The Paradox of Technological Déjà Vu

Blockchain is one of several technologies du jour. It combines clever methods from peer-to-peer decentralized computing to provide an online tracing function for virtual transactions, and, once someone sets it up, it requires minimal intervention from a central auditor. While Bitcoin is the most well-known application of this innovative computer science, verification of authenticity and …

Adjusting to Autonomous Trucking

News coverage of automation and machine learning tends to focus on extraordinary events, such as computers winning at Jeopardy and Go, and robotic arms flipping burgers in short-order restaurants. Additional headlines foster a sense of nightmares, conjuring pictures of autonomous cars killing pedestrians and newly automated establishments laying off their workforce. The combination of headlines …

Digitopoly — the Audio Version

A company called curio.io offered to take certain posts on Digitopoly and have a professional narrator read them. I have heard that many people like audio versions of written stuff and so was happy to let them at it. Their first post is below.

It is far from clear that requiring payments for data makes sense

It is very easy to posit a sense of exploitation when it comes to data. Try this for size: "Networks are relying on data by individuals but they aren't being paid and this is making those networks profitable." Substitute "plantations" for "networks," "labour" for "data," and "individuals" for "slaves" and you get the picture. Of …

A limit to Bitcoin scale?

Eric Budish has a new paper out on "The Economic Limits of the Blockchain." He demonstrates a potentially fundamental contradiction at the heart of 'proof of work' schemes to support cryptocurrencies -- the most famous of which is, of course, Bitcoin. It is an incredibly clear issue so I figured I would recount it here. …