AI & DAOs - The Rise of The Manufacturing DAO

By Paige Donner

(No ChatGPT was used in this article; Images by Paige & DALL-E 2)

Yesterday I @FrontierDAO hosted the first AI & DAOs Twitter Spaces to discuss the impact of AI on DAOs and DAO contributors.  Joining me were co-hosts Deepa Chaudhary of Impact DAO Media, Evan from @C4CollabEcon, Wasabi from Kokonut Network and Daniel Ospina from RnDAO.

Insights were shared and great points made - and sadly the spaces wasn’t recorded. But then, that’s OK since sometimes it’s best to just show up and be in the moment.

The jumping off point was the question if AI will be a disruptor and DAO saboteur or a creative catalyst ushering in an era of super abundance?

AI, Robotics & DAOs
AI, Robotics & DAOs

Here are some stats cited by Price Waterhouse Coopers:

Consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that AI will add $15 trillion to the world’s GDP by 2030. That’s 16% of last year’s GDP of $95 trillion.

Most of the value added will come from increased efficiency. Work automated by AI will be completed faster, cheaper, and more accurately than what humans can do.

Entrepreneurial mindset is essential for upskilling with AI.
Entrepreneurial mindset is essential for upskilling with AI.

Point #1 : Entrepreneurial Mindset

AI facilitated workstreams will require that all workers upskill, yes, but also that people think more entrepreneurially and as self-starters.

This means that if you are contributing to a DAO (or any other organization/ small business for that matter) the professionals who outshine others are those who take the initiative to identify value-add projects. And then recognize that they can both produce and project manage it, and then deliver it to the organization beautifully executed.

The workers who will fall behind are those who are constantly looking for someone to tell them what to do; Workers who need someone to micromanage them; Contributors who lack their own ideas and inspiration; And workers who would rather not contribute to the collective but simply extract value from the collective - sort of like an embedded spy - and then deliver that extracted value elsewhere.

AI & Intelligent Robotics
AI & Intelligent Robotics

Autonomously functioning solopreneurs is a model that can be easily and efficiently absorbed by DAOs. FrontierDAO, for example, employs a pod structure. We have maintained hyper lean pods organized around projects out of budgetary necessity.  Now, with AI as everyone’s ready co-pilot,  those pods can be even leaner and akin to solopreneurs.

AI, Robotics & DAOs
AI, Robotics & DAOs

The Altruistic Mindset

Does this mean that we no longer need to organize collectively?  I would say, on the contrary. There is power in numbers. But what it does mean is that the autonomously functioning lean teams or even ‘slolopreneur’ teams need to have an altruistic mindset.

What do I mean by altruistic mindset?  I mean that these lean teams must be comfortable with the concept of ‘tithing’ to the collective. In other words, yes, they can go it alone. But together, we can go farther. For some people this is going to work for them. For others they will prefer to go it alone - earning profits and accruing value for themselves only. The former will strengthen DAOs and comprise potentially powerful collectives. The latter is contrary to the underlying intention of most DAOs.

The Manufacturing DAO
The Manufacturing DAO

AI & The Dawn of The Manufacturing DAO

A point that I made during yesterday’s Twitter Spaces, but didn’t get a chance to tease out much, is that AI will now usher in the dawn of the Manufacturing DAO. Of this I am convinced.

So far, DAOs have mostly been DeFi or protocol focused. Both of these domains are highly Developer and Software Engineer focused.  Since smart contracts are the underlying architecture of a DAO, this configuration is perhaps not surprising. The pieces fit.

But today, with the flourishing, in numbers at least, of DAOs, we are witnessing some growing pains within this model.  Yesterday, a few hours after our AI & DAOs Twitter Spaces, DAO Thought Leaders and Bankless DAO hosted a spaces called DAO Pain Points.  Great discussion. My big takeaway from that conversation is that the governance mechanisms (voting) and organizational systems (flat vs. hierarchical) are in need of adaptation to the evolving use cases and industry focuses of DAOs. City DAO or Cabin DAO aren’t necessarily going to flourish under the same wireframe as MAKR or ShapeShift DAOs.

The Manufacturing DAO
The Manufacturing DAO

So back to my point about the potential of manufacturing DAOs.  Skilled contributors have always been the supply demand of DAOs. For DAOs who have robust treasuries, they can hire their skilled core team. But most DAOs are bootstrapped and rely on ‘gig workers’ aka contributors.

So far, this has been a deterrent to imagining/ implementing a large scale manufacturing DAO. Since skilled workers are essential for productivity on such a large scale.

However, now that AI is here and Intelligent Robotics are on the near horizon, we can easily envision an Amazon-like warehouse, Coca-Cola or Tesla manufacturing plant - but owned and run by a DAO.

Certainly this DAO could be managed by a core team that is lean. Rather than 100 factory workers and five supervisors, you would have 100 AI enabled robots, an AI assistant or two and then an operations manager for a specific output metric.

This system could be scaled. But the overall venture could remain in the hands of DAO management aka the core team.

So does this mean that fewer people will accrue massive wealth as we’ve seen in all previous technology advances?

Here is where the DAO structure and an altruistic mindset could serve to fashion our world into something else than what we have today. And that something else could be more along the lines of Super Abundance For Many rather than haves and have-nots.

If the core team managing a Manufacturing DAO are aligned with, say, public goods funding and ‘funding what matters’ (to borrow a phrase from Gitcoin) then, the billions that are accrued by ventures such as Lockheed, Amazon, Coca-Cola, LVMH, Tesla etc. could be re-directed efficiently and optimally to fund other ventures in a decentralized way. So rather than one person sitting on a bank balance of billions, the core DAO team would be tasked with, and mandated to, disburse the maximum amount of funding for the most public-good producing projects. The core DAO team would take their cues from the greater DAO membership exercising their governance.

There exists an example of this already. It is Big Green DAO. And while they don’t fund manufacturing, they do fund small agricultural concerns and urban farms/ community gardens. They empower communities to grow their own food and also to teach kids the beauty of feeling dirt on their hands and the sun on their faces.

Philanthropy Unlocked by DAOs
Philanthropy Unlocked by DAOs
Super Abundance, Like Sunshine, For All
Super Abundance, Like Sunshine, For All

The Big Green DAO offers a functioning example of efficient philanthropy, altruistic mindset and DAO community building and operations.  There is no reason why we can’t model a manufacturing DAO after this example.

In fact, I’m sure someone will. Unless I beat them to it.

Contact Paige: & LinkedIN

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