Recognize the future’s building components.
There is no way out of Google’s world.
It has completely redefined the way we interact online and with the rest of the world in the 20 years since its inception, even becoming a verb along the way.
Is its tapestry of big data and free access, however, really such a good thing? Will it be able to maintain its position of power in the future? Because, as it turns out, despite the fact that it has data on almost everyone on the planet, it does not keep it all under proper lock and key.
But, if Google’s heyday is coming to an end, what will take its place? This is where cryptocurrencies, such as blockchain and bitcoin, come into play.
This book describes the world Google has created and why it is no longer viable, before explaining how and why the cryptocosm’s emphasis on security is changing and will continue to change the world.
Google’s world system revolves around big data and ad revenue, with massive servers to support it all.
Search giant Google has shaped our current worldview. It is the set of ideas that informs society’s technology, its institutions, and the lives of its citizens.
Consider Google’s vision of the future of knowledge, which relies on the use of large amounts of data to achieve its goals. Instead of working from previous ideas to make incremental progress, Google relies on newer methods of knowledge acquisition. All information from around the world could be gathered in one place — a “cloud,” then analyzed using sophisticated algorithms to extract new information.
A huge database of information was compiled by Google to make this possible. It began with the internet and has since expanded to include everything from books and languages to maps to even faces through facial recognition software. Privacy is incompatible with Google’s business model because the company wants access to all information, regardless of whether or not it’s private.
After that, we have Google’s vision of what is valuable. Almost all of Google’s income comes from advertising, so instead of paying with money to use Google, you pay with your time and attention instead. Advertisements tend to annoy the majority of people. This is why the use of ad blockers increased by 102% between 2015 and 2016. For its part, Google’s sponsored links are tucked away at the top of search results to make them less obvious.
Google has built its own massive data center near The Dalles, Oregon, to manage and facilitate the online architecture that all of this data and advertising requires. Each day the site processes 3.5 billion searches, or 1.5 trillion searches per year, on 75,000 computers.
With the help of these servers, Google has expanded its web services, such as Gmail and Google Docs, while also creating a new yardstick for tech companies: the more storage and processing you can offer, the more competitive your company is.
It’s possible, but is it the real case? Virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier refers to these massive centers as “Siren Servers,” invoking the Greek myth where sailors are lured to their deaths on the rocks by the seductive song of Siren bird-women. If so, does he have a point? Google and other companies appear to be dominating their respective markets, but could these very same centers be driving them to an early grave?
However, as many would argue, big data does not have to lead to dangerous artificial intelligence.
Some of the pioneers of the information age, including Google co-founder Larry Page, attended a “secret” gathering in Monterey Bay, California, in January 2017. When they met, they discussed and made plans for a global awareness campaign on artificial intelligence (AI), a rapidly growing field.
They were actually working on artificial intelligence in Silicon Valley — so why would they want to warn others about its dangers?
In their view, the future will be dominated by artificial intelligence (AI). Someone else will if they don’t. As a result, the most they can do is get involved and try to keep people informed about the dangers.
These dangers, on the other hand, are a real threat? To find out, we must first look at the history of mathematics in order to understand what is going on.
For the first time at an international conference in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), David Hilbert proposed that all science could be reduced to mathematics in a single unifying theory that covers everything, everywhere, with no uncertainty.
A day earlier, Kurt Gödel had demonstrated, at the same conference, that there is no such thing as an absolutely complete logical system. In any logical or mathematical system, there are premises that cannot be proven within the system — there must be an outside authority. Why do we have the ability to find and create new systems? This is how computer programming works: you create a system by creating rules for it from the outside.
This requires a complete system in order for artificial intelligence to be dangerous in the way that Silicon Valley perceives it as being. Since Google is trying to collect as much data as humanly possible, this would allow it to teach itself without human input, quickly outpacing human intelligence, and eventually taking over the entire planet.
Gödel’s proof that all logical systems are incomplete reassures us. This means that if AI is a threat, it must first be programmed to be one before it can be used as one. We, the humans who program it, are the only ones who can make it do it all by themselves.
In reality, scientists and engineers are paranoid about the consequences of their own supposedly superior intelligence, leading them to fear a tyrannical AI.
Universities in the United States should follow the Thiel Foundation’s lead when it comes to moving forward.
University Francisco Marroquin, in Guatemala, became the first university in North America to accept payments made with cryptocurrency Bitcoin, which was first introduced in 2013. That some academic institutions are more forward-looking than others is demonstrated by the fact that they have taken this step.
However, many American universities would rather focus on reactionary measures that end up halting progress instead of enabling it..
According to a recent Harvard University resolution, fossil fuels will no longer be used in the university’s operations to combat climate change. Instead of teaching students to be innovative, look ahead, and come up with solutions for the future, this focuses too much on teaching them how to stop things.
Other universities are more concerned with maintaining their own reputation than they are with educating their students. While Stephen Trachtenberg served as president of George Washington State University, tuition more than doubled from $27,000 to almost $60,000, with no apparent improvement in education standards, and Trachtenberg claiming that degrees from the university serve instead as a “trophy.”
It’s a good thing some institutions are fighting back. According to the Thiel Foundation’s mission of creating entrepreneurs, the Thiel Fellowship, named after the foundation’s founder, Peter Thiel, awards $100,000 to promising students in their early 20s or younger to quit college and pursue their own unique projects instead of academics.
While Danielle Strachman and Mike Gibson ran it for five years, they went on to found the 1517 Fund in 2015. The 1517 Fund is a similar venture that makes investments in Thiel Fellows as well as other young company founders.
Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on a Wittenberg church door in 1517 and the Reformation was sparked. The 1517 Fund’s “New 95” was published in October 2017. They argued that the education system was preventing scientific breakthroughs and progress, and that it should be resisted.
Luminar, a company that manufactures laser-radar chips for self-driving cars, was awarded the Thiel Fellowship in 2013. After purchasing Luminar chips for its own cars, Toyota announced in 2017 that it would continue to do so.
As for Vitalik Buterin, a college dropout who attended the secret meeting in Monterey Bay mentioned earlier, he received a fellowship in 2014 to help set up the Ethereum platform.
A new technology, known as blockchain, is poised to revolutionize the global financial and business landscapes. The question remains, however, what is it?
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and blockchain technology have ushered in a new era of online security.
When Satoshi Nakamoto, a mysterious figure, unveiled the first cryptocurrency in October 2008, it changed the world forever.
Cryptocosm is an emerging online world that the author refers to in order to understand bitcoin.
Individuals are in charge of their own personal data in the cryptocosm, which is decentralized from a universal and easily targetable central hub.
A public and a private key are assigned to each user’s account. This means that only the user can decipher a message that you send to them using the public key, so it can only be deciphered with their private key. Their private key is used again to encrypt the response and leave a unique digital signature that proves their identity without divulging any personal information.
Cryptocurrency and its blockchain technology rely on these signatures to function properly.
To keep track of the latest bitcoin activity, blocks are generated every ten minutes or so. Included in this are the cryptographic signatures required for every bitcoin transaction. Lastly, it includes a timestamp, which indicates when the block was created and when it was signed.
Through mining, a time-stamp can be created and stored. By using the combined processing power of many computers, it’s possible to create a new block after a complex algorithmic problem is solved. This is what mining looks like. On completion, a proof of work (PoW) is generated, which time stamps the newly constructed block. New bitcoins are created as a reward for the mining.
There can be no forgery of the time-stamp because it can only be created after the actual extraction. And because it was created by a large number of computers, it is verified by a large number of people. Information stored on a block is therefore trusted and unhackable.
Bitcoins have a way of moving around. In the next block, every transfer and creation is recorded. A public blockchain connects all of these blocks in a chronological chain, which is called a blockchain for obvious reasons. In other words, anyone can trace the history of bitcoin back to when it was first created because each block has a unique fingerprint and leaves traces in all subsequent blocks.
By adding fingerprints to each block of data, it is nearly impossible to edit individual blocks of data without also editing the previous blocks. In other words, the bitcoin ledger — the record of all its transactions — is virtually unhackable, and every transaction is therefore extremely secure.
Ethereum and Blockstack are just a few of the companies successfully utilizing blockchain technology.
Craig Steven Wright, a computer scientist, and entrepreneur from Australia, claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto in 2016. He had a few believers, but many others did not.
It was suggested that it would have been much easier for Wright to prove his id by posting “Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto” along with Satoshi’s private key than to try to convince people in person instead. Because of this, it was thought that Wright was not Satoshi Nakamoto.
Was it really this young skeptic who slammed the supposed bitcoin creator in the face? Nobody else but the college dropout from earlier: Vitalik Buterin is a 24-year-old founder of Ethereum, another important blockchain company.
Ethereum launched in 2015 and is designed to securely handle and verify non-crypto currency objects such as smart contracts. Parties involved in a transaction send their assets via the blockchain, be it shares, currency and/or other valuable assets. Assets can be released and transferred if all parties agree; otherwise, they are refunded back to the original parties if they don’t comply.
With these secure investment capabilities, just two years after the launch of Ethereum, it had unleashed a wave of entrepreneurial creativity, bypassing cumbersome regulations from the Securities and Exchange Commission that had slowed investment in the past.
Ethereum, the platform’s own coin, had a market cap of $60 billion in May 2018 — less than half that of bitcoin! However, the Greek-British blockchain scholar Andreas Antonopoulos says it could end up like the rivalry between a lion and shark, where each dominates its own domain. Ethereum is still in its infancy compared to bitcoin.
It’s important to note, however, that Ethereum isn’t the only blockchain company in the crypto sphere. An entirely new network for decentralized blockchain apps is being built by the company Blockstack, which is led by computer scientist Muneeb Ali.
There is also an open-source app development platform called Blockstack, which allows both developers and users to easily enter the world of blockchains. All of it is built around a single blockchain-based system called the monolith, and the metaverse is a visible platform where users can create, surf, and share content as they see fit.
In this way, blockchain technology is returning security and control to individual users. Nevertheless, the hardware sector has also begun to change in response to Google’s dominance.
Manufacturers of computer hardware have made a comeback, and their efforts are helping to reimagine outdated cloud-based technologies.
Every two years the cost-effectiveness of circuits doubles, according to Moore’s Law. Meanwhile, Bell’s Law states that every ten years, the price of processing power plummets, resulting in the creation of a brand-new system. During the 1970s and 1980s, the PC replaced IBM’s massive mainframes, and more recently, Google’s cloud. Is there another shift coming up?
In Silicon Valley, it appears that hardware manufacturing is experiencing a rebirth. Some companies, such as Nvidia and their chief scientist Bill Dally, still manufacture the silicon chips that gave the area its name. As a result of the cheaper circuitry now available, they are moving away from fast but energy-demanding “hot” chips towards cooler and more efficient ones.
Graphics processors and their parallel processing systems have long been championed by Dally as superior to a single information highway in which all data must be sent quickly up and down. For him, this type of processing is crucial in emerging fields such as sensors for self-driving cars, where life and death depend on the ability to interpret multiple objects at once.
As a result, Google and other information giants are still struggling to find cheaper and more powerful processing power for their massive centralized servers, which are constantly growing. According to their own words, “they’re asking for more extra power than the current technological landscape can provide”.
A lot is happening in the world of technologies that don’t use centralized clouds. One example is the emergence of Golem, a blockchain-based company built on Ethereum.
You can use Golem to rent out your computer processing power when you’re not using your computer, and then pool it all together into one huge virtual supercomputer!
Users can perform normally expensive processes such as computer graphics rendering for a fraction of the cost, and without the need for the massive and expensive hubs of Siren Servers such as Google. As a bonus, the use of blockchain technology ensures the security of personal data and software storage..
Security and capability are being enhanced by such technological advancements. The rise of the blockchain has been slowed by a number of factors.
Bitcoin’s attempt to become an alternative to the gold standard of wealth is flawed.
Physicist Isaac Newton of Great Britain created the gold standard in the 18th century. Countries around the world have been guaranteeing their currencies against gold for almost 200 years, to ensure economic stability.
So, what’s the point of gold, anyway Firstly, it is the most corrosion-resistant precious metal, so you can rest assured that it won’t disappear.
Its value is also predictable, as its supply, through mining and excavation around the world, increases slowly enough to have little effect on its value. Moreover, even if mining technology advances, the fact that new gold deposits are becoming increasingly difficult to access negates the benefits.
They were a useful standard for stabilizing the volatile international economic elements of exchange rates and interest rates, as they were a constant benchmark.
Governments abandoned it, preferring instead to let the market determine currency values. Nakamoto promised to change this after the 2008 financial crisis, hoping that bitcoin could become a new and improved gold standard.
And he did it all while creating a mining algorithm that makes it harder and harder to solve the algorithmic problem that creates blocks and their corresponding bitcoins.
Like the increasing inaccessibility of gold deposits, he hoped to counteract technological advancements by reducing the processing power of computers. And he set a limit on the total number of bitcoins at 21 million, with the number of bitcoins that can be mined decreasing by half every year.
This was Satoshi’s way of ensuring that bitcoin would become the new gold standard over time by ensuring a stable and predictable supply.
Economic blogger Mike Kendall says that bitcoin can’t become a standard because it is already a medium of exchange and a highly unstable medium of exchange at that. We have a limited supply, so the only way it can change its value as a result of changes in demand is by experiencing wild price fluctuations. Because bitcoin’s value fluctuated from $1,183 to $19,401 between 2017 and 2018. Is there a way to make this a predictable and stable standard?
But despite Satoshi’s technological advances, his understanding of real-world economics may be flawed. In the meantime, other cryptocurrencies must fix the remaining flaws in the cryptocosm and continue to build the cryptocosm, thus paving a way out of Google’s cluttered and expansive systems.