Three Blockchain Companies Creating the Future of Business

Smart Contracts and “decentralized organizations” (often called “DAOs” are going to totally disrupt the way digital businesses are launched and managed in the near future.

In this Brain Boost, learn about 3 platforms that enable you to set up a decentralized organization on the blockchain in a few hours.

1: district0x (co-founders Matúš Lešťan + Joseph Urgo): Beautiful turnkey DAO platform on a mission to enable the reinvention of many of the web’s key applications in a way that eliminates rent-seeking and abusive use of your personal data. Also, see their white paper here.

2: DAOStack (founder: Matan Field): really focused on enabling decentralized organizations to operate at scale. Jeremy Epstein called DAOStack a “WordPress for DAOs” in his great piece linked at the bottom of this post. Read the DAOStack white paper here.

3. Colony (founded by Jack du Rose): very interesting feature to this platform is the integration of peer reviews by fellow collaborators as a variable in determining rewards and control of the “colony.” “Colony” is the Platform’s name for a decentralized, collaboratively-managed project. The Colony Team maintains an excellent blog at https://blog.colony.io/

I also encourage you to check out Jeremy Epstein’s excellent piece covering these and many other DAO platforms.

 

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These Two Nobel Prize Winners are Wrong About Bitcoin

In this week’s Brain Boost, I argue that bitcoin is good for society in response to Jean Tirole’s recent piece arguing that it is not good for society in his recent Financial Times piece.

Related citations and links:
• Swiss city of Zug partners with uPort to register digital citizens on the Ethereum blockchain
Jean Tirole’s opinion piece on Bitcoin in the Financial Times
Joseph Stiglitz argues that Bitcoin ought to be banned
• The New York Times excellent piece on “Government Sachs”
• (citation) How the Federal Reserve expands money supply via Reserve Requirements
• (citation) Kentucky’s state legislature authorized $18m in subsidies to build a replica of Noah’s Ark

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From The Mission: What Will Replace K-12 and College?

self directed learning

“The cat is slowly scratching its way out of the bag. Ever more people are becoming aware of the colossal waste of money, tragic waste of young people’s time, and cruel imposition of stress and anxiety produced by our coercive educational system.

Research shows that for far less expense, and with joy rather than pain, we can facilitate, rather than suppress, children’s and teens’ natural ways of educating themselves with excellent results. Ever more families are becoming aware of this and are finding ways of removing their children from imposed schooling in favor of Self-Directed Education.”

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The First AI Keynote Speaker

Artificial Intelligence is moving FAST.  Let’s get you up to date with what’s happening.

Here are some of the links mentioned in this week’s Brain Boost:

 

3 AI and Robotics Initiatives Moving Fast:

The Coming Creative Revolution and the Teacherless School

New opportunities for content creators, the teacherless coding school and more in this week’s #BrainBoost. Links to each story below!

Creators Get Paid
The founder of Patreon, Jack Conte, talks about the new digital infrastructure helping creators get paid. See the new TED Talk at http://bit.ly/2gzuV5l

Authenticity Everywhere
When Netflix’s lawyer writes such an approachable, common-sense cease and desist letter you know the world’s getting better. See what I mean at: http://bit.ly/2zjiJNK

Awesome Explainer of the Google / Uber Driverless Car Lawsuit
See how one innovator–Anthony Levandowski–is at the center of this massive battle between Uber and Google. See awesome video created by VICE Media the video at http://bit.ly/2kKwIsM

The Teacherless Coding School
Change is the ONLY constant. See how Ecole 42, the French coding school created by Xavier Niel has… no teachers. It’s amazing. Read the piece at http://bit.ly/2wR3dXM

Marriage Revolution
MIT Technology Review has a fascinating new report about how online dating is revolutionizing society. Read about this huge shift at http://bit.ly/2ykk6gW .

 

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Should Driverless Cars Kill Pedestrians to Save the Car Owner?

 

Big, real questions are starting to bubble up as artificial intelligence and driverless cars get closer to impacting our daily lives.

Here are some of the opportunities to dig deeper into this fascinating mix of philosophy, technology, and society:
The Driverless Car Dilemma (via Radiolab) at http://bit.ly/2xXdXrL [Podcast Episode]
Why DeepMind Established a Coalition on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (via the DeepMind Blog) at http://bit.ly/2yKejhW [Blog Post]
The Partnership on AI at http://bit.ly/2hQSpXl [Study Group w/ Google, IBM, Apple, + More on AI and Society]
Racism and Predictive Algorithms (via ProPublic) at http://bit.ly/2xZ2tRV [Article]

A major debate was started when Christoph von Hugo, an executive at Mercedes revealed that Mercedes’ programmers had programmed their driverless car to prioritize the life of the owner of the vehicle over those of pedestrians should it ever have to make a decision in the lead-up to a crash. What are the ethics of AI?

Moreover, it turns out that some racist AI applications are already being observed. For example, evidence shows that artificial intelligence in law enforcement has led to an increase in the incarceration of black people.

Now Google’s DeepMind team has launched a team to look at the ethics of artificial intelligence. What’s your take?

Cover Image: Mercedes’ driverless concept car.

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Why You Should Start Talking to Your Devices

 

If you haven’t already started, it’s a good idea to start getting used to interacting with your hardware with voice commands. As Bose releases the Bose QC35 headphones with native Google voice assistant, it’s clear that almost all personal computing hardware is moving towards voice command.

Two other stories we’re paying attention to this week:

• Ethereum is Getting Bigger and Bigger: Recently, the founder of Ethereum said that he believes that the Ethereum network will facilitate around the same number of transactions as Visa, the global credit card processor, by 2020. You can watch a great interview with him to learn more about Ethereum and the future of this arena with AngelList founder Neval Ravikant at http://bit.ly/decentralizeeverything

• Visualizing Google Data: The Google News Lab has just finished a massive collaboration with some of the world’s most creative data visualization artists to come up with beautiful new ways of visualizing data related to culture, news, and sports data and it’s amazing! One Spanish team used data from Google Translate to show the most commonly-translated words from different countries. Worldwide, the most translated word is “beautiful.” That’s rad. You can see the whole collection at http://bit.ly/visualizebygoogle

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Bitcoin: Made in China

The $320,000/day Chinese Bitcoin Mine
Inner Mongolia is now home to the bitcoin mine that produces 5% of the world’s bitcoin supply (the equivalent of around $320k of bitcoin per day). It’s in a region that used to be known for coal mining, but now massive server buildings are filled with computers built by the “bitmine’s” parent company, Bitmain. The machines solely exist to perform the complex math that it takes to create or “mine” bitcoin. There are also huge water tanks and fans that run 24/7 to prevent the computers from bursting into flames. Read more at http://nyti.ms/2y9u56u (via the New York Times).

Tesla to Produce the World’s 1st Electric Big Rig
Tesla has announced that it will produce the world’s first electric-powered big rig. The trucks are expected to cost ~$100k, have autopilot features similar to passenger Tesla models, and be able to travel around 300 miles on a charge while towing a full payload. Most big rigs can now travel around 1,000 before refuelling and Tesla is looking to create a series of battery swap stations to enable the big rigs to stay on the road without much downtime.

Major Step in the Fight Against Cancer
Carol Bertozzi’s team at Stanford has discovered a new way to detect and treat cancer. It turns out that sugars on the surface of cancerous cells (called Sialic Acids) deceive the immune systems of cancer patients and prevent their bodies from attacking the cancer cells. Ms. Bertozzi’s just-released TED Talk shares these details and how this line of development helped former US President Jimmy Carter beat cancer that had spread to his brain, something that was unheard of only a few years ago.

You can watch the TED Talk at http://bit.ly/2h5y9gk and read more about these therapies at http://bit.ly/2vXb9GJ.

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Direct Brain/Computer Integration is (Really) Close

How soon will human brains and computers be one? The technology is advancing fast. Faster than you might think. Interestingly, advanced human/machine integrations seems to have built a lot of momentum by helping people with disabilities overcome their disabilities and even be stronger by augmenting their human capabilities with machine capabilities.

Modified Humans
Rob Spence is blind in one eye and is a filmmaker so naturally, he decided to replace his eyeball with a camera. Now, he’s one of the many humans who are getting modified. Also, a team at Stanford has successfully enabled a paralyzed woman to type by building direct connections with her brain.

What’s Going on at Facebook’s Building 8
Facebook has been leading the charge in the human/machine integration area and the person leading this effort is a former head of the US Department of Defense’s Innovation squad. Her name is Regina Dugan and you can follow her on Facebook. Currently, they’re building systems that enable people to type at 100 wpm by decoding brain activity, decoding it into “virtual speech,” and deploying it as text. They’re also working on a way for humans to *hear through their skin*!

Towards Computer/Human Oneness
Here are some ways to keep up with what’s happening with computer / human integration:

Follow Facebook Building 8’s Regina Dugan
Connect with Dustin Tyler, an engineering professor who is at the front lines of developing physical objects that can feel, on LinkedIn
Follow Rob Spence, the guy with the camera eye who is working actively on this stuff at and check out his work and TED Talks

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Ethereum is more important than Bitcoin

On June 6th of 2017, people owned $23.4 billion worth of Ether. That’s the cryptocurrency that powers the Ethereum ecosystem–a system that claims that it will be the “new internet.” The people building this ecosystem aren’t crazy, either. Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase, and Toyota are just a few of the 100+ enterprises betting big that Ethereum is the future of contracts, money, and business management.

Ethereum vs. Bitcoin
Ethereum is a blockchain-based technology like Bitcoin but while Bitcoin is primarily used for transferring money between individuals, Ethereum’s technology includes one huge evolution: Smart Contracts. Smart contracts are basically the combination of agreements between people and automatic flows of money based on the rules of the contract. So, for example, a marketer, a developer, and an investor could all enter into a smart contract that says that each person gets ⅓ of the money created from a new piece of software that the developer builds, the marketer sells, and the investor funds… and all of these distributions will be made automatically… and maybe even outside country-specific financial systems. This dramatic lowering of transaction costs has huge implications for banks, insurance companies, workers, and governments.

Big Companies are Paying Attention
Already, companies like Accenture, JP Morgan, Microsoft, BP, and more than 100 other enterprises have formed the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance which is is connecting these huge companies with startups to find ways of using their technologies at scale. Toyota is even working on using an Ethereum system to manage a fleet of self-driving cars.

How to Learn More 
1: Follow Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, on Twitter
2: Read a post on Ethereum and the DAO or “decentralized autonomous organization” to get familiar with some of the early successes and obstacles of this area of innovation
3: Learn more about the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance
4: Buy yourself a little bit of Ether at Coinbase — just try it out with as little as $5 to get yourself familiar

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