Digital Civilisation: The Next Step

I wrote my digital civilisation manifesto three years ago. Since then the world has been horribly disrupted, firstly by covid and, as write this, by the war in Ukraine. Both have, in their own ways, turned accepted norms upside down and reminded us that the values we all rely on cannot be depended on. Both have emphasised, in different ways, the importance of digital connectivity, the need for dependable information and the dangers of fake news and other forms of misinformation. The pandemic pushed virtually the whole of society online, young and old, whether willing or not. At the same time these have emphasised the dangers of leaving the construction and management of technology to the tech giants or over-assertive government. We need a worldwide community to stand up for the rights and interests of individuals and ordinary businesses. Our Digital Civilisation DAO is a prototype for this which we hope can evolve into a community-led force for good.

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Prof. Bill Roscoe Elected as A Member of Advisory Committee for World Internet Conference

WUZHEN, CHINA Nov 6 — Prof. Roscoe was elected to be a member of the advisory committee of World Internet Conference(WIC) to offer advice for the development of Internet in China. The members include world leaders from enterprises, governments, academic institutions and technological communities in the Internet sector. This year, the participated members included Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Whitfield Diffie, A.M. Turing Award Laureate and among others. On Tuesday, Prof. Roscoe attended the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Second High-Level Advisory Council in the river town of Wuzhen in the eastern China’s Zhejiang Province. At the meeting, the advisory committee discussed the charter and its objectives in 2019. Prof. Roscoe suggested that the advisory committee should focus on the big-picture strategic matters, as well as conduct in-depths discussions and set up expert teams to tackle specific challenges in the Internet sector. “The advisory committee can not only foster international cooperation and exchanges, but also contribute to the international standards,” Prof. Roscoe added.   Advisory Committee Member List: Bill Roscoe, Director of University College Oxford Blockchain Research Centre Charles Zhang, CEO of Sohu Inc. Cheng Wei, Founder and CEO of Didi Eugene[…]

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My Views on Cryptocurrencies

Bill Roscoe University College Oxford Blockchain Research Centre   It is easy to argue that blockchains and cryptocurrencies go together like strawberries and cream. Blockchains provide a nice solution to the double spending problem that is fundamental to digital assets and currency: how can we stop someone that has a digital token spending it twice: after all, unlike a banknote, it is easy to copy a string of bits. So if you want to hold cash in a distributed digital setting a blockchain implementation is ideal. If the community needs to pay people to perform tasks such as mining and maintaining a blockchain, it is much cheaper (I.e. free) to do this by minting a new currency rather than having to pay with real pounds, euros, yen or dollars. A cynic might hold this up as a perfect illustration of the old adage that “bad money drives out good”.   Blockchains are held up as an ideal distributed platform for maintaining records with integrity in a way that is publicly open and visible, all the more so in a public context where no organisation or small clique of organisations can dominate it. It can be seen to be managed with[…]

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