2020 — the Great Swift — The best is yet to come
“A life devoted only to the present — to feeling good in the now — is unlikely to deliver real fulfillment. The present moment by itself is too small, too hollow. We all need a future. Something beyond and greater than our own present gratification, at which to aim or feel we’ve contributed.” – Amy Chua
2020, for different reasons, may come to be called The Great Swift.
As we spend so much time at home, depending more and more on digital devices, Humanity understood, in a dramatic way, how much we depend on technology.
Especially when we started working at home and realized that almost everything would work by a click or a Zoom meeting.
Pandemic was the fuse, but sooner or later, the Great Swift would knock on our doors.
We all know now that it’s here to stay.
Yet, are we prepared for it?
1. It Is Hard to Think Differently
There was an era before technology.
The world’s economy was built on different pillars. Yet, humans still make so much resistance to the change.
The global economy could be in a prosperous era if we could adapt more rapidly to this swift.
Technology advances are happening at a faster pace than our capacity to understand them, we know.
However, if we continue this existing path, without a swift on who we think about economics, and about the way we are building our economies, it will probably be the chaos.
On this path, the price of tomorrow is set to explode. In this extraordinary time, it is not reasonable to believe that what will work in the future should necessary be built on what worked in the past.- Jeff Booth
Every founder or leader of a technology company is determined to use technology to make a profound impact on the planet.
There is a special naivety in this transformation. A need to help. A common goal of transforming the world into a better place.
Maybe we all need to be aware and start to deeply reflect on our philosophy of life.
Our day-to-day philosophy of life.
That may be the real Great Swift of our generation.
The opportunity to create something better comes from observing something broken
The economy isn’t working the way you and I believe it should. Everyone feels something’s wrong. Leaderships are broken. Losing power and ethical authority.
As time passes by, we don’t see it getting better. Quite the opposite.
We should be using technology in favor of democracy. Instead, we’re manipulating society patterns for political purposes, as we saw on the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Blockchain is one of the proofs of this dysfunction. Bitcoin is one of the solutions entrepreneurs found to start another revolution.
I personally believe that everything will be tokenized and connected by a blockchain one day.
These entrepreneurs created their own reality and ours with it.
It was a choice. It’s always a choice.
A dream too. A vision from those who don’t just visualize the future, but also create it.
2. Doubling Up
In 1965, Gordon E. Moore- co-founder of Intel- said that the number of transistors that can be packed into a given unit of space will double about every two years.
Of course, nothing doubles forever, but for the next doubles, research on existing silicon technology indicates that the rate will continue.
Theoretically speaking, it wouldn’t be a bad assumption to envision Moore’s law accelerating again to new technology.
Yet, companies need an economy of scale to produce enough of a new product, for it to be economically profitable. Otherwise, it just doesn’t work.
You cannot produce a car in your garage and sell it at the same price Toyota does.
Or like Elon Musk with Tesla, for example. He had to develop vertical integration to gain the perfect pace to scale the production of EVs and lower the battery and manufacture price.
According to a recent report from Lux Research, prices of EVs from the traditional brands have dropped drastically since 2016, but most remain unprofitable.
3. A Brief History of Intelligence
Our brains are imperfect storage devices.
They don’t remember episodes of our lives exactly as they happened. They do remember some facts through our own biases.
Even from generation to generation, if we don’t have a structure to store our data, as Jeff Booth says, knowledge transmitted orally would lose fidelity over time, memories would fade, and things that were never mentioned would be forever forgotten. Your children would know a little less than you, and their children less than them, and so on.
However, the more information there is, the more correction it needs. This huge growth of information that allowed exponential improvements, always needed improved error correction. With that problem solved, we reached a supersonic pace of storage data, knowledge, and learning experience.
With that said, computers are getting the capacity of operating on another level.
The Master Algorithm
The book outlines five tribes of machine learning: inductive reasoning, connectionism, evolutionary computation, Bayes’ theorem, and analogical modeling.
Pedro explains these tribes to the reader by referring to more understandable processes of logic, connections made in the brain, natural selection, probability, and similarity judgments.
Throughout the book, it is suggested that each different tribe has the potential to contribute to a unifying “master algorithm”.
The best way he could explain to ordinary people like you and me was about imagining a person waking up on a planet one afternoon at the beginning of time and seeing the sun go down and wondering if it will come back up.
The person has never seen the sunrise, so there’s no reason to believe it will or it won’t.
With each day that the sun rises in the morning, the probability that is assigned to it rising the next day increases but never reaches 100 percent confidence, since the person could never be completely certain.
Now, imagine you where teletransported to a strange planet at night. With your previous knowledge, you know how the solar system works. So, you might start your probability by assuming the sun will rise in the morning.
As long as you had a starting probability and enough cycles to update the probabilities, you could learn any problem.
With computers having error correction and refinement of hypothesis through iterations, they produce intelligence.
That was what happened in 2014 with AlphaGo Zero. If you never saw this documentary, you should.
No longer contained by human knowledge, it took only three days of the computer playing itself to best previous AlphaGo versions developed by top researchers and it continued to improve from there. It mastered the masters, then mastered itself, and kept on going.- Jeff Booth
4. What’s Coming
“People worry that computers will get too smart and take over the world, but the real problem is that they’re too stupid and they’ve already taken over the world.”- Pedro Domingos
Artificial intelligence is moving across all industries. And has AI learn a new skill, it produces something, somewhere, at almost no cost.
Of course, human beings are still better in all kinds of situations. And the “best” or “experts” are the better paid in the global market.
However, computers are getting there. You have several examples where products that were made and high paid by top experts, and now you have the same products, free, on a simple app, on your phone.
Why dedicate your entire life trying to master something that AI can do routinely with far better outcomes? – Jeff Booth
5. The Simple Solution
A simple solution is more likely to be correct than a complex one (in philosophy it is called Occam’s razor).
Technology has a deflationary effect. It provokes a deflationary environment. Everything tends to be free, from an absolute perspective.
How many free apps do you have on your phone that replace the work of thousands of hands?
Deflation allows us to get more for less.
What if, instead of trying to stop deflation, we embrace it?
What if prices decline to the point things get free?
The world population would no longer have to be on an endless treadmill to pay for things that are constantly rising in price.
As hard as it is to imagine, it seems that’s the only real choice we have, right now.
It’s hard to comprehend this line of thought because we always lived in a world with different paradigms.
Think about what Tesla’s doing, for example. We soon will be transported by a vehicle without a steering wheel, without clutch or brake pedals. With your phone, you’ll be able to choose when and where you wanna go.
Elon Musk has been working on the robotaxi revolution.
It’s gonna transform the transportation industry into a cheaper service, compared with you buying a car and spend money on maintenance and insurance.
I mean, all society, the all-world was built in that assumption.
Our careers become part of who we are. Our social status often comes from our jobs.
Yet, we whistle to the side when we are faced with the fact that technology will, one day, do our job better than ourselves.
We fear a world without jobs, and that line of thought blocks us from imagining a better world where our jobs are not required.
Consider this alternative: allowing abundance without the jobs might actually open an entirely new enlightenment era where we have time to enjoy the benefits that technology brings.- Jeff Booth