The practice of Worlding (or Newsing) – involves social participation in the generation of personalised World Views (or News), accessed by personalised Devices. World Views are collective compositions of Loads (or Content) editorially curated and mediated by Device Settings, a ML Algo personalised for the user, specific to a personalised Device, encrypted by DNA Hashes to ensure the Privacy and Fidelity of Worlders’ personal Views and their contribution to Poll, when called.
Worlders access their personal Views via Devices set to one of two modes: Virtual/Real or Real/Actual. Most Devices today are aural implants networked to corneal screens, but Devices fitted to spectacle frames, added to phones, or in head-up displays are still widely used. All Devices are encrypted at the point of connection to the Net via an open source public web, financed by adverts and microlevies on the Posting (or Sharing) of Loads – and the sale of Device Settings by individual Rated Posters or collectives of Rated Publishers.
Modern Devices are finely tuned by their individual Device Settings’ ML Algos to be highly receptive to different communication styles and rules as well as languages, and the most efficient personalised ML Algos are fluent interpreters of the different notions, concepts & attitudes predominant within different Distrikts. However since Zero Day Worlding has relied on its own open source web platform on the net and can suffer from hostile denial of cross-functionality in Distrikts suspicious of Worlding’s connections to Contractualism.
Worlders set their Devices to either combined Virtual/Real mode when Posting, or Real/Actual mode during Poll. Misuse of mode settings when Posting is prosecutable as fraud in most Distriks, as is the misrepresentation of one mode as another (Spoofing). Loading charges are applied as microlevies on Worlders’ accounts managed by licenced & regulated Telecoms Bots which maintain the platform’s functionality and sustain Fidelity between Distrikts, and more prosaically, their IP regimes.
The modal structure of Virtual/Real and Real/Actual recognises the status in code of something that is ‘Real’ and capable of being Virtual, i.e., private and intangible, or Actual, i.e., public and physical – but wholly different in either mode. The opposite of Virtual is Actual, not Real. The ‘Realm of The Real’ is presented as a space of exchange and transition between different, and clearly articulated domains, and deliberately echoes the purpose of the communication links and transitional spaces between the different Distrikts of Witness.
The success of Worlding, in terms of raw numbers of Worlders, Loads and market value at least, is undisputed. But it owes much of its success to the growth of Witness itself and the shared principles of modern urbanism and urban coexistence that gave shape and then frame to the architecture of Witness and Worlding alike – a new anatomy of urbanism “built of many hierarchies of clearly articulated domains” (Christopher Alexander & Serge Chermayeff) – a planning code that “fosters the combination of the necessity of privacy… with the advantages of community living”.
Worlding: Loads & Device Settings
Worlders only pay when Loading for later private use in Virtual mode, or when Posting in Virtual/Real mode. There is no regulation of the actual Loads themselves at all in either Virtual/Real or Real/Actual modes (Loading in the latter mode is free, but liable to Ordre Publique rules in some Distrikts). However unauthorised access to others’ personal Views and/or their constituent Loads is strictly prohibited, whether by Device Intrusion (Hacking), or by the theft of Loads or Device Settings for the purpose of illegal Recreation of Views.
Encrypted Loads on personal devices are beyond involuntary search or seizure, but some Distrikt courts have issued subpoenas for Device Settings during criminal or counter-subversion investigations. Subpoenas in such cases are usually accompanied by warrants allowing the Recreation of Views by court mandated ML Algos. Recreated Views (Sims) are not always admissible in court, even as circumstantial evidence, and are frequently challenged by defence lawyers on the grounds of their disputable Fidelity.
The law regarding Recreated Views is complicated by the massive growth in the Settings Market, whereby professional Posters trade in speculative Tokens (or Plugs) valued against future sales of Device Settings to other Worlders. Worlders use these legally sold Settings to simulate the Posters’ World Views on their Devices (Lites, or Sims Lites) without actually accessing the Posters’ own private Loads. Led by global popular culture figures, the Settings Market is a clear challenge to the regulatory systems of Rating and its price-setting powers.
Loading itself is technically prohibited outside Post or Poll mode , but semi-criminal gangs of Tunnelers will Load directly to Devices in Virtual mode, mainly pornography, and in Actual mode, usually for subversive political groups engaging in Timeline & Data Manipulation (Fragmenters or Fraggers). Similarly, the use of Delinked Devices is also illegal, but nonetheless widespread. The police & judicial response to this kind of criminality hugely varies across Witness, ranging from amused tolerance to violent repression.
Worlders who post in Virtual/Real mode have immunity from prosecution on Freedom of Expression (Ten Rights) grounds, but not if posted in Real/Actual mode. Then Ordre Publique regulations may apply and prosecuted Loads may be controlled or even censored. There has never been a successful prosecution of controversial Worlders’ Virtual/Real Loads, or the Worlders themselves, under a Ten Rights code. Most prosecutions turn on challenges to Ranking, allegations of mode abuse (Spoofing), or Timeline & Data Manipulation (Fragging).
Worlding: On the Call to Poll
Despite having no legal status, or codified function at all within any of the various systems of representative governance and districkt codes across Witness, Poll is still the most influential and widespread political function offered by Worlding. From its earliest iterations, Poll has firmly established itself as “Contractualism’s Spreadsheet” – a single account of “what we owe to each other”- our public obligations to people in general, above and beyond our private obligations to specific people, friends and family.
Poll does not tally public opinion in favour of a certain principle, but instead quantifies the standpoint of individual persons, one-by-one, by the strength of their personal arguments against that principle. This focus on personal over collective opinion prevents large aggregations of minor complaints to outweigh the major complaints of individuals. Worlders called to Poll are chosen by its unique AI Algo as collectively representative of the diverse population of Witness. More than 18.2 million people came to Poll last year.
Poll rejects the idea of ‘a greater good’, one that seeks to put the well-being of the majority ahead of an inconvenienced minority. Its quantified assessments of the strength of reasons against taking a particular path - the so-called ‘reason-giving force of moral judgements’ – are presented by Poll as more important than base questions about the simple morality of right & wrong. This unified account is a means to the mutual recognition of the “wrongness” of a particular act, and the “reasonableness” of opposition to it.
Poll’s famous Twenty Scenarios are drawn from Poll’s own Loads, as mediated by the World Views of tens of thousands of individuals called to Poll each week. The heavily gamified Scenarios often appear confusing or irrelevant to Worlders’ real lives, whether virtual/real or real/actual. But most Worlders, regardless of the ways their private Scenarios play out under their personal Device Settings, accept them as the key to grounding the reason-giving force of judgements about right and wrong in “the positive value of a way of living with others”.
The supposed Fidelity of the advanced World View presented by Poll, and the AI Algo that drives the formulations of its Device Settings are subjects of fierce contention. The monthly lists of people called to Poll are endlessly dissected in search of algorithmic bias. Poll Declarations on the confirmed ‘Wrongness’ of certain principles routinely trigger disquiet among those on the other side of the argument. But the application of Declarations that have consequential effect across different Strata of Infrastructure are the most disputed.
Nevertheless, Poll’s conclusions against its careful evaluation criteria, directly plugging human input in its policy optimisation process, is often more popularly received than the daily ‘precepts’ generated by the State Machine’s much-derided ML Algo Kautilya. In contrast to Poll’s use of measured and moderated sourcing, Kautilya relies on greedy searches and vast evaluations of near infinite possible feature combinations to generate its “half-nonsensical mythology” from “neo-buddhist kumbaya”.
Worlding’s social media engineers have a complex relationship with CIVICSMOD, many of whom contribute to both Poll and Kautilya’s codebase, both in public and anonymously. Most remain aligned to Rohan Kapoor’s original fork to contractualism, but generations spent arguing over internal resources and the stultifying nature of the job has recently give rise to the Remediation movement, which seeks major change to the State Machine’s code and CIVICSMOD leadership, still the dominant technical voice on the Distrikt Council.
This is not to suggest that Worlders are uncritical of the way contractualism has been “soft coded” into the deployment of Poll. Literalist Contractualists (Deedholders, or Keepers) reject the idea of contracts with the non-sentient, such as animals, or the earthly environment, or future citizens as yet unborn, with controversial results. Utilitarian critics reject the idea that moral considerations of the rights of the many are less relevant than an individual’s view of those rights as “not unreasonably opposed” on their terms alone.
The most curious critical interpretation of Worlding’s political economy is the growth in the support for a Remediation breakaway group (Manyworlders) that interpret the co-existence of new and emerging Distrikts in Virtual/Real mode as iterations of the same Districks in Real/Actual mode, but across space and time. Manyworlders believe that real changes to a Distrikt in the Virtual are matched in real change in the Actual, but in a different universe, so they work across space, within the Virtual, to make changes to the Actual, across time.
Manyworlders are accused of fomenting Timeline & Data Manipulation of global data Loads to help an imagined future global Device Setting create a single global World View from these massive data agglomerations. Unlike most Remediators, Manyworlders are more sceptical of Fidelity & Ratings, believing them to be immeasurable by machine - but not by humans over historical time, then, now and in the future. Similarly, they do not recognise the authority & authenticity of Poll, rejecting its Fidelity on the grounds of its non-human functionality.
Worlding: The Principles of Fidelity
The Ratings emerged from the near collapse of Old Fidelity in communications, when the authority & authenticity of the representation of Virtual/Real & Real/Actual views were so widely challenged, it collapsed the viability of information as a whole. Old Fidelity was itself a response to a much earlier crisis of confidence in the veracity of subject matter on social media at a time when Posters and Publishers were generally un-Rated, and well before the introduction of Poll as a means to engage reason-giving forces for mutual recognition of moral judgements.
Earlier iterations of Fidelity drew heavily on traditions of verification from the pre-Sundering trade of Journalism, but its chief exponents relied on controlled access to protected markets to sustain their business models. This system failed to adapt to the deregulation of information provision services and the emergence of new publishing market leaders which did not need or want to rely on conventional measures of verification, authority & authenticity as an indicator of value of the information products they distributed.
These market leaders were also able to fully exploit the opportunities given to them by their early lead in developing the first ML Algo managed information services. By retaining full control over prototype systems of Loading & Device Settings they were able to use their own single ML Algo to manipulate all their users’ World Views in ways that suited their business model. Fidelity in social media as we know it today only took root with Infrastructure Decentralisation & Stratification and the restriction of access to Load and Settings to individuals via their personal device ML Algos.
Building on intellectual property law and the opportunities of DNA hash-verification, Fidelity took shape with the development of early Ratings that ranked Posters & Publishers by Good Practice & Provenance (GP&P) Scores. The private ML Algos driving the earliest personal Device Settings used the scores to formulate the first private World Views on which modern Worlding and the Poll mutually rely on. The term ‘Newsing’ as a synonym for this mutuality echoes pre-Sundering media’s own co-dependency on that era’s Poll (or ‘politics’).
Fidelity was and is dependent on the Ratings System to transparently represent the authority & authenticity of the Loadings of individual Posters and Publishers. It does so without passing judgement on their Loads’ actual or intended meaning or purpose, or the nature of the personalised, private World View created from those Loads by the individual’s interpretative Device Settings’ personalised, private ML Algo. Fidelity of private Load and personal Device Settings is also central to effective (and legal) participation in Poll.
The classical formulation of human perspective enabled by informational content, enshrined by the interdependence of personalised Device Settings and private Loads is increasingly challenged by the sale of personal Device Settings to other Worlders. This allows them to recreate facsimiles of the Posters’ World Views without actually Loading the Posters’ data. Mixing & matching Device Settings has an as yet unknown effect on the Fidelity of the users own original Settings, not least the Fidelity of their contribution to Poll, when called.
A similar concern has arisen following the new popularity of Settings Therapy, in which Posters’ Device Settings are privately reviewed by a psychotherapist for examples of lack of Fidelity or some other aspect of the Settings that encourages negativity of thought, and then therapeutically ‘reset’. The impact of long periods of intrusive Settings Therapy on personalised Device Settings by third parties, and the difficulty of proving the effectiveness of the ‘cure’ raises serious questions that have not slowed its growth in popularity.
Worlding: Economic theory
The economic practices of Worlding share much with that of Witness as well, in particular its societal habit of comparing and contrasting the various citizenship offers available to its peoples. The undesirability - and impracticality - of trying to apply different valuations to differently held ideas expressed by Loads is well understood by aethnographers, yet it was clear that different Loads were indeed differently valued, and as a result, were differently priced by the emerging markets for loaded content in the early years of Witness.
Dealing with high-priced Loads with low-value, usually maliciously or badly produced and misleading content (‘Trash’, ‘Junk’, or ‘Fake News’) was essential to preventing the collapse of Old Fidelity in communications and the viability of information as a whole. New Fidelity recognised the permanence of Trash Loads and their persistent valuation in the Worlding ecosystem, and only sought ways to manage the side-effects of its production, while promoting good practice & provenance in high-quality Loading.
In this it took its model from the practice of pre-Sundering carbon off-setting, and treated Trash Loads as pollutants. Low Rated Publishers responsible for producing high-priced low-value Trash Loads pay more in microlevies and earn less from advertising than High Rated ones. No attempt is made to define what makes Load content ‘Trash’. Instead, Ratings are assigned purely on the basis of independent assessments of Good Practice & Provenance (GP&P) of the Load producer itself and the Fidelity of the Rated Publisher’s Device Settings.
A Loading Allowance for each Publisher or Poster is set by the number of tokens granted to all, distributed on the basis of each one’s volume of upload balanced against volume of downloads by individual Devices. The trading value of each token – for purposes of paying microlevies on Loading, or cashing in earnings from advertising income – is index-linked to the Token trader’s GP&P scores. Thus, the higher the Poster or Publisher’s measurable good practice & provenance, the greater the buying power of the tokens they hold.
Low Rated Publishers whose low valued tokens fail to meet their Trash Loading costs or generate sufficient income from advertising must either cease production, improve their GP&P scores (and thus the buying power of the tokens they hold), or buy additional tokens from individual High Rated Posters who have low Posting costs and, as a result, who have high value tokens to spare. This secondary market is often augmented by philanthropic donors seeking to buy & raise token values in support of small, high rated Posters.
Worlding: Origin & Development
Worlding and the generation of personalised World Views accessed by personalised Devices – began as an alternative independent “social media” practice in Medium, the cosmopolitan, collectivist core of Witness that maintains the State Machine. Its early adopters came from Medium’s digital archaeology community, who use restored code excavated during studies of pre-Sundering networks to build simulations that reverse engineer “bad outcomes” to identify the ‘bad forks’ in their development that led to them.
The archaeologists used simulated code bases to fix probability of connections between lost data sets by raising ‘ghost profiles’ - ‘Ghosting’ – standard practice during archaeological digs (or Digis) albeit one professionally regulated to prevent corruption of original data. The discovery of pre-Sundering networks that used the modern archaeological technique of ghosting for purposes of commercial exploitation of surveillance data amused as well as intrigued many archaeologists (and some aethnographers), who flocked to join its facsimile.
Originally designed to separate virtual/real ‘ghosts’ from real/actual ‘citizens’ of Medium, the authority & authenticity of the contributors to Loads (or Content) to Worlding are rigorously ranked by record of Good Practice & Provenance (GP&P). This function has unexpectedly raised Worlding’s profile as a host to reliable news sources and, with the establishment of Poll, as a means of fair contribution to the making of alternative policies, many of which are strikingly different from the policies tabled by the State Machine.
Aethnographers & archaeologists both cite the dangerous surveillance economies on which pre-Sundering networks built vast commercial & political power bases by managed privacy intrusions targeting virtual, real and actual customers. But many archaeologists are active supporters of the modern Remediation movement, and argue that the practice of ‘peopling’ facsimile networks with nodal ‘players’ in the places of once real/actual individuals is essential in identifying bad forks in designing tools for virtual/real identity building.
It was a simple step to argue that the facsimiles might help explain the failure of civil discourse models to solve the economic and political inequalities that have blighted Witness’ history since the Sundering. The practice of Worlding as social media grew rapidly, eventually resulting in the open release of the code base to ‘unregulated’ historians & archaeologists. This was a direct challenge to the elected CIVICSMOD programmers’ monopoly on ‘policy’ generation – a step later described as “the Remediation of Remediators: from harmless hobbyists to subversive insurrectionists”.
The strength of several Distrikts’ opposition to the project is in large part a reaction to the Contractualist beliefs of many Remediators, in particular among the archaeologists that developed the Poll as first testbed for their theories, then opened it up as a living community. These latter conceive of the Worlding ecosystem as a means to recreate Witness in the image of the unitary ‘functional democracy’ that existed before the Zero-Day Fracture. This triggers suspicion among Utilitarian factions in other Districkts, and led to some to block access to its Loads online.
Medium citizens think of Worlding as part of the melting pot function of its city-connection between the various Major & Minor Distrikts, and its popularity as an independent news source among Migrant Train travellers has seen its spread further afield. This has led to calls for Worlding – as a collective of World Views in virtual/real form online – to be granted its own microDistrikt status, with all the extra representative rights that would accrue to people who are ‘Dual Citizens’ of Worlding virtually, and their home Distrikt in actuality.
Some aethnographers have pointed out that the concept of dual citizenship shared between Worlder identity and their legal district of residency parallels the transitory status of passengers on the Migrant Train. Some simply regard its function as a natural result of the phenomenon of boundary bleed, which is almost unseen in other cities, but which characterises Witness’ own identity as expanding beyond its original physical and legal bounds, as the cultural, financial and media capital of the post-Sundering world.
Other aethnographers argue that by stressing choice, diversity of types of governance, and the basic principle of making space for new economic and political systems and new social contracts, a decision to granting Worlders microDistrikt identity in virtual/real mode would be entirely in line with the spirit and letter of the original microDistrikt initiative (Directive 12.22). Finally, it is said, it offers a solution to contractualism’s historic failure to incorporate multiple worldviews, a limitation regularly cited as the reason for the State Machine’s lack of power in certain Distrikts.