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CIN Talks E02 - George Anadiotis, Founder, Linked Data Orchestration

Data Collaboration Alliance president Dan Demers catches up with George Anadiotis, Founder of Linked Data Orchestration (and contributor at Gigaom, VentureBeat, and Zdnet) to talk about Data Ownership, Collaborative Intelligence, and the future of data and applications.

George Anadiotis has got tech, data, and media, and he's not afraid to use them!


Coming from an IT background, George has had the chance to learn to play many instruments on the way to becoming a one-man band and an orchestrator. He has worked as a Software Engineer, Architect, Consultant, Manager, Researcher and Analyst.


He has built and managed projects, products, and teams of all sizes and shapes, done award-winning research, founded startups, served Fortune 500, startups and NGOs, and lived to tell the tale.


George is the Founder of Linked Data Orchestration and is a contributor at leading tech publications including GigaOm, VentureBeat, and ZDNet.


You can also follow George on Twitter and LinkedIn.


See also

About CIN


The Collaborative Intelligence Network (CIN) is the flagship research project of the Data Collaboration Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to meaningful Data Ownership and global Collaborative Intelligence.


The objective of CIN is to define a new global infrastructure for data and applications built on the foundations of control, ownership, and collaboration.


The project includes the following activities:

Episode transcript:


Dan DeMers: You know I've heard for decades people talking about how data has value. Kind of like money but yet you're not able to copy money. So why is that? Why can't you print money from your printer?


Well, this is a good reason for that so why can you print data from your printer,like copy. Why does data sharing require “here's a copy of my data”. And if you think that through. You know that's the root cause for a lot of the problems in even the world today


When you think about like misinformation and whatnot is the lack of lineage and accountability and ownership and quite frankly owning data's irrelevant if you can't have control over that data and as soon as you make a copy of something you've lost control over that. It's as simple as that.


So that's where the idea of access not copies came and that's the inspiration for the Data Collaboration Alliance and maybe that brings us to like you mentioned the Web 3.0 originally centered around semantics and knowledge management and these days it's kind of taken a slightly different twist. Obviously, data is at the center of that in both of those incarnations but I'm curious what do you think the next evolution means not so much to businesses but to everyday people?


George Anadiotis: That's a good question as much as it is a tough one to be honest with you.

I think for most people today when they hear the term Web 3.0 they tend to think in terms of cryptocurrency and well NFTs and ICOs and things like that which for many people and I wouldn't actually really blame them for that for many people I think of those things in terms of speculation really and kind of wild west and while that certainly is true there is a lot of that going on.


I think there's also some value due to be had from the technical underpinnings of that world and in my view, it mostly has to do with the cryptography aspects.


So there's lots of talk about well decentralization but actually if you start looking under the hood in all those projects and technical implementation claim to be decentralized.

They're not that decentralized after all.


I mean there are certain centralization points de facto actually centralization realization points such as exchanges or you know in the case of NFTs "Minters" that act as like I said de facto centralization points. However to me the most interesting aspect in this whole ecosystem from the technology point of view - there are a few actually so the first one would be cryptography itself.


So the fact that you cryptographically enabled guarantees that you know a certain piece of data is what they tell you it is or that certain calculations have taken place and you know this is the result. And also what I find rather intriguing about this ecosystem is a so-called DAO - so distributed autonomous organizations - which are built on top of smart contracts.


Again that I would say tightly coupled with the cryptography aspect because well smart contracts are basically distributed programs running in virtual machines on top of well cryptographic again guarantees.


So a certain program will perform in the way it's supposed to perform and you can have proof of that so these are the aspects that I think are most interesting in what people see today as Web 3.0.


I'm not so sure how that relates let's say to the original incarnation of Web 3.0 but I guess we'll have some time to explore that.

Dan DeMers: Yeah I think there are - so my take on it, like if I think of it to just maybe someone outside of the technology industry or someone who doesn't understand all the nuances of how things work. Again the way that I think about it is The Web 1.0 as some would call it was that there was a small number of producers of content and a large number of consumers of that content.


But they were consumers it was one way as a consumer I may consume content from many different sources but I'm a consumer not a producer.


And the 2.0 version of that is when it became such that the consumers are also the producers so you're not just you know viewing content.


You're contributing content whether you're posting a photo on Facebook or tweeting something or doing something, you're contributing your own unique perspective out into the world where that's exciting because it now facilitates crowdsourcing.


But at the same time, there's a cost to that which is for me to share my photo for me to share my tweet for me to share whatever is I'm inevitably giving up control over whatever it is that I'm actually sharing so I'm basically dropping whatever I want to share into this black hole. And what happens with that is out of my control, it could be duplicated, it could be taken out of context, it can have considerations that maybe I didn't think about when I just wanted to share photos of my kids with my family online and things like that.


So to me the main theme of the next shift that's going to impact everyday people which I think does bring in the elements of crypto and blockchain and the semantic web and the separation of data from applications and all these considerations is what they all have in common is the enablement of control such that the Web 2.0 where everyone can produce and share and collaborate can be done so without having to compromise and lose control over your own information over your own content so on and so forth such that not only can the information I see be more trustworthy. But the information I release I can be more trustful that I'm going to retain control over that.


It's two sides of the same coin if that makes sense.


George Anadiotis: It does.


I would just like to bring into the conversation you know the oft quoted that's that well with great power come great responsibility but I would extend it to include control as well because we should think about it. What does having control actually mean in the context that you just described. So fine yes, you know in Web 2.0 applications such as Facebook or Twitter, a lot of those social networks - yes you do have a platform to share your content or your thoughts or whatever but that comes at the expense that it's somebody else's platform.


So you're playing on somebody else's terms and well your content is not your content really it's you know it just belongs to the platform.


Dan DeMers: Yeah I'm feeding the content to the other party more than I'm sharing my content or giving access to my content I'm essentially donating it for purposes that I may not understand.


George Anadiotis: That's true but there's the flip side to that which is well you can't get something for nothing.


In this case, the platforms do give something to users as well you know they have invested heavily in building out those platforms. They're investing heavily in data centers and mobile applications and availability and you know algorithms and whatnot.


To be fair they're not just you know ripping you off they are giving something in return for what they're getting. So the alternative to that would be like - okay, would it be possible to have platforms that are let's say collectively developed open source and self hosted so that you can have control?


And then when you start exploring this idea then you inevitably I would say get into the question like okay, so perhaps my platform of choice is not your platform of choice. And you know, you have 10 people and you have potentially five different platforms being used among those 10 people.


Is there a way to interoperate between those five different platforms? If not then you end up with a fragmented ecosystem and the advantage of having a platform sort of goes away.


Dan DeMers: Yeah I think one of the realizations that I've had is the platform of the future and I would say even the application of the future as we know it is one that will enable not manage data in isolation of other platforms and other applications.


It will be largely a an experience on top of data that relies on the underlying infrastructure like the future of whatever the evolution of the internet is. And my view is that it's the separation of the data from the experience to basically enable an outcome where the owner of data is always aware of who has access and can grant and revoke access and platforms will come in but they will no longer trap data or store data or have copies of data so on and so forth.


Without that I can't imagine how you could actually enable controls so whether it's decentralization or other things I don't see how you can get to that simple outcome for the again if I just simple maybe oversimplified it for the same reasons why no matter what you do if you try to enable the duplication of physical currency you're going to devalue that currency just as a simple example. So the same principle but applying it to today.


That's definitely my view is that that's the kind of mandatory and quite frankly inevitable shift is that separation, And if you think of the original semantic web and you know where data is linked just like how documents can be linked, so it's pointers, it's access, it's not copying. Like an HTML page it doesn't need to contain another HTML page for it to have the links to it.

It can point to it right and extending that away from semi-structured or unstructured documents down to the data itself is really what the original thought was.


But does that make sense? Do you see it that way? Do you see it differently is because you're kind of alluding to the the decentralization as being able to enable those controls but do you see that without the separation of the data from the platform?


George Anadiotis: I think it does make a lot of sense to separate data from the data from the overlying applications let's say. Obviously it also again brings another layer of questions to be answered. One of them I think potentially the most fundamental one in my views like the what comes as part and parcel of being in control of your data?


So I think most people wouldn't really want wouldn't be able to begin with but even if they were able they wouldn't really want to have like their own server in the basement.


And that means that will if you go - if you don't go for that scenario then you have to actually trust someone else with hosting your data and this is one of the couple of complications begin actually because then if you do, how can you have control over what happens to your data?

How can you make sure that the other party doesn't get to you know to to peek into your data and this is where I think the the crypto aspect may come in handy, because having cryptography you may be able to you know have your cake and eat it so to speak so have your data being hosted somewhere else while at the same time ensuring that whoever is hosting your data will not get to exercise rights that you don't grant over that data.


Dan DeMers: Yeah so just to just add to that that makes a lot of sense because again you translate that to the old world of pre-cryptocurrencies, the ability for me to keep my savings under my mattress or in a safe in my house or use a bank and have some trust in that bank and that's a combination of the bank itself having controls having a reputation and it being regulated and a bunch of other factors.


And it doesn't mean that my money will never be stolen, but if it is it's a crime and if they get caught someone goes to jail and you're continuously adding mechanisms whether it's to the currency or to the regulations to minimize that risk it will never be zero. What you described it sounds very similar to that and that I should be able to run a server in my basement, I put the money under my mattress or put it in the bank.


It sounds like we both agree though that regardless of that the separation of that data be it in my server in my house or in a data bank that I trust that's regulated and has standards and uses encryption et cetera. It itself is managing the data on my behalf. It's not the platform that may then be utilizing that data meaning if I then am using some platform to do something operation whether that's you know participating in a social network or performing a transaction or whatever it is that I'm doing in the world.


It in turn is perhaps getting access to my data be it from the server in my home or from my data bank but it's not storing it, duplicating it, copying it.


It's not taking it out of its control zone, it's just getting to either see it or even in some cases to change it.


Does that make sense? Like so it's still the separation of the data from the use case of that but the data layer can't be such that every individual citizen needs to run their own infrastructure cause that ain't gonna work

Does that all make sense?


George Anadiotis: Yeah.


Again you know that that opens the floor for a number of other questions

like okay fine let's separate the data layer from the application layer but then how do we standardize let's say via the interaction between them and you know

How do we connect to the data layer and how do we ensure availability and all of those things, but I guess we're going to have to tackle those in the followup conversation because we're almost out of time.


Dan DeMers: Yeah.


But I do agree, I think that's the real question now is the establishment of those standards to enable that interoperability is what's going to really unlock that end benefit to the everyday citizen that we talked about earlier.


But yeah I definitely look forward to having a further conversation and digging into that.



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