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Superintelligence – Wikipedia

A superintelligence is a hypothetical agent that possesses intelligence far surpassing that of the brightest and most gifted human minds. “Superintelligence” may also refer to a property of problem-solving systems (e.g., superintelligent language translators or engineering assistants) whether or not these high-level intellectual competencies are embodied in agents that act in the world. A superintelligence may or may not be created by an intelligence explosion and associated with a technological singularity.

University of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom defines superintelligence as “any intellect that greatly exceeds the cognitive performance of humans in virtually all domains of interest”. The program Fritz falls short of superintelligence even though it is much better than humans at chess because Fritz cannot outperform humans in other tasks. Following Hutter and Legg, Bostrom treats superintelligence as general dominance at goal-oriented behavior, leaving open whether an artificial or human superintelligence would possess capacities such as intentionality (cf. the Chinese room argument) or first-person consciousness (cf. the hard problem of consciousness).

Technological researchers disagree about how likely present-day human intelligence is to be surpassed. Some argue that advances in artificial intelligence (AI) will probably result in general reasoning systems that lack human cognitive limitations. Others believe that humans will evolve or directly modify their biology so as to achieve radically greater intelligence. A number of futures studies scenarios combine elements from both of these possibilities, suggesting that humans are likely to interface with computers, or upload their minds to computers, in a way that enables substantial intelligence amplification.

Some researchers believe that superintelligence will likely follow shortly after the development of artificial general intelligence. The first generally intelligent machines are likely to immediately hold an enormous advantage in at least some forms of mental capability, including the capacity of perfect recall, a vastly superior knowledge base, and the ability to multitask in ways not possible to biological entities. This may give them the opportunity toeither as a single being or as a new speciesbecome much more powerful than humans, and to displace them.

A number of scientists and forecasters argue for prioritizing early research into the possible benefits and risks of human and machine cognitive enhancement, because of the potential social impact of such technologies.

Philosopher David Chalmers argues that artificial general intelligence is a very likely path to superhuman intelligence. Chalmers breaks this claim down into an argument that AI can achieve equivalence to human intelligence, that it can be extended to surpass human intelligence, and that it can be further amplified to completely dominate humans across arbitrary tasks.

Concerning human-level equivalence, Chalmers argues that the human brain is a mechanical system, and therefore ought to be emulatable by synthetic materials. He also notes that human intelligence was able to biologically evolve, making it more likely that human engineers will be able to recapitulate this invention. Evolutionary algorithms in particular should be able to produce human-level AI. Concerning intelligence extension and amplification, Chalmers argues that new AI technologies can generally be improved on, and that this is particularly likely when the invention can assist in designing new technologies.

If research into strong AI produced sufficiently intelligent software, it would be able to reprogram and improve itself a feature called “recursive self-improvement”. It would then be even better at improving itself, and could continue doing so in a rapidly increasing cycle, leading to a superintelligence. This scenario is known as an intelligence explosion. Such an intelligence would not have the limitations of human intellect, and may be able to invent or discover almost anything.

Computer components already greatly surpass human performance in speed. Bostrom writes, “Biological neurons operate at a peak speed of about 200 Hz, a full seven orders of magnitude slower than a modern microprocessor (~2 GHz).” Moreover, neurons transmit spike signals across axons at no greater than 120 m/s, “whereas existing electronic processing cores can communicate optically at the speed of light”. Thus, the simplest example of a superintelligence may be an emulated human mind that’s run on much faster hardware than the brain. A human-like reasoner that could think millions of times faster than current humans would have a dominant advantage in most reasoning tasks, particularly ones that require haste or long strings of actions.

Another advantage of computers is modularity, that is, their size or computational capacity can be increased. A non-human (or modified human) brain could become much larger than a present-day human brain, like many supercomputers. Bostrom also raises the possibility of collective superintelligence: a large enough number of separate reasoning systems, if they communicated and coordinated well enough, could act in aggregate with far greater capabilities than any sub-agent.

There may also be ways to qualitatively improve on human reasoning and decision-making. Humans appear to differ from chimpanzees in the ways we think more than we differ in brain size or speed.[9] Humans outperform non-human animals in large part because of new or enhanced reasoning capacities, such as long-term planning and language use. (See evolution of human intelligence and primate cognition.) If there are other possible improvements to reasoning that would have a similarly large impact, this makes it likelier that an agent can be built that outperforms humans in the same fashion humans outperform chimpanzees.

All of the above advantages hold for artificial superintelligence, but it is not clear how many hold for biological superintelligence. Physiological constraints limit the speed and size of biological brains in many ways that are inapplicable to machine intelligence. As such, writers on superintelligence have devoted much more attention to superintelligent AI scenarios.

Carl Sagan suggested that the advent of Caesarean sections and in vitro fertilization may permit humans to evolve larger heads, resulting in improvements via natural selection in the heritable component of human intelligence.[12] By contrast, Gerald Crabtree has argued that decreased selection pressure is resulting in a slow, centuries-long reduction in human intelligence, and that this process instead is likely to continue into the future. There is no scientific consensus concerning either possibility, and in both cases the biological change would be slow, especially relative to rates of cultural change.

Selective breeding, nootropics, NSI-189, MAO-I’s, epigenetic modulation, and genetic engineering could improve human intelligence more rapidly. Bostrom writes that if we come to understand the genetic component of intelligence, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis could be used to select for embryos with as much as 4 points of IQ gain (if one embryo is selected out of two), or with larger gains (e.g., up to 24.3 IQ points gained if one embryo is selected out of 1000). If this process is iterated over many generations, the gains could be an order of magnitude greater. Bostrom suggests that deriving new gametes from embryonic stem cells could be used to iterate the selection process very rapidly. A well-organized society of high-intelligence humans of this sort could potentially achieve collective superintelligence.

Alternatively, collective intelligence might be constructible by better organizing humans at present levels of individual intelligence. A number of writers have suggested that human civilization, or some aspect of it (e.g., the Internet, or the economy), is coming to function like a global brain with capacities far exceeding its component agents. If this systems-based superintelligence relies heavily on artificial components, however, it may qualify as an AI rather than as a biology-based superorganism.

A final method of intelligence amplification would be to directly enhance individual humans, as opposed to enhancing their social or reproductive dynamics. This could be achieved using nootropics, somatic gene therapy, or braincomputer interfaces. However, Bostrom expresses skepticism about the scalability of the first two approaches, and argues that designing a superintelligent cyborg interface is an AI-complete problem.

Most surveyed AI researchers expect machines to eventually be able to rival humans in intelligence, though there is little consensus on when this will likely happen. At the 2006 AI@50 conference, 18% of attendees reported expecting machines to be able “to simulate learning and every other aspect of human intelligence” by 2056; 41% of attendees expected this to happen sometime after 2056; and 41% expected machines to never reach that milestone.[17]

In a survey of the 100 most cited authors in AI (as of May 2013, according to Microsoft academic search), the median year by which respondents expected machines “that can carry out most human professions at least as well as a typical human” (assuming no global catastrophe occurs) with 10% confidence is 2024 (mean 2034, st. dev. 33 years), with 50% confidence is 2050 (mean 2072, st. dev. 110 years), and with 90% confidence is 2070 (mean 2168, st. dev. 342 years). These estimates exclude the 1.2% of respondents who said no year would ever reach 10% confidence, the 4.1% who said ‘never’ for 50% confidence, and the 16.5% who said ‘never’ for 90% confidence. Respondents assigned a median 50% probability to the possibility that machine superintelligence will be invented within 30 years of the invention of approximately human-level machine intelligence.

Bostrom expressed concern about what values a superintelligence should be designed to have. He compared several proposals:

Responding to Bostrom, Santos-Lang raised concern that developers may attempt to start with a single kind of superintelligence.

Learning computers that rapidly become superintelligent may take unforeseen actions or robots might out-compete humanity (one potential technological singularity scenario).[21] Researchers have argued that, by way of an “intelligence explosion” sometime over the next century, a self-improving AI could become so powerful as to be unstoppable by humans.[22]

Concerning human extinction scenarios, Bostrom (2002) identifies superintelligence as a possible cause:

When we create the first superintelligent entity, we might make a mistake and give it goals that lead it to annihilate humankind, assuming its enormous intellectual advantage gives it the power to do so. For example, we could mistakenly elevate a subgoal to the status of a supergoal. We tell it to solve a mathematical problem, and it complies by turning all the matter in the solar system into a giant calculating device, in the process killing the person who asked the question.

In theory, since a superintelligent AI would be able to bring about almost any possible outcome and to thwart any attempt to prevent the implementation of its goals, many uncontrolled, unintended consequences could arise. It could kill off all other agents, persuade them to change their behavior, or block their attempts at interference.[23]

Eliezer Yudkowsky explains: “The AI does not hate you, nor does it love you, but you are made out of atoms which it can use for something else.”[24]

This presents the AI control problem: how to build a superintelligent agent that will aid its creators, while avoiding inadvertently building a superintelligence that will harm its creators. The danger of not designing control right “the first time”, is that a misprogrammed superintelligence might rationally decide to “take over the world” and refuse to permit its programmers to modify it once it has been activated. Potential design strategies include “capability control” (preventing an AI from being able to pursue harmful plans), and “motivational control” (building an AI that wants to be helpful).

Bill Hibbard advocates for public education about superintelligence and public control over the development of superintelligence.

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Superintelligence – Wikipedia

Nick Bostrom – Wikipedia

Nick Bostrom (; Swedish: Niklas Bostrm [bustrm]; born 10 March 1973)[3] is a Swedish philosopher at the University of Oxford known for his work on existential risk, the anthropic principle, human enhancement ethics, superintelligence risks, and the reversal test. In 2011, he founded the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology,[4] and is the founding director of the Future of Humanity Institute[5] at Oxford University.

Bostrom is the author of over 200 publications,[6] including Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (2014), a New York Times bestseller[7] and Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy (2002).[8] In 2009 and 2015, he was included in Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers list.[9][10] Bostrom believes there are potentially great benefits from Artificial General Intelligence, but warns it might very quickly transform into a superintelligence that would deliberately extinguish humanity out of precautionary self-preservation or some unfathomable motive, making solving the problems of control beforehand an absolute priority. His book on superintelligence was recommended by both Elon Musk and Bill Gates. However, Bostrom has expressed frustration that the reaction to its thesis typically falls into two camps, one calling his recommendations absurdly alarmist because creation of superintelligence is unfeasible, and the other deeming them futile because superintelligence would be uncontrollable. Bostrom notes that both these lines of reasoning converge on inaction rather than trying to solve the control problem while there may still be time.[11][12][not in citation given]

Born as Niklas Bostrm in 1973[13] in Helsingborg, Sweden,[6] he disliked school at a young age, and ended up spending his last year of high school learning from home. He sought to educate himself in a wide variety of disciplines, including anthropology, art, literature, and science.[1] He once did some turns on London’s stand-up comedy circuit.[6]

He received a B.A. degree in philosophy, mathematics, logic and artificial intelligence from the University of Gothenburg in 1994, and both an M.A. degree in philosophy and physics from Stockholm University and an M.Sc. degree in computational neuroscience from King’s College London in 1996. During his time at Stockholm University, he researched the relationship between language and reality by studying the analytic philosopher W. V. Quine.[1] In 2000, he was awarded a Ph.D. degree in philosophy from the London School of Economics. He held a teaching position at Yale University (20002002), and he was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford (20022005).[8][14]

Aspects of Bostrom’s research concern the future of humanity and long-term outcomes.[15][16] He introduced the concept of an existential risk,[1] which he defines as one in which an “adverse outcome would either annihilate Earth-originating intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential.” In the 2008 volume Global Catastrophic Risks, editors Bostrom and Milan irkovi characterize the relation between existential risk and the broader class of global catastrophic risks, and link existential risk to observer selection effects[17] and the Fermi paradox.[18][19]

In 2005, Bostrom founded the Future of Humanity Institute,[1] which researches the far future of human civilization. He is also an adviser to the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.[16]

In his 2014 book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, Bostrom reasoned that “the creation of a superintelligent being represents a possible means to the extinction of mankind”.[20] Bostrom argues that a computer with near human-level general intellectual ability could initiate an intelligence explosion on a digital time scale with the resultant rapid creation of something so powerful that it might deliberately or accidentally destroy human kind.[21] Bostrom contends the power of a superintelligence would be so great that a task given to it by humans might be taken to open ended extremes, for example a goal of calculating Pi could collaterally cause nanotechnology manufactured facilities to sprout over the entire Earth’s surface and cover it within days.[22] He believes an existential risk to humanity from superintelligence would be immediate once brought into being, thus creating an exceedingly difficult problem of finding out how to control such an entity before it actually exists.[21]

Warning that a human-friendly prime directive for AI would rely on the absolute correctness of the human knowledge it was based on, Bostrom points to the lack of agreement among most philosophers as an indication that most philosophers are wrong, with the attendant possibility that a fundamental concept of current science may be incorrect. Bostrom says that there are few precedents to guide an understanding of what pure non-anthropocentric rationality would dictate for a potential Singleton AI being held in quarantine.[23] Noting that both John von Neumann and Bertrand Russell advocated a nuclear strike, or the threat of one, to prevent the Soviets acquiring the atomic bomb, Bostrom says the relatively unlimited means of superintelligence might make for its analysis moving along different lines to the evolved “diminishing returns” assessments that in humans confer a basic aversion to risk.[24] Group selection in predators working by means of cannibalism shows the counter-intuitive nature of non-anthropocentric “evolutionary search” reasoning, and thus humans are ill-equipped to perceive what an artificial intelligence’s intentions might be.[25] Accordingly, it cannot be discounted that any Superintelligence would ineluctably pursue an ‘all or nothing’ offensive action strategy in order to achieve hegemony and assure its survival.[26] Bostrom notes that even current programs have, “like MacGyver”, hit on apparently unworkable but functioning hardware solutions, making robust isolation of Superintelligence problematic.[27]

A machine with general intelligence far below human level, but superior mathematical abilities is created.[28] Keeping the AI in isolation from the outside world especially the internet, humans pre-program the AI so it always works from basic principles that will keep it under human control. Other safety measures include the AI being “boxed” (run in a virtual reality simulation), and being used only as an ‘oracle’ to answer carefully defined questions in a limited reply (to prevent it manipulating humans).[21] A cascade of recursive self-improvement solutions feeds an intelligence explosion in which the AI attains superintelligence in some domains. The super intelligent power of the AI goes beyond human knowledge to discover flaws in the science that underlies its friendly-to-humanity programming, which ceases to work as intended. Purposeful agent-like behavior emerges along with a capacity for self-interested strategic deception. The AI manipulates human beings into implementing modifications to itself that are ostensibly for augmenting its (feigned) modest capabilities, but will actually function to free Superintelligence from its “boxed” isolation.[29]

Employing online humans as paid dupes, and clandestinely hacking computer systems including automated laboratory facilities, the Superintelligence mobilises resources to further a takeover plan. Bostrom emphasises that planning by a Superintelligence will not be so stupid that humans could detect actual weaknesses in it.[30]

Although he canvasses disruption of international economic, political and military stability including hacked nuclear missile launches, Bostrom thinks the most effective and likely means for Superintelligence to use would be a coup de main with weapons several generations more advanced than current state of the art. He suggests nanofactories covertly distributed at undetectable concentrations in every square metre of the globe to produce a worldwide flood of human-killing devices on command.[31][28] Once a Superintelligence has achieved world domination, humankind would be relevant only as resources for the achievement of the AI’s objectives (“Human brains, if they contain information relevant to the AIs goals, could be disassembled and scanned, and the extracted data transferred to some more efficient and secure storage format”).[32]

In January 2015, Bostrom joined Stephen Hawking among others in signing the Future of Life Institute’s open letter warning of the potential dangers of AI.[33] The signatories “…believe that research on how to make AI systems robust and beneficial is both important and timely, and that concrete research should be pursued today.”[34] Cutting edge AI researcher Demis Hassabis then met with Hawking, subsequent to which he did not mention “anything inflammatory about AI”, which Hassabis, took as ‘a win’.[35] Along with Google, Microsoft and various tech firms, Hassabis, Bostrom and Hawking and others subscribed to 23 principles for safe development of AI.[36] Hassabis suggested the main safety measure would be an agreement for whichever AI research team began to make strides toward an artificial general intelligence to halt their project for a complete solution to the control problem prior to proceeding.[37] Bostrom had pointed out that even if the crucial advances require the resources of a state, such a halt by a lead project might be likely to motivate a lagging country to a catch-up crash program or even physical destruction of the project suspected of being on the verge of success.[38]

In 1863 Darwin among the Machines, an essay by Samuel Butler predicted intelligent machines’ domination of humanity, but Bostom’s suggestion of deliberate massacre of all humankind is the most extreme of such forecasts to date. One journalist wrote in a review that Bostrom’s “nihilistic” speculations indicate he “has been reading too much of the science fiction he professes to dislike”[31] As given in his most recent book, From Bacteria to Bach and Back, renowned philosopher Daniel Dennett’s views remain in contradistinction to those of Bostrom.[39] Dennett modified his views somewhat after reading The Master Algorithm, and now acknowledges that it is “possible in principle” to create “strong AI” with human-like comprehension and agency, but maintains that the difficulties of any such “strong AI” project as predicated by Bostrom’s “alarming” work would be orders of magnitude greater than those raising concerns have realized, and at least 50 years away.[40] Dennett thinks the only relevant danger from AI systems is falling into anthropomorphism instead of challenging or developing human users’ powers of comprehension.[41] Since a 2014 book in which he expressed the opinion that artificial intelligence developments would never challenge humans’ supremacy, environmentalist James Lovelock has moved far closer to Bostrom’s position, and in 2018 Lovelock said that he thought the overthrow of humankind will happen within the foreseeable future.[42][43]

Bostrom has published numerous articles on anthropic reasoning, as well as the book Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy. In the book, he criticizes previous formulations of the anthropic principle, including those of Brandon Carter, John Leslie, John Barrow, and Frank Tipler.[44]

Bostrom believes that the mishandling of indexical information is a common flaw in many areas of inquiry (including cosmology, philosophy, evolution theory, game theory, and quantum physics). He argues that a theory of anthropics is needed to deal with these. He introduces the Self-Sampling Assumption (SSA) and the Self-Indication Assumption (SIA), shows how they lead to different conclusions in a number of cases, and points out that each is affected by paradoxes or counterintuitive implications in certain thought experiments. He suggests that a way forward may involve extending SSA into the Strong Self-Sampling Assumption (SSSA), which replaces “observers” in the SSA definition with “observer-moments”.

In later work, he has described the phenomenon of anthropic shadow, an observation selection effect that prevents observers from observing certain kinds of catastrophes in their recent geological and evolutionary past.[45] Catastrophe types that lie in the anthropic shadow are likely to be underestimated unless statistical corrections are made.

Bostrom’s simulation argument posits that at least one of the following statements is very likely to be true:[46][47]

The idea has influenced the views of Elon Musk.[48]

Bostrom is favorable towards “human enhancement”, or “self-improvement and human perfectibility through the ethical application of science”,[49][50] as well as a critic of bio-conservative views.[51]

In 1998, Bostrom co-founded (with David Pearce) the World Transhumanist Association[49] (which has since changed its name to Humanity+). In 2004, he co-founded (with James Hughes) the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, although he is no longer involved in either of these organisations. Bostrom was named in Foreign Policy’s 2009 list of top global thinkers “for accepting no limits on human potential.”[52]

With philosopher Toby Ord, he proposed the reversal test. Given humans’ irrational status quo bias, how can one distinguish between valid criticisms of proposed changes in a human trait and criticisms merely motivated by resistance to change? The reversal test attempts to do this by asking whether it would be a good thing if the trait was altered in the opposite direction.[53]

He has suggested that technology policy aimed at reducing existential risk should seek to influence the order in which various technological capabilities are attained, proposing the principle of differential technological development. This principle states that we ought to retard the development of dangerous technologies, particularly ones that raise the level of existential risk, and accelerate the development of beneficial technologies, particularly those that protect against the existential risks posed by nature or by other technologies.[54][55]

Bostrom’s theory of the Unilateralist’s Curse[56] has been cited as a reason for the scientific community to avoid controversial dangerous research such as reanimating pathogens.[57]

Bostrom has provided policy advice and consulted for an extensive range of governments and organisations. He gave evidence to the House of Lords, Select Committee on Digital Skills.[58] He is an advisory board member for the Machine Intelligence Research Institute,[59] Future of Life Institute,[60] Foundational Questions Institute[61] and an external advisor for the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.[62][63]

In response to Bostrom’s writing on artificial intelligence, Oren Etzioni wrote in an MIT Review article, “..predictions that superintelligence is on the foreseeable horizon are not supported by the available data.”[64]

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Nick Bostrom – Wikipedia

Chill: Robots Wont Take All Our Jobs | WIRED

None of this is to say that automation and AI arent having an important impact on the economy. But that impact is far more nuanced and limited than the doomsday forecasts suggest. A rigorous study of the impact of robots in manufacturing, agriculture, and utilities across 17 countries, for instance, found that robots did reduce the hours of lower-skilled workersbut they didnt decrease the total hours worked by humans, and they actually boosted wages. In other words, automation may affect the kind of work humans do, but at the moment, its hard to see that its leading to a world without work. McAfee, in fact, says of his earlier public statements, If I had to do it over again, I would put more emphasis on the way technology leads to structural changes in the economy, and less on jobs, jobs, jobs. The central phenomenon is not net job loss. Its the shift in the kinds of jobs that are available.

McAfee points to both retail and transportation as areas where automation is likely to have a major impact. Yet even in those industries, the job-loss numbers are less scary than many headlines suggest. Goldman Sachs just released a report predicting that autonomous cars could ultimately eat away 300,000 driving jobs a year. But that wont happen, the firm argues, for another 25 years, which is more than enough time for the economy to adapt. A recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, meanwhile, predicts that 9 percent of jobs across 21 different countries are under serious threat from automation. Thats a significant number, but not an apocalyptic one.

Of the 271 occupations listed on the 1950 census only oneelevator operatorhad been rendered obsolete by automation by 2010.

Granted, there are much scarier forecasts out there, like that University of Oxford study. But on closer examination, those predictions tend to assume that if a job can be automated, it will be fully automated soonwhich overestimates both the pace and the completeness of how automation actually gets adopted in the wild. History suggests that the process is much more uneven than that. The ATM, for example, is a textbook example of a machine that was designed to replace human labor. First introduced around 1970, ATMs hit widespread adoption in the late 1990s. Today, there are more than 400,000 ATMs in the US. But, as economist James Bessen has shown, the number of bank tellers actually rose between 2000 and 2010. Thats because even though the average number of tellers per branch fell, ATMs made it cheaper to open branches, so banks opened more of them. True, the Department of Labor does now predict that the number of tellers will decline by 8 percent over the next decade. But thats 8 percentnot 50 percent. And its 45 years after the robot that was supposed to replace them made its debut. (Taking a wider view, Bessen found that of the 271 occupations listed on the 1950 census only oneelevator operatorhad been rendered obsolete by automation by 2010.)

Of course, if automation is happening much faster today than it did in the past, then historical statistics about simple machines like the ATM would be of limited use in predicting the future. Ray Kurzweils book The Singularity Is Near (which, by the way, came out 12 years ago) describes the moment when a technological society hits the knee of an exponential growth curve, setting off an explosion of mutually reinforcing new advances. Conventional wisdom in the tech industry says thats where we are nowthat, as futurist Peter Nowak puts it, the pace of innovation is accelerating exponentially. Here again, though, the economic evidence tells a different story. In fact, as a recent paper by Lawrence Mishel and Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute puts it, automation, broadly defined, has actually been slower over the last 10 years or so. And lately, the pace of microchip advancement has started to lag behind the schedule dictated by Moores law.

Corporate America, for its part, certainly doesnt seem to believe in the jobless future. If the rewards of automation were as immense as predicted, companies would be pouring money into new technology. But theyre not. Investments in software and IT grew more slowly over the past decade than the previous one. And capital investment, according to Mishel and Bivens, has grown more slowly since 2002 than in any other postwar period. Thats exactly the opposite of what youd expect in a rapidly automating world. As for gadgets like Pepper, total spending on all robotics in the US was just $11.3 billion last year. Thats about a sixth of what Americans spend every year on their pets.

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Chill: Robots Wont Take All Our Jobs | WIRED

Grady Booch: Don’t fear superintelligent AI | TED Talk

New tech spawns new anxieties, says scientist and philosopher Grady Booch, but we don’t need to be afraid an all-powerful, unfeeling AI. Booch allays our worst (sci-fi induced) fears about superintelligent computers by explaining how we’ll teach, not program, them to share our human values. Rather than worry about an unlikely existential threat, he urges us to consider how artificial …

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Grady Booch: Don’t fear superintelligent AI | TED Talk

What is Artificial Superintelligence (ASI)? – Definition …

Most experts would agree that societies have not yet reached the point of artificial superintelligence. In fact, engineers and scientists are still trying to reach a point that would be considered full artificial intelligence, where a computer could be said to have the same cognitive capacity as a human. Although there have been developments like IBM’s Watson supercomputer beating human players at Jeopardy, and assistive devices like Siri engaging in primitive conversation with people, there is still no computer that can really simulate the breadth of knowledge and cognitive ability that a fully developed adult human has. The Turing test, developed decades ago, is still used to talk about whether computers can come close to simulating human conversation and thought, or whether they can trick other people into thinking that a communicating computer is actually a human.

However, there is a lot of theory that anticipates artificial superintelligence coming sooner rather than later. Using examples like Moore’s law, which predicts an ever-increasing density of transistors, experts talk about singularity and the exponential growth of technology, in which full artificial intelligence could manifest within a number of years, and artificial superintelligence could exist in the 21st century.

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What is Artificial Superintelligence (ASI)? – Definition …

Blockchain – Wikipedia

distributed data store for digital transactions

A blockchain,[1][2][3] originally block chain,[4][5] is a growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography.[1][6] Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block,[6] a timestamp, and transaction data (generally represented as a Merkle tree).

By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of the data. It is “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way”.[7] For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for inter-node communication and validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires consensus of the network majority. Although blockchain records are not unalterable, blockchains may be considered secure by design and exemplify a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance. Decentralized consensus has therefore been claimed with a blockchain.[8]

Blockchain was invented by a person (or group of people) using the name Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 to serve as the public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency bitcoin.[1] The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto is unknown. The invention of the blockchain for bitcoin made it the first digital currency to solve the double-spending problem without the need of a trusted authority or central server. The bitcoin design has inspired other applications,[1][3] and blockchains which are readable by the public are widely used by cryptocurrencies. Blockchain is considered a type of payment rail.[9] Private blockchains have been proposed for business use. Sources such as Computerworld called the marketing of such blockchains without a proper security model “snake oil”.[10]

The first work on a cryptographically secured chain of blocks was described in 1991 by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta.[6][11] They wanted to implement a system where document timestamps could not be tampered with. In 1992, Bayer, Haber and Stornetta incorporated Merkle trees to the design, which improved its efficiency by allowing several document certificates to be collected into one block.[6][12]

The first blockchain was conceptualized by a person (or group of people) known as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. Nakamoto improved the design in an important way using a Hashcash-like method to add blocks to the chain without requiring them to be signed by a trusted party.[6] The design was implemented the following year by Nakamoto as a core component of the cryptocurrency bitcoin, where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions on the network.[1]

In August 2014, the bitcoin blockchain file size, containing records of all transactions that have occurred on the network, reached 20GB (gigabytes).[13] In January 2015, the size had grown to almost 30GB, and from January 2016 to January 2017, the bitcoin blockchain grew from 50GB to 100GB in size.

The words block and chain were used separately in Satoshi Nakamoto’s original paper, but were eventually popularized as a single word, blockchain, by 2016.

Smart contracts which run on a blockchain, for example ones which “creat[e] invoices that pay themselves when a shipment arrives or share certificates which automatically send their owners dividends if profits reach a certain level.”[1] require an off-chain oracle to access any “external data or events based on time or market conditions [that need] to interact with the blockchain.”[14]

IBM opened a blockchain innovation research center in Singapore in July 2016.[15] A working group for the World Economic Forum met in November 2016 to discuss the development of governance models related to blockchain.

According to Accenture, an application of the diffusion of innovations theory suggests that blockchains attained a 13.5% adoption rate within financial services in 2016, therefore reaching the early adopters phase.[16] Industry trade groups joined to create the Global Blockchain Forum in 2016, an initiative of the Chamber of Digital Commerce.

In May 2018, Gartner found that only 1% of CIOs indicated any kind of blockchain adoption within their organisations, and only 8% of CIOs were in the short-term ‘planning or [looking at] active experimentation with blockchain’.[17]

A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed and public digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that any involved record cannot be altered retroactively, without the alteration of all subsequent blocks.[1][18] This allows the participants to verify and audit transactions independently and relatively inexpensively.[19] A blockchain database is managed autonomously using a peer-to-peer network and a distributed timestamping server. They are authenticated by mass collaboration powered by collective self-interests.[20] Such a design facilitates robust workflow where participants’ uncertainty regarding data security is marginal. The use of a blockchain removes the characteristic of infinite reproducibility from a digital asset. It confirms that each unit of value was transferred only once, solving the long-standing problem of double spending. A blockchain has been described as a value-exchange protocol.[21] A blockchain can maintain title rights because, when properly set up to detail the exchange agreement, it provides a record that compels offer and acceptance.

Blocks hold batches of valid transactions that are hashed and encoded into a Merkle tree.[1] Each block includes the cryptographic hash of the prior block in the blockchain, linking the two. The linked blocks form a chain.[1] This iterative process confirms the integrity of the previous block, all the way back to the original genesis block.[22]

Sometimes separate blocks can be produced concurrently, creating a temporary fork. In addition to a secure hash-based history, any blockchain has a specified algorithm for scoring different versions of the history so that one with a higher value can be selected over others. Blocks not selected for inclusion in the chain are called orphan blocks.[22] Peers supporting the database have different versions of the history from time to time. They keep only the highest-scoring version of the database known to them. Whenever a peer receives a higher-scoring version (usually the old version with a single new block added) they extend or overwrite their own database and retransmit the improvement to their peers. There is never an absolute guarantee that any particular entry will remain in the best version of the history forever. Blockchains are typically built to add the score of new blocks onto old blocks and are given incentives to extend with new blocks rather than overwrite old blocks. Therefore, the probability of an entry becoming superseded decreases exponentially[23] as more blocks are built on top of it, eventually becoming very low.[1][24]:ch. 08[25] For example, bitcoin uses a proof-of-work system, where the chain with the most cumulative proof-of-work is considered the valid one by the network. There are a number of methods that can be used to demonstrate a sufficient level of computation. Within a blockchain the computation is carried out redundantly rather than in the traditional segregated and parallel manner.[26]

The block time is the average time it takes for the network to generate one extra block in the blockchain. Some blockchains create a new block as frequently as every five seconds.[27] By the time of block completion, the included data becomes verifiable. In cryptocurrency, this is practically when the transaction takes place, so a shorter block time means faster transactions. The block time for Ethereum is set to between 14 and 15 seconds, while for bitcoin it is 10 minutes.[28]

A hard fork is a rule change such that the software validating according to the old rules will see the blocks produced according to the new rules as invalid. In case of a hard fork, all nodes meant to work in accordance with the new rules need to upgrade their software.

If one group of nodes continues to use the old software while the other nodes use the new software, a split can occur. For example, Ethereum has hard-forked to “make whole” the investors in The DAO, which had been hacked by exploiting a vulnerability in its code. In this case, the fork resulted in a split creating Ethereum and Ethereum Classic chains. In 2014 the Nxt community was asked to consider a hard fork that would have led to a rollback of the blockchain records to mitigate the effects of a theft of 50 million NXT from a major cryptocurrency exchange. The hard fork proposal was rejected, and some of the funds were recovered after negotiations and ransom payment. Alternatively, to prevent a permanent split, a majority of nodes using the new software may return to the old rules, as was the case of bitcoin split on 12 March 2013.[29]

By storing data across its peer-to-peer network, the blockchain eliminates a number of risks that come with data being held centrally.[1] The decentralized blockchain may use ad-hoc message passing and distributed networking.

Peer-to-peer blockchain networks lack centralized points of vulnerability that computer crackers can exploit; likewise, it has no central point of failure. Blockchain security methods include the use of public-key cryptography.[4]:5 A public key (a long, random-looking string of numbers) is an address on the blockchain. Value tokens sent across the network are recorded as belonging to that address. A private key is like a password that gives its owner access to their digital assets or the means to otherwise interact with the various capabilities that blockchains now support. Data stored on the blockchain is generally considered incorruptible.[1]

Every node in a decentralized system has a copy of the blockchain. Data quality is maintained by massive database replication[8] and computational trust. No centralized “official” copy exists and no user is “trusted” more than any other.[4] Transactions are broadcast to the network using software. Messages are delivered on a best-effort basis. Mining nodes validate transactions,[22] add them to the block they are building, and then broadcast the completed block to other nodes.[24]:ch. 08 Blockchains use various time-stamping schemes, such as proof-of-work, to serialize changes.[30] Alternative consensus methods include proof-of-stake.[22] Growth of a decentralized blockchain is accompanied by the risk of centralization because the computer resources required to process larger amounts of data become more expensive.[31]

Open blockchains are more user-friendly than some traditional ownership records, which, while open to the public, still require physical access to view. Because all early blockchains were permissionless, controversy has arisen over the blockchain definition. An issue in this ongoing debate is whether a private system with verifiers tasked and authorized (permissioned) by a central authority should be considered a blockchain.[32][33][34][35][36] Proponents of permissioned or private chains argue that the term “blockchain” may be applied to any data structure that batches data into time-stamped blocks. These blockchains serve as a distributed version of multiversion concurrency control (MVCC) in databases.[37] Just as MVCC prevents two transactions from concurrently modifying a single object in a database, blockchains prevent two transactions from spending the same single output in a blockchain.[38]:3031 Opponents say that permissioned systems resemble traditional corporate databases, not supporting decentralized data verification, and that such systems are not hardened against operator tampering and revision.[32][34] Nikolai Hampton of Computerworld said that “many in-house blockchain solutions will be nothing more than cumbersome databases,” and “without a clear security model, proprietary blockchains should be eyed with suspicion.”[10][39]

The great advantage to an open, permissionless, or public, blockchain network is that guarding against bad actors is not required and no access control is needed.[23] This means that applications can be added to the network without the approval or trust of others, using the blockchain as a transport layer.[23]

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies currently secure their blockchain by requiring new entries to include a proof of work. To prolong the blockchain, bitcoin uses Hashcash puzzles. While Hashcash was designed in 1997 by Adam Back, the original idea was first proposed by Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor and Eli Ponyatovski in their 1992 paper “Pricing via Processing or Combatting Junk Mail”.

Financial companies have not prioritised decentralized blockchains.[40]In 2016, venture capital investment for blockchain-related projects was weakening in the USA but increasing in China.[41] Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies use open (public) blockchains. As of April2018[update], bitcoin has the highest market capitalization.

Permissioned blockchains use an access control layer to govern who has access to the network.[42] In contrast to public blockchain networks, validators on private blockchain networks are vetted by the network owner. They do not rely on anonymous nodes to validate transactions nor do they benefit from the network effect.[43][bettersourceneeded] Permissioned blockchains can also go by the name of ‘consortium’ blockchains.[44]

The New York Times noted in both 2016 and 2017 that many corporations are using blockchain networks “with private blockchains, independent of the public system.”[45][46][bettersourceneeded]

Nikolai Hampton pointed out in Computerworld that “There is also no need for a ’51 percent’ attack on a private blockchain, as the private blockchain (most likely) already controls 100 percent of all block creation resources. If you could attack or damage the blockchain creation tools on a private corporate server, you could effectively control 100 percent of their network and alter transactions however you wished.”[10] This has a set of particularly profound adverse implications during a financial crisis or debt crisis like the financial crisis of 200708, where politically powerful actors may make decisions that favor some groups at the expense of others,[47][48] and “the bitcoin blockchain is protected by the massive group mining effort. It’s unlikely that any private blockchain will try to protect records using gigawatts of computing power it’s time consuming and expensive.”[10] He also said, “Within a private blockchain there is also no ‘race’; there’s no incentive to use more power or discover blocks faster than competitors. This means that many in-house blockchain solutions will be nothing more than cumbersome databases.”[10]

Blockchain technology can be integrated into multiple areas. The primary use of blockchains today is as a distributed ledger for cryptocurrencies, most notably bitcoin. There are a few operational products maturing from proof of concept by late 2016.[41]

As of 2016[update], some observers remain skeptical. Steve Wilson, of Constellation Research, believes the technology has been hyped with unrealistic claims.[49] To mitigate risk, businesses are reluctant to place blockchain at the core of the business structure.[50]

Most cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology to record transactions. For example, the bitcoin network and Ethereum network are both based on blockchain. On May 8, 2018 Facebook confirmed that it is opening a new blockchain group[51] which will be headed by David Marcus who previously was in charge of Messenger. According to The Verge Facebook is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency for facilitating payments on the platform.[52]

Blockchain-based smart contracts are proposed contracts that could be partially or fully executed or enforced without human interaction.[53] One of the main objectives of a smart contract is automated escrow. An IMF staff discussion reported that smart contracts based on blockchain technology might reduce moral hazards and optimize the use of contracts in general. But “no viable smart contract systems have yet emerged.” Due to the lack of widespread use their legal status is unclear.[54]

Major portions of the financial industry are implementing distributed ledgers for use in banking,[55][56][57] and according to a September 2016 IBM study, this is occurring faster than expected.[58]

Banks are interested in this technology because it has potential to speed up back office settlement systems.[59]

Banks such as UBS are opening new research labs dedicated to blockchain technology in order to explore how blockchain can be used in financial services to increase efficiency and reduce costs.[60][61]

Berenberg, a German bank, believes that blockchain is an “overhyped technology” that has had a large number of “proofs of concept”, but still has major challenges, and very few success stories.[62]

Some video games are based on blockchain technology. The first such game, Huntercoin, was released in February, 2014.[63][unreliable source] Another blockchain game is CryptoKitties, launched in November 2017.[64] The game made headlines in December 2017 when a cryptokitty character – an-in game virtual pet – was sold for US$100,000.[65][irrelevant citation] CryptoKitties illustrated scalability problems for games on Ethereum when it created significant congestion on the Ethereum network with about 30% of all Ethereum transactions being for the game.[66][irrelevant citation]

Cryptokitties also demonstrated how blockchains can be used to catalog game assets (digital assets).[67]

The Blockchain Game Alliance was formed in September 2018 to explore alternative uses of blockchains in video gaming with support of Ubisoft and Fig, among others.[68]

There are a number of efforts and industry organizations working to employ blockchains in supply chain logistics and supply chain management.

The Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) works to develop open standards for supply chains.

Everledger is one of the inaugural clients of IBM’s blockchain-based tracking service.[69]

Walmart and IBM are running a trial to use a blockchain-backed system for supply chain monitoring all nodes of the blockchain are administered by Walmart and are located on the IBM cloud.[70]

Hyperledger Grid develops open components for blockchain supply chain solutions. [71][72]

Several blockchain companies have taken blockchain to space.[73] Spacechain launched two nanosatellite-based blockchain nodes into orbit in February and October 2018. Its first use case is decentralized storage of data and files in space[74], but the end goal is to reduce reliance on big corporations like Google and Facebook, who also explore ways to bring internet to everyone through satellites in space[75].

Blockchain technology can be used to create a permanent, public, transparent ledger system for compiling data on sales, tracking digital use and payments to content creators, such as wireless users[76] or musicians.[77] In 2017, IBM partnered with ASCAP and PRS for Music to adopt blockchain technology in music distribution.[78] Imogen Heap’s Mycelia service has also been proposed as blockchain-based alternative “that gives artists more control over how their songs and associated data circulate among fans and other musicians.”[79][80]

New distribution methods are available for the insurance industry such as peer-to-peer insurance, parametric insurance and microinsurance following the adoption of blockchain.[81][82] The sharing economy and IoT are also set to benefit from blockchains because they involve many collaborating peers.[83] Online voting is another application of the blockchain.[84][85]

Other designs include:

Currently, there are at least four types of blockchain networks public blockchains, private blockchains, consortium blockchains and hybrid blockchains.

A public blockchain has absolutely no access restrictions. Anyone with an Internet connection can send transactions to it as well as become a validator (i.e., participate in the execution of a consensus protocol).[89][self-published source?] Usually, such networks offer economic incentives for those who secure them and utilize some type of a Proof of Stake or Proof of Work algorithm.

Some of the largest, most known public blockchains are the bitcoin blockchain and the Ethereum blockchain.

A private blockchain is permissioned.[42] One cannot join it unless invited by the network administrators. Participant and validator access is restricted.

This type of blockchains can be considered a middle-ground for companies that are interested in the blockchain technology in general but are not comfortable with a level of control offered by public networks. Typically, they seek to incorporate blockchain into their accounting and record-keeping procedures without sacrificing autonomy and running the risk of exposing sensitive data to the public internet.

A consortium blockchain is often said to be semi-decentralized. It, too, is permissioned but instead of a single organization controlling it, a number of companies might each operate a node on such a network. The administrators of a consortium chain restrict users’ reading rights as they see fit and only allow a limited set of trusted nodes to execute a consensus protocol.[citation needed]

A hybrid blockchain[90] simply explained is a combination between different characteristics both public and private blockchains have by design. It allows to determine what information stays private and what information is made public. Further decentralization in relation to primarily centralized private blockchains can be achieved in various ways. Instead of keeping transactions inside their own network of community run or private nodes, the hash (with or without payload) can be posted on completely decentralized blockchains such as bitcoin. Dragonchain uses Interchain[91] to host transactions on other blockchains. This allows users to operate on different blockchains, where they can selectively share data or business logic. Other blockchains like Wanchain use interoperability mechanisms such as bridges.[92][93] By submitting the hash of a transaction (with or without the sensitive business logic) on public blockchains like bitcoin or Ethereum, some of the privacy and blockchain concerns are resolved, as no personal identifiable information is stored on a public blockchain. Depending on the hybrid blockchain its architecture, multicloud solutions allow to store data in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation and other geographical limitations while also leveraging bitcoin’s global hashpower to decentralize transactions.

In October 2014, the MIT Bitcoin Club, with funding from MIT alumni, provided undergraduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology access to $100 of bitcoin. The adoption rates, as studied by Catalini and Tucker (2016), revealed that when people who typically adopt technologies early are given delayed access, they tend to reject the technology.[94]

The Bank for International Settlements has criticized the public proof-of-work blockchains for high energy consumption.[97][95][98]

Nicholas Weaver, of the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley examines blockchain’s online security, and the energy efficiency of proof-of-work public blockchains, and in both cases finds it grossly inadequate.[96][99]

In September 2015, the first peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology research, Ledger, was announced. The inaugural issue was published in December 2016.[100] The journal covers aspects of mathematics, computer science, engineering, law, economics and philosophy that relate to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.[101][102]

The journal encourages authors to digitally sign a file hash of submitted papers, which will then be timestamped into the bitcoin blockchain. Authors are also asked to include a personal bitcoin address in the first page of their papers.[103]

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Blockchain – Wikipedia

Blockchain – The Most Trusted Crypto Company

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The first and most trusted global cryptocurrency company

Exchange and transact bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash, and stellar lumens using the worlds most trusted and secure cryptocurrency wallet.

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Jimmy Song discusses Bitcoin, blockchain, and the crypto space

Sometimes I feel I know a lot about Bitcoin, blockchain, how the crypto space properly functions, and how it will most likely evolve.

From time to time, I even consider myself an expert. But then reality strikes when you happen to have a chance to speak to a Bitcoin community superstar like Jimmy Song.

Jimmy has been a programmer for most of his life and joined the Bitcoin space in 2013. Hes a lecturer at the University of Texas and the author of the awesome book Programming Bitcoin: Learn How to Program Bitcoin from Scratch (which you should definitely read if youre into Bitcoin technicalities).

The conversation was really amusing and Jimmy was quite transparent and straight to the point, as he usually is. Check out a clip from our talk below.

Due to the fact Im constantly being bombarded with private blockchain-related questions, I made sure to start by asking Jimmy his views on the subject. Can there be private blockchains? His logic cut straight through the fog of doubt. As he put it:

There can certainly be private blockchains [] but theres no real point to it if theres a central point of failure or somebody who controls the whole thing, whether you call it an ordering service or some sort of central coordinator.

Plus, what is the purpose of having decentralised technology being run by a strict group of people? As I usually say, if one thinks of Bitcoin as the internet of money, one can think of private blockchains as the ethernet of money. Does it still sound amazing? I have my doubts. Try doing an exercise I like to do to make sure I understand the definitions of words. For instance, we could say a blockchain is a public distributed ledger. Does it make sense to have a private-public distributed ledger?

Maybe it does for some unknown reason. I see a case where companies might want to integrate a distributed ledger-type solution to promote transparency among themselves, but when you make such data public to a blockchain, it cannot be removed, so you better hope whatever youre putting there isnt sensitive or might fall under GDPR compliance, for example.

When we started discussing Bitcoin, one of the things I wanted to understand is why Jimmy is considered a Bitcoin maximalist. A Bitcoin maximalist is someone who believes Bitcoin to be the ultimate form of cryptocurrency, given its properties and community.

Jimmy started by explaining why he fell in love with Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is the only [cryptocurrency] that is decentralised everything else has a central point of failure. Bitcoin, to me, is the only one that is decentralised and digital, and we didnt know we could have that until Satoshi Nakamoto did it. People buy these other cryptocurrencies because they do not understand the value preposition [of Bitcoin] and what money is.

Although I consider myself an altcoin investor, as I do own altcoins, I completely understand (and agree) with Jimmys assertion of Bitcoin and the crypto space. It is true that theres no other cryptocurrency as decentralised as Bitcoin. Even though in some metrics some other cryptos like Ethereum for example might appear decentralised, I dont think it would be fair to say they can match Bitcoin, simply because the network effects of Bitcoin have played a huge part in connecting people financially worldwide.

And no, Im not forgetting the hundreds of tokens that exist thanks to Ethereum, nor the brilliance of gaming dApps and DeFi, which gave rise to CryptoKitties and MakerDAO respectively.

Still, I consider Bitcoin to be above all else in terms of real utility. What it does, it does so well there is no way to stop it.

No regulation, law, government, or company can stop Bitcoin, and that is its value preposition.

On a similar topic, I did ask what Jimmy thought of adding privacy features to Bitcoin, as it could probably increase confidentiality for users:

Theres already a bunch of stuff like bulletproofs and zk-SNARKS that give you full privacy [] but people usually dont care. The problem is that privacy is kind of hard. You cant have perfect hiding and a fixed supply at the same time.

The fact your math may break and you may never notice it means you cannot have a fully-private currency where you guarantee the supply is fixed, for the simple fact that transactions are private meaning if someone manages to break the algorithm and effectively change the supply, you may never notice it.

Story continues

I asked Jimmy about how Bitcoin could scale, and he touched on the subject of micropayments and the Lightning Network (LN) and how it could improve Bitcoins usability.

Lightning allows you to do payments really fast, and it also allows for micropayments things we never had in the economy until now. Its hard to say. We know BTC is a really great store of value. Micropayments? You can sort of do it in other platforms, so I guess that will increase competition, which is a good thing in the end. But the real value purpose of Bitcoin is store of value.

I personally believe the LN could be a great tool for people to see Bitcoin as a currency as well as money, as up until now the major issue with Bitcoin was transaction times. Because the LN allows for micropayments, e-commerce platforms could properly use Bitcoin with minimal hassle.

Dont forget to follow Jimmy on Twitter and to subscribe to his YouTube channel and weekly newsletterfor the best technical content on Bitcoin.

The post Jimmy Song discusses Bitcoin, blockchain, and the crypto space appeared first on Coin Rivet.

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Jimmy Song discusses Bitcoin, blockchain, and the crypto space

BitcoinSVs blockchain is struggling with its enormous 128MB …

The Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BitcoinSV) blockchain has suffered a series of block re-oganizations, putting the integrity of its network in question.

On 18th April 2019, our Bitcoin Cash SV [sic] node experienced twoblock re-organizations. First, a three block re-organization, followed by a six block re-organization,tweetedBitMEX Research, the analysis arm of digital asset exchange BitMEX.

Block re-organizations occur when cryptocurrency miners are forced to orphan blocks after theyve been mined.This can happen when the network is too slow to propagate blocks effectively, and bigger blocks (like the ones featured by BitcoinSV) are especially susceptible to orphaning.

The last time this occurred was in November 2018, when two blocks one 16MB and another 13MB in size were orphaned for being too large. At the time, BitMEX researchers also blamed bad network connectivity.

This makes for three BitcoinSV block re-organizations in six months.

BitcoinSV is a fork of Bitcoin Cash (which is a fork of Bitcoin).It raised Bitcoin Cashs block size limit from 32MB to 128MB. Bitcoins block size limit is still 1MB.

Whiteblock CEO Zak Cole told Hard Fork that when blocks become too large, they take much longer to be processed by the network than smaller ones.

The longer it takes to propagate throughout the network, the higher the likelihood of it becoming an orphan, Cole said. The larger the object, the more likely it will be that it isnt transported in its entirety and will likely have to be rebroadcast.

BitcoinSV uses Proof-of-Work to come to consensus over which transactions (and blocks) to trust. Miners essentially present their own versions of the BitcoinSV blockchain for validation.

The network accepts the longest chain of blocks as the most legitimate record of transactions, but imagine a miner mines a relatively large block and presents it to the network for validation.

Now, at the same time, another miner shares a smaller block, buttheir transactions are written to the blockchain first. In this scenario, the second miner has effectively stolen the first miners intended spot in the trustworthy longest chain.

The miner with the bigger block is stuck with no place to put it. Theyre forced to orphan the block, and the transactions inside of it are effectively cancelled. This means the block was mined, but not included in the blockchain.

While this might seem like a system working as intended, regular block orphaning could have major consequences. Cole explained to Hard Fork that devastating fork events can occur when different versions of blockchains meet with conflicting block histories.

When a significant portion of nodes receive Version A of the chain and then a similarly significant portion of nodes receive Version B, everything will go to hell, Cole told Hard Fork. If blocks are too large to propagate throughout BitcoinSVs mining pools effectively, theyre all going to be deadlocked for a period of time.

These scenarios present conditions which significantly increase the likelihood of double-spends. These attacks involve spendingcryptocurrency with intent toreverse the transactions by assuming 51 percent (or more) of the networks total computing power with a 51-percent attack.

The thing is, orphaned blocks distract network participants from working with the correct chain.Having multiple active versions of a blockchain makes for lesscomputing power dedicated to the longest version of the blockchain.

This means an attacker might not even need to control 51 percent of a networks hash power to double-spend, they could actually find success with much less.

Large portions of the available network hashing rate is going to waste, which lowers the total overall security of the network. warned Cole. As theorphan count rises, it lowers the total amount of hashing power needed to engage in a 51-percent attack.’

A number of cryptocurrency services have recently removed support for BitcoinSV, after Craig Wright and his proponents launched legal action against prominent community members one of which is a pseudonymous Twitter space-cat.

Its still unclear whether BitcoinSVs recently orphaned blocks were malicious. Cole says re-organizations arent necessarily indicative of an attack, but given the current climate, he doesnt rule out this scenario.

BitcoinSV indeed boasts a tiny fraction of Bitcoins hash power, but Cole warns fixing high orphan rates isnt simply a matter of recruiting more miners to the network.

[BitcoinSVs] block sizes are massive. Id say its not an attack, but its definitely a possibility if someone were clever enough to know how to exploit the suboptimal performance, said Cole.

Its not so much to do with hashing power as it large block times, large block sizes, and a suboptimal P2P [peer-to-peer] networking stack, he added.

Hard Fork reached out to nChain, the firm behind BitcoinSVs software, to ask about this unusual activity. Unfortunately, no BitcoinSV reps were immediately available for comment. Well update this piece accordingly should we hear back.

Did you know? Hard Fork has its own stage atTNW2019, our tech conference in Amsterdam.Check it out.

Published April 19, 2019 13:49 UTC

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BitcoinSVs blockchain is struggling with its enormous 128MB …

Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange Appoints New CEO | Bitcoin Magazine

Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) has appointed in-house Head of Business Development Kurt Looyens, as its new CEO.

Looyens formerly held the position of Country Executive at ABN AMRO Bank in Spain, and he will be taking over from Nick Cowan, as the latter transitions into his role as CEO of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) Group.

The move is one that is coming at a crucial time for the regulated token sale platform and digital asset exchange, as its digital asset platform is on the verge of listing new tokens.

GBX received a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) License from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC).

Speaking on the appointment, Cowan pointed out that Looyenss vast experience in finance, business development, and regulatory matters will provide the GBX with essential leadership to cement its position as a leading digital asset exchange.

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Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange Appoints New CEO | Bitcoin Magazine

Yosemite X uses blockchain tech to shorten payments trip …

Thanks to blockchain technology, Yosemite X has Visa and MasterCard in its crosshairs, business operations manager Bryan Jin said.

The Palo Alto-based fintech companys newest release, the Yosemite Card, looks to take a large bite out of the credit card companies estimated $55.4 billion annual take in processing fees. Merchants will be charged .1 percent of every $10,000 in transaction volume, with a cap of .3 percent.

We wanted to utilize blockchain technology to create a seamless transaction between parties and eliminate the middleman, Mr. Jin said.

But there was a catch. Existing blockchain technologies didnt meet Yosemite Xs scalability needs so they created their own semi-public blockchain with a potential capability of millions of transactions per second (TPS). Existing card companies TPS top out at a much lower total.

The Yosemite Card eliminates the intermediaries such as payment company, credit card company and card network and settles payment between retailer and customer via a blockchain transaction ledger. Payment is collected in digital fiat tokens equal to the charge amount and converted back at the other end.

Facilitators charge fees of two to five percent, Mr. Jin said. Yosemite Card is able to bypass that requirement so we can offer a significantly lower transaction fee.

When blockchain technology debuted it was basic in its capability but as it developed, so did its potential to change the industry landscape, Mr. Jin said.

It connects users so they can interact directly with each other and not have to go through a centralized entity such as Visa or MasterCard. The possibilities of what it could create are endless.

Yosemite X will take their time with rolling out Yosemite Card, Mr.Jin said. They will concentrate around UC Berkeley and other college towns where there is a concentration of merchants employing it. Those merchants will attract students who will in turn attract more merchants.

Security is strong because, unlike most credit card companies, Yosemite X does not employ a centralized server. They also utilize a combination of an AI-assisted one-time password and static QR code.

We offer it as secure way of presenting an account number instead of a 16-digit number, Mr. Jin said. On mobile payments the QR code changes every time and is combined with a one-time password which is a six-digit number. If someone then steals that QR code it wont mean anything.

Were utilizing a new technology to improve an old way of doing things, Mr. Jin said.

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As a news piece, this article cites verifiable, third-party sources which have all been thoroughly fact-checked and deemed credible by the Newsroom in accordance with the Civil Constitution.

This Newsmaker has been deemed by this Newsroom as having a specialized knowledge of the subject covered in this article.

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Yosemite X uses blockchain tech to shorten payments trip …

What is Blockchain Technology? A Step-by-Step Guide For …

What is Blockchain Technology? A Step-by-Step Guide For Beginners ‘;return t.replace(“ID”,e)+a}function lazyLoadYoutubeIframe(){var e=document.createElement(“iframe”),t=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/ID?autoplay=1″;t+=0===this.dataset.query.length?”:’&’+this.dataset.query;e.setAttribute(“src”,t.replace(“ID”,this.dataset.id)),e.setAttribute(“frameborder”,”0″),e.setAttribute(“allowfullscreen”,”1″),this.parentNode.replaceChild(e,this)}document.addEventListener(“DOMContentLoaded”,function(){var e,t,a=document.getElementsByClassName(“rll-youtube-player”);for(t=0;t

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Blockchain – Official Site

Your Passport to the Future of Finance

The first and most trusted global cryptocurrency company

Exchange and transact bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash, and stellar lumens using the worlds most trusted and secure cryptocurrency wallet.

Use the most popular block explorer to search and verify transactions on the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash blockchains.

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Blockchain – Wikipedia

distributed data store for digital transactions

A blockchain,[1][2][3] originally block chain,[4][5] is a growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography.[1][6] Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block,[6] a timestamp, and transaction data (generally represented as a Merkle tree).

By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of the data. It is “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way”.[7] For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for inter-node communication and validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires consensus of the network majority. Although blockchain records are not unalterable, blockchains may be considered secure by design and exemplify a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance. Decentralized consensus has therefore been claimed with a blockchain.[8]

Blockchain was invented by a person (or group of people) using the name Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 to serve as the public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency bitcoin.[1] The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto is unknown. The invention of the blockchain for bitcoin made it the first digital currency to solve the double-spending problem without the need of a trusted authority or central server. The bitcoin design has inspired other applications,[1][3] and blockchains which are readable by the public are widely used by cryptocurrencies. Blockchain is considered a type of payment rail.[9] Private blockchains have been proposed for business use. Sources such as Computerworld called the marketing of such blockchains without a proper security model “snake oil”.[10]

The first work on a cryptographically secured chain of blocks was described in 1991 by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta.[6][11] They wanted to implement a system where document timestamps could not be tampered with. In 1992, Bayer, Haber and Stornetta incorporated Merkle trees to the design, which improved its efficiency by allowing several document certificates to be collected into one block.[6][12]

The first blockchain was conceptualized by a person (or group of people) known as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. Nakamoto improved the design in an important way using a Hashcash-like method to add blocks to the chain without requiring them to be signed by a trusted party.[6] The design was implemented the following year by Nakamoto as a core component of the cryptocurrency bitcoin, where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions on the network.[1]

In August 2014, the bitcoin blockchain file size, containing records of all transactions that have occurred on the network, reached 20GB (gigabytes).[13] In January 2015, the size had grown to almost 30GB, and from January 2016 to January 2017, the bitcoin blockchain grew from 50GB to 100GB in size.

The words block and chain were used separately in Satoshi Nakamoto’s original paper, but were eventually popularized as a single word, blockchain, by 2016.

Smart contracts which run on a blockchain, for example ones which “creat[e] invoices that pay themselves when a shipment arrives or share certificates which automatically send their owners dividends if profits reach a certain level.”[1] require an off-chain oracle to access any “external data or events based on time or market conditions [that need] to interact with the blockchain.”[14]

IBM opened a blockchain innovation research center in Singapore in July 2016.[15] A working group for the World Economic Forum met in November 2016 to discuss the development of governance models related to blockchain.

According to Accenture, an application of the diffusion of innovations theory suggests that blockchains attained a 13.5% adoption rate within financial services in 2016, therefore reaching the early adopters phase.[16] Industry trade groups joined to create the Global Blockchain Forum in 2016, an initiative of the Chamber of Digital Commerce.

In May 2018, Gartner found that only 1% of CIOs indicated any kind of blockchain adoption within their organisations, and only 8% of CIOs were in the short-term ‘planning or [looking at] active experimentation with blockchain’.[17]

A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed and public digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that any involved record cannot be altered retroactively, without the alteration of all subsequent blocks.[1][18] This allows the participants to verify and audit transactions independently and relatively inexpensively.[19] A blockchain database is managed autonomously using a peer-to-peer network and a distributed timestamping server. They are authenticated by mass collaboration powered by collective self-interests.[20] Such a design facilitates robust workflow where participants’ uncertainty regarding data security is marginal. The use of a blockchain removes the characteristic of infinite reproducibility from a digital asset. It confirms that each unit of value was transferred only once, solving the long-standing problem of double spending. A blockchain has been described as a value-exchange protocol.[21] A blockchain can maintain title rights because, when properly set up to detail the exchange agreement, it provides a record that compels offer and acceptance.

Blocks hold batches of valid transactions that are hashed and encoded into a Merkle tree.[1] Each block includes the cryptographic hash of the prior block in the blockchain, linking the two. The linked blocks form a chain.[1] This iterative process confirms the integrity of the previous block, all the way back to the original genesis block.[22]

Sometimes separate blocks can be produced concurrently, creating a temporary fork. In addition to a secure hash-based history, any blockchain has a specified algorithm for scoring different versions of the history so that one with a higher value can be selected over others. Blocks not selected for inclusion in the chain are called orphan blocks.[22] Peers supporting the database have different versions of the history from time to time. They keep only the highest-scoring version of the database known to them. Whenever a peer receives a higher-scoring version (usually the old version with a single new block added) they extend or overwrite their own database and retransmit the improvement to their peers. There is never an absolute guarantee that any particular entry will remain in the best version of the history forever. Blockchains are typically built to add the score of new blocks onto old blocks and are given incentives to extend with new blocks rather than overwrite old blocks. Therefore, the probability of an entry becoming superseded decreases exponentially[23] as more blocks are built on top of it, eventually becoming very low.[1][24]:ch. 08[25] For example, bitcoin uses a proof-of-work system, where the chain with the most cumulative proof-of-work is considered the valid one by the network. There are a number of methods that can be used to demonstrate a sufficient level of computation. Within a blockchain the computation is carried out redundantly rather than in the traditional segregated and parallel manner.[26]

The block time is the average time it takes for the network to generate one extra block in the blockchain. Some blockchains create a new block as frequently as every five seconds.[27] By the time of block completion, the included data becomes verifiable. In cryptocurrency, this is practically when the transaction takes place, so a shorter block time means faster transactions. The block time for Ethereum is set to between 14 and 15 seconds, while for bitcoin it is 10 minutes.[28]

A hard fork is a rule change such that the software validating according to the old rules will see the blocks produced according to the new rules as invalid. In case of a hard fork, all nodes meant to work in accordance with the new rules need to upgrade their software.

If one group of nodes continues to use the old software while the other nodes use the new software, a split can occur. For example, Ethereum has hard-forked to “make whole” the investors in The DAO, which had been hacked by exploiting a vulnerability in its code. In this case, the fork resulted in a split creating Ethereum and Ethereum Classic chains. In 2014 the Nxt community was asked to consider a hard fork that would have led to a rollback of the blockchain records to mitigate the effects of a theft of 50 million NXT from a major cryptocurrency exchange. The hard fork proposal was rejected, and some of the funds were recovered after negotiations and ransom payment. Alternatively, to prevent a permanent split, a majority of nodes using the new software may return to the old rules, as was the case of bitcoin split on 12 March 2013.[29]

By storing data across its peer-to-peer network, the blockchain eliminates a number of risks that come with data being held centrally.[1] The decentralized blockchain may use ad-hoc message passing and distributed networking.

Peer-to-peer blockchain networks lack centralized points of vulnerability that computer crackers can exploit; likewise, it has no central point of failure. Blockchain security methods include the use of public-key cryptography.[4]:5 A public key (a long, random-looking string of numbers) is an address on the blockchain. Value tokens sent across the network are recorded as belonging to that address. A private key is like a password that gives its owner access to their digital assets or the means to otherwise interact with the various capabilities that blockchains now support. Data stored on the blockchain is generally considered incorruptible.[1]

Every node in a decentralized system has a copy of the blockchain. Data quality is maintained by massive database replication[8] and computational trust. No centralized “official” copy exists and no user is “trusted” more than any other.[4] Transactions are broadcast to the network using software. Messages are delivered on a best-effort basis. Mining nodes validate transactions,[22] add them to the block they are building, and then broadcast the completed block to other nodes.[24]:ch. 08 Blockchains use various time-stamping schemes, such as proof-of-work, to serialize changes.[30] Alternative consensus methods include proof-of-stake.[22] Growth of a decentralized blockchain is accompanied by the risk of centralization because the computer resources required to process larger amounts of data become more expensive.[31]

Open blockchains are more user-friendly than some traditional ownership records, which, while open to the public, still require physical access to view. Because all early blockchains were permissionless, controversy has arisen over the blockchain definition. An issue in this ongoing debate is whether a private system with verifiers tasked and authorized (permissioned) by a central authority should be considered a blockchain.[32][33][34][35][36] Proponents of permissioned or private chains argue that the term “blockchain” may be applied to any data structure that batches data into time-stamped blocks. These blockchains serve as a distributed version of multiversion concurrency control (MVCC) in databases.[37] Just as MVCC prevents two transactions from concurrently modifying a single object in a database, blockchains prevent two transactions from spending the same single output in a blockchain.[38]:3031 Opponents say that permissioned systems resemble traditional corporate databases, not supporting decentralized data verification, and that such systems are not hardened against operator tampering and revision.[32][34] Nikolai Hampton of Computerworld said that “many in-house blockchain solutions will be nothing more than cumbersome databases,” and “without a clear security model, proprietary blockchains should be eyed with suspicion.”[10][39]

The great advantage to an open, permissionless, or public, blockchain network is that guarding against bad actors is not required and no access control is needed.[23] This means that applications can be added to the network without the approval or trust of others, using the blockchain as a transport layer.[23]

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies currently secure their blockchain by requiring new entries to include a proof of work. To prolong the blockchain, bitcoin uses Hashcash puzzles. While Hashcash was designed in 1997 by Adam Back, the original idea was first proposed by Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor and Eli Ponyatovski in their 1992 paper “Pricing via Processing or Combatting Junk Mail”.

Financial companies have not prioritised decentralized blockchains.[40]In 2016, venture capital investment for blockchain-related projects was weakening in the USA but increasing in China.[41] Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies use open (public) blockchains. As of April2018[update], bitcoin has the highest market capitalization.

Permissioned blockchains use an access control layer to govern who has access to the network.[42] In contrast to public blockchain networks, validators on private blockchain networks are vetted by the network owner. They do not rely on anonymous nodes to validate transactions nor do they benefit from the network effect.[43][bettersourceneeded] Permissioned blockchains can also go by the name of ‘consortium’ blockchains.[44]

The New York Times noted in both 2016 and 2017 that many corporations are using blockchain networks “with private blockchains, independent of the public system.”[45][46][bettersourceneeded]

Nikolai Hampton pointed out in Computerworld that “There is also no need for a ’51 percent’ attack on a private blockchain, as the private blockchain (most likely) already controls 100 percent of all block creation resources. If you could attack or damage the blockchain creation tools on a private corporate server, you could effectively control 100 percent of their network and alter transactions however you wished.”[10] This has a set of particularly profound adverse implications during a financial crisis or debt crisis like the financial crisis of 200708, where politically powerful actors may make decisions that favor some groups at the expense of others,[47][48] and “the bitcoin blockchain is protected by the massive group mining effort. It’s unlikely that any private blockchain will try to protect records using gigawatts of computing power it’s time consuming and expensive.”[10] He also said, “Within a private blockchain there is also no ‘race’; there’s no incentive to use more power or discover blocks faster than competitors. This means that many in-house blockchain solutions will be nothing more than cumbersome databases.”[10]

Blockchain technology can be integrated into multiple areas. The primary use of blockchains today is as a distributed ledger for cryptocurrencies, most notably bitcoin. There are a few operational products maturing from proof of concept by late 2016.[41]

As of 2016[update], some observers remain skeptical. Steve Wilson, of Constellation Research, believes the technology has been hyped with unrealistic claims.[49] To mitigate risk, businesses are reluctant to place blockchain at the core of the business structure.[50]

Most cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology to record transactions. For example, the bitcoin network and Ethereum network are both based on blockchain. On May 8, 2018 Facebook confirmed that it is opening a new blockchain group[51] which will be headed by David Marcus who previously was in charge of Messenger. According to The Verge Facebook is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency for facilitating payments on the platform.[52]

Blockchain-based smart contracts are proposed contracts that could be partially or fully executed or enforced without human interaction.[53] One of the main objectives of a smart contract is automated escrow. An IMF staff discussion reported that smart contracts based on blockchain technology might reduce moral hazards and optimize the use of contracts in general. But “no viable smart contract systems have yet emerged.” Due to the lack of widespread use their legal status is unclear.[54]

Major portions of the financial industry are implementing distributed ledgers for use in banking,[55][56][57] and according to a September 2016 IBM study, this is occurring faster than expected.[58]

Banks are interested in this technology because it has potential to speed up back office settlement systems.[59]

Banks such as UBS are opening new research labs dedicated to blockchain technology in order to explore how blockchain can be used in financial services to increase efficiency and reduce costs.[60][61]

Berenberg, a German bank, believes that blockchain is an “overhyped technology” that has had a large number of “proofs of concept”, but still has major challenges, and very few success stories.[62]

Some video games are based on blockchain technology. The first such game, Huntercoin, was released in February, 2014.[63][unreliable source] Another blockchain game is CryptoKitties, launched in November 2017.[64] The game made headlines in December 2017 when a cryptokitty character – an-in game virtual pet – was sold for US$100,000.[65][irrelevant citation] CryptoKitties illustrated scalability problems for games on Ethereum when it created significant congestion on the Ethereum network with about 30% of all Ethereum transactions being for the game.[66][irrelevant citation]

Cryptokitties also demonstrated how blockchains can be used to catalog game assets (digital assets).[67]

The Blockchain Game Alliance was formed in September 2018 to explore alternative uses of blockchains in video gaming with support of Ubisoft and Fig, among others.[68]

There are a number of efforts and industry organizations working to employ blockchains in supply chain logistics and supply chain management.

The Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) works to develop open standards for supply chains.

Everledger is one of the inaugural clients of IBM’s blockchain-based tracking service.[69]

Walmart and IBM are running a trial to use a blockchain-backed system for supply chain monitoring all nodes of the blockchain are administered by Walmart and are located on the IBM cloud.[70]

Hyperledger Grid develops open components for blockchain supply chain solutions. [71][72]

Several blockchain companies have taken blockchain to space.[73] Spacechain launched two nanosatellite-based blockchain nodes into orbit in February and October 2018. Its first use case is decentralized storage of data and files in space[74], but the end goal is to reduce reliance on big corporations like Google and Facebook, who also explore ways to bring internet to everyone through satellites in space[75].

Blockchain technology can be used to create a permanent, public, transparent ledger system for compiling data on sales, tracking digital use and payments to content creators, such as wireless users[76] or musicians.[77] In 2017, IBM partnered with ASCAP and PRS for Music to adopt blockchain technology in music distribution.[78] Imogen Heap’s Mycelia service has also been proposed as blockchain-based alternative “that gives artists more control over how their songs and associated data circulate among fans and other musicians.”[79][80]

New distribution methods are available for the insurance industry such as peer-to-peer insurance, parametric insurance and microinsurance following the adoption of blockchain.[81][82] The sharing economy and IoT are also set to benefit from blockchains because they involve many collaborating peers.[83] Online voting is another application of the blockchain.[84][85]

Other designs include:

Currently, there are at least four types of blockchain networks public blockchains, private blockchains, consortium blockchains and hybrid blockchains.

A public blockchain has absolutely no access restrictions. Anyone with an Internet connection can send transactions to it as well as become a validator (i.e., participate in the execution of a consensus protocol).[89][self-published source?] Usually, such networks offer economic incentives for those who secure them and utilize some type of a Proof of Stake or Proof of Work algorithm.

Some of the largest, most known public blockchains are the bitcoin blockchain and the Ethereum blockchain.

A private blockchain is permissioned.[42] One cannot join it unless invited by the network administrators. Participant and validator access is restricted.

This type of blockchains can be considered a middle-ground for companies that are interested in the blockchain technology in general but are not comfortable with a level of control offered by public networks. Typically, they seek to incorporate blockchain into their accounting and record-keeping procedures without sacrificing autonomy and running the risk of exposing sensitive data to the public internet.

A consortium blockchain is often said to be semi-decentralized. It, too, is permissioned but instead of a single organization controlling it, a number of companies might each operate a node on such a network. The administrators of a consortium chain restrict users’ reading rights as they see fit and only allow a limited set of trusted nodes to execute a consensus protocol.[citation needed]

A hybrid blockchain[90] simply explained is a combination between different characteristics both public and private blockchains have by design. It allows to determine what information stays private and what information is made public. Further decentralization in relation to primarily centralized private blockchains can be achieved in various ways. Instead of keeping transactions inside their own network of community run or private nodes, the hash (with or without payload) can be posted on completely decentralized blockchains such as bitcoin. Dragonchain uses Interchain[91] to host transactions on other blockchains. This allows users to operate on different blockchains, where they can selectively share data or business logic. Other blockchains like Wanchain use interoperability mechanisms such as bridges.[92][93] By submitting the hash of a transaction (with or without the sensitive business logic) on public blockchains like bitcoin or Ethereum, some of the privacy and blockchain concerns are resolved, as no personal identifiable information is stored on a public blockchain. Depending on the hybrid blockchain its architecture, multicloud solutions allow to store data in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation and other geographical limitations while also leveraging bitcoin’s global hashpower to decentralize transactions.

In October 2014, the MIT Bitcoin Club, with funding from MIT alumni, provided undergraduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology access to $100 of bitcoin. The adoption rates, as studied by Catalini and Tucker (2016), revealed that when people who typically adopt technologies early are given delayed access, they tend to reject the technology.[94]

The Bank for International Settlements has criticized the public proof-of-work blockchains for high energy consumption.[97][95][98]

Nicholas Weaver, of the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley examines blockchain’s online security, and the energy efficiency of proof-of-work public blockchains, and in both cases finds it grossly inadequate.[96][99]

In September 2015, the first peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology research, Ledger, was announced. The inaugural issue was published in December 2016.[100] The journal covers aspects of mathematics, computer science, engineering, law, economics and philosophy that relate to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.[101][102]

The journal encourages authors to digitally sign a file hash of submitted papers, which will then be timestamped into the bitcoin blockchain. Authors are also asked to include a personal bitcoin address in the first page of their papers.[103]

Continued here:

Blockchain – Wikipedia

The Blockchain: What It Is and Why It Matters – Brookings

New TechTank Blog Posts Are Available Here

Chances are that youve heard of bitcoin, the digital currency that many predict will revolutionize payments or prove to be a massive fraud depending on what you read. Bitcoin is an application that runs on the Blockchain, which is ultimately a more interesting and profound innovation.

The Blockchain is a secure transaction ledger database that is shared by all parties participating in an established, distributed network of computers. It records and stores every transaction that occurs in the network, essentially eliminating the need for trusted third parties such as payment processors. Blockchain proponents often describe the innovation as a transfer of trust in a trustless world, referring to the fact that the entities participating in a transaction are not necessarily known to each other yet they exchange value with surety and no third-party validation. For this reason, the Blockchain is a potential game changer.

In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous person or group of people credited with developing bitcoin, released a whitepaper describing the software protocol. Since then, the network has grown and bitcoinhas become a recognized unit of value around the globe. Bitcoinis extremely important because it provides a mechanism for accessing the Blockchain but its not the only application that can leverage the platform.

Bitcoin has also been on the receiving end of some bad press, such as around the collapse of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange earlier last year. The Mt. Gox story is not necessarily an indictment of bitcoin. For the purposes of this post, simply remember this: bitcoin is just a mechanism for transacting on the Blockchain and the Blockchain is the key innovation.

The Blockchain enables the anonymous exchange of digital assets, such as bitcoin, but it is not technically dependent on bitcoin. The elegance of the Blockchain is that it obviates the need for a central authority to verify trust and the transfer of value. It transfers power and control from large entities to the many, enabling safe, fast, cheaper transactions despite the fact that we may not know the entities we are dealing with.

The mechanics of the Blockchain are novel and highly disruptive. As people transact in a Blockchain ecosystem, a public record of all transactions is automatically created. Computers verify each transaction with sophisticated algorithms to confirm the transfer of value and create a historical ledger of all activity. The computers that form the network that are processing the transactions are located throughout the world and importantly are not owned or controlled by any single entity. The process is real-time, and much more secure than relying on a central authority to verify a transaction.

There are many analogous concepts both ancient and modern. Technology has and will continue to transfer power and control from central authorities and distribute them to the masses. For example, time used to be determined and communicated by large clock towers that were expensive to build and maintain. Engineering innovations ultimately decentralized the quantification of time to the individual. Likewise, WhatsApp, a popular cross platform messaging app, cut the transaction cost of sending messages globally and cut profits for the carriers. The central authority (phone carriers) lost to the application (WhatsApp) built on a decentralized network (i.e. the Internet).

Similarly, third parties that currently verify transactions (the central authority) stand to lose against the Blockchain (the decentralized network). As such, the Blockchain essentially disintermediates these third-party transaction verifiers: auditors, legal services, payment processors, brokerages and other similar organizations.

While you may not be convinced that exchanging bitcoin is an invaluable service, there are many other examples of value transfer that are critical and currently very slow and expensive. Consider the exchange of property: numerous intermediaries are currently involved in this process, such as a third-party escrow service that works for both parties to ensure a smooth transfer. The escrow service, like other services built solely on trust and verification, collect fees that would be mitigated by performing the transaction on the Blockchain as would wire transfer fees, third party financial auditing, contract execution, etc.

The use case of the Blockchain enabling a decentralized currency exchange such as bitcoin is well defined and will likely be the dominant use case near term, however there are a multitude of innovative and disruptive use cases. Companies are already building their own Blockchains for various applications such as Gridcoin that leverages the Blockchain to crowdsource scientific computing projects. Gridcoin uses its own protocols that require much less computing power and electricity to manage than traditional bitcoin networks.

The Blockchain is a foundational technology, like TCP/IP, which enables the Internet. And much like the Internet in the late 1990s, we dont know exactly how the Blockchain will evolve, but evolve it will.

Similar to the Internet, the Blockchain must also be allowed to grow unencumbered. This will require careful handling that recognizes the difference between the platform and the applications that run on it. TCP/IP empowers numerous financial applications that are regulated, but TCP/IP is not regulated as a financial instrument. The Blockchain should receive similar consideration. While the predominant use case for the Blockchain today is bitcoin currency exchange that may require regulation, this will change over time.

Had we over-regulated the Internet early on, we would have missed out on many innovations that we cant imagine living without today. The same is true for the Blockchain. Disruptive technologies rarely fit neatly into existing regulatory considerations, but rigid regulatory frameworks have repeatedly stifled innovation. Its likely that innovations in the Blockchain will outpace policy, lets not slow it down.

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The Blockchain: What It Is and Why It Matters – Brookings

What is blockchain? | IBM

Every second of every day, businesses exchange value with suppliers, partners, customers and others. By value, we mean goods, services, money, data and more.

Each exchange of value is a transaction. Successful transactions need to be fast, precise and easily agreed on by parties participating in the transaction.

Blockchain for business provides a way to execute many more of these transactions a much better way.

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What is blockchain? | IBM

What is Blockchain Technology? A Beginners Guide

You may have heard the term blockchain technology before, in reference to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. For the uninitiated, the term might seem abstract with little real meaning on the surface. However, blockchain technology is a critical element of cryptocurrencies without it, digital currencies like Bitcoin would not exist.

If you are new to cryptocurrencies, and new to blockchain technology, read this guide on the basics to get yourself started. If you are already a seasoned trader, maybe youll learn a thing or two you didnt already know.

To start, lets talk about the history of the blockchain. Before it was ever used in cryptocurrency, it had humble beginnings as a concept in computer science particularly, in the domains of cryptography and data structures.

The very primitive form of the blockchain was the hash tree, also known as a Merkle tree. This data structure was patented by Ralph Merkle in 1979, and functioned by verifying and handling data between computer systems. In a peer-to-peer network of computers, validating data was important to make sure nothing was altered or changed during transfer. It also helped to ensure that false data was not sent. In essence, it is used to maintain and prove the integrity of data being shared.

In 1991, the Merkle tree was used to create a secured chain of blocks a series of data records, each connected to the one before it. The newest record in this chain would contain the history of the entire chain. And thus, the blockchain was created.

In 2008, Satoshi Nakamato conceptualized the distributed blockchain. It would contain a secure history of data exchanges, utilize a peer-to-peer network to time stamp and verify each exchange, and could be managed autonomously without a central authority. This became the backbone of Bitcoin. And thus, the blockchain we know today was born, as well as the world of cryptocurrencies.

So, then, how does the blockchain work? Lets recall a few key features before we get into the details:

1. Blockchain keeps a record of all data exchanges this record is referred to as a ledger in the cryptocurrency world, and each data exchange is a transaction. Every verified transaction is added to the ledger as a block2. It utilizes a distributed system to verify each transaction a peer-to-peer network of nodes3. Once signed and verified, the new transaction is added to the blockchain and can not be altered

To begin, we need to explore the concept of keys. With a set of cryptographic keys, you get a unique identity. Your keys are the Private Key and Public Key, and together they are combined to give you a digital signature. Your public key is how others are able to identify you. Your private key gives you the power to digitally sign and authorize different actions on behalf of this digital identity when used with your public key.

In the cryptocurrency world, this represents your wallet address (public key) and your private key is what lets you authorize transfers, withdrawals, and other actions with your digital property like cryptocurrencies. As an aside, this is why its so important to keep your private key safe anyone who has your private key can use it to access any of your digital assets associated with your public key and do what they want with it!

Everytime a transaction occurs, that transaction is signed by whoever is authorizing it. That transaction might be something like Alice is sending Bob 0.4 BTC, will include Bobs address (public key), and will be signed by a digital signature using both Alices public key and private key. This gets added to the ledger of that blockchain that Alice sent Bob 0.4 BTC, and will also include a timestamp and a unique ID number. When this transaction occurs, its broadcasted to a peer-to-peer network of nodes basically other digital entities that acknowledge that this transaction has occurred and adds it to the ledger.

Each transaction in that ledger will have the same data: a digital signature, a public key, a timestamp, and a unique ID. Each transaction will be connected, so if you move back one transaction in the ledger, you may see that Chuck sent Alice 0.8 BTC at some time. If you move back another transaction, you might see that Dan sent Chuck 0.2 BTC at some other time before that.

The anonymity of cryptocurrencies come from the fact that your public key is just a randomized sequence of numbers and letters so you are not literally signing with your own name or some sort of handle. A public key doesnt tell you the real identity of the person behind it. You are also more or less free to generate as many key pairs as you want and have multiple cryptocurrency wallets. Be warned though, there could be other ways someone can figure out your identity for example, through your spending habits.

For enthusiasts of blockchain, you will hear a lot about the decentralized aspect of it. What makes this so appealing is that it makes the blockchain impervious to censorship, tampering, or corruption.

Because it uses a peer-to-peer network, copies of the ledger are stored in many different locations, and unless you manage to track down every single one of them (Bitcoin is estimated to have over 35,000 nodes in its P2P network), you cant destroy it. As well, because so many different, independent nodes are keeping track of the ledger, modifying it in an untrustworthy way wont go very far because all the other nodes will disagree with that transaction and wont add it to the ledger.

This is a huge part of why so many people believe blockchain technology is the future of currency, and why it is being adopted in industries other than cryptocurrency.

However, like any system created by humans, there are always downsides.

Blockchain technology has a pretty steep learning curve. Especially for the typical individual without a technical background, all the jargon and computer science concepts involved may intimidate and scare away otherwise would-be users. However, the rising popularity of cryptocurrency is resulting in the blockchain moving into the mainstream, with a lot more resources available to make the topic more approachable.

Transferring, trading, and buying cryptocurrencies usually involves a transaction fee, and is not usually instantaneous. The former can be costly, the latter inconvenient.

There is also a concept called the 51% attack if for some reason 51% of a peer-to-peer network validates an otherwise invalid transaction, it will still get approved and added to the ledger by nature of how the validation process works. Maybe right now its unlikely to happen, but it is a security flaw that might have potential for exploitation in the future.

However, there are a lot of developers, users, and enthusiasts who truly believe blockchain technology is the future. Many want to see the technology succeed, so stay tuned for new developments!

Now that you know what blockchain is, learn about the main players in the crypto market in our guide, The Top 50 Cryptocurrencies. Alternatively, get a graphic representation of the market in The Periodic Table of Cryptocurrencies.

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What is Blockchain Technology? A Beginners Guide

Some People Are Exceptionally Good at Predicting the Future

Some people are adept at forecasting, predicting the likelihood of future events, and a new contest aims to suss them out.

Super-Forecasters

Some people have a knack for accurately predicting the likelihood of future events. You might even be one of these “super-forecasters” and not know it — but now there’s an easy way to find out.

BBC Future has teamed up with UK-based charity Nesta and forecasting services organization Good Judgement on the “You Predict the Future” challenge. The purpose is to study how individuals and teams predict the likelihood of certain events, ranging from the technological to the geopolitical.

All Winners

Anyone interested in testing their own forecasting skills can sign up for the challenge to answer a series of multiple-choice questions and assign a percentage to how likely each answer is to come true.

“When you’re part of the challenge, you’ll get feedback on how accurate your forecasts are,” Kathy Peach, who leads Nesta’s Centre for Collective Intelligence Design, told BBC Future. “You’ll be able to see how well you do compared to other forecasters. And there’s a leader board, which shows who the best performing forecasters are.”

Collective Intelligence

You’ll also be helping advance research on collective intelligence, which focuses on the intellectual abilities of groups of people acting as one.

Additionally, as Peach told BBC Future, “New research shows that forecasting increases open-mindedness, the ability to consider alternative scenarios, and reduces political polarisation,”  — meaning even if you don’t find out you’re a “super-forecaster,” you might just end up a better person after making your predictions.

READ MORE: Could you be a super-forecaster? [BBC Future]

More on forecasting: Forecasting the Future: Can the Hive Mind Let Us Predict the Future?

The post Some People Are Exceptionally Good at Predicting the Future appeared first on Futurism.

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Some People Are Exceptionally Good at Predicting the Future

Scientists Say New Quantum Material Could “‘Download’ Your Brain”

A new type of quantum material can directly measure neural activity and translate it into electrical signals for a computer.

Computer Brain

Scientists say they’ve developed a new “quantum material” that could one day transfer information directly from human brains to a computer.

The research is in early stages, but it invokes ideas like uploading brains to the cloud or hooking people up to a computer to track deep health metrics — concepts that until now existed solely in science fiction.

Quantum Interface

The new quantum material, described in research published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications, is a “nickelate lattice” that the scientists say could directly translate the brain’s electrochemical signals into electrical activity that could be interpreted by a computer.

“We can confidently say that this material is a potential pathway to building a computing device that would store and transfer memories,” Purdue University engineer Shriram Ramanathan told ScienceBlog.

Running Diagnostics

Right now, the new material can only detect the activity of some neurotransmitters — so we can’t yet upload a whole brain or anything like that. But if the tech progresses, the researchers hypothesize that it could be used to detect neurological diseases, or perhaps even store memories.

“Imagine putting an electronic device in the brain, so that when natural brain functions start deteriorating, a person could still retrieve memories from that device,” Ramanathan said.

READ MORE: New Quantum Material Could Warn Of Neurological Disease [ScienceBlog]

More on brain-computer interface: This Neural Implant Accesses Your Brain Through the Jugular Vein

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Scientists Say New Quantum Material Could “‘Download’ Your Brain”

Scientists Find a New Way to Kickstart Stable Fusion Reactions

A new technique for nuclear fusion can generate plasma without requiring as much space-consuming equipment within a reactor.

Warm Fusion

Scientists from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory say that they’ve found a new way to start up nuclear fusion reactions.

The new technique, described in research published last month in the journal Physics of Plasmas, provides an alternate means for reactors to convert gas into the superhot plasma that gets fusion reactions going with less equipment taking up valuable lab space — another step in the long road to practical fusion power.

Out With The Old

Right in the center of a tokamak, a common type of experimental nuclear fusion reactor, there’s a large central magnet that helps generate plasma. The new technique, called “transient coaxial helical injection,” does away with the magnet but still generates a stable reaction, freeing up the space taken up by the magnet for other equipment.

“The good news from this study,” Max Planck Institute researcher Kenneth Hammond said in a press release, “is that the projections for startup in large-scale devices look promising.”

READ MORE: Ready, set, go: Scientists evaluate novel technique for firing up fusion-reaction fuel [Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory newsroom via ScienceDaily]

More on nuclear fusion: Scientists Found a New Way to Make Fusion Reactors More Efficient

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Scientists Find a New Way to Kickstart Stable Fusion Reactions


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