The Power of Ownership: Crypto, LLMs, and the Future of Information Consumption


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 16, 2023

4 min read


The Power of Ownership: Crypto, LLMs, and the Future of Information Consumption


In today's digital age, where information is abundant and attention is scarce, the need for effective aggregation and management of information has become more crucial than ever before. As Herbert A. Simon aptly stated, "A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention." This article explores the intersection of LLMs (Language Model Models) and information post-scarcity, highlighting the potential impact of ownership economy and crypto technologies in reshaping the way we consume information.

The Rise of LLMs and the Challenge of Commoditization:

LLMs, such as GPT-3, have garnered significant attention for their ability to generate high-quality human-like text. However, the question arises as to whether LLMs can act as a moat, considering vendors' efforts to commoditize these models. The commoditization of LLMs may undermine their perceived strategic importance, similar to how social graphs are not necessarily a moat, as demonstrated by platforms like TikTok.

The Role of Information Managers:

With the abundance of information, the need for skilled professionals who can locate, filter, organize, and summarize information becomes paramount. Information managers, a new profession merging the skills of computer scientists, librarians, publishers, and database experts, will play a crucial role in helping individuals navigate the overwhelming sea of information effectively. These human agents will work alongside software agents specialized in information manipulation.

The Significance of Aggregation in the Age of LLMs:

The condition of superabundance created by LLMs amplifies the need for aggregation. Aggregators play a vital role in curating and organizing vast amounts of information, providing users with relevant and valuable content. The strategic importance of aggregation is further enhanced by the emergence of user-owned keys and the concept of self-sovereign data, which enables users to control their own information, fostering a more cooperative economic model.

The Web's Security Model and the Need for Cryptographic Signatures:

The web's security model traditionally revolves around the concept of castle walls, with servers controlling the keys. However, the rise of user-owned keys and the emphasis on security in the crypto world challenge this feudal structure. Cryptographically signing everything, akin to signing a transaction in a web3 wallet, could potentially disrupt the web's security model and provide users with more control over their data.

The Potential Commoditization and Competition of LLMs:

LLMs, being complementary to many consumer products, may face pressure to be commoditized. Open-source models, in particular, can enjoy a competitive advantage by enabling permissionless innovation. The release of Stable Diffusion, an open-source model, resulted in a proliferation of innovative product concepts and demos, showcasing the power of permissionless models in driving variety and innovation.

The Ownership Economy and Crypto:

The ownership economy, facilitated by crypto technologies, represents the next frontier of consumer software. By allowing users to not only build, operate, and fund software platforms but also own them, the ownership economy harnesses powerful market incentives to drive network effects. Ownership serves as a motivator for users to contribute to products in meaningful ways, fostering alignment and resulting in larger, more resilient, and innovative platforms.

Overcoming Adoption Challenges through Ownership:

Adoption, particularly in the face of dominant platforms with established network effects, poses a significant challenge for startups and new technologies. Ownership, as exemplified in Bitcoin and Ethereum, offers a solution to this problem. By enabling users to earn the majority of value generated from their contributions, ownership incentivizes active participation and helps overcome adoption barriers.

Conclusion and Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace the role of information managers: As individuals, we must develop the skills to effectively locate, filter, organize, and summarize information amidst its abundance. This will enable us to navigate the digital landscape more efficiently.
  • 2. Explore the potential of self-sovereign data: Take control of your own data by leveraging user-owned keys and self-sovereign data concepts. This empowers you to have greater ownership and control over your digital presence.
  • 3. Engage with the ownership economy: Look for opportunities to participate in platforms that embrace the ownership economy, where users have a stake in the products and services they use. This not only aligns incentives but also promotes innovation and resilience.

In conclusion, the convergence of LLMs, information post-scarcity, and the ownership economy presents a promising future for information consumption and consumer software. By leveraging the power of aggregation, user-owned keys, and ownership incentives, we can navigate the sea of information more effectively, while actively contributing to the development of innovative and user-centric platforms. The journey towards a more democratized and user-driven digital landscape has just begun.

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