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moneybag with a bitcoin symbol on dirt gravel background

Is Cryptocurrency Selling Out to Centralization?

Compared to more conventional forms of money, crypto wealth is radically centralized in the hands of a few

At Expensivity, Bernard Fickser, who has explained how to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) now offers “The Truth About Cryptocurrencies: A Clearheaded Guide to the Crypto World.” (January 15, 2022) For your convenience, we are serializing his work, which can be read in whole here. Here’s Part 5 (of 5): 5 The Centralization of Crypto Wealth Decentralization is a watchword of crypto. One of the things said to commend cryptocurrencies is that the blockchain-based peer-to-peer networks that run them are decentralized, residing outside the control of any single authority. This claim that cryptocurrencies are decentralized in their organizational structure is overstated because the peer-to-peer networks that run them can themselves act as central authorities. True, these peer-to-peer networks feel freer and…

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Cyborg head with red eyes, surronded by wires and lights in a futuristic and ciberpunk enviroment

When the Terminator Ran Into Skynet at the Unemployment Office…

In an ID the Future podcast, computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks explores with Casey Luskin the limits of algorithms

In a podcast at ID The Future, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks talked with host Casey Luskin about claims, games, and realities around artificial intelligence: In the course of the fast-paced interview, Marks touches on dystopian AI and the limits of computer algorithms (they can never do anything that is inherently non-computable, Marks argues), and discuss celebrity thinkers and entrepreneurs who’ve weighed in on the promises and perils of AI, such as Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Stephen Hawking. Marks calls on Nobel Laureate Roger Penrose to second one of Marks’s central arguments. The occasion for the conversation is Marks’s chapter in the recent Harvest House anthology, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. (2021) Marks…

closeup keyboard laptop and Google Ads AdWords app icon on smart
closeup keyboard laptop and Google Ads AdWords app icon on smartphone screen. Google is the biggest Internet search engine in the world. Moscow, Russia - April 27, 2019

Facebook and Google Face Big Legal Challenges

The FTC, dozens of states, and private citizens are coming after the big tech companies for antitrust violations

How has 2022 begun for our favorite Big Tech companies? With a good chunk of lawsuits. As technology companies grow bigger, they face bigger legal challenges. Here’s a brief rundown of a few such challenges Facebook and Google face in the courts in this new year: FTC Antitrust Lawsuit Against Facebook Moves Forward Let’s begin at the federal level. Last June, Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia tossed out a lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) challenging Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp. According to Boasberg, the FTC failed to adequately show that Facebook holds a monopoly. Not to be dissuaded, the FTC re-filed with an amended complaint in August. Last…

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Xi’an Lockdown: Beijing Continues to Pursue “Zero-Covid”

With the Winter Olympics quickly approaching, China faces great internal stress for its strict COVID response

First, I hoped to escape lockdownLater, I hoped to get out to buy foodNow, I only hope I’m not hauled off a poem widely shared on Weibo about Xi’an; translated and reported by China Digital Times Rather than shifting gears, as much of the world has, Beijing continues to chase its zero-covid agenda. But the Chinese government’s heavy-handed measures to control the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and its messaging to the public to justify those measures, may have backfired. China is beholden to its “zero-Covid” strategy as the February 2nd opening ceremonies for the Beijing Winter Olympics nears and the Omicron variant spreads across the world.  The Chinese Communist Party constructed a narrative early in the pandemic claiming that China…

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Bitcoin and cryptomoney

How and Why Cryptocurrencies Are Revolutionizing Money

The trouble is, cryptos are an immature technology at present and that fact may doom many of the current ones

At Expensivity, Bernard Fickser, who has explained how to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) now offers “The Truth About Cryptocurrencies: A Clearheaded Guide to the Crypto World.” (January 15, 2022) For your convenience, we are serializing his work, which can be read in whole here. Here’s Part 4: 4 Crypto’s Revolution in Money and Finance Cryptocurrencies seem different from mass delusions of the past. They do novel things in the world of finance that many people want, such as allow for anonymous exchanges of digital currency that feel a lot like exchanges of ordinary cash. They promise to bypass intrusive government control. And they’ve attracted a lot of very smart talent that is deploying some very cool mathematics and computer science.…

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Powerful Personal Computer Gamer Rig with First-Person Shooter Game on Screen. Monitor Stands on the Table at Home. Cozy Room with Modern Design is Lit with Pink Neon Light.

Do AI Entities in Virtual Worlds Have Rights?

A professor of game designing argues that they do; Wesley J. Smith disagrees

Pointing to an article at The Conversation, “How to be a god: we might one day create virtual worlds with characters as intelligent as ourselves,” Wesley J. Smith offers, We have enough problems with attaining universal human rights, but activists want animals and “nature” to have human-type rights. Transhumanists and futurists also worry about guaranteeing rights for AI technologies when they attain “consciousness.” The latest example comes in The Conversation from a professor of game designing — who knew that was an academic discipline? — named Richard A. Bartle, at the University of Essex. He believes that “we may one day create virtual worlds with creatures as intelligent as ourselves.” From, “How to Be a God“: “I believe we will…

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Cryptography Concept, Cryptographic Hash Algorithm SHA-2

As Money Slowly Transitions From Matter to Information…

Let’s look at a brief history of cryptocurrencies — which is not quite what we might think

At Expensivity, Bernard Fickser, who has explained how to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) now offers “The Truth About Cryptocurrencies: A Clearheaded Guide to the Crypto World.” (January 15, 2022) For your convenience, we are serializing his work, which can be read in whole here. Here’s Part 3: 3 A Concise History of Cryptocurrencies The use of cryptography to make digital financial payments has been around for decades, but that by itself does not make a cryptocurrency. A cryptocurrency is not just an electronic or digital form of money, even if the two are often confused and even though they all use cryptography to secure transactions. For something to be a full-fledged cryptocurrency, it must satisfy the following four conditions. Spoiler alert:…

human head chakra powerful inspiration tree abstract thinking inside your mind watercolor painting illustration hand drawn
human head powerful inspiration tree abstract thinking inside your mind watercolor painting illustration hand drawn

Prof: Fine-Tuning in Nature Is Due to the Mind of the Universe

Panpsychism’s take on intelligent design, as expressed in the exquisite fine-tuning of the universe for life, is an interesting new approach

Here’s a fascinating essay from 2018 by philosophy prof Philip Goff, author of Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness (2019). He discusses the fine-tuning of the universe as an argument for cosmopsychism (a form of panpsychism). Ideas like his are becoming respectable in mainstream science venues: In the past 40 or so years, a strange fact about our Universe gradually made itself known to scientists: the laws of physics, and the initial conditions of our Universe, are fine-tuned for the possibility of life. It turns out that, for life to be possible, the numbers in basic physics – for example, the strength of gravity, or the mass of the electron – must have values falling in a…

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Social but not social

Relationship Advice: Think Before You App

If the people we are having dinner with matter to us, why are we always checking our phones?

This story originally appeared at Newsmax as “You Can Actually Find Joy Outside Your Smartphone.” Recently, I took my family into town to get dinner. We live in a small community, in the country, so it’s a bit of an event to go out to dine in the city. Once there, I called around to see what establishments were open. Before I reached any humans, I was told to visit websites, download apps, and consider ordering online for pickup. One message even hung up on me without transferring me to a person. Finally, I found a place that would take us in and actually feed us. As we moved through the ordering line, one of the workers wore a shirt that made…

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Mature crypto trader investor analyst broker using pc computer analyzing digital cryptocurrency exchange stock market trading graphs report thinking of investing funds risks doing global analysis.

If You Want To Stick a Toe in Bitcoin’s World … Read This First

This short guide offers a quick introduction to the two biggies, Bitcoin and Ethereum

At Expensivity, Bernard Fickser, who has explained how to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) now offers “The Truth About Cryptocurrencies: A Clearheaded Guide to the Crypto World.” (January 15, 2022) For your convenience, we are serializing his work, which can be read in whole here. Here’s Part 2: 1 Quick Entry into Crypto Investing This first section is for those who want to begin investing in crypto right away. But it is also for those who simply want to understand cryptocurrencies without investing in them. Later sections will present the underlying theory and history of crypto, as well as reasons to take crypto seriously but also to be cautious. Yet it helps to see how cryptocurrencies actually behave in practice, and…

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coconut octopus underwater macro portrait on sand

Loving Goodbye… From an Octopus?

Did the octopus really know she was dying? Was she trying to say goodbye?

The film My Octopus Teacher (2020) paved the way for studying the intelligence of the remarkable eight-armed creature. One outcome has been more attention paid to other remarkable stories of human–octopus friendships. At Hakai Magazine, we learn about a part-time science teacher who befriended an octopus and learned a sad truth about her eight-armed companion: One of the first octopuses Nitz raised was an algae octopus (Abdopus aculeatus) she named the Once-ler after the narrator of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. She and her daughters would stand in front of the Once-ler’s tank and wave their whole arms as though they were undulating blades of kelp. Eventually, the Once-ler started waving back, imitating their movements with a single arm while…

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matching keys made of circuits & led lights, encryption & crypto

Some brute facts about Bitcoin and other cryptos

Crypto is transforming money and finance. Like the computer, you don’t need to use one but you’re wise to know the basics. Start here

At Expensivity, Bernard Fickser, who has explained how to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) now offers “The Truth About Cryptocurrencies: A Clearheaded Guide to the Crypto World.” (January 15, 2022) For your convenience, we are serializing his work, which can be read in whole here. Here’s Part 1: Even though most people own no cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency still matters to the average person. That’s because crypto (or cryptocurrency) is transforming the world of money and finance, and everyone has a stake in that world. The average person therefore needs a basic grasp of crypto and why it is important. It’s not enough, however, simply to know about crypto. To really understand crypto, you need sound actionable information about investing in crypto and…

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mars

Remember When Mars Was Going To Land?

Today, now that we can reach Mars, we hope for mere fossils of bacteria

Sadly, the Mars meteorite, favored in recent years, has showed no evidence of life Whether there has ever been life on Mars is a different question from what the specifically meteorite shows (we would need to search the whole planet to be sure about life). But here is some recent disappointing news about the meteorite: Organic molecules found in a meteorite that hurtled to Earth from Mars were synthesized during interactions between water and rocks that occurred on the Red Planet about 4 billion years ago, according to new analysis led by Carnegie’s Andrew Steele and published by Science. The meteorite, called Allan Hills (ALH) 84001, was discovered in the Antarctic in 1984 and is considered one of the oldest…

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Aggressiver Schwarzer Roboter

Sci-Fi Saturday Special: The Journey of the Nauts

The astronaut discovers a planet run by robots that think humans are lying if we say there is no Creator because, after all, we created them

(A short story by Jonathan Witt) Let’s see. How to start? As I surfaced from cryo, I was reminded of the old Christmas poem. “A cold coming we had of it,” one of the Magi begins, and I was thinking, the fellow doesn’t know the meaning of cold. Try halfway to absolute zero across seventeen light years of interstellar space. Granted, the cryo made the journey feel like an overnighter, but don’t imagine some trillionaire spa sleepover. Imagine yourself liquored up on bad moonshine, stuffed in a sack full of dry ice, knocked unconscious, tumbled about for an hour, quick-thawed, flushed of blue antifreeze, pumped full of dehydrated/rehydrated blood, and then shocked awake. That’s the cold coming we had of…

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Shaved male nape and a lot of usb cables connected to it. Concept of dependence in thinking and information

Enforce the Law With No Bias? Use Robots! Oops, Wait…

The 2008 remake of the 1951 film, The Day the Earth Stood Still, explores the concept

Since we’ve been reviewing the Matrix movies, I thought I would review another sci-fi film starring Keanu Reeves, The Day the Earth Stood Still, (2008) which was a remake of a film of the same name that came out in 1951. However, as I was watching this train wreck, even by remake standards, I thought I ought to watch the original for a little extra context. What I saw compelled me to write this review. Here’s a trailer for the original, which gives some sense of the period: Now the new version: The movie opens with a spaceship landing and the alien, Klaatu, and his robot, Gort, stepping out of the ship. Klaatu is shot and Gort destroys a few…

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What Is AI Doing To Me? How AI Influences Our Concept of Reality

Reality is far more than what can be quantified by a computer

I have been thinking lately about how artificial intelligence (AI) is affecting me. That is a big topic with many avenues to be explored. I would like to explore just two of them here. The first is how AI influences my concept of reality. The second is how AI is influencing my actions. Both of these dynamics are profound and already evident in our world. In this first of two parts, we will explore how AI influences our concept of reality. AI-driven systems receive data from a variety of sources. Their universe is defined by what their sensors can quantify and deliver to them. As we interact with these AI systems, we are subtly influenced to adopt their view of…

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Robot concept or robot hand chatbot pressing computer keyboard enter

Will AI Take Over Content Moderation?

While content moderators report psychological trauma, experts weigh in on whether artificial intelligence could remove humans from the equation

How do Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, YouTube, and other platforms keep up with the millions upon millions of posts, comments, videos, and photos posted to their sites on a daily basis? It takes a partnership between artificial intelligence and human content moderators.  In recent years, however, content moderators have begun to reveal that their work is often traumatizing. Moderators for Facebook and TikTok have gone so far as to sue for the psychological harm they have experienced at their workplaces, regularly reviewing images and videos that you and I never have to see depicting rape, murder, child trafficking, and other violent and graphic content. Subjecting workers to violent and graphic imagery is an unsustainable way of keeping the internet free of such…

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Eugenics, Transhumanism, and Artificial Intelligence

If we were to succeed at creating an ethical decision-making AI, whose ethics would it abide by?

In his article for the Digital Journal, Saratendu Sethi argues that to build a sustainable global supply chain requires the humanization of AI. This technological revolution, he says, includes “truly autonomous and self-correcting supply chains” that will replace the flawed capital-driven decision making of humans. Sethi defines this utilitarian mission of serving the “greater good” through what he calls a “sustainable, ethical and responsible world that puts equity for all at the center.” His motive of helping everyone while protecting the environment is commendable, yet the larger question remains, whose ethic will drive the logic used by this AI? When resources are limited, how will this AI decide who gets food and who gets medicine? Based on my own study, Sethi’s…

On laptop diverse people collage webcam view over woman shoulder

Welcoming the Post-Zoom Era

The Zoom era is quickly coming to an end. How should companies re-adjust?

Prior to the pandemic, few outside of technology jobs even knew what Zoom was. Now, everyone is comfortable with video conferencing. However, while the technology works better than ever, I’m starting to sense that people are done with continual video conferencing.  Many people who use Zoom do so on a compulsory basis. They have jobs that require that they Zoom for meetings or they are in classes that require online attendance. Therefore, it is hard to decipher people’s attitudes towards Zoom in those circumstances. They use it because someone told them they must. However, I regularly teach at a homeschooling co-op class. Homeschoolers, especially in Oklahoma, aren’t compelled to do anything that they don’t feel comfortable with. Don’t want to…

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China from space on realistic model of planet Earth with network. Concept of digital technology, connectivity and travel.

China’s Internet: The Biggest Influencer Is the State

How China uses social metrics to guide its censorship strategy

The Chinese Communist Party’s response to champion doubles tennis player Peng Shuai was about more than just dismissing an accusation and protecting a high-ranking Party member. It was about silencing influencers and suppressing social mobilization. In a previous article, we looked at how Beijing’s propaganda machine used fake Twitter accounts to amplify messaging around tennis champion Peng Shuai after she disappeared from the public and was censored on the Chinese internet. Wilson Center scholar Rui Zhong writes in Wired magazine, “This is not about topics. This censorship is fundamentally about the dismantling of social resources.” Rui Zhong’s article is helpful in contextualizing the Chinese Communist Party’s targets for online censorship. She says that most analyses of Chinese internet censorship focus on specific words, phrases, or topics, rather…