Fact Checking Alarmist Fake News Now Easy With Trive
Guest essay by Mike Lorrey
NOTE: The author is an advisor to trive.news. He has also made a number of contributions to WUWT over the years including moderating during the Climategate era.
We have seen over the past decade plus of the climate wars how the alarmist establishment has exploited its advantage in the halls of power and wealthy influence peddlers in Silicon Valley and the Left Coast to seek to do its best to propagandize, promote, filter, dissimilate, dissemble and to downgrade the search rankings those fighting for truth in science like us at WUWT, JoNova, ClimateAudit, etc.
We saw how WUWT search rankings on Google steadily fell from its once commanding position on page one of search results to page 36, effectively making it impossible for those using Google to find our articles unless they specifically looked for our publication by title. As Al Gore joined the board of Google and Alphabet instituted a team of crack propagandists to intentionally tilt the scales of reality in favor of their propaganda, WUWT continued to consistently score far higher on Alexa than almost any other science blog, and ahead of every other climate blog, on the planet, despite this active interference in our search rankings that only impacted this sites ad revenues, minimal as they already were.
Without similar influence in Alphabet, Facebook, Twitter, etc, how could we hope to compete of control over the media? Despite their corruption of peer review into pal review, control over climate data sets that they’ve “adjusted” to match their failed climate simulations, blackballing and blacklisting skeptic scientists, we HAVE taken the advantage in the public debate if only because people have learned to be skeptical of the amount of fake news of all kinds circulating. The victory of Trump despite all the media claiming he was losing and would lose, convinced a large percentage of the population to not believe the media on anything.
While I’ve personally had successes legislatively (I wrote the New Hampshire state constitutional amendment to restrict eminent domain after the Kelo decision, an amendment which passed a statewide vote by 86%), I prefer technological solutions to legislative or judicial ones. While they’ve captured control of Web 2.0 to work to their propaganda advantage, I work in Web 3.0, the blockchain world.
Two fields I worked in prior to joining WUWT were futurism and cryptography. In the late 90’s and early oughties I belonged to the Extropy Institute think tank where I met and collaborated with individuals like Ray Kurzweil, Peter Theil, Max More, Robert Bradbury, Robin Hanson, among others. Among these were Nick Szabo, Hal Finney, Ralph Merkle, and Wei Dai, who I had discussions over several years about the problems with early digital currencies and how to fix them. I won’t get into the technical aspects, but simply put, I had a hand in developing the ideas that we called at the time “Bitgold” and most of you now are familiar with in a slightly modified form, as a fully developed application, called “Bitcoin”, the first functional, trustably trustless decentralized anonymous cryptocurrency. Since then I’ve worked in Virtual Reality and Blockchain tech, and advise a number of blockchain companies about their projects.
One of these is Trive.news, a blockchain designed to destroy fake news.
Trive uses the smart contract and immutable ledger features of blockchain to store permanent records of what facts are true and what are not, by combined adversarial and Nash Equilibrium engine process to fact check the claims made in current news articles through the wisdom of the crowds, incentivizing three main players: the researcher, the challenger, and the witness jury member, to do their jobs right.
Most of you have probably heard of bitcoin, but are not aware of what blockchain is or how it works. A blockchain is a new form of database that is distributed among many nodes, in which data transactions are stored not in relation to each others relevant artefacts or records, but in chronological order, where said transactions are cryptographically authenticated by a competitive and computationally expensive process we call “mining” but which resembles the sort of brute force processes used by Alan Turing in WWII to decrypt Enigma encyphered Nazi transmissions.
By using public key encryption to secure the transactions, and have the mining process competitive, we make this process secure against hacking by being “Byzantine Resistant”, which refers to the Byzantine Generals game theory thought experiment. As long as 51% of all miners agree on the authenticated block of transactions, the blockchain is secure against attack.
This makes any data that the miners authenticate a permanent, unalterable record that is distributed among many nodes. Blockchains are thus great for protecting the validity of the truth of various records, like land titles, election votes, bitcoin transactions, and yes, climate records (hint hint suggestion for you climate coders). It also helps to store a record of what really happened in any venue, including news, which is of high importance in a world where news stores online disappear or are altered regularly when the narrative conflicts with reality or a party’s new agenda.
This means when you find a news story online you think is of questionable validity, you can “trive” it. Either submit the URL on the http://verify.trive.news website, or download the chrome plug-in to do this on the fly as you are browsing.
This puts it in the queue to be trived. At present the financial incentives are not active as there is still development going on, but once complete, you put a bounty on articles you report. When enough people post enough TRV tokens as a bounty up, a researcher will grab the story and set up a claims sheet and do the research to verify or disprove the claims made in the article (and not just that article, but all other stories making the same claim, and stories referencing those stories.)
When the researcher is done, they submit their work, which is hashed and stashed on the Trive blockchain as an immutable record. The researcher then wins the bounty in an escrow. Now, others can check the work. If someone doubts the validity of the researchers work they can challenge it, and redo the work, finding new information. Both researcher and challenger can do original research (like doing their own climate studies) if they want to as evidence.
Now that there are two challenging sets of research, a jury is chosen. Jurors are paid no matter which side they pick, and they cannot have participated in a similar process with any of the other participants to prevent Sybyl Attacks by teams of biased individuals (like we’ve seen at Wikipedia’s climate articles). The jury examines the differing facts and votes on which is true. They can theoretically reject both sets of research if they choose. Whichever side the jury chooses gets the bounty, minus jury fees, and the juried facts are then hashed and stashed again to create a permanent record of this peer review process that is auditable by anyone.
It should now be clear to WUWT readers what this means.
Here we have a technology that ensures a provably fair fact finding process. But it goes beyond this. More in a part 2 coming up on WUWT.