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Ben "The Hosk" Hosking

Ben "The Hosk" Hosking

1 year ago

The Yellow Cat Test Is Typically Failed by Software Developers.

More on Technology

Nikhil Vemu

Nikhil Vemu

1 year ago

7 Mac Apps That Are Exorbitantly Priced But Totally Worth It

Photo by Jack Carter on Unsplash

Wish you more bang for your buck

By ‘Cost a Bomb’ I didn’t mean to exaggerate. It’s an idiom that means ‘To be very expensive’. In fact, no app on the planet costs a bomb lol.

So, to the point.

Chronicle

(Freemium. For Pro, $24.99 | Available on Setapp)

Credit: LittleFin LLC

You probably have trouble keeping track of dozens of bills and subscriptions each month.

Try Chronicle.

Easy-to-use app

  • Add payment due dates and receive reminders,

  • Save payment documentation,

  • Analyze your spending by season, year, and month.

  • Observe expenditure trends and create new budgets.

Best of all, Chronicle features an integrated browser for fast payment and logging.

iOS and macOS sync.

SoundSource

($39 for lifetime)

Background Music, a free macOS program, was featured in #6 of this post last month.

It controls per-app volume, stereo balance, and audio over its max level.

Credit: Rogue Amoeba Software Inc.

Background Music is fully supported. Additionally,

  • Connect various speakers to various apps (Wow! ),

  • change the audio sample rate for each app,

  • To facilitate access, add a floating SoundSource window.

  • Use its blocks in Shortcuts app,

  • On the menu bar, include meters for output/input devices and running programs.

PixelSnap

($39 for lifetime | Available on Setapp)

Credit: MTW

This software is heaven for UI designers.

It aids you.

  • quickly calculate screen distances (in pixels) ,

Credit: MTW
  • Drag an area around an object to determine its borders,

Credit: MTW
  • Measure the distances between the additional guides,

Credit: MTW
  • screenshots should be pixel-perfect.

What’s more.

You can

  • Adapt your tolerance for items with poor contrast and shadows.

  • Use your Touch Bar to perform important tasks, if you have one.

Mate Translation

($3.99 a month / $29.99 a year | Available on Setapp)

Credit: Gikken

Mate Translate resembles a roided-up version of BarTranslate, which I wrote about in #1 of this piece last month.

If you translate often, utilize Mate Translate on macOS and Safari.

I'm really vocal about it.

It stays on the menu bar, and is accessible with a click or ⌥+shift+T hotkey.

It lets you

  • Translate in 103 different languages,

  • To translate text, double-click or right-click on it.

  • Totally translate websites. Additionally, Netflix subtitles,

  • Listen to their pronunciation to see how close it is to human.

iPhone and Mac sync Mate-ing history.

Swish

($16 for lifetime | Available on Setapp)

Swish is awesome!

Swipe, squeeze, tap, and hold movements organize chaotic desktop windows. Swish operates with mouse and trackpad.

Some gestures:

• Pinch Once: Close an app
• Pinch Twice: Quit an app
• Swipe down once: Minimise an app
• Pinch Out: Enter fullscreen mode
• Tap, Hold, & Swipe: Arrange apps in grids
and many more...

Credit: Christian Renninger

After getting acquainted to the movements, your multitasking will improve.

Unite

($24.99 for lifetime | Available on Setapp)

It turns webapps into macOS apps. The end.

Unite's functionality is a million times better.

Credit: BZG Apps LLC & Binyamin Goldman
  • Provide extensive customization (incl. its icon, light and dark modes)

  • make menu bar applications,

  • Get badges for web notifications and automatically refresh websites,

  • Replace any dock icon in the window with it (Wow!) by selecting that portion of the window.

This will help know weather or stock prices easily. (Credit: BZG Apps LLC & Binyamin Goldman)
  • Use PiP (Picture-in-Picture) on video sites that support it.

  • Delete advertising,

  • Throughout macOS, use floating windows

and many more…

I feel $24.99 one-off for this tool is a great deal, considering all these features. What do you think?

https://www.bzgapps.com/unite

CleanShot X

(Basic: $29 one-off. Pro: $8/month | Available on Setapp)

Credit: MTW

CleanShot X can achieve things the macOS screenshot tool cannot. Complete screenshot toolkit.

CleanShot X, like Pixel Snap 2 (#3), is fantastic.

Allows

  • Scroll to capture a long page,

  • screen recording,

    With webcam on,
    • With mic and system audio,
    • Highlighting mouse clicks and hotkeys.

  • Maintain floating screenshots for reference

  • While capturing, conceal desktop icons and notifications.

  • Recognize text in screenshots (OCR),

  • You may upload and share screenshots using the built-in cloud.

These are just 6 in 50+ features, and you’re already saying Wow!

Amelia Winger-Bearskin

Amelia Winger-Bearskin

1 year ago

Reasons Why AI-Generated Images Remind Me of Nightmares

AI images are like funhouse mirrors.

Google's AI Blog introduced the puppy-slug in the summer of 2015.

Vice / DeepDream

Puppy-slug isn't a single image or character. "Puppy-slug" refers to Google's DeepDream's unsettling psychedelia. This tool uses convolutional neural networks to train models to recognize dataset entities. If researchers feed the model millions of dog pictures, the network will learn to recognize a dog.

DeepDream used neural networks to analyze and classify image data as well as generate its own images. DeepDream's early examples were created by training a convolutional network on dog images and asking it to add "dog-ness" to other images. The models analyzed images to find dog-like pixels and modified surrounding pixels to highlight them.

Puppy-slugs and other DeepDream images are ugly. Even when they don't trigger my trypophobia, they give me vertigo when my mind tries to reconcile familiar features and forms in unnatural, physically impossible arrangements. I feel like I've been poisoned by a forbidden mushroom or a noxious toad. I'm a Lovecraft character going mad from extradimensional exposure. They're gross!

Is this really how AIs see the world? This is possibly an even more unsettling topic that DeepDream raises than the blatant abjection of the images.

When these photographs originally circulated online, many friends were startled and scandalized. People imagined a computer's imagination would be literal, accurate, and boring. We didn't expect vivid hallucinations and organic-looking formations.

DeepDream's images didn't really show the machines' imaginations, at least not in the way that scared some people. DeepDream displays data visualizations. DeepDream reveals the "black box" of convolutional network training.

Some of these images look scary because the models don't "know" anything, at least not in the way we do.

These images are the result of advanced algorithms and calculators that compare pixel values. They can spot and reproduce trends from training data, but can't interpret it. If so, they'd know dogs have two eyes and one face per head. If machines can think creatively, they're keeping it quiet.

You could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, given OpenAI's Dall-impressive E's results. From a technological perspective, it's incredible.

Arthur C. Clarke once said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Dall-magic E's requires a lot of math, computer science, processing power, and research. OpenAI did a great job, and we should applaud them.

Dall-E and similar tools match words and phrases to image data to train generative models. Matching text to images requires sorting and defining the images. Untold millions of low-wage data entry workers, content creators optimizing images for SEO, and anyone who has used a Captcha to access a website make these decisions. These people could live and die without receiving credit for their work, even though the project wouldn't exist without them.

This technique produces images that are less like paintings and more like mirrors that reflect our own beliefs and ideals back at us, albeit via a very complex prism. Due to the limitations and biases that these models portray, we must exercise caution when viewing these images.

The issue was succinctly articulated by artist Mimi Onuoha in her piece "On Algorithmic Violence":

As we continue to see the rise of algorithms being used for civic, social, and cultural decision-making, it becomes that much more important that we name the reality that we are seeing. Not because it is exceptional, but because it is ubiquitous. Not because it creates new inequities, but because it has the power to cloak and amplify existing ones. Not because it is on the horizon, but because it is already here.

Al Anany

Al Anany

1 year ago

Notion AI Might Destroy Grammarly and Jasper

The trick Notion could use is simply Facebook-ing the hell out of them.

Notion Mobile Cowork Memo App by HS You, on Flickr

*Time travel to fifteen years ago.* Future-Me: “Hey! What are you up to?” Old-Me: “I am proofreading an article. It’s taking a few hours, but I will be done soon.” Future-Me: “You know, in the future, you will be using a google chrome plugin called Grammarly that will help you easily proofread articles in half that time.” Old-Me: “What is… Google Chrome?” Future-Me: “Gosh…”

I love Grammarly. It’s one of those products that I personally feel the effects of. I mean, Space X is a great company. But I am not a rocket writing this article in space (or am I?)

No, I’m not. So I don’t personally feel a connection to Space X. So, if a company collapse occurs in the morning, I might write about it. But I will have zero emotions regarding it.

Yet, if Grammarly fails tomorrow, I will feel 1% emotionally distressed. So looking at the title of this article, you’d realize that I am betting against them. This is how much I believe in the critical business model that’s taking over the world, the one of Notion.

Notion How frequently do you go through your notes?

Grammarly is everywhere, which helps its success. Grammarly is available when you update LinkedIn on Chrome. Grammarly prevents errors in Google Docs.

My internal concentration isn't apparent in the previous paragraph. Not Grammarly. I should have used Chrome to make a Google doc and LinkedIn update. Without this base, Grammarly will be useless.

So, welcome to this business essay.

  • Grammarly provides a solution.

  • Another issue is resolved by Jasper.

  • Your entire existence is supposed to be contained within Notion.

New Google Chrome is offline. It's an all-purpose notepad (in the near future.)

  • How should I start my blog? Enter it in Note.

  • an update on LinkedIn? If you mention it, it might be automatically uploaded there (with little help from another app.)

  • An advanced thesis? You can brainstorm it with your coworkers.

This ad sounds great! I won't cry if Notion dies tomorrow.

I'll reread the following passages to illustrate why I think Notion could kill Grammarly and Jasper.

Notion is a fantastic app that incubates your work.

Smartly, they began with note-taking.

Hopefully, your work will be on Notion. Grammarly and Jasper are still must-haves.

Grammarly will proofread your typing while Jasper helps with copywriting and AI picture development.

They're the best, therefore you'll need them. Correct? Nah.

Notion might bombard them with Facebook posts.

Notion: “Hi Grammarly, do you want to sell your product to us?” Grammarly: “Dude, we are more valuable than you are. We’ve even raised $400m, while you raised $342m. Our last valuation round put us at $13 billion, while yours put you at $10 billion. Go to hell.” Notion: “Okay, we’ll speak again in five years.”

Notion: “Jasper, wanna sell?” Jasper: “Nah, we’re deep into AI and the field. You can’t compete with our people.” Notion: “How about you either sell or you turn into a Snapchat case?” Jasper: “…”

Notion is your home. Grammarly is your neighbor. Your track is Jasper.

What if you grew enough vegetables in your backyard to avoid the supermarket? No more visits.

What if your home had a beautiful treadmill? You won't rush outside as much (I disagree with my own metaphor). (You get it.)

It's Facebooking. Instagram Stories reduced your Snapchat usage. Notion will reduce your need to use Grammarly.

The Final Piece of the AI Puzzle

Let's talk about Notion first, since you've probably read about it everywhere.

  • They raised $343 million, as I previously reported, and bought four businesses

  • According to Forbes, Notion will have more than 20 million users by 2022. The number of users is up from 4 million in 2020.

If raising $1.8 billion was impressive, FTX wouldn't have fallen.

This article compares the basic product to two others. Notion is a day-long app.

Notion has released Notion AI to support writers. It's early, so it's not as good as Jasper. Then-Jasper isn't now-Jasper. In five years, Notion AI will be different.

With hard work, they may construct a Jasper-like writing assistant. They have resources and users.

At this point, it's all speculation. Jasper's copywriting is top-notch. Grammarly's proofreading is top-notch. Businesses are constrained by user activities.

If Notion's future business movements are strategic, they might become a blue ocean shark (or get acquired by an unbelievable amount.)

I love business mental teasers, so tell me:

  • How do you feel? Are you a frequent Notion user?

  • Do you dispute my position? I enjoy hearing opposing viewpoints.

Ironically, I proofread this with Grammarly.

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Farhan Ali Khan

Farhan Ali Khan

10 months ago

Introduction to Zero-Knowledge Proofs: The Art of Proving Without Revealing

Zero-Knowledge Proofs for Beginners

Published here originally.

Introduction

I Spy—did you play as a kid? One person chose a room object, and the other had to guess it by answering yes or no questions. I Spy was entertaining, but did you know it could teach you cryptography?

Zero Knowledge Proofs let you show your pal you know what they picked without exposing how. Math replaces electronics in this secret spy mission. Zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) are sophisticated cryptographic tools that allow one party to prove they have particular knowledge without revealing it. This proves identification and ownership, secures financial transactions, and more. This article explains zero-knowledge proofs and provides examples to help you comprehend this powerful technology.

What is a Proof of Zero Knowledge?

Zero-knowledge proofs prove a proposition is true without revealing any other information. This lets the prover show the verifier that they know a fact without revealing it. So, a zero-knowledge proof is like a magician's trick: the prover proves they know something without revealing how or what. Complex mathematical procedures create a proof the verifier can verify.

Want to find an easy way to test it out? Try out with tis awesome example! ZK Crush

Describe it as if I'm 5

Alex and Jack found a cave with a center entrance that only opens when someone knows the secret. Alex knows how to open the cave door and wants to show Jack without telling him.

Alex and Jack name both pathways (let’s call them paths A and B).

  1. In the first phase, Alex is already inside the cave and is free to select either path, in this case A or B.

  2. As Alex made his decision, Jack entered the cave and asked him to exit from the B path.

  3. Jack can confirm that Alex really does know the key to open the door because he came out for the B path and used it.

To conclude, Alex and Jack repeat:

  1. Alex walks into the cave.

  2. Alex follows a random route.

  3. Jack walks into the cave.

  4. Alex is asked to follow a random route by Jack.

  5. Alex follows Jack's advice and heads back that way.

What is a Zero Knowledge Proof?

At a high level, the aim is to construct a secure and confidential conversation between the prover and the verifier, where the prover convinces the verifier that they have the requisite information without disclosing it. The prover and verifier exchange messages and calculate in each round of the dialogue.

The prover uses their knowledge to prove they have the information the verifier wants during these rounds. The verifier can verify the prover's truthfulness without learning more by checking the proof's mathematical statement or computation.

Zero knowledge proofs use advanced mathematical procedures and cryptography methods to secure communication. These methods ensure the evidence is authentic while preventing the prover from creating a phony proof or the verifier from extracting unnecessary information.

ZK proofs require examples to grasp. Before the examples, there are some preconditions.

Criteria for Proofs of Zero Knowledge

  1. Completeness: If the proposition being proved is true, then an honest prover will persuade an honest verifier that it is true.

  2. Soundness: If the proposition being proved is untrue, no dishonest prover can persuade a sincere verifier that it is true.

  3. Zero-knowledge: The verifier only realizes that the proposition being proved is true. In other words, the proof only establishes the veracity of the proposition being supported and nothing more.

The zero-knowledge condition is crucial. Zero-knowledge proofs show only the secret's veracity. The verifier shouldn't know the secret's value or other details.

Example after example after example

To illustrate, take a zero-knowledge proof with several examples:

Initial Password Verification Example

You want to confirm you know a password or secret phrase without revealing it.

Use a zero-knowledge proof:

  1. You and the verifier settle on a mathematical conundrum or issue, such as figuring out a big number's components.

  2. The puzzle or problem is then solved using the hidden knowledge that you have learned. You may, for instance, utilize your understanding of the password to determine the components of a particular number.

  3. You provide your answer to the verifier, who can assess its accuracy without knowing anything about your private data.

  4. You go through this process several times with various riddles or issues to persuade the verifier that you actually are aware of the secret knowledge.

You solved the mathematical puzzles or problems, proving to the verifier that you know the hidden information. The proof is zero-knowledge since the verifier only sees puzzle solutions, not the secret information.

In this scenario, the mathematical challenge or problem represents the secret, and solving it proves you know it. The evidence does not expose the secret, and the verifier just learns that you know it.

My simple example meets the zero-knowledge proof conditions:

  1. Completeness: If you actually know the hidden information, you will be able to solve the mathematical puzzles or problems, hence the proof is conclusive.

  2. Soundness: The proof is sound because the verifier can use a publicly known algorithm to confirm that your answer to the mathematical conundrum or difficulty is accurate.

  3. Zero-knowledge: The proof is zero-knowledge because all the verifier learns is that you are aware of the confidential information. Beyond the fact that you are aware of it, the verifier does not learn anything about the secret information itself, such as the password or the factors of the number. As a result, the proof does not provide any new insights into the secret.

Explanation #2: Toss a coin.

One coin is biased to come up heads more often than tails, while the other is fair (i.e., comes up heads and tails with equal probability). You know which coin is which, but you want to show a friend you can tell them apart without telling them.

Use a zero-knowledge proof:

  1. One of the two coins is chosen at random, and you secretly flip it more than once.

  2. You show your pal the following series of coin flips without revealing which coin you actually flipped.

  3. Next, as one of the two coins is flipped in front of you, your friend asks you to tell which one it is.

  4. Then, without revealing which coin is which, you can use your understanding of the secret order of coin flips to determine which coin your friend flipped.

  5. To persuade your friend that you can actually differentiate between the coins, you repeat this process multiple times using various secret coin-flipping sequences.

In this example, the series of coin flips represents the knowledge of biased and fair coins. You can prove you know which coin is which without revealing which is biased or fair by employing a different secret sequence of coin flips for each round.

The evidence is zero-knowledge since your friend does not learn anything about which coin is biased and which is fair other than that you can tell them differently. The proof does not indicate which coin you flipped or how many times you flipped it.

The coin-flipping example meets zero-knowledge proof requirements:

  1. Completeness: If you actually know which coin is biased and which is fair, you should be able to distinguish between them based on the order of coin flips, and your friend should be persuaded that you can.

  2. Soundness: Your friend may confirm that you are correctly recognizing the coins by flipping one of them in front of you and validating your answer, thus the proof is sound in that regard. Because of this, your acquaintance can be sure that you are not just speculating or picking a coin at random.

  3. Zero-knowledge: The argument is that your friend has no idea which coin is biased and which is fair beyond your ability to distinguish between them. Your friend is not made aware of the coin you used to make your decision or the order in which you flipped the coins. Consequently, except from letting you know which coin is biased and which is fair, the proof does not give any additional information about the coins themselves.

Figure out the prime number in Example #3.

You want to prove to a friend that you know their product n=pq without revealing p and q. Zero-knowledge proof?

Use a variant of the RSA algorithm. Method:

  1. You determine a new number s = r2 mod n by computing a random number r.

  2. You email your friend s and a declaration that you are aware of the values of p and q necessary for n to equal pq.

  3. A random number (either 0 or 1) is selected by your friend and sent to you.

  4. You send your friend r as evidence that you are aware of the values of p and q if e=0. You calculate and communicate your friend's s/r if e=1.

  5. Without knowing the values of p and q, your friend can confirm that you know p and q (in the case where e=0) or that s/r is a legitimate square root of s mod n (in the situation where e=1).

This is a zero-knowledge proof since your friend learns nothing about p and q other than their product is n and your ability to verify it without exposing any other information. You can prove that you know p and q by sending r or by computing s/r and sending that instead (if e=1), and your friend can verify that you know p and q or that s/r is a valid square root of s mod n without learning anything else about their values. This meets the conditions of completeness, soundness, and zero-knowledge.

Zero-knowledge proofs satisfy the following:

  1. Completeness: The prover can demonstrate this to the verifier by computing q = n/p and sending both p and q to the verifier. The prover also knows a prime number p and a factorization of n as p*q.

  2. Soundness: Since it is impossible to identify any pair of numbers that correctly factorize n without being aware of its prime factors, the prover is unable to demonstrate knowledge of any p and q that do not do so.

  3. Zero knowledge: The prover only admits that they are aware of a prime number p and its associated factor q, which is already known to the verifier. This is the extent of their knowledge of the prime factors of n. As a result, the prover does not provide any new details regarding n's prime factors.

Types of Proofs of Zero Knowledge

Each zero-knowledge proof has pros and cons. Most zero-knowledge proofs are:

  1. Interactive Zero Knowledge Proofs: The prover and the verifier work together to establish the proof in this sort of zero-knowledge proof. The verifier disputes the prover's assertions after receiving a sequence of messages from the prover. When the evidence has been established, the prover will employ these new problems to generate additional responses.

  2. Non-Interactive Zero Knowledge Proofs: For this kind of zero-knowledge proof, the prover and verifier just need to exchange a single message. Without further interaction between the two parties, the proof is established.

  3. A statistical zero-knowledge proof is one in which the conclusion is reached with a high degree of probability but not with certainty. This indicates that there is a remote possibility that the proof is false, but that this possibility is so remote as to be unimportant.

  4. Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge (SNARKs): SNARKs are an extremely effective and scalable form of zero-knowledge proof. They are utilized in many different applications, such as machine learning, blockchain technology, and more. Similar to other zero-knowledge proof techniques, SNARKs enable one party—the prover—to demonstrate to another—the verifier—that they are aware of a specific piece of information without disclosing any more information about that information.

  5. The main characteristic of SNARKs is their succinctness, which refers to the fact that the size of the proof is substantially smaller than the amount of the original data being proved. Because to its high efficiency and scalability, SNARKs can be used in a wide range of applications, such as machine learning, blockchain technology, and more.

Uses for Zero Knowledge Proofs

ZKP applications include:

  1. Verifying Identity ZKPs can be used to verify your identity without disclosing any personal information. This has uses in access control, digital signatures, and online authentication.

  2. Proof of Ownership ZKPs can be used to demonstrate ownership of a certain asset without divulging any details about the asset itself. This has uses for protecting intellectual property, managing supply chains, and owning digital assets.

  3. Financial Exchanges Without disclosing any details about the transaction itself, ZKPs can be used to validate financial transactions. Cryptocurrency, internet payments, and other digital financial transactions can all use this.

  4. By enabling parties to make calculations on the data without disclosing the data itself, Data Privacy ZKPs can be used to preserve the privacy of sensitive data. Applications for this can be found in the financial, healthcare, and other sectors that handle sensitive data.

  5. By enabling voters to confirm that their vote was counted without disclosing how they voted, elections ZKPs can be used to ensure the integrity of elections. This is applicable to electronic voting, including internet voting.

  6. Cryptography Modern cryptography's ZKPs are a potent instrument that enable secure communication and authentication. This can be used for encrypted messaging and other purposes in the business sector as well as for military and intelligence operations.

Proofs of Zero Knowledge and Compliance

Kubernetes and regulatory compliance use ZKPs in many ways. Examples:

  1. Security for Kubernetes ZKPs offer a mechanism to authenticate nodes without disclosing any sensitive information, enhancing the security of Kubernetes clusters. ZKPs, for instance, can be used to verify, without disclosing the specifics of the program, that the nodes in a Kubernetes cluster are running permitted software.

  2. Compliance Inspection Without disclosing any sensitive information, ZKPs can be used to demonstrate compliance with rules like the GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS. ZKPs, for instance, can be used to demonstrate that data has been encrypted and stored securely without divulging the specifics of the mechanism employed for either encryption or storage.

  3. Access Management Without disclosing any private data, ZKPs can be used to offer safe access control to Kubernetes resources. ZKPs can be used, for instance, to demonstrate that a user has the necessary permissions to access a particular Kubernetes resource without disclosing the details of those permissions.

  4. Safe Data Exchange Without disclosing any sensitive information, ZKPs can be used to securely transmit data between Kubernetes clusters or between several businesses. ZKPs, for instance, can be used to demonstrate the sharing of a specific piece of data between two parties without disclosing the details of the data itself.

  5. Kubernetes deployments audited Without disclosing the specifics of the deployment or the data being processed, ZKPs can be used to demonstrate that Kubernetes deployments are working as planned. This can be helpful for auditing purposes and for ensuring that Kubernetes deployments are operating as planned.

ZKPs preserve data and maintain regulatory compliance by letting parties prove things without revealing sensitive information. ZKPs will be used more in Kubernetes as it grows.

Max Parasol

Max Parasol

1 year ago

Are DAOs the future or just a passing fad?

How do you DAO? Can DAOs scale?

DAO: Decentralized Autonomous. Organization.

“The whole phrase is a misnomer. They're not decentralized, autonomous, or organizations,” says Monsterplay blockchain consultant David Freuden.

As part of the DAO initiative, Freuden coauthored a 51-page report in May 2020. “We need DAOs,” he says. “‘Shareholder first' is a 1980s/90s concept. Profits became the focus, not products.”

His predictions for DAOs have come true nearly two years later. DAOs had over 1.6 million participants by the end of 2021, up from 13,000 at the start of the year. Wyoming, in the US, will recognize DAOs and the Marshall Islands in 2021. Australia may follow that example in 2022.

But what is a DAO?

Members buy (or are rewarded with) governance tokens to vote on how the DAO operates and spends its money. “DeFi spawned DAOs as an investment vehicle. So a DAO is tokenomics,” says Freuden.

DAOs are usually built around a promise or a social cause, but they still want to make money. “If you can't explain why, the DAO will fail,” he says. “A co-op without tokenomics is not a DAO.”

Operating system DAOs, protocol DAOs, investment DAOs, grant DAOs, service DAOs, social DAOs, collector DAOs, and media DAOs are now available.

Freuden liked the idea of people rallying around a good cause. Speculators and builders make up the crypto world, so it needs a DAO for them.

,Speculators and builders, or both, have mismatched expectations, causing endless, but sometimes creative friction.

Organisms that boost output

Launching a DAO with an original product such as a cryptocurrency, an IT protocol or a VC-like investment fund like FlamingoDAO is common. DAOs enable distributed open-source contributions without borders. The goal is vital. Sometimes, after a product is launched, DAOs emerge, leaving the company to eventually transition to a DAO, as Uniswap did.

Doing things together is a DAO. So it's a way to reward a distributed workforce. DAOs are essentially productivity coordination organisms.

“Those who work for the DAO make permissionless contributions and benefit from fragmented employment,” argues Freuden. DAOs are, first and foremost, a new form of cooperation.

DAO? Distributed not decentralized

In decentralized autonomous organizations, words have multiple meanings. DAOs can emphasize one aspect over another. Autonomy is a trade-off for decentralization.

DAOstack CEO Matan Field says a DAO is a distributed governance system. Power is shared. However, there are two ways to understand a DAO's decentralized nature. This clarifies the various DAO definitions.

A decentralized infrastructure allows a DAO to be decentralized. It could be created on a public permissionless blockchain to prevent a takeover.

As opposed to a company run by executives or shareholders, a DAO is distributed. Its leadership does not wield power

Option two is clearly distributed.

But not all of this is “automated.”

Think quorum, not robot.

DAOs can be autonomous in the sense that smart contracts are self-enforcing and self-executing. So every blockchain transaction is a simplified smart contract.


Dao landscape

The DAO landscape is evolving.

Consider how Ethereum's smart contracts work. They are more like self-executing computer code, which Vitalik Buterin calls “persistent scripts”.

However, a DAO is self-enforcing once its members agree on its rules. As such, a DAO is “automated upon approval by the governance committee.” This distinguishes them from traditional organizations whose rules must be interpreted and applied.

Why a DAO? They move fast

A DAO can quickly adapt to local conditions as a governance mechanism. It's a collaborative decision-making tool.

Like UkraineDAO, created in response to Putin's invasion of Ukraine by Ukrainian expat Alona Shevchenko, Nadya Tolokonnikova, Trippy Labs, and PleasrDAO. The DAO sought to support Ukrainian charities by selling Ukrainian flag NFTs. With a single mission, a DAO can quickly raise funds for a country accepting crypto where banks are distrusted.

This could be a watershed moment for DAOs.

ConstitutionDAO was another clever use case for DAOs for Freuden. In a failed but “beautiful experiment in a single-purpose DAO,” ConstitutionDAO tried to buy a copy of the US Constitution from a Sotheby's auction. In November 2021, ConstitutionDAO raised $47 million from 19,000 people, but a hedge fund manager outbid them.

Contributions were returned or lost if transactional gas fees were too high. The ConstitutionDAO, as a “beautiful experiment,” proved exceptionally fast at organizing and crowdsourcing funds for a specific purpose.

We may soon be applauding UkraineDAO's geopolitical success in support of the DAO concept.

Some of the best use cases for DAOs today, according to Adam Miller, founder of DAOplatform.io and MIDAO Directory Services, involve DAO structures.

That is, a “flat community is vital.” Prototyping by the crowd is a good example.  To succeed,  members must be enthusiastic about DAOs as an alternative to starting a company. Because DAOs require some hierarchy, he agrees that "distributed is a better acronym."

Miller sees DAOs as a “new way of organizing people and resources.” He started DAOplatform.io, a DAO tooling advisery that is currently transitioning to a DAO due to the “woeful tech options for running a DAO,” which he says mainly comprises of just “multisig admin keys and a voting system.” So today he's advising on DAO tech stacks.

Miller identifies three key elements.

Tokenization is a common method and tool. Second, governance mechanisms connected to the DAO's treasury. Lastly, community.”

How a DAO works...

They can be more than glorified Discord groups if they have a clear mission. This mission is a mix of financial speculation and utopianism. The spectrum is vast.

The founder of Dash left the cryptocurrency project in 2017. It's the story of a prophet without an heir. So creating a global tokenized evangelical missionary community via a DAO made sense.

Evan Duffield, a “libertarian/anarchist” visionary, forked Bitcoin in January 2014 to make it instant and essentially free. He went away for a while, and DASH became a DAO.

200,000 US retailers, including Walmart and Barnes & Noble, now accept Dash as payment. This payment system works like a gift card.

Arden Goldstein, Dash's head of crypto, DAO, and blockchain marketing, claims Dash is the “first successful DAO.” It was founded in 2016 and disbanded after a hack, an Ethereum hard fork and much controversy. But what are the success metrics?

Crypto success is measured differently, says Goldstein. To achieve common goals, people must participate or be motivated in a healthy DAO. People are motivated to complete tasks in a successful DAO. And, crucially, when tasks get completed.

“Yes or no, 1 or 0, voting is not a new idea. The challenge is getting people to continue to participate and keep building a community.” A DAO motivates volunteers: Nothing keeps people from building. The DAO “philosophy is old news. You need skin in the game to play.”

MasterNodes must stake 1000 Dash. Those members are rewarded with DASH for marketing (and other tasks). It uses an outsourced team to onboard new users globally.

Joining a DAO is part of the fun of meeting crazy or “very active” people on Discord. No one gets fired (usually). If your work is noticed, you may be offered a full-time job.

DAO community members worldwide are rewarded for brand building. Dash is also a great product for developing countries with high inflation and undemocratic governments. The countries with the most Dash DAO members are Russia, Brazil, Venezuela, India, China, France, Italy, and the Philippines.

Grassroots activism makes this DAO work. A DAO is local. Venezuelans can't access Dash.org, so DAO members help them use a VPN. DAO members are investors, fervent evangelicals, and local product experts.

Every month, proposals and grant applications are voted on via the Dash platform. However, the DAO may decide not to fund you. For example, the DAO once hired a PR firm, but the community complained about the lack of press coverage. This raises a great question: How are real-world contractual obligations met by a DAO?

Does the DASH DAO work?

“I see the DAO defund projects I thought were valuable,” Goldstein says. Despite working full-time, I must submit a funding proposal. “Much faster than other companies I've worked on,” he says.

Dash DAO is a headless beast. Ryan Taylor is the CEO of the company overseeing the DASH Core Group project. 

The issue is that “we don't know who has the most tokens [...] because we don't know who our customers are.” As a result, “the loudest voices usually don't have the most MasterNodes and aren't the most invested.”

Goldstein, the only female in the DAO, says she worked hard. “I was proud of the DAO when I made the logo pink for a day and got great support from the men.” This has yet to entice a major influx of female DAO members.

Many obstacles stand in the way of utopian dreams.

Governance problems remain

And what about major token holders behaving badly?

In early February, a heated crypto Twitter debate raged on about inclusion, diversity, and cancel culture in relation to decentralized projects. In this case, the question was how a DAO addresses alleged inappropriate behavior.

In a corporation, misconduct can result in termination. In a DAO, founders usually hold a large number of tokens and the keys to the blockchain (multisignature) or otherwise.

Brantly Millegan, the director of operations of Ethereum Name Service (ENS), made disparaging remarks about the LGBTQ community and other controversial topics. The screenshotted comments were made in 2016 and brought to the ENS board's attention in early 2022.

His contract with ENS has expired. But what of his large DAO governance token holdings?

Members of the DAO proposed a motion to remove Millegan from the DAO. His “delegated” votes net 370,000. He was and is the DAO's largest delegate.

What if he had refused to accept the DAO's decision?

Freuden says the answer is not so simple.

“Can a DAO kick someone out who built the project?”

The original mission “should be dissolved” if it no longer exists. “Does a DAO fail and return the money? They must r eturn the money with interest if the marriage fails.”

Before an IPO, VCs might try to remove a problematic CEO.

While DAOs use treasury as a governance mechanism, it is usually controlled (at least initially) by the original project creators. Or, in the case of Uniswap, the venture capital firm a16z has so much voting power that it has delegated it to student-run blockchain organizations.

So, can DAOs really work at scale? How to evolve voting paradigms beyond token holdings?

The whale token holder issue has some solutions. Multiple tokens, such as a utility token on top of a governance token, and quadratic voting for whales, are now common. Other safeguards include multisignature blockchain keys and decision time locks that allow for any automated decision to be made. The structure of each DAO will depend on the assets at stake.

In reality, voter turnout is often a bigger issue.

Is DAO governance scalable?

Many DAOs have low participation. Due to a lack of understanding of technology, apathy, or busy lives. “The bigger the DAO, the fewer voters who vote,” says Freuden.

Freuden's report cites British anthropologist Dunbar's Law, who argued that people can only maintain about 150 relationships.

"As the DAO grows in size, the individual loses influence because they perceive their voting power as being diminished or insignificant. The Ringelmann Effect and Dunbar's Rule show that as a group grows in size, members become lazier, disenfranchised, and detached.

Freuden says a DAO requires “understanding human relationships.” He believes DAOs work best as investment funds rooted in Cryptoland and small in scale. In just three weeks, SyndicateDAO enabled the creation of 450 new investment group DAOs.

Due to SEC regulations, FlamingoDAO, a famous NFT curation investment DAO, could only have 100 investors. The “LAO” is a member-directed venture capital fund and a US LLC. To comply with US securities law, they only allow 100 members with a 120ETH minimum staking contribution.

But how did FlamingoDAO make investment decisions? How often did all 70 members vote? Art and NFTs are highly speculative.

So, investment DAOs are thought to work well in a small petri dish environment. This is due to a crypto-native club's pooled capital (maximum 7% per member) and crowdsourced knowledge.

While scalability is a concern, each DAO will operate differently depending on the goal, technology stage, and personalities. Meetups and hackathons are common ways for techies to collaborate on a cause or test an idea. But somebody still organizes the hack.

Holographic consensus voting

But clever people are working on creative solutions to every problem.

Miller of DAOplatform.io cites DXdao as a successful DAO. Decentralized product and service creator DXdao runs the DAO entirely on-chain. “You earn voting rights by contributing to the community.”

DXdao, a DAOstack fork, uses holographic consensus, a voting algorithm invented by DAOstack founder Matan Field. The system lets a random or semi-random subset make group-wide decisions.

By acting as a gatekeeper for voters, DXdao's Luke Keenan explains that “a small predictions market economy emerges around the likely outcome of a proposal as tokens are staked on it.” Also, proposals that have been financially boosted have fewer requirements to be successful, increasing system efficiency.” DXdao “makes decisions by removing voting power as an economic incentive.”

Field explains that holographic consensus “does not require a quorum to render a vote valid.”

“Rather, it provides a parallel process. It is a game played (for profit) by ‘predictors' who make predictions about whether or not a vote will be approved by the voters. The voting process is valid even when the voting quorum is low if enough stake is placed on the outcome of the vote.

“In other words, a quorum is not a scalable DAO governance strategy,” Field says.

You don't need big votes on everything. If only 5% vote, fine. To move significant value or make significant changes, you need a longer voting period (say 30 days) and a higher quorum,” says Miller.

Clearly, DAOs are maturing. The emphasis is on tools like Orca and processes that delegate power to smaller sub-DAOs, committees, and working groups.

Miller also claims that “studies in psychology show that rewarding people too much for volunteering disincentivizes them.” So, rather than giving out tokens for every activity, you may want to offer symbolic rewards like POAPs or contributor levels.

“Free lunches are less rewarding. Random rewards can boost motivation.”

Culture and motivation

DAOs (and Web3 in general) can give early adopters a sense of ownership. In theory, they encourage early participation and bootstrapping before network effects.

"A double-edged sword," says Goldstein. In the developing world, they may not be fully scalable.

“There must always be a leader,” she says. “People won't volunteer if they don't want to.”

DAO members sometimes feel entitled. “They are not the boss, but they think they should be able to see my calendar or get a daily report,” Goldstein gripes. Say, “I own three MasterNodes and need to know X, Y, and Z.”

In most decentralized projects, strong community leaders are crucial to influencing culture.

Freuden says “the DAO's community builder is the cryptoland influencer.” They must “disseminate the DAO's culture, cause, and rally the troops” in English, not tech.

They must keep members happy.

So the community builder is vital. Building a community around a coin that promises riches is simple, but keeping DAO members motivated is difficult.

It's a human job. But tools like SourceCred or coordinate that measure contributions and allocate tokens are heavily marketed. Large growth funds/community funds/grant programs are common among DAOs.

The Future?

Onboarding, committed volunteers, and an iconic community builder may be all DAOs need.

It takes a DAO just one day to bring together a passionate (and sometimes obsessive) community. For organizations with a common goal, managing stakeholder expectations is critical.

A DAO's core values are community and cause, not scalable governance. “DAOs will work at scale like gaming communities, but we will have sub-DAOs everywhere like committees,” says Freuden.

So-called holographic consensuses “can handle, in principle, increasing rates of proposals by turning this tension between scale and resilience into an economical cost,” Field writes. Scalability is not guaranteed.

The DAO's key innovation is the fragmented workplace. “Voting is a subset of engagement,” says Freuden. DAO should allow for permissionless participation and engagement. DAOs allow for remote work.”

In 20 years, DAOs may be the AI-powered self-organizing concept. That seems far away now. But a new breed of productivity coordination organisms is maturing.

The woman

The woman

1 year ago

I received a $2k bribe to replace another developer in an interview

I can't believe they’d even think it works!

Photo by Brett Jordan

Developers are usually interviewed before being hired, right? Every organization wants candidates who meet their needs. But they also want to avoid fraud.

There are cheaters in every field. Only two come to mind for the hiring process:

  • Lying on a resume.

  • Cheating on an online test.

Recently, I observed another one. One of my coworkers invited me to replace another developer during an online interview! I was astonished, but it’s not new.

The specifics

My ex-colleague recently texted me. No one from your former office will ever approach you after a year unless they need something.

Which was the case. My coworker said his wife needed help as a programmer. I was glad someone asked for my help, but I'm still a junior programmer.

Then he informed me his wife was selected for a fantastic job interview. He said he could help her with the online test, but he needed someone to help with the online interview.

Okay, I guess. Preparing for an online interview is beneficial. But then he said she didn't need to be ready. She needed someone to take her place.

I told him it wouldn't work. Every remote online interview I've ever seen required an open camera.

What followed surprised me. She'd ask to turn off the camera, he said.

I asked why.

He told me if an applicant is unwell, the interviewer may consider an off-camera interview. His wife will say she's sick and prefers no camera.

The plan left me speechless. I declined politely. He insisted and promised $2k if she got the job.

I felt insulted and told him if he persisted, I'd inform his office. I was furious. Later, I apologized and told him to stop.

I'm not sure what they did after that

I'm not sure if they found someone or listened to me. They probably didn't. How would she do the job if she even got it?

It's an internship, he said. With great pay, though. What should an intern do?

I suggested she do the interview alone. Even if she failed, she'd gain confidence and valuable experience.

Conclusion

Many interviewees cheat. My profession is vital to me, thus I'd rather improve my abilities and apply honestly. It's part of my identity.

Am I truthful? Most professionals are not. They fabricate their CVs. Often.

When you support interview cheating, you encourage more cheating! When someone cheats, another qualified candidate may not obtain the job.

One day, that could be you or me.