Shifting from Generative Adversarial Networks to Generative Cooperative Networks

It is no accident that as a civilisation the sophistication of our adversarial capacities far exceeds the sophistication of our cooperative capacities. Our historical path and current situation have made it this way, but the balance is changing. There are two main generative processes underlying biological and cultural evolution and more broadly the evolution of any population of interacting adaptive agents.

The untrustworthy and the trustful

Within a modern, highly financialized economy, most interactions are impersonal, based on purchase and sale within a market system. If you are the loser in any one transaction, it is your fault, because you chose to deal with people you had no particular reason to trust, and therefore it is your mistake. If the swindle is not illegal, you have no legal recourse. You can, of course, complain to a few friends, perhaps even blog or tweet about it, but then, in a market economy, more of a stigma attaches to being swindled than to swindling, and most people are reticent when it comes to telling the whole world that they let someone take advantage of them.

The Structural Communality of the Commons

The commons are as varied as life itself, and yet everyone involved with them shares common convictions. If we wish to understand these convictions, we must realize what commons mean in a practical sense, what their function is and always has been. That in turn includes that we concern ourselves with people. After all, commons or common goods are precisely not merely “goods,” but a social practice that generates, uses and preserves common resources and products. In other words, it is about the practice of commons, or commoning, and therefore also about us. The debate about the commons is also a debate about images of humanity. So let us take a step back and begin with the general question about living conditions.