Deeper Edge and the GLIAnet Digital Trust Fabric
Richard S. Whitt
“Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center. Big, undreamed-of things -- the people on the edge see them first.” - Kurt Vonnegut
“Don’t be the pinball. Be the machine.” - Doc Searls
Over the past two-plus years, I have been formulating various concepts for what I call the GLIAnet project (www.glia.net). The overarching premise is that the Web we have today is badly broken, and in need of a new kind of paradigm that puts first the actual human being.
The proposed GLIAnet ecosystem combines three basic elements: (1) human governance based on common law duties of fiduciaries, (2) technologies utilizing client-side capabilities, and (3) commercial offerings centered on protecting, enhancing and promoting actual human beings. Or, in brief, personal digital fiduciaries, edgetech capabilities, and “PEP” business models.
I’ve been grateful to have the opportunity with various audiences to discuss these concepts of a GLIAnet overlay ecosystem. In 2020 alone, I have crafted detailed white papers, posted online articles and guest blog posts, participated in podcasts, and webinars, and conference panels, engaged in interviews, and delivered a few keynote addresses.
Overall I’m proud of the work, and grateful to be able to pitch and defend and refine these ideas with so many smart folks. But at the end of the day, concepts without validation are just words on the screen. In order to have true meaning, they need a real-world place to live, and to grow, and then succeed -- or not -- based on their merits.
How Deeper Edge Will Help
The proposed value spans across the B2C, B2B, and B2D sectors.
For B2C consumers in particular, no other market entity currently offers the unique combination of tangible benefits: loyal support of a true fiduciary, vigilant defense of a Web guardian, mediating function of a “digital lifestreams” manager, and empowering cool edgetech. The fiduciary element in particular appears to be entirely unprecedented in the online space.
Nor is Deeper Edge aiming to “disrupt” the dominant players of the existing Web. Instead, in true “blue ocean” strategy, the value propositions create entirely new marketspaces, that allow individuals to refashion their fraught interactions with Web entities. The overall outcome is constructing a unique and personalized “digital life support system” for each patron, from which those meaningful commercial conversations can take place. Sitting alongside the Web incumbents -- at least for now.
Open questions remain. In particular, can and will some subset of consumers appreciate the Web’s systemic infirmities, and be willing accordingly to change their marketplace activities? And will a suitable number of for-profit companies voluntarily assume the mantle of trustworthy agents operating under common law-type fiduciary obligations? The provisional answer to both questions is yes. Under the scientific method, such responses are deemed falsifiable -- meaning that evidence can be assembled and analyzed to ascertain whether they comport with reality. Stage One seeks empirical validation, for these and other demand and supply “query planks.”
For the B2B market, Deeper Edge potentially offers numerous value propositions. For example, the Company can provide a trust layer (or Trust-as-a-Service) to enterprises with customer-facing compliance obligations; examples could include health care, financial services, retailers, and telecom providers. The Company also can develop new, mutually-beneficial connections between Web patrons and marketing companies, to create far more contextual -- and lucrative -- advertising markets.
Other B2B offerings to explore include consensual data exchanges, data trusts and co-ops interfaces, digital fiduciaries certification program, private label versions of its B2C services, and IPR licensing.
For the B2D market, Deeper Edge offers a novel opportunity to create open source software applications, blockchain ledgers and wallets, and other functionalities in service of the “decentralized Web.”
Q. Which B2C Offerings Does Deeper Edge Intend to Pursue First? A. Much To Choose From
For purposes of Stage One, Deeper Edge is developing a comprehensive “as if” suite of B2C products and services intended to serve the needs of Web users. Significant elements of these products and services are derived from the PEP (protect, enhance, and promote) model.
The PROTECT phase combines a fiduciary duty of care (do no harm), with a bundle of service and product offerings, and technologies, designed to build defensible virtual walls around the client. Examples include Web Guardian, a comprehensive suite of privacy, security, and identity protections.
The ENHANCE phase focuses on redefining Web user data as manageable digital lifestreams, subject to full client access and control. Examples include LEVIT (local events and venues interactive tracker) and DaaS (data archaeology as a service).
The PROMOTE phase focuses on agential tech tools such as WebCasters, home data pods, and modular connected devices. The Personal AI can be a hallmark offering for the new human-centric paradigm. This phase, as with the ENHANCE phase, operates under a strong fiduciary duty of loyalty to clients.
BIO: Richard Whitt is the founder and chief executive officer of Deeper Edge. He is a thirty-plus year veteran of the online technology and communications space, with substantial roots in MCI Communications (1994-2006) and Google/Alphabet (2007-2018). Most recently he was corporate director for strategic initiatives at Google.1