Life after Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy

by: George Gilder read in 2018

xiii "As Harvard mathematician-philosopher C.S. Peirce explained early in the last century, all symbols and their objects, whether in software, language, or art require the mediation of an interpretive mind."
xiv "Without dimensions beyond the flat universe, our lives and visions wane and wither."
7 "Security is not a benefit or upgrade that can be supplied by adding new layers of passwords, pony-tailed "swat teams," intrusion detection schemes, anti-virus patches, malware prophylactics, and software retro-fixes. Security is the foundation of all other services and crucial to all financial transactions. It is the most basic and indispensable component of any information technology."
8 "If security is not integral to an information technology architecture, that architecture must be replaced."
13 "Perhaps the most important result of free commerce was the end of slavery. Reliable money and free and efficient labor markets made ownership of human laborers unprofitable. Commerce eclipsed physical power."
15 "And what was mathematics founded on? Responding to the Latin maxim ignoramus et ignorabimus ("we do not know and will not know"), Hilbert declared: "For us [mathematicians] there is no ignorabimus, and in my opinion none whatever in natural science. In opposition to the foolish ignorabimus our slogan shall be 'We must know, we will know'"—Wir müssen wissen, wir werden wissen—a declaration that was inscribed on his tombstone."
18 "Boltzmann's entropy is thermodynamic disorder; Shannon's entropy is informational disorder, and the equations are the same.
18 "Chaitin proved that physical laws alone, for example, could not explain chemistry or biology, because the laws of physics contain drastically less information than do chemical or biological phenomena. The universe is a hierarchy of information tiers, a universal "stack," governed from the top down." Doesn't that imply a "knower" at the top?
19 "Cleaving all information is the great divide between creativity and determinism, between information entropy of surprise and thermodynamic entropy of predictable decline, between stories that capture a particular truth and statistics that reveal a sterile generality, between cryptographic hashes that preserve information and mathematical blends that dissolve it, between the butterfly effect and the law of averages, between genetics and the law of large numbers, between singularities and big data—in a word, the impassible gulf between consciousness and machines." It is also the divide between Jordan Peterson's view of 'truth' and Sam Harris'.
45-46 "Ten Laws of the Cryptocosm ... Security first ... Centralization is not safe ... Safety last ... Nothing is free ... Time is the final measure of cost ... Stable money endows humans with dignity and control ... Asymmetry Law [public key/private key] ... Private keys rule ... Private keys are held by individual human beings, not by governments or Google. ... Behind every private key and public key is the human interpreter.
46 "For you, security means not some average level of surveillance at the network level but the safety of your own identity, your own device and your own property."
47 "In a challenge-response interaction, the challenger takes the public key and encrypts a message. The private responder proves identity by decrypting, amending, and returning the message encrypted anew with his private key. This process is a digital signature."
56 "In every era, the winning companies are those that waste what is abundant—as signaled by precipitously declining prices—to save what is scarce."
72 "There is a critical difference between programmable machines and programmers. The machines are deterministic and the programmers are creative."
73 "Graphene has many advantages. Its tensile strength is sixty times that of steel, its conductivity two hundred times that of copper. There is no band gap to slow it down, and it provides a relatively huge sixty-micron mean-free path for electrons."
90 "Now, in the Google system of the world, technologists imagine that computer velocity conveys computer intelligence, that if you shuffle the electrons fast enough you can confer consciousness and creativity on dumb machines."
90 "Markov models work by obviating human intelligence and knowledge. Whether analyzing speech without knowing the language (Shannan and Baum), gauging the importance of web pages without knowledge of either the pages or the evaluators (Page and Brin), measuring the performance of computing machines while ignoring 99 percent of the details of the system (A.L. Scherr), investing in stocks and bonds with no awareness of the businesses that issue them (Renaissance), or identifying authors without any knowledge of what they wrote or even the language they write in (Markov himself), these procedures are marked and enabled by their total lack of intelligence. You use big data statistics and Markov probability models when you don't know what is really happening. Markov models are idiot savants."
98 "The claim of "superhuman performance" seemed rather overwrought to me. Outperforming unaided human beings is what machines—from a 3D printer to a plow—are supposed to do. Otherwise we wouldn't build them.
99 "Tegmark likes to quote Edward Robert Harrison: "Hydrogen, given enough time, turns into people." People, given enough time, presumably turn into Turing machines, and Turing machines are essentially what people used to call "God". He isn't shy about the godlike powers this super-AI will have: "Whatever form matter is in, advanced technology can rearrange it into any desired substances or objects, including power plants, computers, and advanced life forms."" Yes. This is also the essential mechanism at work in my TDB/SG Theory except that TDB/SG operates in manifolds in multiple dimensions of hyper space-time.
100 "The intellectuals of this era are simply blind to the reality of consciousness. Consciousness is who we are, how we think, and how we know."
101 "As Turing concluded, they need an "Oracle"—a source of intelligence outside the system itself—and all he could say about the oracle is that it "could not be a machine".
101 "Consciousness and free will are self-reference without determinism. The AI experts want to deny it, but until they come to terms with consciousness they cannot explain mind.
101 "The blind spot of AI is that consciousness does not emerge from thought; it is the source of it."
104 Peirce showed that symbols and objects are sterile without "interpretants," who open the symbols to the reaches of imagination. Peirce's "sign relation" binds object, sign, and interpreter into an irreducible triad. It is fundamental to any coherent theory of information that every symbol be linked inexorably to its object by an interpreter, a human mind. An uninterpreted symbol is meaningless by definition, and any philosophy that deals in such vacuities is sure to succumb to hidden assumptions and interpretive judgements." Peirce's triad is Penrose's three worlds: objects are in the Physical (Aristotelian) World, signs are in the Ideal (Platonic) World, and interpreters are in the Mental (Cartesian) World.
105 "Knowledge of every quark and electron in a computer tells you virtually nothing of what the computer is doing. To know that, you have to address the source code, and the source code is the ground state where human interpretation is imparted."
105 "The 2017 Asilomar conference called to mind a conference held at the same place in February1975, at which scientists warned about the future of technology—in that case, genetic engineering. ... All that the first Asilomar conference managed to achieve was triggering an obtuse paranoia about "genetically modified organisms" that hinders agricultural progress around the world. That danger of paranoid politics is the chief peril that all the Deep Learners at the new Asilomar should have recognized."
106 "Buterin succinctly described his company, Ethereum, launched in July 2015, as a "blockchain app platform." The blockchain is an open, distributed, unhackable ledger devised in 2008 by the unknown person (or perhaps group) known as "Satoshi Nakamoto" to support his cryptocurrency, bitcoin. Buterin's meteoric rise was such that soon after the Asilomar conference the central bank of Singapore announced that it was moving forward with an Ethereum-backed currency, and other central banks, including those of Canada and Russia, are investigating its potential as a new foundation for money transactions and smart contracts."
108 "But Google and its world are looking in the wrong direction. They are actually in jeopardy, not from an all-powerful artificial intelligence, but from a distributed, peer-to-peer revolution supporting human intelligence—the blockchain and new crypto-efflorescence. Buterin incorporating it horizontally and interoperatively across the cryptocosm. Google's security foibles and AI fantasies are unlikely to survive the onslaught of this new generation of cryptocosmic technology."
112 "The Thiel Fellowships and the 1517 Fund are protesting the layers on layers of government grants that impose a stifling conformity on our universities through the indoctrination there of a single system of the world."
139 "The blockchain of transactions incorporates hashes of all the previous transactions and is set to be incorporated in all future transactions. It is set in cryptographic stone,"
139 "The genius behind bitcoin comes from a dynamic vision in which computer resources—storage and processing—always grow faster than the blockchain."
154 "The key difference between the bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains is that bitcoin focuses on security and simplicity while Ethereum focuses on capability and functionality."
163 Good description of the Internet architecture, layers, and functions.
166 "Netscape's ... founder [was] Marc Andreessen"
168 "... centralization is not safe. Putting data in central repositories solved hackers' hardest problem for them: It told them which data were important and where they were, putting the entire Internet at risk."
172 "... the current "username and password combo ... can only be recognized by the site that had you create an account." With the blockchain users can log in to the websites by automatically proving ownership of their identity."
181 "Token sales have clearly replaced IPOs and other equity issues as a fundraising device for tech startups."
182 "Ninety-nine percent of the growth [of Internet advertising] goes to Google and Facebook. Publishers—whether of websites, books, games, or music—are left with the final 1 percent. It is fraught with fraud."
217 "It is indisputable that the invention of money and finance was indispensable for the accumulation of all the world's fortunes. The worth of money springs from its power to enable and measure trillions of transactions and to store value that is portable over time and space. A true new breakthrough n the technology of money could make comparable contributions."
222 "... the universities are focusing on teaching the students how to stop things—pipelines, energy exploration, chemical innovation, new plant forms, new businesses—rather than how to create them. In a sad irony, anti-chemical regulations promoted by the universities have ended up banishing silicon chip foundries from Silicon Valley, and the chip industry has largely moved to China and Israel."
224 "Stephen Balaban is turning the cloud movement into "rainmaking," bringing the super-computer from centralized and subcontracted to distributed and personalized."
224 "The Wright brothers—with a home library, no college degrees, and a bike shop—kicked off the age of flight. Their main competitor, Samuel P. Langley, a professor of mathematics with grants from the U.S. government and the Smithsonian, crashed into the Potomac."
225 "At vast expense, the universities channel students into echoing corridors of an increasingly reactionary educational establishment that imagines that socialist nostrums, identity politics, chemophobia, sterile hedonism, druidical sun-henges, totemic windmills, and great walls of batteries are progressive."
235 "Berninger's first myth was that policy is independent of technology—that communications service is defined by law rather than by engineering."
235 "Engineers know that voice, video, 3D interactive games, virtual reality, financial transactions, 911 calls, streaming music, messages, content delivery networks, email, radio ID systems, software downloads, the Internet of things, and machine-to-machine links are technologically different in almost every respect. No carrier can treat them the same. A law that requires treating them the same is merely a mandate for constant litigation and thus Damoclean and arbitrary government power."
236 "Berninger's second myth was that the Internet is essentially an overlay on the PSTN and thus should be similarly regulated.
236 "The third myth is that the Internet will replace the PSTN."
237 "Myth number four is that the Internet is a libertarian arena that will prosper best if the government stays out of the way."
238 "Myth number five is that the Communications Act of 1934 applies to all communications."
238 "Myth number six is that the Universal Service Fund, a tax on telecoms, has something to do with providing service to the poor and to rural areas."
239 "The seventh myth—all we need is a level playing field—is just another pretext for political intervention."
239 "The eighth myth is that inadequate investment in telecom is the result of insufficient incentives for network suppliers, who should be subsidized by government."
240 "Washington's rule: "If it moves tax it. If it keeps moving regulate it. If it stops moving subsidize it."
245 "As Peirce's triadic logic illuminates, every symbol engenders its own infinity of imaginative interpretation. A symbol and its object are incoherent without an interpreter (Peirce says "interpretant"). Chaitin celebrates this regime as a new mathematics of creativity that opened up after Gödel and Turing disproved the Hilbert hypothesis of a complete and consistent mathematical universe."
245 "... the evils of the Google Age: porous Internet security, unmoored money, regulatory overreach, network concentration, officious delays, and diminishing returns of big data."
260 "The SI regime [International System of Units] confirms that fundamental to all immutable standards of measure is time. All seven key units rely on physical constants, frequencies, and wavelengths that are bounded in one way or another by the passage of time. As the only irreversible element in the universe, with directionality imparted by thermodynamic entropy, time is the ultimate frame of reference for all measured values." The problem is that time is not universally constant, either in its rate of "flow" or in its anchor: the putative but nonexistent "now".
261 "Surveying the scene, from Ethereum to Cardano to Hedera to Blockstack and on and on, it is unclear which solutions can work.
262 "Here are the key projects ... Bitcoin, ten years old ... its "script" language is serviceable but not Turing-complete ... its key figures are Satoshi and Nick Szabo ... Ethereum, seven years old ... Its software language, Solidity, is Turing-complete. Its coin—ether ... Ethereum's leader, Vitalik Buterin; ... Bitmain, ... Chinese ... ASICS [Application Specific Integrated Circuits] ... world's most powerful computing devices ... Blockstack ... four years ... security, identity, and trust ... Muneeb Ali, Ryan Shea, Luke Nelson, and Michael J. Freedman of Princeton. ... NEO ...China ... Cardano ... Charles Hoskinson ... Haskell langage, based on mathematical functions ... EOS ... Dan Larimer ... IOTA ...RaiBlocks ... Hashgraph
272 "Designed to enhance human capabilities and human learning, virtual reality is the opposite of artificial intelligence, which tries to enhance learning by machines. Virtual reality asserts the primacy of mind over matter. It is founded on the singularity of human minds rather than a spurious singularity of machines."
274 "The Google system of the world focuses on the material environment rather than on human consciousness, on artificial intelligence rather than human intelligence, on machine learning rather than on human learning, on relativistic search rather than on the search for truth, on copying rather than on creating, on launching human hierarchies in a flat universe rather than on empowering human beings in a hierarchical universe. It seeks singularities in machines rather than in human minds.

The new system of the world must reverse these positions, exalting the singularities of creation: mind over matter, human consciousness over mechanism, real intelligence over mere algorithmic search, purposeful learning over mindless evolution, and truth over chance. A new system can open a heroic age of human accomplishment."
275 "A global copying machine, the Internet founders in establishing origins, facts, truths, timestamps, ground states, and identities. Fake news and phishing expeditions are hardly differentiated from real events and edifying communications."
276 "The universe is hierarchical and multidimensional. It cannot be reduced to two-dimensional sequences. A computer industry for a world of information should be oriented to the creative dimensions of virtual reality rather than the flat universe of the materialist superstition. A successful system of the world should be devoted to rendering the full complexity of human life and mind"

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