Category Archives: Personal software agents

Personal preference bot networks and Ethereum’s Provenance

What are Personal Preference Bot Networks?

PPBN’s are personal software agent networks owned by individuals. PPBNs work by allowing the individual to delegate tasks to their personal swarm of bots which can trade on their behalf. This can include shopping for example where Alice uses intention casting to set forth her bot(s) in accordance with her intention to find the best deals for a acquiring list of items.

These PPBN’s in theory should be able to integrate and interact with DApps, DACs, DAO’s, virtual states, or even traditional centralized entities.

What is Provenance?

Provenance solves a particular part of this problem by revealing exactly how the products are made. If Provenance has an open API which allows for easy integration with bots then bots could scour the Internet for products which meet the fitness criteria of the swarm of bots. Those bots would then purchase the most fit and avoid purchasing the least fit.

What problem does this solve?

It solves the problem of attention scarcity and adverse selection by utilizing automated transparency. Human shoppers typically are not rational and also do not pay attention to details. A human being for example may not have the attention or time to read every ingredient for every food product they buy to make sure it doesn’t contain anything unethical or harmful. As a result many humans eat products which contain substances they are unaware of.

Fitness criteria (swarm preferences) and swarm intelligence

When PPBN’s (Personal Preference Bot Networks) converge then purchase patterns can favor certain “fitness criteria” which we would call swarm preferences. So the personal preference bots allow for intention casting as well as an automated multi-agent system of supply and demand. Provenance allows for the necessary transparency so that the intelligent swarm can know whether or not what is being supplied meets “fitness criteria” aka swarm preferences.


Ethereum London Meetup: Provenance (YouTube)

Provenance | Discover the stories of great products and their makers. (Provenance)

Swarm intelligence (- Scholarpedia)

Personal preference bot nets and the quantification of intention

Personal preference bot nets

“Personal preference agents” are software autonomous agents (most commonly known as bots) that act on behalf of the individual. So if you for example tell your “personal preference agents” your needs such as a shopping list, the “personal preference agents” would automatically pursue tasks using AI to fetch whatever is on the list.

In the shopping example this would mean you would not have to spend time shopping and you would not be susceptible to vicious subliminal ads. It would save scarce time and attention for the human being by delegating AI to useful tasks.

Intent casting 101

Traditional literature would call the “personal preference agents” a conditional preference network or in the generic sense a software agent network. Doc Searls calls it intent casting in his video on the subject. The main idea of Doc Searls’s intent casting is to create an intention economy. Personal preference bots would be a means of bringing the decentralized “intention economy” to virtual citizens.

The “personal preference agent” would be a particular kind of software agent which can accept preferences by the person and using AI seek to meet those preferences by connecting to various different external networks, blockchains, the web, etc.

The idea is each virtual citizen should have the capability to utilize personal preference bots / “personal preference agents”. These bots would then interact with multiple blockchains, multiple API or network interfaces so that for example the bot owned by Alice could contact the bot owned by Bob over any open protocol in automated fashion to relay an encrypted message, conduct a trade/transaction, or coordinate as a swarm (a sort of collective transaction). This would give each virtual citizen the swarm intelligence capability and empower virtual citizens.


Searls, D. (2012). The customer as a God. The Wall Street Journal, 1-4.
Searls, D. (2013). Eof: Android for independence. Linux Journal, 2013(227), 9.