Sign in

Chartered Engineer. AKASHA Foundation. Euler Partners. Architect hi:project and Open Farming. Co-founder Digital Life Collective co-op.

First published to my blog.

It is important to understand the ways in which software may be conjured into the world for the simple reason that software and information technologies more generally have immense social and economic impact. The genesis of such process has been called software architecture, and there have been various attempts over the years to define the term and corresponding activities precisely, specifically in relation to the elements, forms, rationale, and constraints involved (“What Is Your Definition of Software Architecture?,” 2017).

A well-defined understanding of software architecture is critical to its practice and perhaps the word choice…


First published to the Ethereum World blog.

Our first blog post on the myths and challenges of social network moderating and the direction we’re heading in for decentralized social networking elicited some agreeable feedback but also this response:

“I don’t agree with your views about moderation. We’re building blockchains for freedom.”

Have you ever had that feeling where your communication simply fell flat despite your sincere best efforts?! 😞 Where your carefully constructed words didn’t appear to make the slightest dint?! Sure you have, you’re human too.

Similarly, we’ve all conveyed abrupt disagreement. This is the natural to-and-fro of conversation…


Disposability is one way to describe a persona fading with irrelevance. For example, the personae I may have lived through as a teenager are entirely redundant to me in my 40s.


First published to the generative identity website.

No two people can share an exact understanding of anything deep and meaningful simply because we each have different contexts. Conversation relies upon and can never wholly substitute for context. Nevertheless, we can work to grow a shared understanding through conversation, and the relationship between conversationalists evolves in the process.

The relationship is immanent in such informational exchange[1].

On one level, the opening paragraph here pertains to this being a blog post about conversations I’ve valued in recent months. But there’s another level given that ‘digital identity’ is our subject. …


Originally posted to the Ethereum World blog.

In light of the Trump ban, far right hate speech, and the plainly weird QAnon conspiracy theories, the world’s attention is increasingly focused on the moderation of and by social media platforms.

Our work at AKASHA is founded on the belief that humans are not problems waiting to be solved, but potential waiting to unfold. We are dedicated to that unfolding, and so then to enabling, nurturing, exploring, learning, discussing, self-organizing, creating, and regenerating. And this post explores our thinking and doing when it comes to moderating.

Moderating processes are fascinating and essential…


Originally published by Omidyar Network’s Good ID.

As Einstein intimated [1], everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. Current architectures for digital identity — intended to meet some definition of the needs of the complex living system that is human society — are dangerously too simple for the task.

Even self-sovereign identity (SSI), not infrequently held up by its champions as having the requisite complexity by design or claims to that effect, encodes distressing emergent outcomes.

I will qualify my use of words such as dangerous and distressing. Most obviously, we are talking about systems that…


First published to the generative identity website.

Phil Windley claims that a technology stack consisting of self-sovereign identity (SSI) and related technologies has all the qualities of generativity. He does so in his latest blog post with reference to Jonathan Zittrain’s 2006 paper The Generative Internet. It’s a well-known and well-respected reference I offered among others in 2019 on using the adjective generative in the context of identity.

Zittrain qualifies technological generativity as a function of its “capacity for leverage across a range of tasks, adaptability to a range of different tasks, ease of mastery, and accessibility.”

Phil recommends the…


SSI has distressing emergent outcomes — the antithesis of the hopes and plans of the SSI community and those attracted to SSI’s real-world application. We have to reflect and rethink.

Put starkly, many millions of people have been excluded, persecuted, and murdered with the assistance of prior identity architectures, and no other facet of information technology smashes into the human condition in quite the same way as ‘digital identity’. Therefore, if ever there’s a technological innovation for which ‘move fast and break things’ is not the best maxim, this is it. …


We are delighted to welcome Mei Lin Fung as guest speaker at 16:00 UTC 2nd September. Mei Lin co-founded People-Centered Internet in 2016 alongside “father of the Internet” Vint Cerf.

Mei Lin will introduce her work on the Digital Cooperation and Diplomacy initiative. She’ll give an overview and describe the challenges before we open up the majority of our one-hour together to questions and good conversation.

Join us.

Leave your email address here and we’ll ping you the link in good time.

Our privacy policy fyi.


First published to the AKASHA blog.

In the first of this two-part blog post I described why cooperating-at-scale is humanity’s primary challenge. Here I outline some candidate concepts and pre-architectural principles to inform the necessary and sufficient ‘sociotechnological primitives’.

First I’d like to qualify pre-architectural. It’s not oxymoronic despite arche meaning origin or beginning. Both physical and software architecture originate structure and structural relationships, and we’re not yet at the stage to prescribe such things. Structure is ossified pattern and our purpose at this early stage demands instead that we offer just a little structure to open up the space…

Philip Sheldrake

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