Social and Economic Impacts of Blockchain – Network Society

I am going to talk you about two fundamental
defining factors of today’s world. Exponential technologies and decentralization. Exponential technologies are those that surround
us every day and that we know and we recognize because they come with our computers, smart
phones, the Internet of Things that we are deploying all around. And the compounding power of these devices
is surprising, even to the experts. This is what we study at Singularity University
where I am an advisor, a member of the faculty and an investor. With funding from Google at NASA Research
Park, we believe that in a deceptive phase then disrupting industries, exponential technologies
digitize, dematerialize, demonetize and democratize technology. I love continuing the conversation with audiences
like you and I invite you to connect on the various social media platforms asking questions,
understanding how to go about because humanity is co-evolving with technology. This has been going on for tens of thousands
of years. When the Egyptians were building the pyramids,
they has a given level of technology and that level of technology allowed exactly one person
to decide what to do. It was the pharaoh. And if he decided that he wanted a pyramid,
that is what everybody else had to do and had to build for him. In the middle ages, started a process under
illuminism, it accelerated. The industrial revolution started to make
more and more people able to design their own lives. And today, that is the global infrastructure
that we are building. To allow new degrees of freedom for everybody
to decide how they want to contribute to society. As we map the world and an ever finer-grained
understanding, we are actually exploring ways of evolving and adapting to future conditions. To build resilient communities that can adapt
to rapidly changing conditions in the world. In the past, the best adaptation was that
of centralized and hierarchical organizations. Nation states, enterprises were built in order
to tell other people what to do. And the better this was defined, the more
efficient the organization seemed to be. But today, artificial intelligence, Internet
of Things, Blockchain, and very importantly, the knowledge that this is possible is giving
birth to a new generation of decentralized and distributed organizations. I’m not the only one seeing this. The decentralization is the next phase of
our social economic organization. It’s shared by inventors, investors, entrepreneurs
around the world that are feeling, excited, exhilarated with the possibilities. It is even felt by governments. They are feeling that their role and their
relevance is diminishing in today’s world. Their ability to decide for everybody else
what should be done, is not only lower than it has ever been, their authority is questioned
because the uncertainty and the variability of the solutions in exponential times is increasing
and pretending that they are in a position where they know the answers and that is the
only position they can have is hypercritical. That is why several years ago, I established
Network Society Research that is a global think tank with representatives in over 40
countries and Network Society Ventures that invests in seed stage startups that lead towards
the phase transformation. Network Society lab advising projects and
Network Society media to make sure that as many people as possible understand clearly
what is going on. The fundamental thesis under which we are
operating is that widespread social economic phase transformation is only possible if there
is a solid technological foundation to support it. If you dream of something, you can inspire
a lot of people for some time but after they wake up, the world around them is going to
be still the same. However, today, we are seeing globally distributed
and decentralized technologies that are delivering superior results to centralized and hierarchy
cal-wants. And these are unstoppable. They are disrupting the supporting pillars
of the nation’s state. And a new social economic organization is
emerging that I call the Network Society. To illustrate that this is happening in a
broad and deep context of which Blockchain technologies are just a part, let me go through
several simple examples. Solar photovoltaics is available all over
the world. In more and more places, it is out-competing
every other source of energy. Three-D printing and digital manufacturing
is removing the centralized nature of production where value is not proportional anymore to
the capital invested in the production lines themselves but it accrues to the ingenuity
and the creativity and the passion of the people who design the functionality and the
value in the products. Urban gardening, vertical farming, indoor
gardening, cultivated meat, all are pointing to a direction going away from industrial,
agriculture and food production. Personalized health is enabling anybody to
achieve a deep understanding of their state of health and be responsible for it. Peer-to-peer learning is what anybody can
practice as they understand the potential of these technologies. There’s nothing better than learning about
the power of Bitcoin and Blockchain from a friend and be enthusiastic about it because
a few minutes later, you can set up an account, find a wallet, transfer some value and do
the same in a virally extending manner without recourse to a central authority that tells
you this is what you should be doing. The ability to understand truth without having
to resort to an imposed central sense of trust is the fundamental innovation of Blockchain. The first application, Bitcoin, for money
and transaction and store of wealth and the other features that we have seen is barely
a glimpse of what we are going to be able to do with Blockchain applications as we move
from the first experiments. Trust networks are establishing a new way
of coexisting and achieving the joint rules of coexistence without resulting to the violence-based
approach that is absolutely inefficient in current society. And, of course, policy making, as well as
the role of government and governance needs to also rapidly evolve in order to achieve
non-geographical and non-exclusive approach to participation in politically active manners
to the society of the future. If you look at all of these changes and technologies
around you, you’ll realize that they are unstoppable regardless of how many articles are going
to be printed in mainstream media denouncing one or the other as mere fads and fashions
that are going to dissipate and disappear with a hype cycle. And the fact that this is happening has also
demonstrated by an increasing alarm in the bureaucracies that resist change pretending
that they are protecting the unwashed masses that are too ignorant to be able to decide
by themselves to be informed. They should rather be prohibited from taking
action. They are hiding a state of panic. Because they are not able to read the future
that must be understood by building it. By step-by-step understanding and experimenting
in feedback groups that show what works. This is a kind of overreaction that they are
going through where just like an immune system is ready to kill you if you’re allergic to
nuts and you want to eat a nut. The Federal Drugs Administration decided that
all of you are too stupid to be allowed to read the sacred text of your DNA. Just like the Vatican, 500 years ago, decided
that nobody should be able to read he sacred text of the bible when it was translated for
others to get access to. New York City and the state of New York were
the world capital of finance until they decided that it was more important to protecting combined
interests than not to make sure that the next wave of financial innovation would happen
in New York and the promulgated a BitLicense that drove dozens and dozens and dozens of
startup out of New York in the Blockchain industry. And this is fairly recent. Facebook and Google decided that no amount
of money was worth trying to be smart enough to apply Ai or algorithms or big data or whatever
they are so proud of, they should better be beholden to the regulators that hold to big
a stake over their head. And they cannot afford to find a way to allow
a certain type of economic activity to be promoted on their platforms. That is bulk labeled, not worth it. And you can go to them with any amount of
money and they’re not gonna take it. Or, as it happened, a few years ago in the
island of Hawaii, where the local grid could not take additional solar electric generation
capacity and the decision was not that of rescinding the legislation that imposed interconnecting
that capacity with the grid, it was to stop installing solar. The tragic consequences of not understanding
how technology evolves and impacts the world is most relevant in how the international
agency for more than 10 years insisted in the linear thinking of their predictions year
after year saying, the installed capacity of solar photovoltaics plateaued and is not
going to grow anymore. And they were wrong. And then, the year after, they would say the
same and they were wrong and they would persist and persist and persist, year after year after
year. And since they are the central authority whose
knowledge inspires everybody else, policy makers, investors, individual entrepreneurs,
would refer to this faulty reasoning year after year after year. However, if they were only ready to listen,
they would understand that if these changes are unstoppable, as indeed they are, there’s
no reason to panic. Because it is gonna work out. We just have to reassure them. We just have to tell them, let’s find a way. Because it is possible, and you are the demonstration,
to get out of the cages of old type of thinking. There are no barriers in adopting these new
technologies. There are only societies that decide that
they want to be in the avant-garde of experimentation or that they decide that they’d rather be
on the rear garde of experimentation. And the spectrum of these distributed decisions
is what is creating, in the Blockchain world, the opportunity for jurisdictional arbitrage
that all of you are computing dynamically week after week as you are planning the token
sales in the most welcoming region of the world. We have met people everywhere and I can tell
you, but you know that, passion, creativity, desire to positively impact the world are
everywhere. They are universal. Just as we want this powerful knowledge to
be universally accessible to everybody. That is why we are building a decentralized
platform so that knowledge can empower people. And this knowledge is going to be rewarded
with a Network Society token that is going to accrue to people who learn and teach in
order to free themselves and free others from the cages of old thinking. We are aligning our interests with projects
like the sun exchange, wealth migrate, numeration, chee-vom and dozens of others in order to
make sure that the tokens as well as the interoperability of our platforms enable people, wherever they
are, to participate in this fundamental shift. And we are helping, through the app projects,
to be verified so that the vouching of people in a decentralized global due-diligence process
can lead to investment that healthily moves them from the idea stage to the seed stage
and beyond, overcoming the self-imposed limitations that Google and Facebook just recently decided
would be their life now. I welcome you to keep up to date as we provide
more information about how Network Society is going to impact the world and how we are
going to empower the projects of our partners and beyond. The toolbox that we are creating is the basis
for new organizations that empower and emancipate people that can experiment and learn in order
to find purpose and dignity in their lives. The reason why the political process perversely
incentivizes dogmatic and demagogic approaches is because too many of us do not feel that
they have a role in the world of the future. But we all have that role. The only difference between dinosaurs and
humans is that they didn’t have telescopes. We don’t even know if seven billion people
are enough to stop that is the asteroid that is there to start killing us and we have solution
if we want to achieve that. Maybe ten billion people will be needed and
we allow the most precious resource that is the human brain to be squandered. We are able and we have the power to build
communities that are inclusive where the purpose of each individual is appreciated. And those who believe that artificial intelligence
is a threat are profoundly misguided. They are going to be coming on our side as
allies because the real enemy against Ai and human together are the dumb machines. The simplest example are self-driving cars. If you go to a kindergarten, nobody will say
that their purpose in life is drive a truck for the next 50, 60 years. And we have to take care of the truck drivers
that are going to be replaced by self-driving trucks. But pretending to slow down the spreading
of self-driving cars and trucks means condemning to early death a million people per year and
more. And there is, hopefully, no politician that,
given the choice, is going to choose death against life. Human talent is not an externality. The current social contract that says your
value to society equals your economic output which, in a very natural syllogism, also means
that when your economic output goes to zero, you are worthless, ’cause society is inhumane
and unacceptable. But luckily, the social contract is not a
natural law. Under pressure, it will break and we have
to find a new one to replace it. Harder, softer algorithms are going to enable
us, together, with the creativity and ingenuity of people to really start and dream big. We have seen nothing yet. And we are going to build this new world together. Thank you very much.

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