Blog

Archive for the ‘theory’ category: Page 2

Aug 13, 2015

Bitcoin needs a quantum theory of money

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, theory

Is Bitcoin money? To its users the answer is probably yes, but to many people the answer is less clear. Alan Greenspan, for example, said in December 2013: “I do not understand where the backing of Bitcoin is coming from. There is no fundamental issue of capabilities of repaying it in anything which is universally acceptable, which is either intrinsic value of the currency or the credit or trust of the individual who is issuing the money, whether it’s a government or an individual.” Indeed, one of the things holding back the adoption of cybercurrencies such as Bitcoin is that they do not fit well with traditional ideas about money.

Answers to the question “what is money” have typically fallen into one of three camps. The first, known as metallism or bullionism, holds that money needs to be backed by precious metal. The second camp is chartalism (from the Latin charta for a record) which holds that coins and other money objects are just tokens, that the state agrees to accept as payment of things like taxes. Finally, there is the dominant, hands-off school of thought, which most mainstream economists would agree with, which says that money has no unique or special qualities, but instead is defined by its roles, e.g. a medium of exchange.

Bullionists and chartalists therefore emphasise a different aspect of money – the inherent value or the authorising stamp – while most economists treat it as an inert chip. But none of them seem to apply well to emerging cybercurrencies, which are not backed by precious metal or the state, and (at least at first) are not much use as a medium of exchange. So how do they become money? The answer to this question is that money has quantum properties which allow it to be booted up from the ether.

Quantum money

Continue reading “Bitcoin needs a quantum theory of money” »

Jul 20, 2015

We May Look Crazy to Them, But They Look Like Zombies to Us: Transhumanism as a Political Challenge

Posted by in categories: defense, futurism, geopolitics, governance, government, life extension, philosophy, sustainability, theory, transhumanism

One of the biggest existential challenges that transhumanists face is that most people don’t believe a word we’re saying, however entertaining they may find us. They think we’re fantasists when in fact we’re talking about a future just over the horizon. Suppose they’re wrong and we are right. What follows? Admittedly, we won’t know this until we inhabit that space ‘just over the horizon’. Nevertheless, it’s not too early to discuss how these naysayers will be regarded, perhaps as a guide to how they should be dealt with now.

So let’s be clear about who these naysayers are. They hold the following views:

1) They believe that they will live no more than 100 years and quite possibly much less.
2) They believe that this limited longevity is not only natural but also desirable, both for themselves and everyone else.
3) They believe that the bigger the change, the more likely the resulting harms will outweigh the benefits.

Now suppose they’re wrong on all three counts. How are we to think about such beings who think this way? Aren’t they the living dead? Indeed. These are people who live in the space of their largely self-imposed limitations, which function as a self-fulfilling prophecy. They are programmed for destruction – not genetically but intellectually. Someone of a more dramatic turn of mind would say that they are suicide bombers trying to manufacture a climate of terror in humanity’s existential horizons. They roam the Earth as death-waiting-to-happen. This much is clear: If you’re a transhumanist, ordinary people are zombies.

Continue reading “We May Look Crazy to Them, But They Look Like Zombies to Us: Transhumanism as a Political Challenge” »

Jul 7, 2015

Could we do without cause and effect? — Mathias Frisch | AEON

Posted by in category: theory

http://cdn-imgs-mag.aeon.co/images/2015/06/New-droplet-3-GS133154-1024x641.jpg

“Feynman argued that the laws of physics do not exhibit a unique, logical structure, such that one set of statements is more fundamental than another. Instead of a hierarchical ‘Euclidean conception’ of theories, Feynman argued that physics follows what he calls the ‘Babylonian tradition’, according to which the principles of physics provide us with an interconnected structure with no unique, context-independent starting point for our derivations. Given such structures, Feynman said: ‘I am never quite sure of where I am supposed to begin or where I am supposed to end.’ I want to suggest that we should think of causal structures in physics in the very same way.” Read more

Page 2 of 212