Category Archives: Distributed Collaborative Organization

Automated capitalism and it’s implications

Automated corporations (drone corporations)

If we look at a probable evolutionary trajectory for corporations there is evidence that as technology becomes more sophisticated we will  see the rise of the automated corporation.  Thinking of the “drones” metaphorically speaking as automated corporations of some sort can help readers to make sense of how voluntary basic capital, voluntary basic income, and reputation, can converge in an automated capitalist economy where humans are supported primarily by automated corporations (drone corporations).

To have a full understanding would require thinking of the humans as inherent shareholders, and the human is maintained in the loop on a community or tribal level by programmatically authorizing a percentage of shares to all verified humans, and the drone simply gives dividends (profit sharing) to each human.


Human beings by instinct usually want to maintain a good reputation in their community, drones can be programmed quite easily to care about the social consensus of the network.  The social consensus of a network would be how drones maintain good reputations. Drones could profit as corporations do now, but support humans as inherent shareholders. This would transition the human labourer from being the “worker” into being the shareholder over time. The humans during this transition will be encouraged to pay voluntary transaction taxes to support their selected community.

 Voluntary basic income


Voluntary basic income is facilitated through transaction taxes which both humans and drones pay. In order for the humans and drones to maintain membership in their communities, some which may be exclusive, they must agree to the rules of the community which may include paying transaction taxes. This would be similar to the fair tax, the same tax which many libertarians endorse, and it would be a tax on every transaction which means it would apply to drones as well as humans. As the economy becomes more automated the number of humans who pay transaction taxes may become far outnumbered by the number of drones paying the tax which means after a certain threshold the economic activity of the drones may fully support the welfare of humanity.

Voluntary basic capital

Voluntary basic capital can leverage the evolution of the economy from a human based employment economy into an automated economy. Voluntary basic capital can help human beings make the transition from employment-based income to investment-based income. Voluntary basic capital promotes capitalism by making all humans a stakeholder.

Smart drones (automated corporations)

Smart drones or automated corporations are the linchpin which could make voluntary basic income and voluntary basic capital economically viable. Typically we have UAVs which are unmanned aerial  vehicles, and drones are usually recognized as flying robots. In my metaphor I use the phrase “smart drone” to mean a robot which is programmed to profit and which may in fact be self owned, partially owned, or part of a swarm. An automated corporation is a corporation which does not need any permanently employed human labor to run itself and which can profit. Smart drones also known as automated corporations may from time to time contract human labor for specific tasks such as for instance a self driving car which requires a human to repair it, but it keeps it’s profits as it’s own just as a vending machine would do.

Some memorable points

  • Reputation is the mechanism which enforces responsible behavior. In the case of human beings it will be inclusion in a community, where they cost of their continued inclusion is to agree to the social consensus of that community.  No community is obligated to accept anyone as a member who does not meet their qualifications, and if maintaining a membership badge requires they give to charity, or pay a transaction tax, then just as with Bitcoin, or with Proof of Stake, the transaction fees as a price of membership.  Drones may also seek to maintain reputation credits, and anyone will be able to rate drones or entire networks of drones on reputation. A human friendly drone could be the drone which is certified by a community of shareholders.
  • Transaction taxes are a  mechanism of producing basic income. In the near term the majority of transaction taxes may be paid for by human beings. In the long term the majority of transaction taxes may be paid for by drones, by non-human labor sources. Examples of drone corporations may include self driving delivery vehicles which are paid by a human to delivery groceries, but like a corporation these self driving delivery vehicles may collect profits from their economic activities, and these profits could be used to secure parking spaces, repairs, and  to provide an equivalent of dividends to a community of humans.
  • Dividends would be the result of the basic capital ownership rights that all humans in the community could have. The basic capital approach would be pure capitalism, philosophically compatible with anarcho-capitalism, and mainstream libertarianism. Shareholders in these automated corporations also known as drone corporations could benefit from the rise of the automated economy.
  • Human based drudge labor is slowly being phased out and this isn’t a bad thing. The working class can join the investor class instead of having to try to compete with robots. Additionally for shareholders there could be dramatic efficiency gains when human labor is minimized, due to the productivity per dollar. This isn’t to imply that there will not be jobs which only human beings can do, or which human beings are most suited for, but it means that it is possible to have an economy where human beings are supported entirely by automation. Automated capitalism is an illustration of a society which can be built where all humans are supported by automation, where the cost of living decreases as the cost of automation decreases and AI is made ubiquitous.



Are we ready for companies that run themselves? – David Morris – Aeon. (2014, January). Retrieved from

Kelion, L. (2015, February). Could driverless cars own themselves? – BBC News. Retrieved from

Pangburn, D. (2015). The Humans Who Dream Of Companies That Won’t Need Us | Fast Company | Business + Innovation. Retrieved from

Attention-Based Stigmergic Distributed Collaborative Organizations

In biological networks such as ant colonies, bee hives, or termites you see self organization which builds and maintains critical architecture. Human beings can also take advantage of this self organizing mechanism to build and maintain institutions. The process is called stigmergy and to take advantage of this concept fully we have to revisit the fundamental theory of “the firm” as form or organization.

An attention based view of the firm

As human beings we are guided by our attention.  It is also a fact that our attention is a scarce resource which many competing entities seek to capture. In an attention based view (ABV)  of a firm it is attention which is the most precious resource and the allocation of attention is critical to the successful management of the firm. In a traditional top down hierarchical firm managerial attention is considered to be the most precious (Tseng & Chen, 2009), and is an very scarce resource. The allocation of attention within a firm can facilitate knowledge search. Knowledge search is part of the process of producing innovation and is effective or ineffective based on how management allocates their attention.

In the top down hierarchical model of the firm you must rely on managers properly allocating their attention because their attention is scarce. The problem of attention allocation (Tseng & Chen, 2009) and attention scarcity both plague traditional top down firms. In heterarchical flat organizations this may not be true anymore and when stigmergy comes into play it opens a door to a whole new method of knowledge search.

Attention-based stigmergic Distributed Collaborative Organizations

A Distributed Collaborative Organization (DCO) is a new model of human organization which did not exist until recently. Now that technology allows for Distributed Ledgers such as what we see with the Bitcoin blockchain it opens the door to new forms of human organizations such as the Distributed Collaborative Organization. Distributed Collaborative Organizations have unique capabilities and work by utilizing a token which represents “membership” in the DCO. Because of how DCOs are set up the tokens likely do not represent securities as they would if the traditional firm were used.

Attention-based stigmergic DCOs can take advantage of swarm intelligence to direct the attention of the members of the DCO. Stigmergy can be implemented through attractor patterns/attractor tokens, and incentive design patterns, both which would direct the attention and shape the activities of the swarm through simple algorithmic rules written as smart contracts. In this instance as Larry Lessig is famously quoted as saying: “Code is Law” but in a non-hierarchical swarm the user’s attention is the most precious resource.

Because attention is the most precious resource in a swarm there should be a mechanism allowing advertisers, or others, to pay for the attention of individual members within the swarm. In this case the DCO would have to be designed in such a way that attention is treated as extremely scarce, something to be preserved by use of bots/autonomous agents (personal preference swarms?) and automation. These personal swarms or personal drone networks if you’d like to call them that would seek out knowledge and information on behalf of individuals without the possibility of distraction.

These swarms could seek out the best deals for individuals. It could collect an extremely detailed amount of information about each and every product and use algorithms to compare products.  This would allow swarms to evaluate anything from video games, to supermarket food, to stocks, to populate a list and buy, or to apply swarm intelligence to the construction of investment portfolios. All of this leads to a completely new paradigm of human organization through self organizing stigmergic institutions.


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Martens, D., Baesens, B., & Fawcett, T. (2011). Editorial survey: swarm intelligence for data mining. Machine Learning, 82(1), 1-42.
Ocasio, W. (1997). TOWARDS AN ATTENTION-BASED VIEW OF THE FIRM WILLIAM OCASlO. Psychology, 1, 403-404.
Tseng, C. C., & CHEN, P. C. (2009, August). SEARCH ACTIVITIES FOR INNOVATION–AN ATTENTION-BASED VIEW. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2009, No. 1, pp. 1-6). Academy of Management.