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ceClub: Digital Social Contracts: A Foundation for an Egalitarian and Just Digital Society
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Ehud Shapiro (Weizmann Institute of Science)
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Wednesday, 9.12.2020, 11:30
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Zoom Lecture:
Almost two centuries ago Pierre-Joseph Proudhon proposed social contracts -- voluntary agreements among free people -- as a foundation from which an egalitarian and just society can emerge. A digital social contract is the novel incarnation of this concept for the digital age. Digital social contracts are: Conceptually, voluntary agreements among genuinely-identified people, specified, undertaken, and fulfilled in the digital realm. Mathematically, a novel computational model specifying concurrent, non-deterministic asynchronous agents updating a monotonic shared ledger with digital speech acts. Computationally, distributed programs realizing this abstract model of computation, where people resolve nondeterministic choices of the agents they operate. We will present a formal definition of digital social contracts; outline an abstract design for a social contracts programming language; show, via programming examples, that key application areas, including social community, simple sharing-economy applications, egalitarian and just currency networks, and democratic community governance, can all be expressed elegantly and efficiently as digital social contracts; and outline a distributed-ledger implementation of digital social contracts. Joint work with Luca Cardelli, Liav Orgad, Gal Shahaf, and Nimrod Talmon Bio: Ehud Shapiro is an interdisciplinary scientist, entrepreneur, artist and, most recently, a politician. He got his B.A./B.Sc. in Mathematics and Philosophy from Tel Aviv University in 1979, a PhD in Computer Science from Yale University in 1982, and has been with the Weizmann Institute ever since. His PhD research on inductive logic programming and on algorithmic debugging has served as a foundation for these two disciplines. At Weizmann he developed the discipline of concurrent logic programming and the programming language Concurrent Prolog. In 1993 he founded Ubique Ltd., the first Internet social networking software startup. In 1995 Ubique launched Virtual Places 1.0, a social networking application providing instant-messaging, chat rooms, joint and guided web-surfing, online events and games, and integrated voice-over-IP, 12 years before Facebook. He sold Ubique to America Online, performed a management-buy-out, and then sold it again to IBM, where its technology was the basis of SameTime, IBM's successful corporate network communication and collaboration product. Upon return to Weizmann in 1998 Ehud switched to Biology, and led research projects on biomolecular computers, synthetic biology, and human cell lineage analysis, for which he received two ERC Advanced Grants. In the last several years he began working on digital democracy, initially with Nimrod Talmon and later also with collaborators and a research team he formed at Weizmann. Ehud is a bass singer and the founder and artistic director of the Ba-Rock Band. More recently, he founded a new political party, democratit.
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