Image for post
Image for post
F. Bott. extract from S2H (Solar to Humanity) System Design, March 2020

Why a New Economic System Must Begin from Formal Systems Engineering.

Design and implementation of a successful new Economic System can only be done using Formal Systems Engineering Techniques.

Current System Problems

  • Coronavirus (There. I said that word once. I promise not to spam with it again in this article)
  • Wealth inequality
  • War, and fear of war
  • Planetary Pollution
  • Government bail-outs of Banks and big business
  • Fake news
  • Discrimination and prejudice of all kinds

All of these things are happening, but most people don’t, or won’t yet admit that they have a common cause.

But when formal Systems Engineering techniques are used to rigorously analyse the current system, it becomes obvious.

These techniques are used to analyse a system from the bottom up, from the top down, or a mixture of the two.

In all cases, the answer is the same.

The existing system is structurally flawed, broken.

It worked for a while, but things have moved on.

Our population has increased.

The internet now exists.

We have exhausted much of our planet-bound energy / wealth resources, replacing this with pollution toxic to all life on Earth, including our own.

Machine Intelligence Technologies now exist, together with facial recognition, and all manner of human surveillance and monitoring technologies.

The system is broken such that, with the exception of the past few weeks, we have used all of those technological developments against ourselves, in a form of closed loop monitoring and control mode, affecting most people in the world.

This broken system did not come about by any kind of “Grand plan”.

It came about simply because there was no Grand Plan.

One or two exceptional individuals predicted the problems, but most didn’t see them coming, not even the lucky few who ended up in power.

Even those one or two who correctly predicted the current problems, long ago, concede that designing a robust societal system which would have rigorously avoided those problems, was beyond the capabilities of any individual, such is the complexity.

The best that has been done by anyone tasked with societal design to date, has been to load current thinking, “In the barrel”, aim, fire, and hope for the best.

This was alongside maturation of another now well established technology; Formal Systems Engineering.

These tools and techniques; the condensed work and experience of teams of hundreds of thousands of highly skilled and experienced Engineers, working on various large scale defence and space programs around the world, over a period of around thirty years, have empowered the individuals practising it, to be capable of routinely designing truly global systems, rigorously fit for purpose.

Now, seeing the imminent collapse of the old system, we are faced with the problem of designing and implementing a new system, capable of replacing the old.

We see possibilities in things like crypto-currency and solar power technologies.

Various communities are starting up in those, raising some hopes.

But unfortunately, they are still working in “Aim, load, fire, hope” mode.

That error becomes obvious when we analyse their proposals, and compare with the old problematic System, using Formal Systems Engineering Techniques, we quickly see where some errors in the old system will be repeated in new proposals.

In fact the target of successfully doing the best for all humanity, is so small, relative to the number of things which can go wrong, it is almost impossible to do, without using Formal Systems Engineering techniques.

Most software programmers with no previous exposure to formal Systems Engineering techniques appear to dismiss them as unnecessary.

Most Investors appear to dismiss formal Systems Engineering techniques as airy-fairy, expressing what they perceive are lofty concepts, which appear to have no connection with the System Function to those without detailed knowledge of the system, early in the design, even at funding stage.

All should remind themselves that these techniques have been tested over and over, from the bid stages of all projects in which they are used, to the end of such, and proven to be highly effective, by the biggest companies and organisations in the world.

Check the failure rate of open-source projects vs successful proprietary projects. A successful project chooses the seemingly extra expense of Formal Systems Enginering, to recoup that expense later, by a very large margin.

A hallmark of good use of Formal Systems Engineering Techniques can be found in many unremarkable, yet prodigious military and defence Systems, including even the internet itself, and even Banking Systems.

They went through without touching the sides.

That wasn’t just good aim, or good luck. It was a direct result of rigorous Systems Design.

With the new System Design needed now, we have one chance. We can no longer afford further mistakes.

This new System has to be right first time.

A properly designed System begins with a Stakeholder analysis.

This is to establish all parties with a stake in the System, good or bad, including the environment.

A public System designed for the good of all humanity will put humanity first, with the environment a close second, as that is needed to sustain the population.

So the number one stakeholder is the collective global population of people, as a majority.

And the number two stakeholder is the environment.

Governments and big business are not Stakeholders. They are part of the things needing fixed by the new system. Thus they are part of the System under design.

The Top Level System requirements of a rigorously designed System are a small set of statements expressing the basic concerns of the System Stakeholders.

Most people want basic happiness with no more wars, fears of war, fear of poverty, fear of viruses, fear of losing one’s job, fear of losing one’s roof, fear of the effects of pollution, fear of viruses, etc, etc.

Those are stated at the top of the System Requirements Model. These are then refined, in consultation with Stakeholders and Domain experts where necessary, into an unambiguously expressed set of System Requirements. This body of designed artifacts becomes the system Design Specification.

Every distinct feature of every artifact in the System Design Specification is traced, to drive a specific part of the System Design.

In this way, nothing which is not required by a Stakeholder is produced, and nothing required by the Stakeholder is missed.

This activity of tracing requirement artifacts to system design elements is where the rigour is explicit in the process of Formal Systems Engineering.

An intimate knowledge of that process enables us to quickly spot Systems in which it has not been followed, therefore the system being produced will most likely have limited fitness for purpose, if any.

We see this almost across the board in most crypto-graphic projects, excluding perhaps game systems, as most often the object of a game requires for the user to have no prior knowledge of the game.

With the exception of the Ethereum System, in which there are obvious Formal Systems Engineering artifacts, we have yet to see formal Systems Engineering applied on open source, crypto-currency, Ai, and social media based projects, in general.

Where Formal Systems Engineering techniques are wielded by profit based companies, the primary stakeholder has to be the system owners or shareholders. This fact alone negates any possibility of the system being truly in the public interest.

As above, we can see public Systems at profit cannot be in the public interest.

Therefore the new System has to be non-profit, as a general rule.

Further we see all users requiring an income, to be safe from poverty.

That income has to come from a distinct source of wealth. In the case of our economy to date, this would be very difficult to maintain, since by further analysis, we see the root source of all wealth in our current economy being created from energy supplied from finite Earth energy resources, such as fossil fuels, which have to be paid for.

Also we see use of those fossil fuels and other Earth energy reserves are producing unmanageable pollution.

Thus we have to look for sources of energy external to Earth, of which there is only one; the sun, which also happens to be limitless, free, and non-polluting, fitting the purpose of the new system perfectly.

The new System has to be solar powered, as a general rule.

Working through the new System Design, we come to the mechanisms of reward. An acceptable mode of operation for these, which meets the system requirements, is a scheme of bounty projects and creations, with continuous rewards in return for continuous voting, where voting is an activity of non-profit Ai interpreting the continuous data of each user.

The more surveillance on a user, the more data they generate, hence maximising the potential rewards for the user. Only a very small proportion of rewards need to be paid for the maintenance and upkeep of the network, as it is non profit.

Surveillance is something viewed negatively to date, something tending towards dystopia, because until now, it has always been other parties putting us under surveillance.

Our impression of surveillance swings around by a full 180 degrees, when see we are willingly equipping ourselves to maximise our capability of making funds for outselves, rather than for other parties.

Thus we satisfy the stakeholder concerns of privacy in the System Design.

We see a wearable item of data collection more desirable, with greater capability of self-surveillance than say, a personal mobile phone.

Further, if this wearable could determine what the user is looking at, and have knowledge of the item the user is looking at (i.e. whether or not there are existing bounties on it), then the wearable may more readily determine whether or not the user has any valuable reaction to the item being looked at, thus voting on the bounty one way or another.

In order to have knowledge of the item being looked at, the wearable needs access to a suitable database of information on the item.

This is most usefully captured in a virtual twin of the real world item, so as to show any work done on the item, for better or worse, or the appearance / disappearance of the item in the real world. In this way, both the wearable, and the user would be able to quickly check the item visually, using the techniques of augmented reality.

Use of such a world would also provide many modes of work / creativity for all people, thus furthering the aims of the system, providing all with now forms of livelihood.

In general, the ideal system will contain an integrated virtual world.

It is interesting to note that all attempts to develop such a virtual world have so far failed, due to the companies involved being profit driven. No profit making Use Cases could be found for a virtual world, and yet, from our analysis, we see it would have major benefits towards the good of humanity.

Again we see the drive for profit diverging from the interests of humanity.

My own skills as a Systems Engineer, practising at Chartered Engineer and PhD level, were gained over twenty years working on large scale Space and Defence programs of all descriptions, and most lately on a PhD research program.

My own project, VRENAR was an initial effort to create the required new System.

Perhaps it was before its time.

The time seems to be now, either for VRENAR, or something like it.

Anyone interested to know more, or perhaps to join, or contribute to the project may contact me via Linkedin, just search for Frederick Eric Bott, there is only one.

I would be most interested to chat with anyone who might be able to help further the work of implementing the new system, either by enlisting me to work on their new system project, or by all of us working on VRENAR, it makes no difference to me which is which. There is only one design for the successful system, no matter how it is carried out, and it will be maintained in public as open source.

In any case, you’ll need a source of funds, as I don’t have any, as you might have gathered from some of my other stories. Of course I could do with some.

All for a good cause, rather than for profit.

Solarpunk

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store