How Do We Deal With The Technology Issue?
This is something that keeps cropping up as I travel around the Internet doing my basic research.
There is little doubt we are embarking upon an age of advanced technology. Whatever aspect of development we focus upon, whether it is the associated fields of AI, quantum computing, brain-to-computer interfaces, or mixed reality, every is aware we are dealing with some powerful stuff. This could lead to remarkable progress over next few decades.
We do come upon a major issue though. How do we deal with the "ownership" of this technology? Some of these advancements could be hundreds of times more powerful than what we saw with the Internet. Unfortunately, the drive for profits meant that companies set up walled gardens they could control. Couple this with the "winner take most" reality that we see in the digital realm and we can see how this is a problem.
So what do we do about this going forward? It is a topic of discussion that many approach. Sadly, it is a situation where few novel solutions are being proposed.
Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI did an interview where he discusses this situation.
Like many others, he proposes something that has the government in the middle of it. His idea is to use taxes to distribute wealth.
At the core of his thesis is the fact that we are approaching "Moore's Law of Everything". Moore's Law applies to semiconductors stating that the number of transistors doubles every couple years. This allowed for the price of chips to plummet while production shot through the roof. It is a process that lasted more than 6 decades.
Altman believes that we are embarking upon technologies that could make this a reality in most areas of life. If we use robotics and AI, it could spread to medicine, manufacturing, and construction. It also could apply to the develop of AI systems themselves.
Which brings us back to the question of ownership. Obviously, companies that are able to generate something like this will be in a fantastic position to generate enormous wealth. Again, since it ends up being a winner take most situation, the companies in selected areas will be worth, ultimately, trillions. How do we deal with that much money in very few hands?
Altman's answer is to tax land and use that to pay people. The full write-up of his views can be found here.
In my mind, the answer is very simple. The question of ownership and control come down to tokenization. It really is that straightforward.
We are dealing with systems that only a few companies have the resources to develop. Certainly, with so many developers around, the ability to get algorithms going is widespread. That said, to put together a system that has enough computational power to develop self driving, for example, is relegated to only a few companies. The biggest players in the world are the only ones who can generate these "super systems".
Sadly, we saw how many of them operated. The idea of Google or Facebook, two companies with enormous computational power, creating a system like this is scary. Their core business model is to sell advertising. This is simply going to be used to further that cause, perhaps even conditioning people as to what they want to buy.
Here is where we see a lot of the dystopian ideas that many have.
The technology issue that is being discussed here could easily be handled by tokenization. It is a system that is more open which means the distribution of wealth could spread out much wider. Also, since the inclusion is greater, the stakeholders end up being a part of the process as opposed to the "product". As technology advances, this is going to be even more important.
We are at a stage where it is not difficult to see the mega-tech companies getting more powerful than governments. While the later still have an edge in the power, that might not be the case much longer. As these companies enter these more advanced realms, the fact they are global in scale gives them an advantage. Also, when we look at the talent levels, the best are working for them. This makes it difficult for government entities to have an idea of what these companies are doing until it is too late.
Tokenization answers the governance issue in a different way. While we are still in the early stages of experimentation, it is likely that we come up with some different governance models in the next few years. These could be applied to this situation in a manner that allows for a purer form of democracy. After all, with the Internet, votes can be cast at any moment of the day.
Ownership By All
It is time that we start to understand that importance of embracing the idea of "Ownership By All". This is really the only way to deal with the power of the technologies that are emerging.
If anyone believes that the companies developing this stuff are going to operate in the best interest of all, that is a risky viewpoint. Historically, companies have done all they could to monopolize different segments and will do nothing to threaten that. In fact, any threats are often dealt with in a ruthless manner.
We also have to keep in mind that this is the situation with today's technology. It is safe to say this is mild in comparison to what we are going to be dealing with by the end of this decade.
Consider the concept of a Microsoft, Apple, or Facebook being the first to develop what is termed Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). What do you think will happen at that moment? A single company has something that is orders of magnitude more powerful than the existing nuclear arsenal. In a digital world, this gives them almost complete control.
The knowledge that company is acquiring each second will just push them further ahead. In other words, no other entity will be able to catch up. Effectively, they could use this to dominate markets and industries. The people involved with this company could end up generating trillions of dollars. Everyone else will be left in the dust.
Of course, things are not much better when we think about it from a government perspective. The Unites States or Chinese governments having this technology is no more appealing than Facebook or Google. Hence, no matter which side we turn to, it is equally as distasteful.
The only way around this is go to from "mine" to "our", This is not a political viewpoint but rather, a natural extension of this new reality. If anyone thinks that companies owning this is a good thing, that the free market determining the winner will lead to great advancement, that is misguided. It will lead to tyranny as one or two companies assume near complete control.
Of course, the flipside, of making it part of the government and letting that entity handle it all is setting ourselves up for the same tyranny. This time, it is just a different dictator.
Governments are just as power hungry as mega-corporations. Their need for control is second to none. We already see the direction governments around the world are moving, including those that are supposedly democratic. It is a farce. They are all engaging in surveillance, domination, and control to whatever extent they can get away with.
Once again, we are watching this with 2021 technology. What will the situation be like with technology from 2031 or 2035?
Tokenization opens up the door for an entirely new model which to establish around these technologies. As more people realize this, hopefully it will enter the discussion. Of course, those in power will not give it up willingly. It is why we are in a race to keep improving the "wealth basis". As more is developed in the crypto world, this will keep improving the prospects of the network effect. Over time, that could build enormous value which can rival the existing system.
It is a game that is played in the trillions. Thus, to be viable, we have to see development reaching the tens of trillions of dollars. Then we will be at a point where statements can be made.
Tokenization is a vital part of the process in handling the upcoming technology issue. The stakes are high and many are looking for a viable answer. I think we already have the solution. It is up to us to keep building upon it.
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