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Crypto Is Libertarian, A.I. Is Communist


Crypto Is Libertarian, A.I. Is Communist


China is reacting very differently to the two great paradigm shifts in technology: Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain. Why is the Chinese government heavily invested in A.I., even as it tries to chase blockchain out of the country? And why is a small nation like Taiwan uniquely suited to the development of blockchain?



Crypto Is Libertarian, A.I. Is Communist

By Jamie Lin
From CommonWealth Magazine (vol. 659 )

Without a doubt, the two major paradigm shifts in technology for the next ten years are artificial intelligence (A.I.) and blockchain. Everyone needs to pay attention, because they are fertile ground for innovation and revolution.

These two enormous paradigm shifts came into fruition around the same time, and there are as many similarities as there are differences between them. Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and author of “Zero to One”, said something at a recent Stanford forum that’s been stuck in my head, and I want to share it with our readers.

He said, “Crypto Is Libertarian, A.I. Is Communist.”

What an astute observation!

The Future of A.I.: Big Gets Bigger

At its core, artificial intelligence is based on the monopoly of big data and information channels. Organizations that can get their hands on bigger, better caches of data will naturally develop smarter A.I. and create more value. This culminates in a snowball effect as they consolidate more and more resources. The big grows increasingly bigger.

The world’s wealth falls into the hands of a few, allowing superpowers to become more powerful, and so the iron fist of authoritarian governments grips ever more tightly.

On the other side of the coin is blockchain. Blockchain is managed by peer-to-peer networks collectively adhering to a protocol for inter-node communications. It is an open, distributed ledger that is decentralized and cannot be easily controlled by a few. As of right now, it is winning the trust of more and more users, as well as developers of Decentralized Applications (DApp).

For example, when the risk of a “51% attack” on Proof of Work (PoW) blockchains became apparent, the cryptocurrency community quickly rallied and accelerated the adoption of Proof of Stake (PoS) algorithms. This demonstrates how the determination of a decentralized and democratic process can react much more quickly to threats than any centralized government.  

As blockchain continues to mature, the distribution of wealth becomes more even. The position of the middleman is diminished, and the power of established organizations is greatly reduced.

This explains why the Chinese government has very different attitudes regarding these two equally important paradigm shifts. While it is fully invested in artificial intelligence, it seems determined to drive blockchain out of the country.

Taiwan Should Embrace Blockchain

For this very reason, a small nation like Taiwan has the chance to diminish the threat that global superpowers pose to us. We should embrace blockchain with a fervor that dwarves the amount of investment in artificial intelligence. The spark of decentralization will catch fire around the world. The more this trend catches on, the safer and more secure small nations like Taiwan will be.

For the good of Taiwan, I call on you now: businessmen, academics, and the government. Starting this minute, please stand with me and put your power into the development of blockchain in Taiwan.

Translated by Jack C.
Edited by Tomas Lin

About the Author
Jamie Lin, founding partner of startup accelerator AppWorks, and Chairman of Taiwan Internet and E-commerce Association (TiEA).