This week our guest is businessman and entrepreneur, Jim Rutt, who you may know as the former chairman of the Sante Fe Institute or from his own podcast, The Jim Rutt show. Jim is also arguably the founding spearhead for a movement known as “Game B,” which we’ll discuss much more deeply in the episode but which could quickly be described here as an alternative to the destabilizing, exploitative, and zero-sum approach to society we currently have. Beyond detailing the specifics of Game B, this episode also explores Jim’s thoughts on technology, including online communities, social media moderation, digital IDs, and the ways in which Game B principles can be utilized to improve technology.
Jim’s article on Game B: https://medium.com/@memetic007/a-journey-to-gameb-4fb13772bcf3
Join the game B movement: https://www.game-b.org/
Listen to Jim’s podcast: https://www.jimruttshow.com/
Host: Steven Parton - LinkedIn / Twitter
Music by: Amine el Filali
Speakers: Jim Rutt, Steve Parton
Jim Rutt [00:00:00] This network World Wars has produced a lot of great things, particularly the ability with. Low probability interests to find other people who share the same interests. And for a long while, that was the principal driving factor for people joining the online world, but that it's metamorphosed into this money on Money return machine which hijacks our attention with dopamine paybacks for the purposes of selling us advertising. And that is bad.
Steven Parton [00:00:45] Hello, everybody. My name is Steven Parton and you were listening to the feedback loop on Singularity Radio. This week, our guest is businessman and entrepreneur Jim Rutt, who you may know as the former chairman of the Santa Fe Institute or from his own podcast, The Jim Rutt Show. For those of you who are not familiar with Jim, he is arguably the founding spearhead for a movement known as Game B, which we will discuss more deeply in the episode, but which I will quickly describe here simply as an alternative to the exploitative and zero sum approach to society that we currently have. Beyond detailing the deeper specifics of Game B, this episode will explore Jim's thoughts on technology, which includes his 40 years of experience with online communities. His thoughts on social media moderation, including Musk's purchase of Twitter, the potential benefits of using digital IDs, and the numerous ways in which Game B principles can be utilized to improve all the technology we're currently using and will be using in the future. And finally, I do want to quickly warn listeners that if you're not a fan of profanity, this probably isn't the episode for you. Jim doesn't have much of a filter, and while that's no doubt a part of what makes him such a great thinker and an interesting conversationalist, it also means that some people may be quite put off by his blunt language. So just bear that in mind. But with that being said, let's jump into it. Everyone, please welcome to the feedback loop. Jim wrote. Could you give us a conceptual definition and kind of explain what game be is as a theory and a practice for those who might not be familiar with it?
Jim Rutt [00:02:32] Sure. Real easy. The idea of game B is it's not game. Right. And game is the is the current shall we call it the status quo engine of our world which game be thinking believes is heading for disaster? And I always like to point out that the game, at least in my version of the story, has done a tremendous amount of good for humanity. I fairly arbitrarily set the current epoch of Game A as starting around 1700. In 1700, the world's population was about 650 million people, less than a 10th of what it is today. 50% of the kids died by the time they were five. Most people lived in houses with dirt floors. No windows into the temperate zone were constantly suffering from respiratory ailments because they didn't have, you know, decent fireplaces, didn't have glass in the windows anymore and windows. You know, life kind of sucked. You know, the trade that humanity made, that getting going down the road to agriculture, you know, turned out to not actually be a good deal up until around 1700. And around then, three things came together in England and Netherlands, essentially. And those were modern science. You know, think of Newton and Boyle and the lads having a good time in the 17th century. God damn. That would have been fun to be able to make those. I mean, you know, you know, with a couple hundred bucks for the equipment, make primary discoveries there be no, no, no no surge or anything like that necessary to do the stuff that Boyle did and Newton did. And then democracy actually or self-rule. I generally put the start of that m8 arbitrary by 1688 you know when the glorious revolution in England, when William and Mary came over from the Netherlands, by the way, and had a limited monarchy and parliament was clearly dominant from that point forward. And then in 1694, through a series of flukes, the king needed money and made a deal with some rich dudes that returned for a massive loan. It gave them the right to print money, the Bank of England. And that was the precursor of modern finance. And keep in mind, all this was before the Industrial Revolution. Really? Right. And the three together, you know, freedom to do your thing, not under the thumb of some feudal lord. You know, science. What the hell? How does this work? What are the laws of thermodynamics? Shit. Right. And then finance the ability to get money mobilized out of thin air. Frankly, using fractional reserve banking allowed the Industrial Revolution to start taking off initially in England and then quickly in the Netherlands and Belgium and then spread across the world. And and so these three elements of game became together. It accelerated, accelerated, accelerated, accelerated, accelerated. And just then basically created the world we have today the problem and it but it's built on these things that accelerate and it has no brakes. That's the fundamental problem with game did great things for humanity. You know children live a lot, much more likely to, you know, to live to adulthood. We have glass, we have modern dentistry, we have thermostats and all good shit. But we don't want to give up. But it doesn't know when to stop. And you know it. Dead crazy shit like inventing the atomic bomb. What far right did we really need the atomic bomb? No, we know for the first time, you know, we can actually do serious damage to our civilization in a few minutes. Oh, dear. Not a good idea. And then we continue to, you know, ramp up, ramp up, ramp up, you know, and, you know, people don't talk about it much. But the Robert Bosch process developed in the early 20th century to create nitrogen out of the atmosphere. And fertilizer is what really allowed us to break through two and a half, 3 million. HUME Billion humans on Earth. And, of course, since World War Two, we just keep laying on the fertilizer heavier and heavier. And without all that fertilizer, we could not support, at least at the current levels of technologies. We have the eight plus billion people we have. So we're kind of on that escalator as well. And of course, not only do we have. You know, lifestyles of the West in the Americas and the Anglophone places like Australia, etc.. But now we have 6 billion people that aspire to that. Right? And if that actually happens, it's know game over at least at our current level technology. And I do point out that, you know, to get fusion energy power, you know, there are potential technological fixes, but they're not on the horizon today that allow us to live the way we live. And for a world of 8 billion people, you'll crush the biosphere. In fact, many calculations show that we overshot the carrying capacity of the earth, probably in the seventies, and we continue to impinge on soil on species. The ocean is in a horrible state. Most of the top fish populations are down 90% or more. The top predator fish, the ones we like to eat, the salmon and the tuna and what have you. And the other we're in the fifth great extinction of of species across many taxa ET. And so, you know, game is just running out of gas. And then recently I would suggest some of the inventions of Game A are starting to drive us seemingly, literally crazy. And so something has seriously gone wrong. And it's that this game, which was the greatest invention humanity ever created, bootstrapped us from dirt floors and dead children and respiratory diseases all the time to not bad, doesn't know where to stops, overshot the limits and is going to kill us. And so Game Beat Game B is literally reinventing set of social operating systems dynamics, essentially dynamic systems that is compatible with 8 billion people living on Earth well within the human caring capacity of our species. And that would be metastable for hundreds of years at least. And by metastable, we're not you know, you don't think of it as status at all. Things are constantly changing. New inventors are coming along, new ideas continue to evolve. Building Lab and the other thing, and this is why GMA has not been able to get off the track, is that even though it is doing in its later stages some bad things with human well-being. Right. You know, even here in the richest parts of the world, look at teen suicide, mental health, what percentage of teenage kids are taking psychoactive drugs for mental health issues because our society is literally driving them crazy. So again, be will one operate on much less energy and material intensity, but at the same time will produce greater human well-being? And in fact, we have recently Peter Wang, one of our collaborators, CEO of Anaconda, came up with a very cool formula. We call three by three will cut our material energetic consumption by a factor of three and will increase our human well-being by a factor of three. And they go, So how do we increase our human well-being? So what's gone wrong with human well-being? Well, specifically, since 1870 or thereabouts in the in the most advanced countries, a little bit later elsewhere, the traditional way of life has been destroyed, which I like to call the Mizo Sphere, the Mizo Layer benzo, meaning medium in the middle. And, you know, that is the face to face communities that we used to live in, in mostly agricultural based or small manufacturing villages, in many part in the West and in other parts of the world, often extended families, places that have cousin marriage. There's typically, you know, the extended families lived together in villages. And interestingly, in both organizational models, the third Dunbar number applies about 150, 150 adults, which turns out to be about the level that we can cognitively manage without too much bureaucracy, is how we look. And starting around 1870, those things are broken up by industrialization, mechanized farming, which drove people off the land, etc. And so instead of live communities of face to face real humanness, we traded that for two sterile bits of social machinery, the market and the government. Right. And yeah, they kept us from starving, right? Kept us from being robbed and raped by bandits, etc.. But oh, by the way, you know, the whole idea of police didn't even exist until about 1825 with the invention of the London Metropolitan Police Department that we used to be able to deal with criminals without a bureaucracy. Right. And so this trade turned out to, you know, kind of worked at the margin, but it ended up leading us to a bad place. And so the game hypothesis is how do we do this switching from one, use one third the inputs and get three times the well-being, which is to return to the mesoscale. And to build society from the bottom up in cells of about 150 adults, which we currently call pre-diabetes. And we're working on what that actually means. How do people govern themselves in a nonhierarchical self-organizing? Well, I would say not hierarchical, self-organizing fashion in which the people are always in control, that there's a high amount of pluralism, different prediabetes could be quite different. You know, one could be organized like a Victorian village, right? Another one could be a mad sex cult, right. And as long as they adhere to that basic game, the principles of three by three. Both are legitimate manifestations of game B. And you know, and interestingly, one of the things we are getting 2013, that Game B is not utopian. There will never be a book that says, this is how you do it, goddammit. On the other hand, there'll be lots of horizontal sharing as people discover things that work well. Here's a way to do sewage treatment using, you know, microorganisms and plants and stuff like that. Oh, it worked over here. Probably work over there. Might not work over here because climatic conditions are different. And so we see it kind of like the horizontal transfer that happened in bacterial communities where the DNA moves horizontally in real time and not necessarily, you know, kind of linear, Darwinian type evolution that we're more used to. So that's a real short intro to the idea. But to get a sense of the vibe we have for the movie out recently that you can see at Game B film dot org, it'll also provide at that site a link to our online communities where you can, as we say, find the others and start to play a game.
Steven Parton [00:13:40] B What, what are some of the key features that you would say distinguish game B from Game A In terms of the practicalities, when I think of game, I typically think of hyper competitive, hyper competitive, hyper individualistic, probably alienated, and it has a win loss aspect to it. And where and think of Game B, I think more of a win win situation that has more cooperation and more community at its focus. Is that are those fair?
Jim Rutt [00:14:08] Pretty damn close. That's that's quite good. You know, and the other one that you miss, which is I think, fundamental, actually, literally fundamental, which is a a deep sense of security. Right. And game goes out of its way to create cultivated insecurity. You know, my days when I was a highly paid corporate executive, I was wise. I just live the way I always lived and put huge amounts of money in the bank. But I had people who I worked with who were making literally $1,000,000 a year and spending a million won. Right. They were precarious. What the fuck? Anybody do that? But there are a lot of people that do. And, you know, Game A cultivates that. And in a way it cultivates it. One of the ways and by the way, when I say game A does, I'm not implying a conspiracy. I'm implying an emergent evolutionary meaning plex. Essentially. Essentially, the gist is you can't blame it on anybody. You know, Peter Thiel and the Koch brothers are not sitting in the back room manipulating everybody. This should just happen. And it happened for every step along the way. Made sense, right. But we've evolved into this thing about the aggregate Gore as one of the current terms for the kind of an emergent meme plex that is kind of a better operating system for for a society. And it's a better it's built in insecurity and it's one of the key drivers is status through possessions. Right. If you define yourself in having more shiny shit or positional goods like oh yeah, I got a fucking original roomier do I. Cool. Right. And you think that that actually makes you a better person or more likely to get laid or how whatever hell your metric is, then you're on this endless hedonic treadmill of more and more, more, more, more, and you're never satisfied. As it turns out, the you know, the little hits of dopamine that our systems are set up to provide don't last. Right. You know, look at the history of people who hit the lottery, literally, that the million dollars, most of them are miserable and broke to get it for five years. It's very funny. While in the game plan, we're about self-actualization, about becoming the best people, the most interesting people, most social convivial people. You know, someone that can tell a great joke at a community beer bash. We'll have a lot more status than some ass clown that drives up in a Porsche. Instead, you know, the person who is, you know, the kindest, most empathetic person will have status in that dimension. The person who, you know, you know, knows how to do flower arrangements for for each social event. And then the game be like, as we imagine as being full of social events and ceremonies and holidays, there'll be a holiday at least once a week, right? And major holidays monthly, quarterly and annually. And and this is how people used to live, right? This is the the mesoscale that we foolishly traded away for shiny objects starting around 1870. So, so and then then second tier thing, just security. So once I'd cultivated insecurity in game A, in Game B, once you're in game B, you will never be homeless no matter what ever happens to you. In the same way nobody was ever homeless who lived in an agricultural village and you know, the English Midlands, you know, somebody always put you up in their attic and feed you and, you know, your job would be to, you know, you know, be pleasant to people or something. Right. And and mesoscale, nobody starved in places that weren't having an actual famine. And yet you go to San Francisco, the richest city in the fucking world in some sense. Right. And what do you see? Thousands of people wallowing in their own shit, right? It's fucking depraved. I mean, if you want evidence, that game is literally insane and is way, way, way past that sell by date, just go to San Francisco and walk around, right? Yeah. That will never happen in Game Bay.
Steven Parton [00:18:10] Well, speaking of San Francisco and your current point about tech, the way I think technology was making us all crazy, what is technology's role in this process of maybe perpetuating game or helping us get to game? Because right now it feels like what technology is doing is a lot of exacerbating game. AI's problems by making people, you know, attention focused where they want at were making admiration and likes and follows and building influencers which is more about that extrinsic motivation, not about somebody becoming intrinsically self-actualized. A lot of what technology seems to be doing right now is saying get more money with crypto, do get more attention with social media stage.
Jim Rutt [00:18:53] Yeah.
Steven Parton [00:18:54] Yeah, exactly.
Jim Rutt [00:18:55] So talk about.
Steven Parton [00:18:57] How do we maybe shift that technology or do you see that happening?
Jim Rutt [00:19:02] Well, if it doesn't, we're fucked. So they're not. So I'm assuming I'm assuming that will make the shift. Right. And and you describe it very well. I mean, we this late, late, late stage game where we have learned how to let computers teach themselves through our data to apply dopamine bribes to hijack our attention is fucking degenerate as shit. Right? And you start looking at the teen suicide statistics I looked at a couple a few months ago, I decided to take a look at one of these new things, something called tick tock. And as a person who has been designing online products since 1981, I said, Dude, somebody invented fentanyl, right? I said, This is it. I don't know if it gets any better than this. Right. In terms of malicious gamer ism, right? I used it four times, then deleted it off my phone. Right. And and I think, frankly, we have to learn to have socially reinforced discernment about these technologies. You know, Game B is not Luddite, right? I expect Game B to have highly automated agricultural systems, to have, you know, really smart protocols for for collaboration, virtual ledgers, for money systems, liquid democracy, baby, if people like it for, you know, ways to self-govern, etc. and all those things require technology. On the other hand, a big God damn, we're going to have tick tock in game B, right? And you know, personally, you know, I wrote an interesting paper called Reclaiming our Cognitive Sovereignty, which tell the story about how I analyze my own addiction to smartphones. I figured out what I actually needed from a smartphone, which turned out to be nothing and built the replacements for them and then kicked the smartphone habit and went back to a flip phone. All right. And then I will confess, I fell off the wagon after six months when my flip phone died. But it was an interesting experiment. The NSA is up on medium and full of all kinds of scientific research about the addictive nature of smartphones. And the other thing I do is I'm currently in a nine month social media sabbatical every year. For the last five years, it's been six months, six months on social media, six months off, typically January 1st through, 1st of July on, and then the second half of the year off. This year I got so disgusted by social media, I said, Fuck it, I'm starting my sabbatical April 1st. And so it's going on for a while. It's going to be nine months off, three months on, and and frankly, all year I am three months on it because, you know, I do have my podcast, my essays. I have to do a certain amount of Mr. Public personality and propaganda and marketing and shit like that. But if I didn't, I probably would just say fuck that shit entirely and be done with it. Right. And. On the other hand, I suspect we will have game be. Things that are metaphorically similar to social media, perhaps allow people to self-organize, find people they want to collaborate with. Because, by the way, this network world was as produced a lot of great things, particularly the ability with. Low probability interests to find other people who share the same interests. You know, I started helping build the consumer online world in 1980. I went to work for a company called The Source, which was the very first consumer online service. And for a long while, that was the principle driving factor for people. Joining the online world was All right. I'm a Packard collector. Old kind of car and aren't many around here. I live here in some in a small town in eastern Kentucky. But on a, you know, nationwide basis, there's a bunch of Packard collectors and hey, we can hang out together online and we can trade carburetors with each other and things like that. That's a wonderful use for technology, but that it's metamorphosed into this money on money return machine, which hijacks our attention with dopamine paybacks for the purposes of selling us advertising. And that is bad and there are ways to live not that way. One that we learned from in Game B are the Mennonites and the Amish, right? Contrary to popular opinion, they aren't Luddites either, but they make very careful local decisions on what technologies to adopt, typically, after considerable discussion and debate sometimes goes on for years. You know, classically milking machines, a lot of them are in the dairy farming business and some a few said no to milking machines. Most said yes as an example, but took two or three years. Right. And then. All right, once our milking machines are producing milk in bulk, that means you need refrigeration. So. Oh, shit, that means what about electricity? And some said, okay, generators only. And then other communities said, all right, you can have electricity, but only to your dairy barn to run the refrigeration for your mass captured milk and etc.. So and each so each community of about 25 families makes these decisions over two years. I would expect that Game B probably will also make those decisions. And here's also a very, very important about the transition. A very small number of people, frankly, including most of the game, be players today, which might be about 30,000 or so by our best calculation, are kind of very independent, disagreeable folks who are able to break free of game irrespective of what their fucking neighbors think. Right. But 98% of people aren't that way. 98% of people need the reinforcement of the norms and values of their community to stay in sync. And it's one of the reasons why we think it's so critical to build these on the ground communities. I chatted with my daughter a few weeks ago and it's the perfect example. We have a new granddaughter. She'll be two soon. Great kid, of course. Right. And my daughter's very, very aware of these things is, you know, sort of driving yourself crazy already. What happens when her best friend shows up at age seven with a smartphone, right? Yeah. Because, you know, our daughter's intent would be you have no smartphone until you're 18. Probably. Maybe you get a flip phone when you're 11 or 12. And but your best friend and all the people in your social network do all their interaction on smartphones. Oh, God, what the hell kind of fucking. You know, you don't want to isolate your kid from their peer group and say, on the other hand, you don't want to give them give them something that's clearly worse for them than Cigarets at age of seven, if you lived in a community where that was just something nobody would ever do, it's a non question. So we, you know, we think very, very important is that living in a place where you have a shared set of values of the game be sought, make it much easier for the 98% of normal people, not, you know, crazed nuts like myself to be able to make the transition to game, be and stay in it. And so it's this idea of values and community kind of have to co-evolved together and they'll get more purely game B over time, right? You don't expect people to be able to make, you know, giant leap, you know, again in my venture business and then my, you know, venture capital business is afterwards I always had a sale saying you can't jump off a cliff. Right? There has to be a path to get from one place to the other. And, you know, having letting relatively normal people being living together with other reasonably normal people who have all agreed collectively to follow a set of values that are quite different. That Game A will make it way easier for them to collectively stick to that agreement. That's our hypothesis.
Steven Parton [00:26:59] Yeah. Let's talk about one of those communal paths that seem to be so dominant in the smartphone and Internet age, which is Twitter, social media and online commerce in general. You recently wrote an article, I believe, called Must in Moderation, where you talk about Musk's potential purchase of. Twitter. And, you know, you reflect on your, I think, 40 years plus of online moderation. What do you think about the way that online communities play into all of this? And what do you think about Musk's purchase and where this is taking us?
Jim Rutt [00:27:34] Well, I think must purchase is probably a good thing. Well, see if he follows my advice, God damn it. Right. Which is, you know, some of the things he's said subsequently made me think that he may be heading for a train wreck. You know, he has said my. Only standard will be is it legal? Right. And I go, Well, Ellen, that ain't going to work. I'll give you an example. You have a small group of people, you know, talking about and arguing in classic online fashion about their favorite basketball team. And one of the participants is black and five of them are white. And so one of the guys says, F-you, you N-word. Right? Perfectly legal, as it turns out, in the United States, not in some other countries. But that's legal. And to my mind, that would be a gross dereliction of duty to have an online system or something like that that could occur. And so I put forth in that essay the concept of decorum and quiet, and I propose it literally be like a law code that there be a hierarchically organized set of decorum rules which says Thou shalt not use racial slurs targeted at other members. In fact, I go further in my own if I have my own system and say no personal attacks. And this is what I mean when I say personal attacks. Right. And in fact, in our game B online system, we have the Ten Commandments and one of them is no personal attacks. And there's a, you know, a dot section equal of the hierarchical code that says anyone that uses an obscene language against another member will be expelled immediately. Right. No warnings, nothing. This is black and white. You violate this law. Boom. You're done. And so I think that this is hugely important. And again, this comes from 40 years of experience all the way back. If you don't have rules for decorum, it'll turn to a shit show every fucking time. If you have a general public that isn't organized around a specific mission. And this is also important, you know, in the in the groups on Facebook, say, for instance, groups can often get by with relatively light moderation because they're organized around a mission and being ostracized out of the group is punishment enough. Right. In many cases. And in Facebook, they give the group admins that power, but it's in the public square that the problems arise principally. Think about the non-group parts of Facebook. Think of all of Twitter. Twitter is the one major system that has no sub spaces at all. The other extreme is Reddit, where it's all sub spaces. For instance, right at Facebook, sort of halfway in between. And so it's in the public square that I'm really talking about that you need the equivalent of law and order, but only on decorum, not on point of view. You know, if people want to talk about Q and on, let them talk about Q and on, so long as they do so respectfully without personal attack. And then I'll talk about goofy as ideas about COVID, like ivermectin as the cure all or something. Let them talk about it. Right. You know, on the other hand, feel free to challenge them. Make them put up or shut up. Yeah. And but make sure everybody is polite with each other.
Steven Parton [00:30:57] And that's how you. And that's how you balance free speech with moderation so that you can continue. You can talk.
Jim Rutt [00:31:04] About anything you want as long as you do it within the rules of decorum. And I think that that is close to the sweet spot. Now, you also added a third category, but I would hope it to be small on most systems, which is inherently dangerous things. Right. And as an example, I gave was, you know, instructions on how for teenagers to not let their parents know that they want to commit suicide. You know, things like that, how to make poison. You know, how to make bombs. Now, I think there's probably places online where you should have that kind of information. But but in terms of the general open public square, I think it's perfectly reasonable for the operators of those public squares to say inherently dangerous things. We will ban those or direct advocacy of serious crimes. And the reason I add serious crimes is, I think traditional civil disobedience crimes. You should be able to advocate for those, right? You know, having an anti-war demonstration without a permit, for instance, or, you know, even blockading a draft, you know, a an Army recruiting office, illegal, but it's a misdemeanor. And I think that people should be allowed to advocate for civil disobedience, grade crimes, even in the public square, but probably not go rob a bank or go assassinate this governor. Something like that. So, again, these things should be quite specific. And so the people can look up in the rule book and see what are the current rules on this system.
Steven Parton [00:32:38] And we need that looseness right within the decorum rules, because that's kind of how we get fringe thinkers and innovators who continually push us forward as a society. Right? Yeah.
Jim Rutt [00:32:49] In fact, the analogy. That somebody came up with I thought was a great one, which is the garage band analogy, right. You know, most garage bands suck, but if we didn't have garage bands, popular music would not move forward. And the same way, you know, original socio political, economic thinking or esthetics or anything else, most of it sucks. Most of it's idiotic. Right? But one of the things we learned from complexity science was I spent the last 20 years studying really, really hard to say what ideas really suck, right? When they're small and tiny and new and we don't really fully understand how our whole world is going to unfold. The other model I call is the green shoots model. You know, if you're the area on the edge of a forest, there's all kinds of stuff coming up. Some of it's a lot of it's shit, some of it's good, but we won't know what it is that comes up. And so you can't just go out with Roundup, kill everything. You know, you'll see that you'll have a very sterile, nasty place. So, you know, let things bloom and the marketplace of ideas will eventually sort things out. Yeah. You know, goofy ass shit like you're on will exist for longer than we might like. But I would be very surprised if you are. Q And on still around 20 years from now, and I'm perfectly willing to accept a couple hundred thousand people believing utter horseshit. How many help? I think a number of people who believe in Christianity. Right, total horseshit as far as I'm concerned. And yet I'm willing to tolerate Christianity so long as I can also float ideas like game B.
Steven Parton [00:34:21] That in terms of. Empowering that sense of decorum. What do you think about the idea of creating something like digital IDs or having people verify their ID before accessing something like a Twitter, even if they can be anonymous once they're on? What do you think about them having to verify that ID to get it?
Jim Rutt [00:34:40] I am very strongly in favor of it. In fact, if I were in fact, I do run my own system, or at least I'm the lead admin. And there we have a rigorous real I.D. only. Right? So you have to use your actual name while also being a member of a kind of interesting ancient online system called the well. It's probably the oldest surviving online community still exists. Well dot com and running since 1985 and it's essentially a whole bunch of forums hundreds of them, some of the highest quality content online you'll ever find. And oh, by the way, full disclosure, I'm a minority owner of the damn thing. I own 15% of it or something. A bunch of the users got together and bought it from its parent when the parent was going to shut it down. So no one getting rich off. But I can tell you. Well, anyway, it's a wonderful, wonderful place and it's always been real name only. And they actually call you up on the phone and verify that you are who you say you are. Beyond just the credit cards. So they have a pretty high know your customer idea and that person I think in many cases that's superior. On the other hand, in the public square where people might get, say, in a totalitarian society. And ours is far from that. On occasion, you might want to have so-called pseudo anonymity, which is that what you alluded to, which is there's a proof on the system. There's only one person, one actual human. Per identity so reputational costs can occur if you're an asshole, right. But you don't have to expose who you are in real life. And I think that is the correct place for a system like Twitter is pseudo and liberty. But he's pseudo inimitable, backed by proof of humanity and only one human per a pseudonym and only one pseudonym per human. I think that that provides the sweet spot for the necessary protection of real world identities for some people. And at the same time isn't the open shit show that Twitter historically was? Now they claim that cracked down sort of maybe somewhat about that, but not very much. You can still got God knows how many Twitter IDs I have right now. But yeah, that's that's where I'd come out. Yeah. And this goes back to in 40 years experience. I mean, one of the very first precursors to social media on Dawson was in 1982, was called Participates and we ran two versions in parallel, one where you had to have your real name and the other where you could be completely anonymous and have multiple IDs. Well, guess what? The one it was totally anonymous. Multiple IDs turned into a dumpster fire, prodigious proportions. And we closed it down after about a month. And this is at the very dawn of online. Right. So you couldn't blame it on Trump or you couldn't blame it on hyper partizanship or anything else. You could just blame it on human fucking nature. Mm hmm.
Steven Parton [00:37:40] Yeah. I mean, with speaking of the human nature, I mean, I think that's one of the biggest issues with social media right now. And it's momentum that it gives the game is the fact that it doesn't have a social cost to it. It doesn't create those evolutionary checks on us because it doesn't hold us accountable. We don't we don't have that town square accountability that we have where people would eventually be like, you know, this guy's an asshole. Let's just stop including him in our conversations. Yeah, that doesn't happen anymore. So we it feels like we need some ways to kind of build in, whether it's through algorithms flagging people who have bad decorum or creating. I don't know about rating systems per se, but some kind of way to to hold people accountable and build an incentive for positive behavior as opposed to negative behavior.
Jim Rutt [00:38:24] And I think, you know, there are some really cool user side tools to do that. Like I would love to be able to grade the links to various people. Right. Which is ah, if, if X says anything and actually hears about it would be really lovely. And we're getting to the point where now it's probably practical. You know, if Steven says something about, you know, classical music, then plus five, I definitely want to hear about that. But if Steven says something about politics minus five, you don't know a goddamn thing about politics. Right? And to be able to build that kind of personal connection graph with your so-called online friends, I think would be amazing. Right. And then, you know, Steven starts to be an asshole about classical music while I reduce him from plus five to plus two and C or it gets even worse. Oh, he's a minus five. Fuck bass. And so be able to. And then in some sense you're not having a systemic thing like a social credit score, which could be very dangerous. But you're essentially having an emergent effect from everybody making individual decisions about the quality of the links that they are establishing. Yeah. And, and that's something else. And this is I call this education, but of course, you can also build the system. One of the things that plagues Facebook and Twitter in particular is how easy it is to share or retweet. Right. People don't realize that that is a that's a moral obligation. When you make a retweet, you should morally say, is this action good for the world? And if it's not, don't fucking do it. Now, you could build some helpers into that. For instance, you could just pop that up every time someone says retweet. Do you believe this is good for the world? Yes or no? And there's a fair bit of research that indicates that those kind of little nudges actually make a big difference. Well, the other thing you could do is very substantially limit the number of retweets. One or two a day may be right. And maybe if you've proven through a long period of time of being a high fidelity tweeter, maybe that gradually grows based on other people's ranking of you, just the way we just talked. Right. Maybe it grows to five eventually, but but, you know, very, very promiscuous retweeting for no good reason at all. Just because it hit your dopamine button is very, very bad. And in fact, that's, you know, how the shit storms on Twitter and Facebook get started when people retweet things without discernment.
Steven Parton [00:40:54] Yeah. So would you would you support something where we maybe make the newsfeed algorithms open source and allow people more customization?
Jim Rutt [00:41:02] Yeah, I talked about that in the essay and also in some of the podcasts I got out. By other words I like. Not only do I like to have an open source, but as you indicated, I'd go one step further than Elon has proposed and have a marketplace of of algorithms and and that they'd all be open source. Right. And so you can see what they are and you can choose what I want. One that's pretty flat. I want one that has this very interesting feature that we talked about of, you know, modulated, weighted length, etc.. And then one of the podcast I did with Bret Weinstein, he came up with a really brilliant idea, which is if you could, people would have to publish which algorithm they use and you could put yourself in their shoes quite literally for a day or two. I don't know. How does Kim Kardashian see the world? Let me walk in Kim Kardashian's algorithm for a couple of days. I'll probably go insane, but what the fuck? Right. And so there's a lot of interesting things you can do when you have a transparent, open source market place of of algorithm.
Steven Parton [00:42:05] I would absolutely love that because I feel like people would want I would feel incentivized and want to walk in other people's shoes to say they did it. But through the process of doing that, whether they planned on or not, would kind of have to empathize with that person.
Jim Rutt [00:42:18] Exactly. Right. Exactly. And when Bret said that, I said, God dammit, this is one of the best ideas I've heard in a while. Right.
Steven Parton [00:42:25] It's just do you think we'll actually see any of these features come down the line, though? I mean, with stock, with stockholders kind of incentivized to profit in ways that are at the cost of well-being, that kind of maybe make a negative three on wellbeing. Do you think we'll really see this happen?
Jim Rutt [00:42:42] Not without some major, major, major reforms or a maniac like Elon Musk who doesn't give a fuck. Right. You know, if I was the richest dude in the world, I might do something like this. Do right, which is I'm just going to do the right thing. And he said explicitly he does not care about the economic return. We'll see if he can actually stick to that. But that's that's that's frankly why I'm yeah, I'm afraid that he might drive into a ditch. But on the other hand, a guy who really is willing to do this not for economic return, has at least a starting point to do the right thing. Because, frankly, if you're out to maximize shareholder value, you should be fucking Zuckerberg, right? Just the worst goddamn evil motherfucker imaginable. And that actually is the economically correct answer in the current state. And whoever the hell came up with the fentanyl called tick tock, you know, you know, that's you know that's what game a leads us to Tick-Tock and actually I don't know if it exists yet, but somebody no doubt will produce an X rated version of Tick Tock. And then we may the Doomsday Clock might well be at 11 5959. At that point.
Steven Parton [00:43:47] Do you do you think that government should get involved with this at all? Or do you think this is something that should take place in the Commons? Do you think that we should have regulatory bodies doing this or should we ask the grassroots to really champion these changes?
Jim Rutt [00:43:59] I think we have to in the current state of game, as we have to do, we have to provide some scaffolding top back. It would be nice if we could do it all bottom up, but it's not realistic. The big players are just too goddamn big or too psychologically astute. We're too stupid. We're confronting computers smarter than the ones that that beat Kasparov at chess that are being pointed at us to exploit our our our ape like features and always keep in mind we're just fucking apes with clothes right is the only useful to remember that. So I would be willing to watch that. I hate government. I do. I would be willing to do some of it top down, but only for large things. And I think in my essay I said systems that have more than 25 million unique, unique visitors per month ought to be mandated to have the following set of monetary rules and appeals that are available and open source, the algorithm and all that sort of stuff. Yeah. So I think in the current place where we're at, the only way to turn that ship around in any time soon would be by government regulation. And that is, you know, the point of democracy after all. Right. The economy is not the reason we have a society right now. We have a society first to think about the idea of fairness in your basement. It's there to heat your house. On the other hand, fire with no constraints on it, to burn your house down and your whole neighborhood. And so with that, the idea of money on money return Uber, Alice, is the essence of the pathology of late. They say since 1971 game where everything is denominated in terms of money on money return, that's just fucking nuts. You know, United States is not built for that, nor has any civilization survived very long for that.
Steven Parton [00:45:58] Then. I mean, it's ultimately going to backfire anyway, right? Because if you do that, eventually you undermine the well-being of this isn't so much that they don't they don't become productive. They end up. Revolting. You have civil disobedience and.
Jim Rutt [00:46:09] Guillotines start to clank, right? In fact, I have a beautiful hand illustrated picture of three guillotines with lopped heads and somebody holding one up, which I post periodically on both Facebook and Twitter when people say something very, very diverse. Davos, man, like I just post that. That's all I post. Yeah, I say that, you know, this is where your policy will lead and that's your head. They're holding up their asshole.
Steven Parton [00:46:35] Yeah, just a friendly reminder.
Jim Rutt [00:46:37] It's a friendly reminder that this is where it usually springs.
Steven Parton [00:46:41] So how do you see or how would you recommend the average person kind of get involved in Game B actions? What are some of the things they can do to kind of champion Game B ideas and start the switch?
Jim Rutt [00:46:55] We lay this out in a paper called A Journey to Game B, available on Medium. I was the author of it. Though it had some a substantial amount of input from other game deep thinkers and some things you should you should do. First and foremost, start cleaning up your financial life. Right? You don't want the game a debt collectors coming after you and game B, so, you know, just just take frankly, just take any of the guides about personal finance, about radical downsizing of expenditure. Start doing that. Start to program yourself and find other people to help you reinforce it. To get away from the status through possessions. Right. Don't have fancy fucking cars. There's a one right there. Get rid of your fancy fucking cars. Right. You know, I'm a zillionaire. I'll say it fucking out loud and I drive a fucking beat up jeep. Right. And a pickup truck and. Yes, did I have fancy cars and days of yore? I had some, but not excessive numbers. Get rid of your fucking fancy cars. No Porsches, no BMW, no Mercedes. Goddamn it. Right there. Right. And and stop. And it's hard at first because I can just I love cars, you know, I read Car and driver. I see some review for some 700 horsepower mid-engine fucking I had to do z06 that. Oh fuck that. Be great right now. That's wrong. That is not going be, you know and don't buy fancy shit at fancy stores, right? You know, a pair of pants and a shirts just fine. You don't need to go to some fucking place and pay $200 for a pair of jeans and $300 for a shirt. $1,000 for a jacket. You don't pay that shit. Bad for the world, bad for everybody. So gradually wean yourself away. Start teaching yourself some useful actual skills, like gardening or weaving or sewing or small building construction or electrician ing and plumbing, etc.. Learn something actually useful, whether it whether it be needful or not. And a protege. Maybe it will. Maybe it won't, but it will actually start returning you to a more humane way of dealing with your universe when everything you do is virtual and you're like three or four levels deep into Baudrillard simulation, as we like to say in game B, you know, you're losing track of who you are. You're hit your hands are really important actually to how you deal with the world. So do something, do something useful with your hands and then of course, find the others. Find the others locally in your own neighborhood, do potluck dinners, start babysitting clubs, right? With like layout. There's like 16 different things you can do before you even formally join up with the game world to get yourself ready. And then when you and then now we have our own online community game dash B dot org and you can that there's a link to that on the game B film 4G site as well. So if you really want to get started, read the film, read the essay A Journey to Game B and then come to our website and say, Hey, I'm here people. Howdy, howdy, let's do something right.
Steven Parton [00:50:02] That love it will include all of those links in the show notes so people can easily find their way through them. Jim, we're coming up on time here and I want to respect jurors. But before we go, are there any any other things you'd like to talk about, promote or maybe some closing thoughts you'd like to just share?
Jim Rutt [00:50:17] Yeah. I think. I think this is the most important one. Mm hmm. That we must be optimistic that we are in a dark place. Right. And things could go wrong, but they're still under our control. And I think that this is the gateway drug. The game business is to realize the game did not come down on the stone tablets with Moses at Mt. Sinai. You know, I've tracked back the history of these ideas, almost all of them. And they are it's an amazing degree. Frozen accidents, right. You know, the establishment of the Bank of England. I still just amazed at how astoundingly important that was, Ben, to everything that's happened since. And yet it was done for completely local reasons. Right. It could have easily been done otherwise. It's also quite imaginable that we never develop nuclear weapons, for instance. But but because of the way the exact way the wars worked out exactly when they happened with respect to our technical capability, we had them. Right. And and so the world is highly contingent. All of our institutions were created by other humans, oftentimes for very local op optimistic or locally optimizing things like the Bank of Bank, famous Bank of England GATES Generally, they were not conspiracies. Sometimes they were small scale conspiracies, like the establishment of Federal Reserve banking system. You know, that was a bit of a conspiracy there, actually, turned out, but generally not the way to bet. Mostly it's frozen accidents in evolutionary history, which means optimistically, we can change it, right? We can completely change our monetary system if we wanted to do so. So anyway, that's the gateway drug, all this stuff, the good. And there is a lot of good about not going to throw away the good. I want dentistry, right? You know, I, you know, I want clean water. I want the knowledge that you should shit downhill from where you take the water out of the river. You know, things that we didn't know until about 1870. Amazingly enough, I want to do all that good stuff. But the stuff that's bad, you know, this allowing money on money returned to crush all values, right? You know, allowing children to be given fucking smartphones to pick on them, you know, shit like that. We just say, no, it's under our power, God damn it. And that's the gateway drug the game be to realize that all this stuff was human creation that could be changed by humans.
Steven Parton [00:52:40] There you go. I love it. I love the optimism, Jim. There are 1000 hours. I feel like that we could continue on to this. But I appreciate the hour that I've been given, so thank you for your time, man.
Jim Rutt [00:52:50] Well, thank you. And thank you for the good preparation you did and the excellent questions.