As I travel around the futurism sites, places where people are pondering what life will look like 5-15 years from now, I see an interesting viewpoint. While many feel that technological advancements, overall, will be good for humanity, most believe there is a downside. Their view is the major technology companies, oligarchs, and elite will only get more powerful.
The latest comes from Wired which claims that big tech is using the potential of Virtual Reality to avoid social changes that are necessary.
Certainly, this is the focus of mega tech. I already warned about the dangers of Oculus and how Facebook is trying to control the gateway to what will eventually become the metaverse. Also, there is no doubt that technology companies are seeking to get stronger by leveraging their financial might. This is certainly a problem that has to be dealt with.
However, we are far from passive in this endeavor. In fact, thanks to blockchain and cryptocurrency, we are seeing people empowered more than they ever were before. This is the starting point that we all need to concentrate upon.
Anytime I see articles like this, I want to stand on a table and scream "cryptocurrency you meatheads". This is the solution that the mainstream, even technology followers, tend to miss.
Blockchain is a decentralized data storage system. These are still in their infancy in terms of the features they present. Presently, they are not only immutable but also transparent. This is good in the battle against corruption yet does not hold much value for things such as medical records.
That all will likely change in the future as developers experiment with different aspects of blockchain and come up with new innovations.
At the same time, we see the first application that is going global. A way to think about all this is that blockchain is akin to the Internet and crypto to email. It is the first major application that was created on blockchain. There will be others such as digital ID and voting systems. Governance is going to be a major area of experiment over the next few years, something that will likely filter into the "real world".
Blockchain along with tokenization changes the ownership structure. Ultimately, this is what the technology followers with their doomsday views are concerned about. The technology, like VR, is considered beneficial yet not in the hands of Facebook or Epic Games. On this point, I agree completely.
Cryptocurrency allows for new ownership models to take hold. Here again we see experimentation taking place. This is still in its infancy yet will grow over the next few years. With all that is happening, some exciting ideas are bound to flow forth.
Obviously blockchain and cryptocurrency will not solve all of the worlds problem. However, in an era where we are heading deeper into the digital realm, these two technologies will take on added importance.
Both address issues that were previously overlooked when the original protocols of the Internet were established. Blockchain adds more security than we are accustomed to while cryptocurrency makes commerce native. Previously, we required third parties such as PayPal to transact in this manner.
We can see how this will only become more of an issue as we merge with our technology to an even greater degree.
Ben Goertzel, founder of projects such as OpenCog and SingularityNet, as well as one of the foremost AGI researchers, had this to say about the Big Tech situation:
Big Tech may have won the iterated gambling game regarding conventional fiat money, but we can make up new games, in which participants cooperate in making their own new kinds of money, and unleash our new decentralised AIs within these new game universes, which can then do battle with Wall Street which long ago cemented its dominance of the finance world. DeFi, though, is a whole new ballgame.
He is a terrific ally to be on this side of the battle. At the same time, he is absolutely correct. There is nothing that says we must play by the same rules that exist.
We are forging new ground. Just like online shopping changed the rules of retail, we, too, are embarking upon a paradigm shift. Also, we must note that Amazon and others did not ask permission before changing the rules. They simply did.
This is the key. To combat what is presently taking place, we need to build. However, what we build does not have to align with our present world. In fact, it is detrimental if it does.
We are basically in the first generation which means we are still dealing with reference points. What this refers to is that first generation technology often resembles something that existed before. For example, the first personal computers were used as electronic typewriters because that is what people could comprehend. It provided a reference.
They did not envision a computer being a handheld device that accessed the world's knowledge base in a matter of seconds, information that could be sent to 4.5 billion people.
That concept of computing was beyond understanding.
By the same token, what is too far-fetched for our minds today regarding cryptocurrency and blockchain? We are still dealing with known reference points. In other words, we are creating social media and financial applications that mirror their centralized counterparts. This is, of course, part of the evolutionary process.
However, what comes next? That is where the path we are presently on veers off in a completely new direction. It is also how the established entities find themselves in a great deal of difficulty.
Newspapers, early computer companies, record labels, and a slew of other entities found themselves in extremely hot water once the shift took place. We can expect the same thing to happen here.
If you are old enough, you will recall when the standard in computing was "IBM compatible". Today, IBM is not in the personal computing game. Naturally, it is still a successful company, something not all can say. However, it had to transition.
Most companies fail to do this, which ends up being their undoing. We are likely to see the same thing happen to some that are household names today.
The evolution of these new technologies is just beginning. This is something that we must keep in mind. Few radical shifts happen overnight. Instead, they are slow to develop, often looking like very little is happening. However, there reaches a point where everything changes. Suddenly, the advancement is such that is can no longer be ignored.
As we see with electric vehicles, that point can often happen with only a few percentage change. It does not require the majority to shift for success to take place.
This is the point we are still trying to get to with blockchain and cryptocurrency. It is so early in the game that even those who understand and watch technology do not see what is happening. It will take a few more years before it is evident to those people.
Personally, I feel the future is much brighter due to these two technologies.
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