Technology now permeates our lives. We have seen it lead to tremendous shifts in society in the last 5 to 8 years, particularly with the youth. It is often posited that the economy has a large impact on directions in society and culture. These social and cultural trends feed into family, relationships and politics. Many are starting to realize that technology has taken its place atop the stream of influence. As more have realized this, there is a growing tug-of-war within society to control the reins of this power.
In the technology world, the economics of hyperscale and the effects of Metcalfe's Law have led to most value flowing toward massive cloud network providers, each of whom build silos of information about their users. As they have assumed dominant position, the general population willingly embraces the free and the cheap in exchange for sale of their personal data and activities. The major tech engines that drive search, social media, and e-commerce accumulate deep profiles on each of us who use their apps and tools. These engines are essentially models of us, so that our actions and desires can be predicted. This maximizes their monetization of us.
People as users are merely targets of a model that extracts value from them. The more passive we are in interacting with the model, the easier it is for the model to predict us. The model is incentivized to lead us toward targets but not to think and not to question. Many of us have observed this passivity being formed in the minds of the youth. Perhaps people said this about TV 50 years ago, but certainly the absorption of users into the models is far beyond what TV could do.
Drunk with utopian ambition and mad with this power, tech titans have begun building a second layer to their models. This new layer is a feedback loop like the first. But unlike the passive first layer, the second layer is a control loop. It is easy to reason that the killer app of 'AI' will be to control us, as the customers of these indispensable tools of modern life. We can be monitored, measured and scored for compliance to a target. As we step further from compliance, we can be subjected to ever-greater methods of influence.
I believe that public blockchain is an alternative future that offers a way out of this dystopian path I've shown. There is a path that can empower all of us. It offers economic potential greater than limits of hyperscale cloud, because it offers immutable ledger, universal access, stronger security, identity and payment all built-in. It offers people privacy and the power to control their own data, including monetizing it for their own benefit as they choose. Most importantly, this technology harnesses the network value creation derived from Metcalfe's law by enabling people to direct that value created toward themselves and others they are interacting and transacting with. It offers empowerment to people at all levels of society with deeper economic reach.
When people in society, as individuals and as organic self-organizing groups, determine their own path, their own futures, and create their own rewards, they prosper. More importantly, most in society will not see the need to resort to the zero-sum game of fighting over the power to dictate outcomes. As a society degrades into a fight over power, the worst people will usually win and take over.
There is a long road ahead. It is up to thoughtful people to lead the way, to preserve principles, to build, and to show and to teach others. I hope I have inspired readers to consider what is at stake.
I have higher hopes for the future than I have had in many years. I have spent considerable time understanding the technology vehicles at our disposal. I am very excited about what the community of Bitcoin SV people are doing, from leaders, to developers, to messengers, and ordinary folks joining in. There is something new everyday in BSV. Something really special is happening before our eyes.
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