TARTLE is more than just a business, more than a platform. TARTLE is more than just an idea. It’s part of a growing movement to reform the internet and how we share our data. To discuss that with us today is Cody Eilar. Cody is on our board of advisors and is also the CTO of MyLens.

TARTLE: Before we break into talking about TARTLE and the social value propositions and what you and I are trying to champion do you want to tell everybody a little about what MyLens is doing? 

Cody: Yeah. MyLens is attempting to flip the data model of the internet, which sounds like a tall order, but it’s actually a lot simpler than you might think. If we just give individuals control of their own information and let them give out subscriptions to companies that have an interest in their data, then we actually increase the accuracy of the data businesses are using.

So when I control my data, I can change my phone number, my email address, all in one spot and anybody who subscribes to me, my data, they get that information.  So I don’t have to go to Netflix. I don’t have to go to Amazon. I don’t have to go to all these different places to update one piece of information. I just update it under my container. And that’s really the essence of what we’re building at MyLens. 

TARTLE: So this is interesting. What you’re doing is creating a centralized place where people can come to get your information. And the individual chooses to relinquish that information whether it be to a single party or to multiple parties. 

Cody: That’s right. We’re trying to increase transparency. You know, there are so many different websites that we have to sign up for to really use a lot of the internet. We can’t keep track of everybody who has all of our information. By putting it all in one location, you can really start to see and finally control who has what. With MyLens, people or businesses can subscribe to your info rather than having to scour the internet for all of it.  

TARTLE: That’s a big chunk of what TARTLE’s mission is. What is it in terms of the social change you’re trying to push that aligns with what we’re doing at TARTLE? 

Cody: With most social media, we aren’t the customer, we’re the product. And to make us a better product, they’re manipulating us. They’re selling manipulation. They’re not really selling a great search engine. They may have a great search engine but at the end of the day the way they’re making their money is by manipulating us and making us change our decisions and getting us to spend more time on these platforms, getting us addicted so that we’re wasting our time, our most valuable resource. And if we’re spending all of our time addicted to a platform like that we are making these guys billions of dollars while we get poorer. There’s this black data market underneath the hood. There’s absolutely an imbalance with this. My co-founder and I are very passionate about this and we want to develop technology that empowers people to take control of their lives and to spend time doing things that are actually really important, not, you know, the infinite scroll, but actually talking to people and updating information at one location and having it done and having everyone come to you instead of you going to everyone seems like a way to promote that. I think that we can build an equitable system around the individual. 

TARTLE: We were talking to someone yesterday and they had expressed a lot of apathy. I don’t really care. I’m on Facebook all the time. It gives me value. But it’s not just the fact that you’re using Facebook, it’s what’s happening beyond that. We’re trying to reeducate a larger populace to show that they still have the power. They always have had the power, but it’s showing them how to use the information correctly so they can drive that value. 

Cody: And one of the interesting conversations is around the fact that AI is all driven by data. Everybody thinks that, Oh, you know, AI is going be this transformative thing. It’s going to be writing music and translating languages for us. But that AI is all fed data that you and I have produced. It’s all human produced data. Yet, how is it going to benefit us? 

TARTLE: We’ve created all this technology to evolve us, but really all we’ve done is evolve the technology, but it’s left us behind. There’s a lack of social, spiritual, and financial development. The technology is just launching itself. But what we’re trying to do is bring both of those paths back together. 

Cody: That’s right. We’re trying to reestablish a cohesiveness between the technology and the person. As pioneers in this industry, we need to make sure that we write code that is equitable and that gives people the power that they deserve over their information. 

TARTLE: That’s a fabulous concept. When you are designing something for the larger group it does no harm, it has principles of equanimity. Then you use it as an uplifting thing rather than something that just uses people as faceless resources. 

Cody: Right. To be fair to these companies, a lot of them had a very utopian view. Everything will be free. We’ll throw in some ads here and there and that way we can pay the bills but that has turned into this empire that has completely lost sight of its mission and is now a negative influence in the world. We see that now in the way social media is used to monitor people and manipulate politics. 

TARTLE: They were just like us at the beginning. They wanted to build something that’s great for everybody, but still make money from it. We can build an equitable system for everybody and not have to exploit the data that they’re producing. Our platforms have the ability to drive revenue, but have ethics in the driver’s seat. And I think that’s the difference in the business model of what we’re trying to create.

Cody: Absolutely. There’ve been so many companies that are fighting over a small amount of resources and attention from the masses, but wouldn’t it make more sense if they all came together in a collaborative effort to solve the same problem rather than fighting against one another?

TARTLE: So it’d be my contention that people like you and I have those same goals, missions, values, and purpose that are trying to solve those same problems. 

Cody: I mean, you look at protocols that have been developed to have peer to peer access to data. You know, why should I have to go through Facebook to talk to you? I should just be able to talk directly to you. You’ve got projects like Secure Scuttlebutt that’s trying to create a secure messaging system between individuals. We’re all going towards the same goal. We’re all trying to figure out how we can get away from social media? How can we build technology that empowers all of us and not just the few on top? 

We still have to have value propositions of course. In your case customers need to be making money from their data. And then in my case enterprises need to be getting more accurate data from their customers. 

TARTLE: Right. And those are ourvalue propositions. They don’t mean that we have to go out and exploit all these things. We can still build the software in a very equitable sense, and it’s not difficult to do. It’s just a matter of us sitting down and finding one another within our ecosystems, having this conversation and making something blossom from it. 

Cody: It’s important that everybody involved in the system, whether it’s investors, potential customers, developers, they have to really understand why we’re doing this. And if they share those core values it brings us all together in a way that we can solve the problem. And there’s definitely a growing subculture of people that recognize the problems of the internet today. I think there are a lot of people that are aware of what’s going on, but there are still quite a few people that are okay with the status quo at the moment. It’s going to be one of those social movements that takes time. 

TARTLE: Like organic food. It took 40 years before it took off and now people everywhere get it. So many now recognize all the evidence that says that this is what they should be doing. And what you and I are hoping is that our smaller social group that we currently have doesn’t take 40 years to catch on. This is something that is going to change how we move into the future, how we do business, how we interact with one another and that’s what’s important. 

Cody: Because the way that we make money today is ultimately changing. The robots are doing more and more work for us. So why not have the robots work for all of us instead of, you know, the top 1% of society? I think that’s really the social change we’re trying to bring, we’re trying to show that economically we’re being repressed by our own data. And if we take control of that we can bring equity and make the world a place where you can have the data work for you and not the other way around. 

TARTLE: That was poetic. 

Cody: Thank you. 

TARTLE: How would someone check out MyLens? Where would they go? 

Cody: Go to MyLens.io. We have some basic information on a really great set of applications that leverages this whole idea. In fact, the only way we can get ahold of you is if you actually share a lens back with the company, so we’re going to subscribe to your data just like we’re asking others to do. If we want to change the world, we have to put our money where our mouth is.

What’s your data worth?