Vision - From Plato to DAO
- An ancient approach in modern day digital society
Inspired by Plato's Democratic Entanglements, we applied a community-first mindset from the start. According to Plato's vision, the Academy was:
- Several courses freely available in open-source fashion
- An open intellectual environment, not socially exclusive
- A community of advanced and younger 'students'
- A place for Discussion as means of education
- Plato's works were spread outside the Academy, inspiring people from other places than Athens to come and study there
In this spirit of Plato and enabled by new digital technologies, we gradually work towards the vision of a Global Academy with Education as a Common. We started building fundamentals: a basic version of the platform with courses and a home for our community. From within this community, the researchers, teachers, students, field specialists, individuals, and strategic partners are moving forward together. In every phase, we are as open-source and decentralized as we reasonably can. Moving in small steps as much as technology, partners, legal frameworks, and the quality of knowledge and skills allow. Not breaking things fast, but gradually building things together. So we use what's already there, every part evolves together and we go slow & steady.
And that's one of the core reasons for our open community approach: we accepted we don't have that much knowledge to completely overhaul a complex social/political/economic/cultural system. We know almost nothing and have to move with humility.
Titans @ Plato's University
To support the decentralized community vision, we launched the governance Titan token in 2021. Based on contributions from the past, we distributed the first batch over the active members of the community. The Titan token is meant to distribute control to actively contributing members of the community. It will support a 'Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO)'. A DAO exists as an entity on the internet and has no one coordinating party. It represents our community. This new decentralized governance allows for mass collaboration and is slowly being accepted in legal frameworks worldwide. The DAO has the potential to attract all kinds of resources and accelerate the pace of our small steps. To coordinate different individuals to work together towards the shared goal of education as a common.
An overview of active Titans can be found on the right side, image retrieved from homepage
We strongly believe in social communities combined with micro-incentives as extrinsic pushes to awaken intrinsic motivation. For this, we use community cryptocurrencies like our Titan token. They are programmable pieces of code on a public blockchain known as smart contracts. Due to the programmability, these tokens can represent different values and play different roles for users. Making users co-owner of the platform, like the Titan token intents, is such a powerful incentive.
Other community tokens will be created. Some will be scarce or infinite, some will be locked or unlocked, some are already here and some still need to be invented. All are introducing quantifiable metrics to share value between contributing members, all are supporting tools for coordination. In other words: the community's values are represented and aligned in different cryptocurrencies playing different roles.
We are all very new at this and we are still in the infancy phase. We are learning and shaping the DAO, platform, content, and community as we go. Once more: not breaking things fast, but gradually building things together. To discover our limitations and determine our freedom. But as projects like Bitcoin and Ethereum are proving, tokens and DAOs open up a world of innovation because everybody owns their own data in these decentralized applications. Data representing different values, but aligning incentives of large groups and enabling mass collaborations across the globe. But like John Snow, and possibly the rest of the world, we too know nothing.
- Platform prototype is live with multiple successful programs running >1000 multidisciplinary students per year across 25+ countries in the world.
This is a different approach from classical approaches, like the centralized pyramid-shaped model from the industrial age. This is an ecosystem approach. We are able to create incentives to support a new decentralized model. A model that can become a self-sustainable ecosystem, if designed correctly. This is a huge 'if' (!) but it is also a model we intuitively know well because we mimick nature's self-sustainable ecosystems. Nature is recreated in a digital environment. If created correctly it does not have ever-growing controlling entities and leakages flowing out of the ecosystem, but endless value flows directly between contributing members. A balanced digital ecosystem. In more technical terms: it is a migration from a master-slave structure to a peer-to-peer network. A fair-level playing field. The more value you contribute as a user, the more you will (l)earn. But once more; we yet know very little and are in the infancy phase.
We realize all too well that we are accustomed to our centralized systems with centuries-old experiences. And that we are very, very new to building decentralized systems. It is not a centralized versus decentralized game, our approach is to play in patterns and to move in a spectrum of complementary opposites. It is not centralized corporations versus decentralized communities or "all-for-one" versus "one-for-all". It is both, and everything in between.
We need to find out where Koios fits best in which moment of time. So far, it seems like the community approach is very well-suited for public goods you don't want to be controlled by a few centralized (commercial) entities. We expect education to be such a public good, but we also understand change is hard and that trust comes on foot. It is very early days for decentralization, but commercial MegaCorps already entered the realm of learning. A more decentralized and open-source alternative might enrich the spectrum for users. Therefore, we will keep pushing towards the more decentralized and community learning sides of the spectrum. A push in the pursuit of offering a broader spectrum of freedom of choice in learning.
Already we have bodies of cosmic info, Plato, and digital technologies from the 21st century that enable us. But what we need is time. Probably decades at least. Time to create something fair, in humbleness and respect, and open to others. So that it can incorporate other visions and flavors and adapt to changing circumstances. Koios as global 'School of Athens', with Titans recreating education as a common in the 21st century. Something that can withstand the test of time, just like Plato's original visions.
Raphael's The School of Athens