchain IX, crypto exchanges have to comply with state regulations. They have to register at the state level. Our exchanges are companies that we have to we have to comply with KYC and AML. And you have to pay your taxes, the IRS, you know, tax form has all of that. We, I will say where we are at with with with regulation, especially based on the work we're doing at the blockchain Association. I think Bill is right in terms of education, education, education. But I think what we need where we are at is we need regulatory clarity. The issue is not the fact that the crypto industry wants to dodge, you know, regulation, even the people who would prefer to have no regulation have had to concede we need something. But we need Washington to get together. Right. Right now, there's a lot of uncertainty on the regulatory front in terms of which regulatory bodies have oversight. Right. And we know that there's tension between the CFTC and the SEC on this. And then Congress, you know, is taking is is doing quite a bit, you know, Congressman Soto's has been awesome in terms of crypto but but also moving legislation forward as well. So we've had successes on the House side, we're making some inroads on the Senate side with Senate Banking and some of the members there, but it's going to take time. But in the meantime, unfortunately, what we're seeing is regulation by enforcement, the SEC is really creating this environment where you're not sure if you can innovate here in the US, because at any given moment, you could be complying one day and not in compliance the next day. Now, we know the White House has been I don't wanna say quiet on crypto, but the infrastructure bill was offers engagement because of the pay for section, we I think we would have been happy to pay up pay for the infrastructure bill, just not that way. Right? Because the expansion of the definition of books actually put a huge burden specifically on black and Latino innovators and crypto, because were the ones who actually would not be able to comply. And with the the bill is law, and we're still trying to work through how we fix that. But, you know, Washington has indicated that they don't want to do this undue burden on software, hardware developers and miners and stinkers. Now, the White House did put out the Presidential working group report on stable coins, which has led some of the conversations and we saw the two hearings two weeks ago and the Senate an in house side. So this conversation about stable coins is important. Payments is an issue Last year, the White House threatened to put out a crypto czar I say threatened because it never have been. And right now where we've got an indication that an executive orders coming. We're hoping that that executive order will lead to more clarity. Obviously, you know, more guidance on stable coins is probably expected. And I think there's going to be a push to get some coordination among the agencies to help put together a pathway for legislation to actually move across both chambers. But But I will say, you know, I focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. And we need inclusive policymaking. Too often, the policies that come out of Washington force are some of the inequities. One of them is the SEC accreditors accredited investor rule that actually keeps and you know, people of color out of building wealth. So we need to make sure that we're being we're fostering inclusive policies. But we also need to invest more in financial literacy and skills training, when you look at the future of work, right. stablecoins is not just a possibility of being able to have a way to deliver stimulus payments to the most vulnerable, but we're seeing the greatest adoption with working class people in the US, they should be able to get paid in cryptocurrency, that option is already there. And one of the things I'm proposing is we can do when I dare to comply with IRS regulations in terms of, you know, companies meeting those requirements, but people can, we can make it easier for employers to have people direct deposit funds into their accounts. So there's a lot that we need to talk to talk about in legislation. But I think we also need to talk about the arc of legislation, it's not gonna happen to more that crypto moves, crypto has moved Washington further than it has ever gone in terms of action. But at the end of the day, we're talking about getting a whole bunch of it's not just the SEC. CFTC is also the OCC CFPB, and so many other agencies, in addition to two bodies of Congress, but I'm optimistic about where we're heading. I think members are much more educated than they were then when the blockchain association was created three and a half years ago. And I think we're past the point where they're skeptical about financial inclusion, I think is the issue is trust is that whether the technology is there, and you know what we're doing the steps in terms of education.
Susan, maybe you can jump in here to Kloves point about how these technologies can impact individuals and communities and talk about that from the metaverse perspective.
Sure. So, you know, policy isn't so much my wheelhouse. But I do think a lot about how the data we collect on immersive technologies and similar technologies will actually influence individuals in ways that, you know, we need to sort of think about now, right, so Bill was talking about being an inflection point. These are the kinds of things we have to think about as systems are planned and built. And so you know, from a research perspective, when we think about moving forward into the metaverse, I mean, I talked about some of the technology we're likely to use to experience aspects of the metaverse being immersive, but what does that really mean? I mean, it means that it envelops all of your senses, you can superimpose it on the real world. That's another option. But it also means a lot of tracking technologies. So it means technologies related to motion capture eye tracking, people are building physiological measurement into headsets. You know, we're envisioning providing scent and haptic interfaces for people, again, all runs on data, all the data goes somewhere, you know, to make a VR environment move, right now, we are capturing data, at least, you know, 60 times per second, 90 times per second, even more. All that data can impact people, because we can make all kinds of inferences from it. So we can look at those data. And we can tell, you know, with some degree of of accuracy, whether you've had a traumatic brain injury in the past, you know, we can use it to look at early onset of, you know, degenerative brain disease. I mean, there are all sorts of things researchers are doing right now that are very much related to the kinds of data that we see building sort of the backbone of our experiences, and the metaverse in the future. So these are the kinds of things that can have real impacts on people, you know, and the medical stuff is sort of where I live, but there are also things around figuring out people's preferences, their emotional states, their mindsets. I mean, it all sounds like science fiction, but I'm a social psychologist, and you know, there are all kinds of tells in our behavior as to our mental states. Okay, so these are the kinds of data that we need to think about. And we need to think about them kind of quickly, because they cannot have all kinds of implications for people to pay ending on, you know, whose hands they are in. I was just in the panel on XR and the workforce, you know, imagine your employer having that data if you're going to be using XR for employment via the metaverse, you know. So that's one of the data streams, I think we really have to think about, I think the other one in terms of individual impact is more related to sort of the not so much what you give off, but what comes in, right. So if your entire experience is data, who controls what you're seeing, probably algorithms and AI, you know, some to some extent, what you've chosen to see. But you know, that's going to become your reality. One thing we do know, you know, from psychology is that the brain does tend to treat VR experience as real life. Okay, so these things can become quite real. And these are a lot of issues we're still grappling with the research is nascent. It is, you know, really early days in all of this research, and I think there's a lot that we still need to figure out about how people experience virtual environments, virtual worlds, how we form communities, how we communicate, even really basic questions around how these actual VR technologies might influence a developing child's visual system. You know, these are the kinds of really early questions that we don't have really great answers to yet. And so, you know, very different realm from what some of my co panelists are talking about here. But I think it just goes to show, you know, how many places we really need to get better education, better understanding. And I think at the end of the day, better research better data to make our decisions based on
current, I'm hoping you can jump in here, because you really kind of bridge this gap. I think nicely between the science and the policy, which is like our protecting our civil liberties here as we collect all this data for the metaverse.
Absolutely. And this is this is very important, I want to hit on something that was come on the theme here about the value of educating and educating policymakers because one of the challenges that we've had in dealing with regulations of the Internet of new technology is making sure that those regulations and those laws about it are based on a knowledge of what the technology is, does can do. And you have much better policy choices. If they're made by someone with full information. Sometimes there might be disagreements about how they should go. But it's still better to do it with with good information about what it is. And the other thing I think is important is we are, you know, some of these technologies have been around in some form for a number of years for blockchain technologies, distributed technologies, VR and xr technologies, but they are becoming much more prominent, and they're still in a developing mode. And so this is an opportunity to make sure that we are considering civil liberties, privacy, freedom of expression, making sure that our human rights come with us into the future. And so on the metaverse as Susan was saying, it collects a tremendous about of the data. egocentric data as is sometimes called or its data about what you are and how your eyes are moving, if it's coupled with some other sensors, like a smartwatch and get your pulse rate. And this can be a tremendous amount of information about you, it could be used to find inferences that could lead to view of what's in your mind. And in many cases, we've also seen inferences taken which have a biased views that come from machine learning that is improperly put together. And it makes wrong assumptions about this. And both of these are actually problematic. So I think it is critically important just on the metaverse, for example, that as we have this thing, we'll take all of this data and put it together that we make sure that we respect the privacy that we've always wanted to have. And make sure the future right is one that we would want to live in. And to use one example that is AR technologies, where often cases they envision having a camera and your glasses, and then you walk around. And this can be tremendously useful to make cool technologies. And like with all of this, there are cool things that can happen. But at the same time if everybody has a camera in their glasses, and that goes into a central location where can be obtained, that gives somebody a time machine they can get all the views of all the different people that were in a location and see the things that were happening there that was sort of previously kind of inconceivable for firms often Opticon and this brings us to one of the values of some of that decentralization is that having a metaverse which is in a world of worlds like the Internet was a network of networks can help protect against having that single point of failure. Having all of your your data being gathered by your your goggles and your AR glasses. Maybe stay on your device and not go to a central location and when needs to be exchanged can be exchanged. peer to peer. And so having some of these decentralization technologies can be both a protection against the centralization of this data and easy point of access, but also some of the lack of competition that comes out when there are only a few centralized locations that are providing the service.
And I would add that I think you alluded to this, a metaverse already exists, right? in gaming. There's a virtual world where gamers exists and the avatars have relationships and avatars have whole lives and they advertise so. So there is, you know, a framework for helping to actually envision this, I think the concerns you raise all my concerns, because as we have this initial iteration of what a decentralized metaverse could look like, it looks very much like an exclusive club for the wealthy right now. Like, I every time I hear the metaphors, I remember seeing a story that somebody has already purchased the house next to Snoop Dogg, for $500,000. And so, so when we talk about accessibility, and you know, fixing some of the problems of web through, we have to think about how is this accessible? You know, rural communities, urban communities, right? Women, seniors, these are the people who actually use the Internet right now rely on it depend on it. So we have to build and make sure and you alluded this, you know, artificial intelligence is great. We have to innovate. We can't stop innovation, because we have concerns. But racial profiling is a big concern, when we're not going to fix all these problems before we innovate, but we have to at least be thinking about them in the end and talking about how do we at least mitigate for them.
And I will just add to this that, you know, as we think about the metaverse and the massive amounts of data that it both creates, and is required to build a metaverse project like filecoin is like a super interesting thing to think about. Because where do you want that data to be stored? Do you want it to be stored in a big centralized with a big centralized storage provider? Or do you want it to be truly distributed? And who owns that data? And how do you share permissions with that data? So that's one of the things that we're working on at the foundation that, I think is very exciting. Bill, where are we timing wise, on sort of, where where are policymakers now? And how do we get them up to speed? And how long do you think that will take?
Yeah, I mean, I think conversations like this are very helpful. And I think it's very important to break things down incrementally. A lot of times, I see folks in the tech side, in particular, with these big homerun swing, ask. And I think that's important to, you know, kind of prime the conversation of where we want to be, and maybe 10 years, or whatever the time frame may be, but there has to be an incremental build up. And I think that's been sort of where staff and, you know, policymakers and even private side, individuals need to get a little better and more thoughtful. Because we know, you know, like, regulatory clarity, I think that's hugely, hugely, massively important. And I'd like to say that's a one year conversation, but I think it's, it's the big breakdown in these incremental things. And what scares me is that, you know, Congress in particular is a very reactive institution, bad thing happens, okay, gets attention. So it's much harder to do this on the front end, and kind of lead up to it. And so just as policymakers are learning these things, I think it's also important for, you know, Policy Advocates and industry advocates to also recognize that policy isn't made in one fell swoop that there are things like the appropriations process, you know, is kind of a big, missed moment where a provision snuck into a must pass bill, like, I'm sorry, that's, you know, whether the hill is broken or not, is a different conversation, but three or four must pass bills move every year. So something of consequence was always going to happen like that. So it's just, you know, I'm not saying Washington as it is, I'm not defending it. I think both sides need to get to a better understanding and how they work and then realize that this incremental approach, so I'd like to say Mehtab metaverse is probably 10 years out, but all these privacy things, I think will start to be the consistent thing. And then I think what happens with the data and who has access and the who is in control of whatever the metaverse is, I think those are the questions we have So keep in mind on that, on that time period,
Kurt, is EFF, how is EFF? First of all, are there past experiences with sort of the pot like shaping policymaking that we can look to as guides for where we are now?
Absolutely. But I think, you know, it is also a difficult process is saying that, you know, educating the policymakers about the technology, right, very, very key to have an understanding of it. And this, this comes through and in a sense of like, even if the bill like is defining a term of as a defining a term without knowing what that term really is, you're going to get some bad regulation. So education is very important. But also, I think we can recognize and maybe take take advantage of the experience we've had with the Internet and policymakers over the last several years, is towards the value of getting core principles embedded within the technology as early as possible, it's a lot easier to have a technology that develops with having, you know, protection of human rights and free expression and privacy and security as concepts within it, then to have it developed without those things, and then try and engineer it and later. And we have that that opportunity right now, to create a space where we can we can move forward, you know, to a to a brighter future, because at least these technologies provide tremendous promise, if done well. And that's the what we're trying to achieve. It's also extremely difficult. I also say like, any regulation is, at best, as good as the understanding is of where the technology is at the time. So you have to make sure that these things are forward looking they give space for innovating, and innovating in ways that people don't currently expect. Very challenging the thing to do, but also very important.
We have about 10 minutes left, do we have any questions?
I think this conversation
is revolved a lot around cryptocurrencies and stablecoins. Where we are right now. And it does, rightfully so is Phyllis thinking that's kind of the problems that we're looking at now, that kind of have to first point about, you know, looking forward and creating regulations and laws don't limit what happens in the future. I think that's where a lot of the promises was filed. But doesn't really fit within the crypto stable coin dynamic. But it's also talked about later in metaverse or, you know, Jack Dorsey trying to do decentralized social media. Right. So which aspects of this technology do you all see from being an activity important going forward? What are the things you're worried about? Outside of kind of the crypto stablecoin? Current dynamic that we're talking about? Because that's, I mean, that's what it
is. Just want to say you stole my last question. That's okay. No, I think it's great. I like that there is so much beyond crypto as a store of value that I will, that's a great question about like, sort of where do you see this headed? What projects are most exciting to you? Or terrifying?
I'm happy to jump in. I'm glad smartwatch was brought up earlier. And really just a GPS tracker and a heart rate monitor can be a little scary and the information that has to go you're out at midnight and your heart rates a little all over the place. Like maybe you should get a targeted ad for wanting a pizza in an hour. Like that's a very basic example. But it's not hard to project that into a scary realm. And I think it was Susan that mentioned, you know, the the brain's ability to separate reality from, you know, what we are currently experiencing? I think that's what gets a little unnerving, the more time one spends in this stuff. It gets really cool. I'm not arguing that. But I think these things of what is real versus what isn't. And you know, how it impacts kids. In developing minds, I think a lot of lines get blurred. And so we just have to be very thoughtful on the front end that these things aren't manipulated, and you know it. What scares me is it gets in the wrong hand and you let somebody like an authoritarian government shape. metaverse, like it makes it much easier to amplify things that aren't great. So I think it can go you know, we're kind of at a fork moment. And I hope we kind of go down the good, the good part of it.
And I'll add I am I think the conversation about whether we should regulate Kryptos as commodities versus securities is a long play. We're not going, we're not going to decide that. So if we shift to more basic things, I think that the success of NF T's was because it was not about crypto, it was about creators who for decades struggled to figure out how to first protect their Monetate for protect their intellectual property, monetize, and then create a marketplace, they were searching for a tool and they found a tool. So crypto just happened to be the solution. But while they actually leveraging this tool, they're learning a new skill, they're actually learning a new skill that can actually help transcend them beyond creators. So I think skills training is one we have to think about, because we keep talking about the jobs of the future. And we we talk about smart cities as well, here's an opportunity to find, what are some of the applications that really align with average, people like NF T's help to the great thing about crypto and artificial intelligence, most of the emerging technologies, you don't need to agree most of the applications are drag and drop. But how do we get regular people and gauge give them access to these job opportunities, but most importantly, prepare the masses for the innovation economy, right? We can create a decentralized web and a metaverse, but if the masses are operating outside of it, it's just going to be a nice country club.
So what I was gonna say actually does kind of build off of, you know, I'll say what Bill is talking about is one of the things that keeps me up at night, if we're creating people's realities, you know, who's creating the realities. And that's true in a virtual situation. But it's also I think, true, if you think about AR so we talked about Snoop Dogg's house, and, you know, buying the house, the virtual house next to it, you know, on what system like in whose world, so who's gonna control the layer of metadata that we're gonna see over everything, you know, we probably the example given is, you know, probably, it's not going to be okay to stick of Burger King sign on McDonald's, right in the real world, on the AAR, let, you know, on the metadata level, but, you know, who will control that? What are the rules around that, you know, I think it's gonna be really exciting, you know, to be able to blend the real and the virtual. And, and I think there are lots of great opportunities, actually, also to Bill's example. You know, in the medical world, you know, there are interventions where, if you're near a bar where you used to go drink, you know, and you have a substance use disorder, and your heart with and you're sort of in that geo fence, your smartwatch can say, hey, you're in danger. You know, and that's a fantastic application. But that's, you know, under could be under HIPAA, it could be under IRB regulate, you know, there's a, there's a framework in which these kinds of things are happening, where there's a sort of known set of data protections. So I'll stop there and pass it to Kurt.
Yes, to take it up a level, I think that one of the sort of the core principles is, you know, giving user centric user control, as a way of pushing back against some of these bad outcomes. And, and having things be in the user interest we were talking about, you know, we'll give some examples of with all those additional information, you know, you could get advertised to, or maybe you could, you could find out about a medical situation that you need awareness of, and you can see how the same information could be used to help you to provide you valuable information that you can take a positive step about, and could be used to sell you something, too. And I think also just in disinformation, to you know, hit your emotional buttons and try to manipulate your political feelings, like all these things that can come from this data. And the key is to try to make this, you know, trying to look at the future in a way that you're saying, is this a user? Is it helping the user? Is that a technology that is using this information in ways that are positive to the user? Is it protecting the user? Or is it using it to manipulate the users and trying to take it take advantage of them? And I think if we if we steer to the former, that as a principal will help us get to that better spot.
Actually, I think that's a really lovely place to land this conversation. Are we? We're about out of time. Well, wonderful. Thank you all so much for coming. This was great. Thank you, panelists. Thank you.