Before reading the Introduction in depth from May, 2013, you might want to take a look at the latest quick take from November, 2016.
The mission of Voices of Humanity (VoH) is to build an online community that will heal the world, bringing order out of chaos. VoH technology gives every community its own collective voice in an exchange capped by the Voice of Humanity-as-one. Once we take off, we will zoom!
In the conversation between the communities of Planet Earth, women and men will use their collective voices to persuade the nations to cooperate. A kindly and intelligent human unity with diversity built-in is ours for the taking!!! Your participation could make the difference.
The collective Voices of Women, Men, Youth, Experience and Wisdom build gender and age equality into the foundations of the VoH online community. “Geographic levels” allow the scope of the online discussion to shift from Planet Earth to National, State, Metro and City levels. The global voice of women certainly, and perhaps also of youth can be expected to take the conversational lead. This global strength will reach down to the local level and empower women and youth everywhere.
Voices of Humanity is an initiative of Collective Communication, Inc. (CCI), a California non-profit. Roger Eaton as President of CCI is the project leader. The Board of CCI is looking to bring in women from around the world to take the lead on the Voices of Humanity initiative with the election of a woman as President of CCI by the end of 2016. The VoH online community is implemented via InterMix open source software at github under the AGPL license.
The underlying idea is simple. Members of communities write messages and then vote on them. From new moon to new moon, the votes are counted up and the highest rated messages are made available. The top message overall is taken as the Voice of Humanity-as-one. The highest rated message written by a women as rated by women is the Voice of Women and so forth. These “winners” are easily accessed by clicking the “Voices of Humanity” button in the online forum. In other words, instead of voting to elect people, we vote to elect messages.
After geographic levels, the next major feature is communities and hashtags. It is easy to join or leave or create a community, and hashtags are also easily created simply by adding them to a forum posting. At this point (November 7, 2016), communities and hashtags are almost fully implemented. Coming by the end of the year, communities will be connected via “networks”. These networks will be organically created by the participants from the bottom up rather than inflexibly instituted from the top down. Finally, and this is going to be tough to do, the hope is to enable the communities and hashtags to be arranged in flexible hierarchies, also to be created bottom up by the participants rather than instituted from the top down.
Listen to the audio version of the introduction delivered by CCI Board Member Joseph Simpson.
InterMix Voices of Humanity Introduction
By Roger Eaton, May 2013
The Voices of Humanity Social Media, aka InterMix or sometimes VoH, is meant to remake the way humanity sees itself, giving us an all-inclusive global consciousness that has gender equality built in. Voices of Humanity is more than technology — it is also a highly ambitious project. The idea is to empower our common humanity while respecting our differences. Yes, we love our nations and religions and won’t give them up, but so, too, we see that we are all one human family.
The Voices of Humanity technology gives participating groups a collective voice online. A VoH group elects messages to represent its views instead of electing a spokesperson. Members of a group write “candidate” messages and then trade them around to be discussed and voted on. The most highly rated candidates are automatically tweeted and posted to facebook as the voice of the group.
There is more to it, though. VoH social media recombines the participants across group lines into six Voices of Humanity: Women, Men, Youth, middle-aged, which we call the Voice of Experience, seniors, the Voice of Wisdom, and the Voice of Humanity as One — the genders and ages of humanity plus all of us together.
It is worth noting that InterMix is free open source software available at github, and that funding, fairly minimal so far with a few tens of thousands of dollars put into this latest version, is via the California non-profit, Collective Communication, Inc., which has its 501(c)(3) application pending with the IRS.
The big *picture* within which the Voices of Humanity Social Media is being developed is that we are no longer in a win-lose world (if we ever were). Now, we all win or we all lose. This is the situation of the human race as we head rapidly towards a population peak.
The earth is round. That is the big *fact*. Only so many of us can fit. After ten thousand years of amazing growth in numbers, we are entering a transition phase leading to a period of declining numbers – slowly declining, we hope. To get through this transition without blowing up the world or devastating it by crossing nature’s boundaries, we must transcend our national identities and develop a heartfelt sense of human unity.
This is a hugely important point, so let me say it again, slowly. To get through this transition to a period of slowly declining population without blowing up the world or devastating it by crossing nature’s boundaries, we must transcend our national identities and develop a heartfelt sense of human unity. Necessity has become our ally in the long held human dream of peace on earth.
The VoH social media is designed to capture the national and religious identities in a system that is capped by the Voice of Humanity as One. We *do* love our nations and religions and we *won’t* give them up, so we need to be thinking how we can motivate the nations and religions to be willing partners in the global effort that is required, starting yesterday.
The six voices of humanity are the key outcome of the InterMix VoH technology. These six collective voices have the potential to create the global consciousness that we must have as the foundation of a sustainable civilization. At the global level, messages from these six voices will be extremely likeable in the facebook sense but more than that, they will also be important because so many people from all over the world will read them. Because love and wit are what everyone appreciates, we can expect the six voices of humanity to be consistently kind and intelligent. Narrow minded and hateful messages will always draw a large negative vote from one segment or another and so can never be selected to represent humanity on the global level. The ever wise and gentle humor of the voices of humanity will redefine the “other” and build that heartfelt sense of human unity that we need. We can even hope to deliver a salutary shock as the participants realize one by one that the human race, male and female and of all ages, is on their side.
Working in our favor, there is a natural alliance between the individual and humanity against the excesses of the nations and religions. As individuals we support humanity so we can end war and torture and poverty and find a way to live in harmony with the natural systems of Earth. In return, humanity, which after all is us, cherishes and protects each of us as free individuals whose potential is to be nurtured, not cut short.
Consider the hardliner’s dilemma when deciding whether to participate in a Voices of Humanity discussion. If no, then they lose all influence within the discussion. If yes, then they are legitimizing the notion that we share a common humanity. At first, the hardliner hawks will shun the VoH social media and that will create a safe environment for the doves to get things started. The moderates will join in and in the best case eventually the hardliners also, or they will be sidelined. What we have to offer the nations and the religions is a voice of their own. A Voice of China, a Voice of Brazil, of Kenya and let’s not forget Bhutan. For Europe a much stronger sense of belonging. For Islam, the Ummah. For America, a sense of unity. And so forth.
So that’s the big picture. Zooming in, we find the InterMix VoH software is about to go into beta testing. Our beta test will be a reality check for Voices of Humanity. For the beta test an online Voices of Humanity Steering Committee, open to the public, will use the technology to provide bottom up collective advice. If InterMix Voices of Humanity Social Media is to be a great global success, what should our top priority be? That will be the question for the online Steering Committee. Roger Eaton, chief VoH architect and President of Collective Communication, Inc., the California non-profit which is funding the project, has promised, within reason, to follow whatever advice the online Committee offers as best he can and to report back regularly. A demonstration that the new social media can produce good bottom up advice will be a big plus going forward.
A slight digression is in order here to bring listeners up to date with the latest cutting edge VoH design element: the collective “train-of-thought”. The notion is to enable a VoH discussion to imitate the way a person thinks. Now this may be fanciful and not the way a person really thinks, but it would seem that deliberate thought involves first settling on a theme and then opening the mind to possibilities, and of those possibilities that present themselves, selecting the most promising for further reflection. This process continues until we put the whole thing on the shelf for the time being or else we reach a satisfactory conclusion.
Presuming the beta test goes well and the VoH Steering Committee comes up with good advice, then the next step will be to set the Steering Committee and other participating groups to thinking about the larger Voices of Humanity Project using the train-of-thought procedure within a “VoH Project” discussion. It will work this way: first the participants in the Voh Project discussion will collectively choose a particular topic. Then in succeeding rounds the VoH Project participants will elect messages, one from each of the Voices of Humanity. Of the five messages representing the genders and ages of humanity, that one which is rated most highly overall will become the topic of the next round and will be automatically entered into the discussion again. If the same message is selected twice in a row, the train of thought will be deemed to have reached a conclusion, and the discussion members will choose a new topic to continue with. All conclusions will be considered as significant advice for the active VoH development team and any and all actions based on the conclusions will be tracked and made available to the larger VoH community.
The idea of giving a bottom up collective voice to groups is a fertile one. Groups can be defined, combined and divided in various ways, so the possibilities really open up. Groups can join in discussions where the common humanity of the groups also has its voices. Individuals can converse with groups. We can give the plants and animals a voice for each species, and perhaps a voice for Gaia herself. Where would a conversation between the women and men collectively on a planetary scale go?
Assuming the VoH Steering Committee is OK with the plan, the InterMix Voices of Humanity Social Media will be launched in the summer of 2013 with the election of two messages to the Executive Director of UN Women, whoever that will be. We had hoped Michelle Bachelet would be in the position, but alas for us and lucky for Chile, she is returning home to run for President again there. Whether we will receive a reply from the new Executive Director or not is a question. Probably not on our first attempt, but we just might be able to rouse some interest within the UN Women’s office in New York. The fact that the VoH technology has gender equality built in at the structural level should make it stand out and the quality of the messages we elect to send will make an impression. At the national and global levels, people are very interested in new social media projects.
Beyond the UN Women launch of the VoH social media, there are a number of possibilities, some of them quite curious. High up in the list on the curiosity scale is the Plants and Animals (PandA) project, where we will enlist students at the high school and college level from around the world to select a species, learn about it, and become a member of a group to represent that species and give it a voice. It needs money, of course, but it is a very attractive idea. On Earth Day there will be simultaneous “Plants and Animals” parades in cities all over the world, where students dress up as their chosen species. On that day, too, we would elect a global message to represent Life on Earth.
On the very serious side, once the new social media is well proved, we could think of hosting a Middle East Dialogue with two parts working together. First a political dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians with the common voices of humanity to represent the two nations as one. And simultaneously, an interreligious dialogue with input from around the world to comment on the progress of the political dialogue. There are more examples how we might use the VoH technology in innovative ways on the intermix.org website.
It is not going to be easy, but expense is not the obstacle. Amazingly, a creditable Voices of Humanity network can be put together for a few millions of dollars. The obstacle is that all interest is local and we are talking about building a global network from the bottom up, so the well-known “network effect” comes into play in a big way. Networks, such as we are working to create here, are only valuable to each participant when there are already large numbers taking part. The minimum number of participants to achieve “take off” is called the “critical mass” and when we are talking about a global network such as is envisioned in the “Send a Message to the Executive Director of UN Women” VoH launch, critical mass would seem to be very large and difficult to achieve.
To get around this critical mass problem, the InterMix VoH technology is targeting the millions of small organizations that make up the global civic society. Groups, not individuals, are the fundamental constituents of the VoH network that is being aimed at. Individuals always participate as members of one group or another.
Instead of directly enlisting individuals, the VoH strategy is to make itself useful at the small group level. Even before the summer 2013 launch, the software will be capable as a list-server and as a way of breaking out sub-groups for communication between organization committees. The San Francisco Chapter of the United Nations Association will be the first organization to give it a try.
There is an initiative we could develop called “Making Your Gift Work Twice” which could help hugely in recruiting groups for the larger VoH network. The notion is to raise money from VoH network participants which would then be distributed back to VoH users according to their level of activity. This money would not be for the network users themselves but rather for the participants to redirect to their favorite network organization. The gift works twice, first by incentivizing participation and then by financing civic groups in the target network. This could succeed and be key to VoH take off, but it needs to be implemented carefully and almost certainly needs foundation or crowdsource money to prime the pump. Once the money cycle gets going, organizations will want to join in to increase their own funding and they will want their members to participate for the same reason.
One more thing — the jealousy problem. If it can just reach take-off, we can envision the VoH technology underpinning civil society coordination, fostering unity of purpose at every level from local to global, but to bring together the women’s groups and youth groups, NGOs and interfaith groups and sustainability groups, peace groups and so forth we have to overcome the jealousy problem. More than one network is aiming to become the umbrella of umbrellas. The Voices of Humanity technology solves the jealousy problem in three ways. First, VoH software does not belong to anyone. It is free open-source software. Its development will be in the hands of the very network that it creates, where everyone has a voice and a stake. Second, the VoH network will be peer-to-peer, meaning each organization can run its own instance on its own web server (with all the instances hooking up over the web). Therefore, no one will own the VoH network, either. Third, and critically, InterMix will implement a bottom-up hierarchy where each group and network finds its own position, a comfortable spot that makes sense to the group. No one tells a group where to position itself. If a thousand groups want to be at the top, they all can occupy that number one spot simultaneously. They just have to be able to provide the web-server power to handle it.
So that’s a good introduction. There is a lot more. You can find it all at intermix.org where you can link in to check out the new Voices of Humanity Social Media. VoH Steering Committee members are wanted. Please do join us. We will be setting up our own sub-committees over the next few months and would love to have your participation.