Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryBusiness and Finance

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Blockchain , cryptocurrencies , bitcoin and distributed ledger technology concept..Block chain , network connect icons and earth furnished by NASA.

Is Bitcoin Just a Flash in the Pan? Peter Thiel Responds

He reveals that PayPal started out as a libertarian project to free money from central control but that proved harder than anticipated

In this fourth and final episode based on his talk at COSM 2019, Peter Thiel — who founded PayPal in part to help break up currency monopolies — offers some thoughts on cryptocurrencies’ future. In the earlier episodes of his discussion at COSM 1919 with philosopher of technology George Gilder, top venture capitalist Peter Thiel offered Three Contrarian Ideas: 1.Big Tech, as it operates today, is communist. 2. Big Tech is also slowing down. And 3. Learning today has almost nothing to do with the so-called educational system. Now, about the future of cryptos: This portion begins at 27:21 min. A partial transcript and notes, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. George Gilder: Peter, you started PayPal, in part to…

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Old-fashioned Telephones Mounted On Wall

COSM: The Trek From Phone to Smart Phone: What Have We Learned?

Daniel Berninger, a pioneer and activist in VOIP communications, shares his insights about keeping the internet free and accessible

Daniel Berninger, an activist in the transition from plain old telephone service (POTS) to the online world of the cell phone (“disruptive communications”), will be speaking at COSM 2021. He has been involved in VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) since 1995, starting with the original assessment of VoIP at Bell Laboratories and was a founder of the VON Coalition, “keeping IP communications free from government regulation.” He is a frequently cited resource on regulatory, antitrust, and VoIP issues (for example, in Business Week, WSJ, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg, Forbes, Associated Press, Dow Jones, Info World and the trade press). He is also a founder of VCXC (Voice Communication Exchange Committee). His interests and approach: ➤ the decline of the…

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Businessman in blue shirt is holding a magnifying

Top Venture Capitalist on Tackling the Big, Corrupt Universities

Peter Thiel: Online education is great for learning, but unfortunately, learning has almost nothing to do with the so-called educational system

In this third episode — on Peter Thiel’s Third Contrarian Idea — philosopher of technology George Gilder revisits world class tech venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s live streamed talk at COSM 2019 in “ The failures and self-hatred of Big Tech.” In the first episode, Thiel noted that the way Big Tech operates today has more in common with a communist state than with a democracy. So his First Contrarian Idea, set out there, is that decentralization is coming. In the second episode, he talked about his Second Contrarian Idea: If you look at the big picture over the past few years, Big Tech’s progress is slowing. That’s not the hype we hear but then Thiel didn’t make nearly $4 billion…

Planet Earth from Space People's Republic of China highlighted, elements of this image courtesy of NASA
Planet Earth from Space, People's Republic of China warm glow highlighted state borders and counties animation, city lights, 3d illustration

LinkedIn Says Goodbye to China

If the blasé business world of LinkedIn cannot pass the Cyberspace Administration of China’s rules, then what platform can?

LinkedIn announced that it will no longer host social media and content sharing in China. Instead, it’s China-only app will be a job-board site. This comes after LinkedIn received criticism for blocking certain researcher profiles in China as well as human rights advocates and journalists who write on China. LinkedIn, which was bought by Microsoft in 2016, was one of the only U.S.-based social media outlets still operating within China. Twitter, Facebook (including Instagram, WhatsApp), and YouTube (owned by Alphabet, Inc.) are banned. Google (also owned by Alphabet, Inc.) left in 2010. Signal and Clubhouse were banned in 2021. Other apps, such as TikTok (owned by ByteDance, Inc.) have their own Chinese version that complies with censors and data regulators.…

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Datenverkehr im Internet im Schneckentempo

Peter Thiel Says, Forget the Hype: Big Tech Is Slowing Down

Second Contrarian Idea: We can see the slowdown clearly if we look past the hype

Philosopher of technology George Gilder revisits world class tech venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s live streamed talk at COSM 2019 in “ The failures and self-hatred of Big Tech.” Ih the first part, Thiel noted that the way Big Tech operates today has more in common with a communist state than with a democracy. His First Contrarian Idea, set out there, is that decentralization is coming. In this part, he talks about his Second Contrarian Idea: If you look at the big picture over the past few years, Big Tech’s progress is slowing. Thiel, the author of Zero to One (2014) will attend COSM 2021 (November 10–12) in person this time, along with Gilder. Note: You can get the best rate…

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army of artificial workers

Peter Thiel: Big Tech, As It Operates Today, Is Communist

Visions of the computer age have swung from big centralization in 1969 through big decentralization in 1999. Neither got it quite right, Thiel says

Philosopher of technology George Gilder revisits world class tech venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s live streamed talk at COSM 2019 in “ The failures and self-hatred of Big Tech.” Thiel, the author of Zero to One (2014) will attend COSM 2021 (November 10–12) in person this time, along with Gilder. Note: You can get the best rate if you register before October 31. The focus of the 2021 meet will be the paradoxes of the new world of technology. As we will see, Thiel is an expert at defining that world. This is the first of a four-part series on his view of the future, starting with his First Contrarian Idea, that the way Big Tech operates today is communist and…

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Surprised African-American man in denim jacket looks at receipt total in sales check holding paper bag with products in mall

A Market Analyst Explains Why You Should Take Inflation Seriously

Bernard Fickser looks at the tech companies that are worth astonishing amounts, unrelated to their current product lines

Readers may remember Bernard Fickser from his series on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and how they can be made to work better. Now he looks at a more serious problem, the current (quiet) capitalization crisis: the growth in the perceived market value (market caps) of tech companies, far beyond the market value of any assets they have. He recalls the famous (and costly) Dot.com Bubble (1995–2000), when “tech and internet companies that had no actual products or prototypes or detailed plans for products were receiving enormous valuations simply on a promise and a prayer.” Many prayers went unheard and small investors suffered huge losses. Business prof Gary Smith highlights Bill’s Barber Shop in 2000, where locals had reckoned on secure prosperity…

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Xi Jinping’s Ruthless March Toward “Common Prosperity”

Part II: The roots of Xi Jinping's "common prosperity" vision and why he's making changes to China's technology sector now

In my previous article we looked at the sweeping crackdown of China’s technology sector, beginning with Jack Ma and Ant Financial, and how this is part of Xi Jinping’s goal of “common prosperity.” While corruption and debt excesses needed to be reined in and people wanted better data privacy protections, Xi’s common prosperity initiative is also about concentrating power, redistributing wealth, and controlling the unpredictable market. In this article we’ll look at the roots of common prosperity and why analysts believe Xi is making these changes now. Appealing to the Working Class In his speech celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party in China, Xi said that the Party will make “notable and substantive progress toward achieving well-rounded human…

LIJIANG,CHINA-FEB 18:Mao statue,with the slogan on wall: " Long live the great Communist Party of China" in Lijiang on Feb 18 2012. Mao, a statesman who laying the foundation of new china

Will China’s Huge Tech Sector Crackdown Stifle Innovation?

Part I: How will the Common Prosperity program really play out in the private sector?

Didi Chuxing (Didi Global, Inc.), the largest ride-hailing company in the world, was reprimanded when it opened on the New York Stock Exchange after regulators warned it needed to shore up its data security issues. Meituan, China’s massive shopping and coupon app, was recently fined $533 million for “anticompetitive behavior.” Alibaba, owned by tech billionaire Jack Ma, had to pay a $2.8 billion fine for the same reasons. Antitrust regulators dinged Tencent, Baidu (China’s Google alternative), ByteDance (parent company for TikTok), and ecommerce company JD.com Inc.  The billion-dollar online private tutoring industry sank after the Chinese government declared that after-school tutoring is now non-profit only. Then the online gaming industry was hit when the Chinese government declared children are only allowed to play for a few…

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Confused businessman with stressed and worried about  working mistake and problems.

The Entrepreneur’s Worst Mistake In New Technology Ventures

As a new entrepreneur, you won't make it to 100,000 users unless the product works well for your customers

I’ve worked with many tech startups over the years. By and large there has always been one overriding factor that has caused tech startups to falter — trying to build their application to handle too much traffic upfront. The goal of every tech entrepreneur is for everyone in the country to use their next product. Everyone is going to make the next star application, like Facebook. In order to accomplish this, tech entrepreneurs give a command to their tech team that is probably their worst mistake: “Make the application able to scale to millions of users.” That might sound like a reasonable request, but I can assure you that it is absolutely the worst possible plan of attack. Programming legend…

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creativity imagination and dreams concept.

Jules Urbach, Founder of OTOY, to Speak at COSM 2021

George Gilder has called him "ingenious" and "the most inventive software engineer" he has ever met

Dozens of brilliant minds in technology will be flocking to Bellevue, Washington this November for the exclusive national summit known as COSM. Among them will be founder and CEO of OTOY and Lightstage, Jules Urbach. Philosopher of technology George Gilder has called him “ingenious” and “the most inventive software engineer” he has ever met. Gilder holds a a 20-year investment in OTOY. What has earned Urbach such high praise? Urbach has been a bold pioneer in computer graphics from a young age. At eighteen years old, he created one of the first CD-ROM games ever created, Hell Cab. Six years later, he founded Groove Alliance, which went on to produce Real Pool, the first 3D game available on Shockwave.com. In…

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Software development

Publisher of Popular Electronics To Speak at COSM 2021

Futurist John Schroeter is an author as well as a publisher and developer

John Schroeter has many accomplishments as a futurist but also as an author, publisher, and developer: ➤ He is Executive Director at Abundant World Institute, a think tank for leading technologists, futurists and entrepreneurs seeking to create more abundance in the world: Their foundational book, Moonshots—Creating a World of Abundance, won the 2019 Gold Medal by Axiom Business Book Awards, and was recognized by Kirkus Reviews as a “Best Book of 2018.” After Shock (2020) marks the 50-year anniversary of Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock. ➤ He is also the publisher, at TechnicaCuriosa, of iconic mags such as Popular Electronics and Popular Astronomy. “Our iconic titles have literally changed the world. Take Popular Electronics for example. Just one landmark issue was…

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Developing programmer Team Development Website design and coding technologies working in software company office

The Two Most Common Problems with Outsourced Code

And how to mitigate against them

I have had many opportunities to work with developers outside the United States in a variety of capacities. To begin with, let me assure readers that there are great developers all over the world. The sun never sets on the current team I work with. The great thing about software development is that you can find great talent wherever the Internet is. There are great individual developers in every country, but I have found that, in many countries, the culture of software development has not evolved to where it is in America. When hiring individual developers, this rarely matters. The proper developers tend to gravitate to whatever level you are hiring at (or, alternatively, you can have a headhunter screen…

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Male hand cutting banking card with scissors

The New Internet: Reclassify Political Opponents as “Hate Groups”

Maybe this is something to talk to legislators about

You don’t want your tax money spent in a certain way? Maybe you are a “hater.” Increasingly, bad things can happen as a result. Even from corporations you trust. A friend has pointed out that many American corporations are not nearly so interested in making money these days as they are in politically correct positioning. Consider the current trend toward depublishing books the public wants to read and “de-newsing” news stories people want to hear. But the trend is growing beyond books and news. It could affect your right to bank and use credit institutions. Successful entrepreneur David Sacks has the story at Substack about how concerns about “hate speech” can further an agenda: Just as there is no set…

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The code is on a laptop on a wooden table in front of the window  in the dark with a view of the lights of the night city, color lighting in the room, home decor

Know When to Hold ’em, Know When to Fold ’em

Taking control of the rewrite reflex

Computer programmers are a pretty predictable bunch. Every time they approach legacy code, the gut reaction is “let’s rewrite this from scratch.” The reaction is understandable for many reasons.  First of all, code written by someone else (or even yourself a long time ago) is hard to understand. Even good documentation can’t cover every detail you need to know, and there is nothing that helps you understand the problem better than writing the code yourself. Second, as time goes on, and you think about a problem, you always come up with better (or at least different) approaches. You might realize that some aspect of your code could be factored out. You might think that rearranging the code would make it…

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Young woman looking on the black board with mathematical formulas and calculations. Bright idea, way of thinking, discovery and challenge concept.

If You Fear High Tech Debates, Stay Away From COSM 2021

COSM 2021 will be held in person. You will interact with the real movers and shakers.

Recently, George Gilder and Jay Richards enjoyed a wide ranging discussion on the topics and people converging for the COSM 2021 Technology Summit: From Life After Google to Life After Capitalism. In the first portion, they discussed life after capitalism. Who can still innovate? In this portion, they talk about innovations that will make a difference: This portion starts at about 10:30 min. Here is a partial transcript and notes: George Gilder: Kai-Fu Lee will be there to talk about his new book, Ten Visions, about artificial intelligence. We hope that he can give us some ideas that are relevant to the new environment for US-China relations… But people like Kai-Fu Lee are keeping world of knowledge and wealth, then…

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door choice

What Do We Need To Know About Life After Capitalism?

At COSM 2021, a number of thinkers will discuss and debate the pressing questions

Recently, George Gilder and Jay Richards enjoyed a wide ranging discussion on the topics and people that will converge for the COSM 2021 Technology Summit: From Life After Google to Life After Capitalism. They cover the paradoxes of the future of technology. Here is a partial transcript of the first ten minutes: Jay Richards: The theme of COSM 2021 is Life After Capitalism, which is also the name of your forthcoming book. What does that mean exactly? What are you referring to, this idea of life after capitalism? George Gilder: In the last few months, literally trillions of dollars of new money has been printed. Money has been deprived of its informational content. It’s now merely an expression of government…

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Business Leadership Attributes and Features in Literature

What Does Super-Investor Peter Thiel Think You Should Read?

Some books to consider include history as well as business strategy. The two cannot be separated

Peter Thiel, whose name is practically synonymous with successful high-tech investing, will be speaking at COSM 2021. He has also offered some thoughts on books worth reading: Here are three of them, courtesy Kevin Rooke: ➤ The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz (Harper Business 2014): From Thiel: “Every management guide presumes that all great companies follow a formula. But successful startups don’t imitate; they build innovations that can’t be copied. Ben Horowitz knows no recipe guarantees success. He has written the first true guide for protecting a startup from self-sabotage.” ➤ Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder (Basic Books, 2010) From Thiel: “He tells how…

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Bull figurine standing on bitcoins, concept of cryptocurrencies

Seven in 10 Institutional Investors Expect To Buy Cryptos

Mainstreaming continues, despite the detractors, with major investment players signing on

Cryptocurrencies are now estimated to be worth roughly $2 trillion and — despite pressure from regulators — demand from investors continues: In July 2021, FTX—the Antigua-based cryptocurrency derivatives exchange which offers futures, leverage tokens and OTC trading—raised $900 million from over 60 investors. This included venture capital firms Paradigm and Sequoia, hedge funds and the private equity group Thoma Bravo. It was the largest private equity deal in the crypto industry’s history, valuing the business at $18 billion—one of the largest rounds of financing for a digital assets startup. In May 2021, Block.one —the Peter Thiel, Alan Howard and Louis Bacon backed blockchain software firm—pumped $9.7 billion into a new cryptocurrency exchange subsidiary called Bullish Global. Even excluding Block.one’s capital…

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Terracotta warriors, China

China’s Data Laws Restrict Businesses and Favor the State

The Data Security Law and the Personal Information Protection Law are part of the Chinese government’s plan to steer the private sector toward State goals

In previous articles, I looked at how the Chinese government is reigning in China’s tech sector first of Jack Ma and Ant Group’s initial public offering on the Shenzhen and Hong Kong stock exchanges and then Didi Global, Inc. The Chinese government has since passed two data laws and released an update that clarifies the 2017 Cybersecurity Law. The result is better protections of citizens’ data from being used, exploited, or sold by private companies, and encroaching government presumption of the private sector in which the State has virtually unrestricted access to and jurisdiction over private companies’ data.  Clarification of the 2017 Cybersecurity Law The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) gained oversight powers over other state agencies in 2014 under Xi Jinping. Jane…