Crypto Market Commentary
24 July 2019
Doc's Daily Commentary
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Mind Of Mav
The Future Isn’t Scary: Two Sides To The Technology Coin
So, if I bummed you out with yesterday’s topic about mass market coercion through AI proliferation, I think today’s newsletter will help cheer you up.
Let’s dive into a few reasons why, and start with AI.
After all, during the course of the next decade the most likely scenario is AI will have a modest impact on the lives of most humans.
AI systems will continue to expand with the greatest growth coming from systems that augment and complement human capabilities and decision-making.
This is not to say there won’t be negative impacts from the use of AI. Jobs will be replaced and certain industries will be disrupted. Even scarier, and as I talked about yesterday, there are many ways AI can be weaponized.
But like most technological advancements, I do think the overall impact of AI will be additive – at least over the next decade or so.
We make a mistake when we look for direct impact without considering the larger picture – we worry about a worker displaced by a machine rather than focus on broader opportunities for a better-trained and healthier workforce where geography or income no longer determine access not just to information but to relevant and appropriate information paths.
Not only that, one of the most serious misconceptions about AI and robotics is that their implementation in the real world will first replace blue-collar, low skill jobs, whereas high skill workforce will remain unscathed, at least in the nearer term.
Even though this might seem intuitive to most people, delving deeper into the issue challenges this assumption.
So-called Moravec’s paradox explains why white-collar jobs that require high level of knowledge will be hit first by AI, contrary to the conventional wisdom.
The paradox was first articulated by professor Hans Moravec and his colleagues in the 1980s.
Simply put, the principle states that it is relatively easy for robots and AI algorithms to perform tasks that seem difficult by human standards — those that demand high level reasoning and mathematical thinking, while at the same time they struggle with operations that we deem simple and unconscious — for instance, moving limbs.
As Moravec said,
“It is comparatively easy to make computers exhibit adult level performance on intelligence tests or playing checkers, and difficult or impossible to give them the skills of a one-year-old when it comes to perception and mobility.”
The oldest human skills, which include moving around in space, recognizing a voice, etc. are unconscious and, as a result, seem effortless and natural to us, because they were honed by nature over very long time spans.
This means that it is difficult to reverse-engineer skills that appear effortless, because they are very old; on the other hand, skills that demand attention and effort can be replicated by AI and robots because they evolved very recently.
In essence, AI is great at thinking, but robots are bad at moving their fingers.
Regardless, we should recognize that AI can significantly improve usability and thus access to the benefits of technology. Many powerful technical tools today require detailed expertise, and AI can bring more of those to a larger swath of the population.
After all, that’s the angle that Facebook is taking with Libra, justifying their malpractice by highlighting the greater issue of financial services not benefiting a large portion of the world.
Today the unbanked population stands at a staggering 1.7 billion globally, according to data released by the World Bank. In the European Union alone, close to 40 million citizens don’t have a bank account.
In the developing world there is an issue of absolute low incomes,” says Elisabeth Rhyne, managing director of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion. “In regards to how much in deposits people would be providing, how large a credit they might want, these are below the threshold of feasibility for banks using traditional branch-based, teller-based models. So you couldn’t put a branch out in a rural area and expect it to be profitable, given the amount of income that it would generate.”
Central banks and governments have proven to be historically bad at promoting financial inclusion among marginalised communities. To address this, officials are increasingly issuing licences to third-party fintech companies, allowing them to work alongside central banks to plan and deploy an infrastructure which will support financial inclusion.
Take Finland’s example. For the past two years, the country’s immigration service has been handing out Mastercards to asylum seekers, who don’t have the necessary documentation to open a conventional bank account.
Developed by the Helsinki-based startup Moni, the card helps to address several problems specific to asylum seekers, according to Jouko Salonen, director of the Finnish Immigration Service. People can use their accounts to buy things, pay bills and even receive direct deposits from employers. Meanwhile, every transaction is recorded in blockchain, enabling the immigration service to keep track of the cardholders and their spending.
This notion probably isn’t new to us in the crypto space, but I do want to highlight the tremendous opportunity it represents for the future.
A “killer app” for blockchain exists in uplifting those 1.7 billion adults globally who remain outside of the financial system with no access to a traditional bank, even though one billion have a mobile phone and nearly half a billion have internet access.
Rather than trying to proselytize the worldwide population already using SWIFT and break them away from conventions they are comfortable with (nod if you’ve heard something similar to, “Well, Bitcoin sounds interesting and I really don’t like my bank, but I like using my card / phone and getting airline miles”), we should instead focus efforts towards uplifting those who need it most.
This illustrates the point I want to stress the most:
It’s ecosystems, not inventions, that drive the future.
Peter Thiel likes to say that we wanted flying cars and got 140 characters instead.
But you know what?
140 characters are better than flying cars.
Cars let us drive A to B, but the Internet let us span the world & drive the future.
There are innumerable factors that propel us ever-deeper towards unfathomable heights of technological achievement. Aside from profiteering, it may be that innate human curiosity that is the main driving force behind it all — that ingenuity and sense of innovation which probably deserves top credit.
Ultimately — as we sail towards the unimaginable at an exponentially rapid rate, it may be worth a moment’s time to simply pause and wonder what it is that’s really driving us.
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An Update Regarding Our Portfolio
We are pleased to share with you our Community Portfolio V3!
Add your own voice to our portfolio by clicking here.
We intend on this portfolio being balanced between the Three Pillars of the Token Economy & Interchain:
Crypto, STOs, and DeFi projects
We will also make a concerted effort to draw from community involvement and make this portfolio community driven.
Here’s our past portfolios for reference:
RSC Managed Portfolio (V2)
RSC Unmanaged Altcoin Portfolio (V2)
RSC Managed Portfolio (V1)