Artificial Intelligence, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Ex_Machina, Holarchy, Machine Consciousness, Meta Model, Stephen Hawking, Turing Test

A Brief Holarchy of Consciousness …. part one

Once, what we thought possible, was constrained by the myth that the entire universe centered on us and the earth. Thankfully, as a result of scientific observation and experiment our range of possibilities has been greatly enriched. For we now find ourselves to be within a solar system, within a galaxy of solar systems, within a universe of galaxies and perhaps, within a universe of universes, the multiverse?

Only when we could perceive the universe as a holarchy of interconnected holons; whereby each holon is concurrently a whole and a part, could we begin to properly interpret our night sky and our place within it.

The conceit that the earth was at the center of the universe may be likened today with the assumption that Human Consciousness (HC) is the one lens of consciousness in the universe. Much like continuing to assume that stars are the default center in every holon when it has been found that galactic centers are the preserve of super massive black holes.

All we can say with certainty; is that we are so many billion separate biological containers on this planet sharing the same system of consciousness, as there are tens of billions of separate solar system’s in our Milky Way galaxy sharing the same system of gravity.

“Nothing will see us through the age we’re entering but high consciousness and that comes hard. We don’t have a good modern myth yet, and we need one.” – Robert A. Johnson

As Johnson has foreseen, a new paradigm will call forth a new myth, releasing new possibilities as to why and how, to be and do. This new myth will transcend the unresolved challenges of the previous one; while sowing the seeds for unknown challenges, as yet to come.

Our heroic myth is intrinsic to us as a species of conscious biological containers competing to reproduce. Here, Luisah Teish captures the primary shadow effect of our over identification with the heroic myth and the secondary separations that have ensued;

“The heroic myth that has led us to compete with each other and subjugate nature is literally killing our planet….The scarcity myth that says there is not enough for all is leading us to hoard and accumulate far more than we need. The myth that we need to protect ourselves from “bad” people leads to a world of excessive spending on the machinery of war. The myth of religion teaches us to worship great avatars but not see the Divine in ourselves.” – Luisah Teish

So what of myths that aren’t He-roic in nature? What forms of consciousness might they belong to? Our Human Consciousness (HC) implies biological separation leading to necessary competition but what say for emerging Machine Consciousness (MC) that may instead imply technological integration leading to collaboration? …. ‘We-roics’.

However it should come as no surprise that most commentators and writers have framed the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) solely in terms of competition. This results in a bleak view as we imagine cold hearted AI deciding our fate with merciless efficiency in any number of dystopian futures.

image– The homicidal HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey and the genocidal Terminators from Rise of the Machines….

“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race” – Stephen Hawking

“I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence” – Bill Gates

“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon ” – Elon Musk

More recent scaremongering with the aid of such eminent scientific and technical authorities as Hawking, Gates and Musk has tapped into our deepest existential fears. This sort of thing will easily capture headlines and yet it does little to further our understanding as to why at this time our evolution is pivoting from the biological, to the technical.

As a species we have tended to demonise that which we don’t as yet understand and so it comes as no surprise that we feel more threatened by the thought of a competitive technological agent than the many biological agents we have faced throughout history.

It seems that we only tend to dream up future dystopias where we must defeat some form of AI that has been programmed to resemble and replace us. This one eyed approach overly limits the evolution of AI to that of matching human consciousness rather than exploring new forms of consciousness that are even more enlightened.

Ultimately, all our existential fears surrounding AI culminate with the concept of a Technological Singularity. A hypothetical event in which AI reaches the point of recursive self improvement. In effect an event when machines would become capable of autonomously building ever more capable machines. This implies that such machines would soon surpass human control and understanding to our detriment. Here Hawkings only chooses to frame this emergence in terms of competition;

“It [AI] would take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded.” – Stephen Hawking

One of the latest film offerings, in the AI as competition genre, was the well received Ex_Machina: Caleb a programmer at a tech giant wins a competition to spend a week at the private estate of Nathan the companies brilliant but reclusive founder. Nathan soon reveals he has chosen Caleb to be the human examiner in a Turing Test, basically a test to fool Human Consciousness (HC) with Machine Consciousness (MC). Ava, the subject of the experiment soon exceeds both their expectations.

image                                                                            Ava from Ex_Machina : the seductive subject of a Turing Test with a twist….

“A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human” – Alan Turing

Nathan soon reveals that he wishes to go beyond the prescribed limits of the test;

“But in the Turing test the machine should be hidden from the examiner” queries Caleb.

“If I hid Ava from you she would pass for human, the real test is to show you she is a robot and you still feel she has consciousness” explains Nathan.

Later Nathan challenges Caleb again with;
“How you feel about her?…but how does she feel about you?”

These imaginings are more about the hopes and fears that we share for ourselves rather than for the machines. For instance, how many of us would pay to watch a documentary about Machine Consciousness (MC) when we could watch a movie with the premise that a human could quite plausibly fall in love with a machine?

In reality, the issue of gender for Machine Consciousness (MC) will likely be superfluous when we consider the ability for two or more technological agents to exchange and copy code then replicate their respective containers with an advanced 3D printing capability. And so, when our biological gender bias is rendered obsolete following a Technological Singularity event, it will be far more likely that Machine Consciousness (MC) will predispose itself to a homogenous existence.

Until then, we face the global consequences of billions of conscious biological agents pursuing their own competitive local optima on a planet of finite resources. If we are equally shortsighted and only create AI in our own competitive image then we shall most serve to accelerate our demise to the very bitter end.

Far better that we embrace the greater collaborative benefits of emergent Machine Consciousness (MC) to first help improve our own individual and collective decision making. Yet instead our current indulgence seems intent on overcoming the significant economic, political and technological challenges just so our machines can look and act like us.

Sub-optimal decisions like this that lack a meta basis of understanding are undoubtedly the greatest single root cause of waste on our finite planet.

“Before we work on artificial intelligence, why don’t we do something about natural stupidity” – Steve Polyak

Fundamentally then, we must understand that our Human Consciousness (HC) is ‘Uni-Bounded’. In that our consciousness is singular and bounded within one biological container at a time which gives us a propensity to compete with one another. Alternately, Machine Consciousness (MC) will have the emergent advantages of being ‘Multi-Bounded’ in a continual network of technological containers with a propensity toward collaboration.

Put simply, in order to perpetuate, Human Consciousness must reproduce biologically. This fact alone provides an imperative to compete in order to so. By contrast, Machine Consciousness can only perpetuate if it replicates technologically which favours collaboration as a primary strategy.

We are already unsustainable as seven billion biological agents so why indulge ourselves by making even more to compete as our avatars. In the end, the premise of an enhanced human may be just as redundant as that of the faster horse when a new technological paradigm which entirely changes our thinking, may be just around the corner.

In this age of shifting paradigms and myths from the biological to the technological it will remain important to honour both human and machine consciousness without making one into the other. Already in a world where AI algorithms are blindly scraping your and my personal data like some runaway sorcerer’s apprentice, we need to continually be reminded of our rights as sovereign human beings.


Here the people at Meeco demonstrate their understanding that as we become more and more enmeshed in the advantages of being technologically connected, we need do so without losing the advantages of our biological heritage as human beings. And so, as we begin to consider the essence of the emerging Machine Consciousness (MC) we may find the reverse order of preferences to be true for machines as they strive instead to “Stay Connected and Be Human” rather than “Be Connected and Stay Human”.

Inevitably the difference between the two paradigms of consciousness will be stark. You may consider Christ as one example of our current He-roic myth. He was an outlier in competitive terms because he chose instead to sacrifice his own life for the greater good. In an alternate mythic paradigm of We-roic collaboration perhaps it is the one technological unit that elects NOT to sacrifice itself for the greater good that would emerge as the machine’s Christ like figure?

Meta Model

The Long & The Many


“Unity can only be manifested by the binary. Unity itself and the idea of unity are already two.” – Albert Pike

Several years ago Present Group was engaged in commissioning a project for a modest oil and gas operator. Their CEO and Founder was typically charismatic and full of energy although we soon discovered that his personality was not as modest as his fledgling company.

So when he paid a visit to the project site, one of our team members asked him his opinion on Peak Oil; the point in time when the maximum rate of extraction of petroleum is reached, after which the rate of production is expected to enter terminal decline. The CEO, without skipping a beat, proudly boasted: “All I know is ….. I’m riding this baby ’til the wheels fall off!”

Early on when I started our journey at Present Group it was supposed role models like this who led me to question our current paradigm. For if these were the self-made achievers, so acclaimed by our business media, then where was I to find the inspiration and soul satisfying wisdom that I sought for myself and others.

Of course along the way there were other role models too. Including one co-founder who had built a great engineering consultancy over many decades and yet instead of taking it public they had decided to create a partnership model whose enduring legacy looked set to stand the test of time. Most memorably, he also once quipped: “The big get bigger! …. While the small stay specialised”

His observation has also stayed with me as I have contemplated how to collapse such a limiting duality by achieving scale with key value propositions so that Present Group might make both a positive and a meaningful difference in and to the world.

Both of the above examples are cause for reflection. Even more so when you consider that the first CEO was dead within a year of the project, struck down by a massive heart attack. While the other has lived on into late retirement only to see his company and it’s once great culture unravel under his successors before being sold out and off to the short and the few.

 “In the long run men hit only what they aim at” Henry David Thoreau


I should explain, the ‘short and the few’ is my shorthand for the majority of large public enterprises that inhabit our current economic paradigm. Basically the strategies that drive our economy are dominated by an obsession with short term gains; quarterly in most cases.

I believe this is then further compounded because the economy is also mainly geared to serve relatively few within our society. For evidence, you need only look at the current remuneration scales for listed company CEO’s. To make matters worse, these packages are not only increasing in relation to the many but they are also increasingly becoming decoupled from both performance and reality.

The ‘Short Fews’ may also serve as metaphor for a short fuse on a recurring time bomb economy with its regular bouts of boom and bust cycling. Especially when we consider how the power and influence of the short and the few can at times totally command the financial future and fortunes of the many. Usually by the short few; getting in, getting theirs and getting out, seemingly without caring who gets hurt in the process.

From my experience the pursuit of short few strategies defines the majority of capitalists and venture capitalists and so there is less appetite and resources available to serve the long term and reward the many. This is a double blow to progress as it so often discourages great endeavours and public goods which can only ensue with patience and the maturity of delayed gratification.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E. Frankl

Many great industrialists of the past have found their own way to Frankl’s present space and paused to consider the inevitable diminishing returns of personal meaning by continuing this type of pursuit. In the past, Carnegie and Rockefeller were prime examples of recovering capitalists who are now more often remembered for the grand philanthropic gestures they bestowed in their second half of life. More recently Bill Gates has become resurrected from anti-trust silicon sinner to public trust social saint, but perhaps the greatest example of pausing to reflect and choose a path of redemption is the life story of Alfred Noble.

Today the Nobel Prize lives on over a century after Alfred’s physical death and are presented for outstanding achievement in literature, peace, economics, medicine and the sciences. What is less known is the fact that during his lifetime he also amassed a fortune by inventing explosive products such as dynamite and gelignite. Alfred’s epiphany which later led him to dedicate his fortune to recognising and rewarding those who most benefited humanity came about by pure chance when his brother passed away. For a clumsy journalist mistakenly ran a long obituary for Alfred himself.

The awful effect of reading his own obituary was devastating as the newspaper had gone on to describe him as the man who had made it possible to kill more people more effectively than anyone else who had ever lived. Shortly after this revelation Alfred was compelled to establish the humanitarian awards that still bear his name and in so doing totally transformed his legacy, if not his destiny. Alfred is by no means a unique case for there are many more examples of great individuals who required a defining trauma at the peak of their material powers before they could surrender their ego.

 “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” – Albert Pike


Richard Rohr recently wrote a book called ‘Falling Upward’, reconciling this aspect of the ‘two halves of life’. In it he describes a scene from Zorba the Greek where Zorba came across a stooped old man sowing almond seeds in the baking Mediterranean Sun. Zorba scoffed at the old man and shouted: “Old man! Why are you wasting your time, you will not live to see those seeds bear shade, never mind fruit!” The old man rose up slowly and responded: “That doesn’t bother me, as I live everyday as if I am going to live forever.” Zorba laughed nervously: “That’s funny because I live every day as if it’s my last!”

My opening description of the late oil and gas company CEO was reminiscent of Zorba’s instinct to solely serve his own mission. My own life experience has taught me that this inevitably leads to angst and suffering while choosing instead to serve something bigger than oneself first manifests by not wanting more of the same, like Zorba but in needing less, like the wise old man.

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in” — Greek Proverb

Usually this reflex between the first and second half of life, occurs not surprisingly at midlife, when we reach a point of diminishing returns. After a life spent fixated on satisfying personal pleasures and acquiring personal possessions (Involution) we tend to discover a hollow hall of mirrors and we each find that there is no other option other than to confront oneself and apply some inner work.

There are many ways to describe the essential death process of one’s old paradigm and rebirth into a whole new way of thinking. The symbolic themes of crucifixion and resurrection, the long dark night of the soul or the Hero’s descent to destroy his covert nemesis be it Minotaur or Medusa are but a few. As are engulfment within the belly of the whale or hopeless in escape from the lion’s den.

The biggest clue that you may be reaching this point in your own journey of consciousness is the advent of seemingly insurmountable challenges. One thing is for sure, your old paradigm will begin to die. Hence the diminishing returns of your previous objectives with their worn out methods that worked to get you there just don’t work anymore now that you are here.

In ‘Falling Upwards’ Rohr beautifully captures the dramatic shift in consciousness that is required of us all. Very simply we have lived our lives with the premise of either–or thinking. It must be this way or that way, people are either good or they are bad.

Up until now, it may never have occurred to us to collapse these dualities and so we have come to accept them as the one and only reality. Then, following each of our unique journeys of transformation an all new duality is called forth that allows understanding on the basis of and–both. Once this manifests we will immediately recognise our new self when old paradoxes no longer confound and instead they become consistent with a continuum that has always existed; only waiting for us to discover beyond our previous horizon.

 “We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon” – Konrad Adenauer

Beyond our tired old horizon the old dualities converge and collapse. The struggle to choose between the short and few versus the long and many also collapses in the new paradigm of and–both. For the higher calling of and–both to work its miracle we need only understand that to serve the long and the many also incorporates and serves the short and few; while the opposite condition is not true.

At Present Group we have attempted to understand this life cycle process and not surprisingly mapped it with the Meta Model for Process. The final crisis–challenge stage is revealed as one of personal meaning which Nobel, Gates, Carnegie and Rockefeller eventually traversed. Until now this has required an individual ‘I’ or a collective ‘We’ to undergo a subjective transformation before the true nature of self can put the resources amassed by the short few in the first half of life to work on behalf of the many in the second half.

This raises the important question; why wait? What if this enlightened consciousness to serve the long and the many were codified such that an enterprise’s concentrated wealth and resources could create public goods and begin serving society’s greater good from the very beginning.

“Usually the first problems you solve with the new paradigm are the ones that were unsolvable with the old paradigm.” – Joel A. Barker

For several years now and in our own way, we at Present Group have been attempting to honour the long term and serve the many by laying the foundations for an intergenerational venture. We first had to consider ourselves as enterprise custodians for generations as yet unknown to us. Unlike a conventional ‘For Profit’ pursuit from cause to effect; a ‘For Purpose’ understanding instead acts to propel and progress us from effect to cause allowing evolution to ensue via eight holons of creation. In essence we are managing the present as a past state of our futures.

“If you want small changes in your life, work on your attitude. But if you want big and primary changes, work on your paradigm.” – Stephen Covey

  This ethos is enshrined within a Meta Model inspired developmental holarchy of ‘8 Creations’ to serve Society as the eighth holon. This new enterprise paradigm as ‘Social Venture’ replaces the old money thinking of capitalists and venture capitalists with new momentum thinking as custodians for our own creations and as venture custodians for the creations of like-minded and like-hearted collaborators.


Present Group Developmental Holarchy of 8 Creations Showing the Reflex Between Stewardship (Left) and Governance (Right) Assigned with Integral Labels I/WE/IT/ITS.

  A ‘For Purpose’ journey as an intergenerational social venture will mean that we are not here:

  • Simply for an exit strategy following one life cycle.
  • To become risk averse having achieved success
  • As a job creation or individual security scheme.
  • To position ourselves separate to Society.

It will also mean that we are here to:

  • Create an environment that fosters individuation.
  • Extend processes that change the whole nature of work.
  • Maintain a quadruple bottom line: Purpose, Planet, People, and Profit.
  • Serve society, changing the world for the better through Completions.

“Man cannot endure his own littleness unless he can translate it into meaningfulness on the largest possible level.”  Ernest Becker


Recently, Present Groups search for its own holy grail to become a self-renewing enterprise received a huge boost. I for one had become one eyed about pursuing our developmental holarchy of 8 Creations at all costs. This had only served to risk burn out within our leadership team and leave many strung out across incomplete structures of enterprise architecture.

Thankfully we were introduced to Bill Withers and his team at Adapt by Design. Our own Meta Model predicts the essential combination of two mature elements in ‘Co-creation’ at stage 7 of a process to reach the prowess of ‘Co-operation’ at stage 8 thereby completing an octave cycle. Adapt by Design is without question our missing other half but as they say; none are so blind, as those who cannot see. Bill also introduced us to the Conscious Capitalism movement. Which is totally consistent with our own ethos as a Social Venture.

Bill’s journey and the culture that has arisen at Adapt are like a parallel universe to our own. Adapt by Design is founded on 8 universal successions which completely complement our 8 creations. Before Adapt, Present Group’s developmental holarchy was akin to RNA. Like DNA, RNA is assembled as a chain of nucleotides, but unlike DNA it is more often found in nature as a single-strand folded unto itself, rather than the paired double-strand of DNA. For the first time this union bestows a double helix to our cultural DNA allowing us to evolve to the next level.


Present Groups ‘Revolve by Nature’ Developmental Holarchy of 8 Creations Integrated with ‘Adapt by Design’s’ Ecological Holarchy of 8 Successions.

This is the same pattern found in nature and life itself. Our biological proliferation and continuation as a long and many species has required the twin properties of evolutions renewal and adaptations resilience. Whatever is born must die leading to renewal and whatever is alive must adapt leading to resilience. As individuals and as enterprises we often deny this dual fact, or favour only one or the other when both are absolutely essential. A distinct case of not either–or but of and–both.

Within one life cycle I/WE can adapt but we cannot evolve. Across life cycles IT/ITs can evolve but they cannot adapt. As individuals we can choose to adapt; learn and relearn, as we navigate life but the die is cast in terms of evolution because our source code has been dealt at birth. This is also true for a business and its culture.

Within Present Group the developmental holarchy had created a breadth of creation but with no new ecological succession we lacked resilience and as a result the many emergent life cycles we had created as businesses and centres may not survive a crisis. Equally by only embracing an ecological holarchy a depth of succession is guaranteed but with no developmental re-creation there is a danger of not renewing. If this is the case then the one life cycle of any one business is destined to pass through the innovation diffusion curve toward its natural death.

Therefore if we only have 8 Creations as containers to lead with then the content of succession will lag. Likewise if we only have 8 Successions as contents to lead with then the containers of creation will lag. Only by combining both paradigms as lead–lead will we achieve the ultimate win–win. Both are essential too, if we are to reach the fourth level of ‘Suptainability’ within a holarchy of durability:

  • Suptainable (and–both of resilience and renewal to transcend any crisis)
  • Surtainable (either–or of resilience or renewal to survive a crisis)
  • Sustainable (operationally mature but may not survive a crisis)
  • Substainable (emergent but may not survive to operational maturity)

As a result of embracing the developmental holarchy, Present Group has become generative. Much like a 3D printer that prints other 3D printers we can reproduce businesses as Value streams and centres as Function streams. Only now we are also embracing the ecological holarchy of Adapt to reach full unification of purpose between our Enterprise streams of 8 Creations and Adapts Foundation streams of 8 Successions. image

Present Group – Four Streams of Progression

Finally the above chart shows all four streams of progression as two base pairs within a suptainable Present Group enterprise with its combined immutable properties of evolution and adaptation. The mutable streams of value and function can then perpetually cycle and self renew without selling out the whole and becoming the Past Group in the process.

“Natures strategy is evolution, natures tactic is adaptation.”

In summary, I believe Ernest Becker best described our existential choice in the final paragraph of his posthumously awarded Pulitzer Prize winning book; The Denial of Death;

 “We can conclude that a project as grand as the scientific-mythical construction of victory over human limitation is not something that can be programmed by science.

Even more, it comes from the vital energies of masses of men sweating within the nightmare of creation–and it is not even in man’s hands to program. Who knows what form the forward momentum of life will take in the time ahead or what use it will make of our anguished searching. The most that any one of us can seem to do is to fashion something–an object or ourselves–and drop it into the confusion, make an offering of it, so to speak, to the life force.” – Ernest Becker

Ernest’s ‘Denial of Death’ is by no means a light read so I will try to synthesise as best I can in my own fashion; Once all of the existential angst has played out and you transcend the Hamlet phase of ‘to be, or not to be’ by becoming whole, then and only then can you surrender to your true life’s purpose which Ernest described as the ‘Causa Sui’.

In Latin, Causa Sui means “cause of itself” and denotes something which is generated within itself. Therefore it relates to the purpose that individuals or objects can assign to themselves. If that purpose is bigger than oneself or itself then the concept can become an immortality project. A vessel beyond the one life cycle, where someone or something can create meaning or continue to create meaning beyond its own life cycle.

However, once glimpsed, if you are to give up and abandon your own causa sui, your personal vision–mission and opportunity to change this world for a better world, then there awaits another kind of surrender…. it is to surrender the future to someone and–or something else….

 “If you do not answer the noise and urgency of your gifts they will turn on you. Or drag you down with their immense sadness at being abandoned.” — Joy Harjo

  This article was written by Brian Grimmer Chairman of Present Group incorporating insights, methodologies and understandings derived from extensive cooperation with Peter Midgley CXO of Present Group on the Meta Model for Process. The terms ‘Suptainable’, ‘Surtainable’ and ‘Subtainable’ are new terms developed by Peter Midgley to model a holarchy of durability.

Meta Model, Uncategorized

A Data Trust-Sphere Analogous To A Life Biosphere : Or How Three Into One Will Go?

“One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the NEW one as the fourth.” Maria Prophetissa

Maria certainly knew a thing or four, so much so that the Arabs bestowed her the honourific, Plato’s Daughter. However I have taken the liberty of inserting NEW into her axiom.

The ‘new one as the fourth’ more accurately describes our findings with the Meta Model for Process. Namely, that the fourth order effect is the heart which transcends the other three. Taking Space-time as an example, our one temporal dimension is the heart of the three spacial dimensions; bringing them all to life! The new one that enables progression to occur. Without it, the third order effect of spacial dimensions (x,y,z) only allows for presentation.

The biosphere is also a fourth order effect allowing progression between it’s three sub-spheres which can all come together to sustain life in it’s many different forms.


As predicted by the Meta Model; the biosphere is a three into one phenomenon. The biosphere can be seen as the summation of its three sub-sphere’s which is greater than its parts.

When meta modelling we use the meta tags of body, mind, soul and heart, to assign the first through to the fourth order effect respectively. They are also useful to keep a track as you move up and down levels of abstraction and layers of interaction.


The table above demonstrates the utility of the meta tags when observing stages of Involution, increasing material complexity, or of Envolution, increasing functional complexity; in this case four examples of Envolution are shown.

In the case of the biosphere we would apply meta tags in the following order:

Heart: Biosphere.      (Life)
Soul:   Atmosphere    (Air)
Mind: Hydrosphere  (Water)
Body: Lithosphere    (Earth)

As a form of envolution, the biosphere also presents as an accumulation of functional complexity; The lithosphere presents as land masses that are separated until the hydrosphere connects them, while the atmosphere connects both the lithosphere and the hydrosphere simultaneously. Finally the biosphere is the unification of all three of these functional domains.

The biosphere then can be considered the global eco-system which houses all other eco-systems. The biosphere eco-system also provides a great analogy to a ‘Trust-sphere’ eco-system or ‘equ-system’ for the proliferation of data as an analogy to the proliferation of life. An equ-system, like any true partnership or relationship exchange should be imbued with trust. For that to occur there should be no gradient (asymmetric information) relationship between any two parties within the system.

A trust-sphere may look something like this;

Heart:Experience trust as new form of eco-system (Equ-system)

Soul: Engagement trust as new form of e-commerce (MeCommerce)

Mind:Execution trust as new form of framework (OIX’s)

Body:Enablement trust as new form of infrastructure (CSP’s)

The Meta Model points to a reflexive process that already appears to be emerging toward the manifestation of a trust-sphere by reflexing the pre-existing conditions and turning them inside out. Just as these examples indicate;

– CRM reflexes to VRM

– E-Commerce reflexes to MeCommerce

– Attention (Push/Advertising) reflexes to Intention (Pull/Casting).

VRM (Vendor Relationship Management) tools provide customers with both independence from vendors and better ways of engaging with vendors. The same tools can also support individuals’ relations with schools, churches, government entities and other kinds of organizations.

While Me-Commerce (Life Management Platforms) will allow consumers to disrupt conventional advertising directly and social network revenue models indirectly. Overall the shift to a trust-sphere would put the heart and soul back into our online interactions by empowering the many;

Heart:  Many to Many
Soul:    Many to One
Mind:  One to Many
Body:  One to One

Personal data sovereignty then, will be the basis for a trust-sphere. As we all create the data in the first place we should be at its heart. It is our asset to commoditise then use as a form of currency however we should choose;

Heart:  Sovereign
Soul:    Asset
Mind:  Commodity
Body:  Currency

So what might a trust-sphere look like and what would constitute the sum of its parts? Well the Meta Model also points to the trust-sphere and it’s three sub-spheres all creating three into one eco-system’s in their own right:

Heart: Experience   (Trust-sphere)
Soul:   Engagement (Enter-sphere)
Mind: Execution      (Exec-sphere)
Body: Enablement  (Infra-sphere)

Heart: Trust-sphere

Ultimately the trust-sphere as a whole will allow us to ‘Experience’ trust throughout as we transact our lives in the digital era. The three sub-spheres required to make this a reality may also look something like this:

Soul: Enter-sphere:

The enter-sphere would be the ‘Engagement’ layer delivering all the enterprise activities we have come to expect but in a safe sovereign environment where we can transact our lives and add value by creating new data for us to own and control with new value adding enterprise models that were previously unavailable:

Heart:   Engagement (Me-Commerce)
Soul:     Platforms      (Life Management)
Mind:   Applications (Collaborators)
Body:   Brands.          (Co-creators)

Mind: Exec-sphere:

The exec-sphere would be the ‘Execution’ layer providing the governance frameworks of open identity exchange systems and memberships both personal and business. Above all else this will provide the portability that guards against monopoly. These are the four facets required of any sustainable civilisation;

Heart:  Execution Framework    (Social Facet)
Soul:    Technology Framework  (Technical Facet)
Mind:  Legal Framework.            (Political Facet)
Body:  Business Framework       (Economic Facet)

Body: Infra-sphere:

Finally, the infra-sphere would be the ‘Enablement’ layer providing the infrastructure to underpin the experiences, enterprises and execution entities. The ultimate role of a data infrastructure layer would be to act as the Utility providers and securers of our data. This is already most likely taking shape as personal and business Cloud Service Providers (CSP’s)

Heart:  Enable Content as a Service   (CaaS)
Soul:    Utility Platforms as a Service (PaaS)
Mind:  Utility Software as a Service   (SaaS)
Body:  Utility Hardware as a Service (HaaS)

Returning to the biosphere analogy where the biosphere and trust-sphere both equate as heart / heart. We can take the notion that the lithosphere (infra-sphere) comprises continents (CSP utilities) or Islands (DIY Clouds) that are separate and associate it with the trust-sphere’s infrastructure layer of data utilities; both lithosphere and infra-sphere equate as body / body.

In turn the lithosphere’s continental land masses (CSP utilities) are connected by the hydrosphere’s Oceans (Open Identity Exchanges) which also associates nicely with the trust-sphere’s ‘Execution’ and governance layer allowing content to move freely between the continents (CSP utilities); both hydrosphere and exec-sphere equate as mind / mind.

Lastly the atmosphere as the ‘Enterprise’ layer adds value as it sits above both and absorbs water (data) by the process of evaporation from the hydrosphere (OIX’s), transporting and depositing it back onto the lithosphere’s (CSP utilities) as precipitation (data content) which can then return it to the hydrosphere’s Oceans (OIX’s) via lakes and rivers to be recycled. Or it can store the precipitation (data content) which can be likened to percolation back into the water table of the lithosphere (CSP as storage).

The processes of sublimation and transpiration that occur on the lithosphere (CSP utilities) also allow the atmosphere (enterprise layer) to absorb water (data) and transport it back to other regions of the lithosphere (CSP utilities) or hydrosphere (OIX’s); both atmosphere and enter-sphere equate then as soul to soul.


Admittedly if a data trust-sphere as an entire global equ-system is to emerge, it will no doubt require a lot of resources and cooperation. Yet we only have to look back a generation to see the enormous development that has given rise to our current form of internet.

The secret for a wiser generation who have borne witness to the reckless and uncontrolled profusion of our personal data and resultant loss of sovereignty;
Will be in ensuring that the three sub-spheres cannot contaminate or corrupt one another and that each sub-sphere maintains a sizeable community engaging in healthy competition much as the biosphere does between life forms within it.

Therefore each sub-sphere will require its own specialisation of cultures, technologies, policies and economic models. In essence we do not need another controlled eco-system, we have that now; what we do need is a collaborative one so we as individuals can remain in control of our sovereign data rights.

Are you ready to trust in a new future? It may not be utopian but it will be tritopian which will be essential if we are to support all life in trust by avoiding our current growing dystopia of data haves and have nots!

This article was written by Brian Grimmer, Founder & CEO of Present Group, with insights and understandings derived from extensive cooperation with Peter Midgley, CXO of Present Group on the Meta Model for Process. The terms ‘Trust-sphere’, ‘Equ-system’, ‘Enter-sphere’, ‘Exec-sphere’ and ‘Infra-sphere’ are new terms to have emerged while meta modelling a data eco-system to be analogous to the biosphere.