The ten most ridiculous things “on the blockchain”

 Untitled

Oranges, babies, democracy, frozen people. We take a whirlwind tour of all things on the blockchain that probably shouldn’t be.

When you put a thing “on the blockchain,” you’re not actually putting it “on the blockchain.” Nothing is “on the blockchain.” The “blockchain” doesn’t exist. Instead, what you’re really doing is “notarizing information about a thing using a database distributed across a network of nodes, which is sometimes called a blockchain.” Or perhaps you’re “fragmenting data about a thing into non-fungible digital assets that can be traded, via a distributed network called a blockchain, for ERC20 tokens.” But those are far less catchy, so everybody just says “on the blockchain” instead.

So here we go—”The Ten Most Ridiculous Things On the Blockchain.”

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The welfare state is committing suicide by Artificial Intelligence

 Daily Life At A Secondary School

Denmark is using algorithms to deliver benefits to citizens—and undermining its own democracy in the process.

Everyone likes to talk about the ways that liberalism might be killed off, whether by populism at home or adversaries abroad. Fewer talk about the growing indications in places like Denmark that liberal democracy might accidentally commit suicide.

As a philosophy of government, liberalism is premised on the belief that the coercive powers of public authorities should be used in service of individual freedom and flourishing, and that they should therefore be constrained by laws controlling their scope, limits, and discretion. That is the basis for historic liberal achievements such as human rights and the rule of law, which are built into the infrastructure of the Scandinavian welfare state.

Yet the idea of legal constraint is increasingly difficult to reconcile with the revolution promised by artificial intelligence and machine learning—specifically, those technologies’ promises of vast social benefits in exchange for unconstrained access to data and lack of adequate regulation on what can be done with it. Algorithms hold the allure of providing wider-ranging benefits to welfare states, and of delivering these benefits more efficiently.

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Research: People aren’t smart enough for democracy to flourish

people aren't smart enough

Incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people.

The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens (the majority of them, at least) can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea, when they see it. But a growing body of research has revealed an unfortunate aspect of the human psyche that would seem to disprove this notion, and imply instead that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies.

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China Blocks the Word ‘Egypt’ From Internet Searches

protestors

Protesters react in Tahrir Square to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s televised speech in Cairo February 1, 2011.

Chinese authorities have blocked the word “Egypt” from searches on Twitter-like microblogging sites in an indication of concern among Communist Party leaders that the unrest there could encourage similar calls for political reform in China.

 

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