George Gilder: Forget Cloud Computing, Blockchain is the Future


Is blockchain the technology of the future? George Gilder, author of Life After Google, argues that bitcoin and blockchain technology is revolutionizing the Internet. I sit down with George to discuss technology, cloud computing, big data, and the growing role of blockchain in innovating new technologies.

Gilder argues that cloud computing, while it was the hot new technology ten years ago, has reached its limits as the physical limitations of big data storage centers maxes out. Improvements in parsing big data are incremental at this point, and it’s time for the next big technology to take its place. Gilder points to blockchain as the technology of the future, with its ability to prevent corruption and manipulation of transaction data and the infinite uses it could have in third world countries.

Gilder also discusses the history of technology, artificial intelligence, and the revolutionary bitcoin. He argues that artificial intelligence can never replace human intelligence and creativity and that in principle, it is impossible for machines to take over.

Recorded on August 28th, 2018.

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  1. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette

    Looking forward to listening to this one. I’ve been listening to Gilder since Wealth and Poverty, and always found his perspective interesting.

    • #1
  2. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller

    I listened this morning, thanks. Not all of his arguments are convincing because he often bases one bold claim on another bold claim. But perhaps each claim is argued independently in the book.

    The leap from cloud server technology to blockchain coding seems a nonsequitur. Though remote access is the purpose of servers, blockchain addresses the exchange of data without addressing the technical challenge of storing data. Gilder says cloud server tech is nearing its limits, but blockchain doesn’t break those limits. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m not very familiar with blockchain. Bell’s Law suggests a necessary innovation in computer processing (hardware) rather than in data distribution (software).

    Whenever Bitcoin is discussed as an emerging replacement of hard currencies, I propose that the extent of government regulation is relative to the medium’s social significance and profitability. The bigger it gets, the more attention and want of control it draws from politicians, bureaucrats, and lawyers. And the more regulated, the less useful it becomes. Does the same not apply to blockchain? It is touted as a liberating innovation. But all liberating innovations are eventually stymied by governments, corporations, and other controlling interests. I am wary of utopian claims about emerging technologies.

    On the topic of AI, I think Gilder mistakes deliberate randomness by designers as a neglect of data rather than a placeholder for it. When attempting to replicate infinitely complex systems, incremental steps toward better functionality require useful models in anticipation of more accurate representation as knowledge is acquired.

    We see the same in scientific discovery. Scientific theorems are works-in-progress which through iteration gradually approach a fuller understanding of reality. Similarly, when an AI algorithm results in Siri saying “hello” one time and “hi” the next, that randomness might not accurately reflect the causes of common variation in human conversation, but it better simulates conversation and so provides a better effect in anticipation of psychological understanding.

    • #2
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