Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy

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Category: Economics
Publisher: Gateway Editions
Published: 7/17/2018
A FINANCIAL TIMES BOOK OF THE MONTH  FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: "Nothing Mr. Gilder says or writes is ever delivered at anything less than the fullest philosophical decibel... Mr. Gilder sounds less like a tech guru than a poet, and his words tumble out in a romantic cascade."

Life After Google By George Gilder

Key Insights

There is no denying that Google is a modern powerhouse of information.

But, what happens if one day Google just disappears?

Where will all our free knowledge go?

Who will swoop in to save us?

This is where cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and bitcoin enter the scene.

In “Life After Google” George Gilder explores how Google is certain to come to an end in the future. And, how cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and bitcoin will replace it.

“Yet I believe the Google system of the world will fail, indeed be swept away in our time (and I am seventy-eight!). It will fail because its every major premise will fail.”- George Gilder

By understanding how technology is changing and how Google will no longer suit us in the future, you will be able to see the ever-changing world through Gilder’s eyes.

Key Points

  • It’s All About That Big Data

Google’s system has most definitely defined the world today. Google informs the technology we use every day. It defines our institutions. And, it shapes our lives with the knowledge it gives to us.

Google’s vision is set up around big data. It collects all the information that’s put out into the internet universe. With that information it extracts new information from it through their famous ever-changing algorithms.

Google started with a database of just internet information. But, since then it has come to include maps, books, and even face recognition! Google wants to know everything, so privacy does not go hand-in-hand with their vision.

On top of that, they have expanded to Google Docs, Google Sheets, Gmail, you name it!

Google makes their money through advertising. People are paying Google by showing them attention, rather than sending them a subscription fee.

“Google offers to its “customers” is free. Internet searches are free. Email is free. The vast resources of the data centers, costing Google an estimated thirty billion dollars to build, are provided essentially for free. Free is not by accident. If your business plan is to have access to the data of the entire world, then free is an imperative.”- George Gilder

Though Google seems like it has everything under the sun to offer, it has gained the title of “Siren Server” by Jason Lanier, who argues that Google is going to be the death of itself in the future.

  • Artificial Intelligence

The field of artificial intelligence is growing. And, people involved with the cause understand that though it is dangerous work, it is inevitable. So, even though they are working toward the cause, they believe in informing people of its danger too.

Though, for artificial intelligence to really be a threat, it needs to be a complete system. That means it has one theory that covers everything. And, for that it would have to be specifically programmed that way.

But, any logical system depends on the situation, so it cannot be complete. There always needs to be an external authority or force.

“Whereas Google envisages an era of machine dominance through artificial intelligence, you will rule your machines, and they will serve you as intelligent, willing slaves. You will be the “oracle” that programs your life and dictates to your tools.”- George Gilder

  • Thiel’s Foundation

In 2013 bitcoin payments became accepted at a Guatemalan University. This was the first University in all of the Americas to accept this modern currency.

Despite this bold move, many other American Universities are halting the process of the new system, rather than embracing the future. American Universities protest and try to prevent happenings, rather than create and innovate.

The legendary Thiel Fellowship is a scholarship that offers a student an $100,000 grant to quit college and pursue a creative passion project. The goal of this foundation is to create innovative entrepreneurial thinkers who can lead the future to new ideas.

In 2014, the Thiel Fellowship was awarded to Vitalik Buterin, a collaborator in the blockchain platform called Ethereum.

  • A New Era of Online Security

In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the first cryptocurrency to the world. It is called the bitcoin.

To totally understand how bitcoin is changing the world, we must understand cryptocosm, which is where all personal data is taken from the main hub and put in the hands of individuals instead.

There are two key aspects to every users account:

-Public: the public aspect makes it so when you send a message it is encrypted publicly. However it can only be deciphered with a private key. So, the message remains private.

-Private: when a response is encrypted, the private key is used which leaves a digital signature that proves identity without having to provide any personal information.

These unique private signatures are necessary to bitcoin and its blockchain technology. Every ten minutes or so, a block of technology is created, which logs all the bitcoin information of activity. This contains both the signature with a timestamp.

The timestamp is produced through a process called mining, where a new block is created after an algorithmic problem has been solved. New bitcoins are generated as compensation for this whole process.

Timestamps cannot be forged. It is unhackable because there are many computers and networks involved so it must be verified throughout each.

A blockchain is a set of blocks connected in a chronological chain that contains transaction data and a timestamp. They are resilient against the modification of data. These are public. Each blockchain is unique and unhackable because of its unique footprint and can be traced back to its origins.

  • Employing Blockchain Technology

The Thiel’s Fellowship winner, Vitalik Buterin launched Ethereum in 2015. Ethereum is a blockchain app to handle and verify smart contracts.

Smart contracts work by the parties of the contract sending in their assets with the help of the blockchain. If both parties agree, then the transaction is complete. If not, the assets are refunded.

Enthereum may be bitcoin’s biggest competitor. However, other platforms such as Blockstack are rising, as well. Blockstack is a network for blockchain apps that is user friendly for browsing and developing.

Blockchain is giving security and power back to the individuals and going against Google.

  • Hardware Comeback

Moore’s Law, a law in computer science, states that the cost-effectiveness of circuits doubles every two years. And, Bell’s Law states that every ten years a brand new computer architecture comes out because of a drop in the cost of processing power. So, when will the next shift in technology be?

The rebirth of hardware manufacturing may be on the rise in the Silicon Valley. According to scientist, Bill Dally, parallel processing systems may be crucial to the future. A parallel processing system is one that has multiple functions running at the same time.

However, Google hasn’t totally caught up with this. They are focused on cheaper ways to power their centralized hub.

Companies that are not using centralized hubs that take up a lot of power, are able to perform usually expensive services for much cheaper. Plus, because of blockchain technology information is safe and secure!

  • Is Bitcoin Flawed?

Nakamoto proposed the idea of bitcoin becoming the new gold standard to the world. A currency that was stable, reliable, and unchanging.

With bitcoin, Nakamoto produced a mining algorithm. This algorithm makes it more difficult to solve the problem needed to create blocks and their bitcoins.

This process was intended to create a supply of bitcoin currency that was stable and predictable in order to reach that “gold standard” goal.

Economics blogger, Mike Kendall, however, debates that the bitcoin can never become the gold standard because it is already being used for exchange. Its supply is fixed and the only way it could react to market changes is if the value of it fluctuates dramatically, which has already happened. So, how could bitcoin really be stable like the gold standard?

“Even though bitcoin may not, after all, represent the potential for a new gold standard, its underlying technology will unbundle the roles of money. This can finally clarify and enable the necessary distinction between the medium of exchange and the measuring stick. Disaggregated will be all the GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft conglomerates)—the clouds of concentrated computing and commerce.”- George Gilder

Bitcoin has changed the world, but it’s flawed. We must rely on other cryptocurrency companies to pave the way out of the centralized hub of Google.

Main Take-Away

Google is the ruler of the world and has created a system that focuses on a central hub on information rather than individual security. Blockchain technology has created a new path to personal security, challenging Google’s old-school system.


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