Bill’s Blog – June 14, 2020
Our previous blog of May 30 summarized background information on the Internet. It then posed three questions about advances in blockchain based the provocative new book by George Gilder, Life After Google:
Security Can we expect the Internet to become secure and avoid todays hacking, viruses, malware, identity theft, pirating millions of personal data sets? What technologies will permit this? When? George Gilder seems certain that the cryptology of blockchain will make all transactions safe from these threats.
Decentralization George Gilder thinks blockchain technology will permit a bottom up Internet that avoids the plethora of passwords, logins, cookies, tech giants, etc. How likely is this possibility? When? Do you agree with Gilder that blockchain will avoid all these tech company systems and return control to individuals?
Immersion Virtual reality (VR) is slowly entering mainstream use, and sophisticated games create rich virtual environments. Gilder thinks the new Internet will be rich with sensual information and graphics. Will fully immersive technology including 3D graphics, stereoscopic sound, haptic sense of touch and other effects become mainstream? When?
This little study of blockchain is TechCast’s furthers our new approach to using collective intelligence directly in this newsletter. We focus on simple designs that are relatively quick, like action research, but offer big strategic payoffs. Our previous study using background data and 12 experts produced a definitive model of global consciousness to resolve the MegaCrisis.
In fact, our forecast of global consciousness seems to be erupting into public life even today as the “Black Lives Matter” movement abruptly shifts attitudes around the world. The sudden emergence of this political power is reminiscent of the “Me Too” movement that ousted sexual predators, as well as the passing of “gay marriage” laws a few years ago. Big change is always possible when the time has come. The most telling thing about today’s push for racial justice is that it is led by young people across the political and racial spectrums, the cohort that intuitively favors principles of global consciousness. This newfound power could be turned to resolve any of the other great obstacles to serious change. In short, a major shift to global consciousness is almost here, roughly along the lines of our previous study.
This first round on the coming transformation of the Internet presents comments from our experts to frame the questions more accurately. We conclude with a short survey to get a better sense of what to expect. Here’s a quick summary of what we learned from the experts:
Peter King is rightly concerned about the vast potential impact of an even more demanding Internet – increased use of energy, more pollution and climate change, more intense tribalism caused by siloed information sources, distractions from reality and Nature, obsession with frivolous delights and so forth. In Peter’s words “the question becomes security for whom? … Ironically, a technology that was supposed to bring the world together may ultimately be responsible for tearing it apart … we have created a cohort of young people who have completely lost touch with Nature. This is the generation that believes milk comes from cartons and meat has no connection with the cruelty of intensive livestock farming…”
Jonathan Kolber focus on the increasing richness of multisensory online experiences and sees big possibilities for an improved Internet replacing travel and improving human awareness. Here’s how Jonathan puts it: “Fully immersive VR will transform how we work and play… much of the pressure on the environment for physical resources will diminish … People will be able to share experiences with others … with reduced cost and social friction … An inexpensive full-body haptic suit will probably be the last barrier to full immersion … VR-enabling and enhancing software, including virtual worlds, will be a major growth industry of the 2030s and beyond.”
Dennis Bushnell focuses on broader changes in Internet technology, forecasting ubiquitous computing to flesh out the Global Brain. Dennis describes it this way: “Blockchain is touted as a nearer term security solution, but has scalability, security and operability issues… The emerging Quantum Crypto approach is beyond blockchain on the way to quantum communications security solution … A rapidly evolving Internet of Things (IoT), involving robotization of nearly everything with ever improving AI and intelligent agents … Machine/brain interaction is developing into 5 senses virtual reality/holographic projection/immersive presence… enable phone capabilities to go directly into the human brain, as we all become part of a connected Global Brain.”
Steve Hausman sees major obstacles to security and decentralization, but the technology is likely to become practical in about 5 years. Listen to Steve’s main ideas: “Threats to the Internet will only increase in the future when everything will, in essence, be a computer… so they are vulnerable to becoming compromised … every type of safeguard we put into place an Internet adversary comes up with a counter measure … blockchain technology has the potential to transform security in a radical fashion such that its use might obviate the need for passwords and ensure that individuals attempting to gain access to a website are validated … will become practical in about the next five years… . It is likely that in another decade VR and AR will become so commonplace that these devices will be with many people all of the time.”
Peter von Stackelberg sees serious limitations in blockchain technology that will prevent the security and decentralization claimed by George Gilder. But he also thinks blockchain will serve a useful niche. Here are his main ideas: “A single bad security incident could discredit public acceptance … Blockchain technology typically doesn’t perform as well as non-blockchain systems with similar functionality … I seriously doubt that blockchain will return control of information to citizens … we are early in the commercialization stage” of the technology life cycle.”
Alexandre Pupo draws on his ICT skills to forecast these trends. He thinks “The Internet tends to become a more and more insecure space for people in the next ten years. That will happen due to the increase in numbers and types of autonomous agents … Blockchain technology has a small chance of replacing things like passwords, logins, and other authentication and validation mechanisms … Part of the immersion technologies – the fewer complex ones – will become mainstream by 2030. The more complex ones still have a longer path and will not become mainstream before 2035.”