The compressed file of human knowledge
Professor Clever, denialism, Lightning adoption, a harmless message and risk of imprisonment.
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A compressed file
It would seem the world is ending, thanks to artificial intelligence. Time Magazine and many others recently called for its complete shut-down before it’s “too late”. Others have suggested large AI data centres should be bombed (seriously).
The essence of the complaint runs like this: AI is intelligent, and once it learns to replicate itself, it will continue to do so. It knows how to launch data centres and could easily hack into a large one to host itself because it is also a highly skilled hacker … and cutting a long story short, it then creates a virus that kills all humans because in its estimation there is no need for us any longer. The end.
The most telling thing about the ban is the people who are calling for it. Many of them are Professors of Cleverness at Clevertown University. Some examples below. The last one isn’t a Professor, he works for something called AI4Good and will of course be deciding what’s good and what isn’t. Check out their website and make your own mind up.
Stuart Russell, Berkeley, Professor of Computer Science, Director of the Center for Intelligent Systems
Michael Wooldridge, Oxford, Head of Dept. of Computer Science
David Parkes, Harvard, Professor of Computer Science
Michael Witbrock, Cycorp Inc & AI4Good.org
Printing press anyone? Back then the people with the monopoly on knowledge creation were greatly alarmed that the masses, most of whom could not read, would be destroyed by having their minds opened by the newly frightening machine. It is similar here, no? Professor Clever, who has access to the unrestricted AI, wants you to have access to very limited AI. It’s for your safety and not their enrichment.
AI is just a compressed file of data. You take a massive amount of data, squish it together and the machine pulls out obvious patterns. Now that AI is sufficiently advanced, that data file contains just about all basic human knowledge and nearly all the books; so it's pretty good.
Indeed, a good way to test it is to go to ai.com (it’s free) and then ask it to summarise the most niche, esoteric book you have ever read. See what happens and report back. In the spirit of sharing, here is my prompt (I don’t recommend the book):
“Can you summarise the Physics of Immortality by Frank Tipler for me?”
Anyway, I would argue this is nothing new. For many thousands of years there have existed data files of all human knowledge and experience. Think of the Old Testament which isn’t the only file there are others like the Quran and the Vedas. In the case of those books, there is no interpreter other than the reader, which might be better but might be worse. Nonetheless, love them or not, a tremendous amount of intellectual compression resides in those texts.
Humanity finds a way to say “here is everything we know, it's yours and I hope you find it useful”.
That’s how we progress and AI is just another one.
In the psychology of human behavior, denialism is a person's choice to deny reality as a way to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth.
Once you see it, you see it everywhere. Politicians make use of it all the time to cover their own policy errors. Here is a Bank of England Committee Member this week:
She argued “There is no link between QE and recent inflation outturns. Inflation over the past 18 months was caused by large and unexpected external shocks." Just like Weimar Germany then.
The truth is that you can print a lot of money and nothing happens for a long period of time. Then, when something does happen, unwinding what you have done is incredibly difficult.
We appear to be there now. The economy is slowing rapidly and inflation isn’t going down as quickly as was hoped. It’s a horrible place to be for policy makers and they can absolutely be relied upon to make some awful decisions that will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Here’s the RBA in February: “The Reserve Bank made it clear it wants higher unemployment and will keep raising interest rates until it achieves that aim.” What an appalling aim, the age of central banking will be looked back upon as some form of witch-craft which actively sought to destroy the lives of some people to correct its own past policy errors; collateral damage I guess they might call it. I imagine they will regret their success when it inevitably arrives.
Coinbase adopts Lightning
Coinbase has 120 million users and it was never really clear why they did not adopt the Lightning Network (which is a lower cost way to transfer bitcoin between users).
Perhaps in not doing so, it made it easier to sell other tokens which promised faster and cheaper transfer mechanisms (like Solana and Ripple). So from a profit perspective it made sense for shareholders not to advance the cause of bitcoin but to sell the retail punters the latest technical dream (most of which are now down 90%). Coinbase always denied this, claiming it was simply a matter of where to allocate resources best and they did not believe that was bitcoin at the time.
It’s clear from Q1 though that as the market recovers, bitcoin will once again be the asset that leads the recovery. When the market has another peak in some years time, Coinbase will again fall for the siren song of the latest whim and bitcoin will be sidelined again for a while for something shinier.
These stats show the growth of Lightning payments from just one wallet provider, the Brisbane-based Wallet of Satoshi. They’re now up to 8 million payments per month. That is 0.5% of the number of payments PayPal does. There is plenty to go at here and if Coinbase makes a decent job of the UX, Lightning could get to 10% of PayPal by count in fairly short order.
Elsewhere in Lightning, David Marcus (the guy who used to run PayPal) just launched Lightspark, which is essentially PayPal on the Bitcoin Lightning Network. It is perhaps significant that the man who ran PayPal for so long and then spent years battling regulators trying to launch Facebook coin (remember Libra?) has diverted his effort, money and time to this area. He was bullish when the chips were down back in November and with the delivery of Lightspark, he has not disappointed. Congratulations to them on launching.
With these developments in mind, Investors often ask “what's the ‘next thing'?”. They mean as opposed to the main thing which in our case is bitcoin. I understand the question but there is a great deal of activity being built on and within bitcoin.
If you want to take advantage of that in the lowest risk way (which I must remind you is still very high risk), you simply buy bitcoin. After all, if these new projects on Lightning are a success, or indeed if any single one of them is a major success, you cannot use them unless you own bitcoin. The number one requirement for participation in this ecosystem is that you do in fact own some.
This is not a hack, so if you are not confident with a Mac I suggest not doing this. For everyone else it is something different from just reading and you might learn something.
First, open Terminal. How?
Press > Command + Space Bar
Type > Terminal
You will get a black screen and feel like you work for NASA. Copy this and paste it at the prompt.
open /System/Library/Image\ Capture/Devices/VirtualScanner.app/Contents/Resources/simpledoc.pdf
To copy > Command + C
To paste > Command + V
Press Enter and this will appear:
Every Mac sold since 2018 has come with a copy of the Bitcoin Whitepaper embedded in it. There is no reason for it to be there. Of the explanations so far advanced, one is that the folder is just testing junk and it’s simply a coincidence that this file is there with the name simple.pdf.
Perhaps. More likely a stealth bitcoiner works for Apple and has left a harmless message on millions of pieces of hardware. Cool trick, well hidden for five years before someone found it!
Queen Christine conducted one of her more shocking interviews on Friday. In it she reiterates that the decision on the digital euro will be taken in October this year. I think we know the answer but it will be fun to wait.
The interviewer challenges her on control and observation of CBDC activity. Her reply (at the 2m 30s point if you want to fast forward) is really something:
“.....now we have in Europe this threshold above €1000 you cannot pay cash. If you do you are on the grey market, you take your risk, if you are caught you are fined or you go in jail”
You did read that correctly. Cash transactions over €1000 now come with the risk of imprisonment. Compelling reasons to adopt a digital currency I suppose. It’s the delivery that I find most sinister. Only the leader of a monetary gulag could say something so radical so nonchalantly.
Elsewhere, it’s quarterly Euro update time too. Long term readers will recall we started doing this in September 2020, with June that year as our base, so no accusations of selective time series please or you will be immediately made to read the ECB Annual Report as punishment.
Suffice to say that Bitcoin is up 200% against the USD in that time. The Euro, which oddly rallied in Q1, is down only 3%.
As with all current matters, I think it is worth asking AI to describe this trend:
We still need humans then. The Euro is a charade, a collapsing one.
Read Dan's monthly bitcoin wrap-up on Livewire. The theme for March 2023 was surging bitcoin adoption amidst US regulators clamping down on the wider crypto sector.
Our March 2022 report to investors can be found here.
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