The nuclear winter techpocalypse arrived, sparing only artificial intelligence. Peak AI indicators are everywhere. Can it maintain the faith that crypto lost?
AI will enhance crypto and launch it into the stratosphere, crypto is still brand new and has so much room for growth.
I really enjoyed this insightful analysis, thank you. I also think there is hugely positive and exciting potential from AI. However, I fundamentally disagree with the assessment that what's needed is a positive narrative, and the calculation of AI's 'negatives'.
Even if we only consider the effects of social media there is a clear social, human and economic cost - social: increasing polarisation and distrust of 'facts' undermining social cohesion, human: massive increase in mental health difficulties especially for teenage girls, accompanied by self harm and suicide, economic: just taking Jan 6 as an example - irrespective of your views on the whats and whys, it certainly wouldn't have happened in the same way without social media and the direct cost of repairing damage is in the tens of $m while indirect costs are in the 100's $m and then there's the loss of life, etc. These costs do not show up in the accounts for Alphabet or Meta, they are borne by the public purse - but they would not have been on that scale (or at all) without Alphabet & Meta. Privatised profits and socialised costs is the model we have been operating under so far. Yet the public at large have no say in the development or design of these tools that are fundamentally transforming our public spaces.
Regulation is one way of inserting a public voice into the design of AI but to characterise it as 'burdening it with politics' (although sometimes true in practice!) is confusing. Are you saying there should be no regulation at all, which often seems to be the position of US commentators. This is not a diverse market in which 'the market' (i.e. consumer behaviour) can set the rules - much of Big Tech is dominated by a handful of players who design the infrastructure that the rest of the market then inhabits. When anti-regulation folk say 'we don't want to be like China' the implication is that it is democracy vs authoritarian approach to Tech. However, in practise, it is authoritarian in all geographies. Instead of the Chinese government there are a handful of Tech Bros designing how it is going to be for everyone and refusing scrutiny and resisting influence even from their own stakeholders. What chance does the public have (multiple citations available if needed!)
Finally, I think characterising values as pro or anti woke is a bit reductive and applies a binary lens to what are complex multi-faceted concerns. Pretty much every human society in existence has thought certain things important - e.g. justice. But each person's idea of what that looks like or how to get there is different. Technology does not have its own values but will imbibe those within the training data, the design priorities, etc. Mostly this is occurring within firms without even an awareness that those silent values are being embedded. If tech is to reflect society in a democratic way then it probably needs woke AND anti-woke AND everything in between! But what seems really clear to me is that without reflecting the values of society then AI/ Big Tech imposes a set of values on us - and I personally am not happy with that being the values of the handful of tech bros in the room, without there also being active engagement with those of us not in the room but whose lives will be profoundly affected, maybe even determined by the AI-driven future we are heading to.
Sorry for such a long comment - once I got started I realised I had a lot to say!
I'm using AI techniques to summarize articles, yours was particularly interesting due to its complexity. Let me know what you think of the summary:
Also this is my human response:
This is one of the best articles on the topic of AI and crypto that I have ever read.
I only disagree with the portion about crypto being in a "pre-value stage".
I notice crypto's value isn't obvious to people in richer countries because they are used to having access to highly functional financial networks. As a person that lives and was born in Latin America, I can tell you that crypto has completely changed my life. From not owning any financial asset to owning many, mostly on-chain assets, and flying from one vip lounge at an airport to the next.
Money is a technology that has more users than roads or pipes, changing money, contracts and how humans are organized is extremely valuable.
This is what crypto is doing, and it has changed the financial landscape in many developing nations specially, it has also inspired the fintech industry, which didn't exist before Bitcoin, even if crypto would fail as a whole, its impact is already very significant. The Wikipedia on Bitcoin for example shows the many financial systems around the world that took inspiration from it.
Bitcoin also influenced the state of fintech in the US via Jack Dorsey, a huge bitcoiner that drew inspiration from it to build Cashapp and Square, which changed how money moves for american consumers and small businesses, these also ended up being more valuable than Twitter in a shorter time.
I agree that there are a lot of grifters in crypto in the form of scammers, spammers and speculators that simply see/saw crypto as a quick way to make money.
But this is not the essence of crypto. Satoshi Nakamoto hasn't moved billions worth of Bitcoins, never spent a lot of the firstly mint Bitcoin. The pre-2014 state of crypto was more like Satoshi, very idealistic, and cryptography focused.
Zero knowledge proofs and other recent advancements show that new mathematical infrastructure is still being actively discussed, invented and applied in crypto. I also see ZKPs being potentially world-changing technology for increasing privacy, security and trust in systems