🎧 Episode 120 The Social Impact of Intelligent Systems | Human Current

Listened to Episode 120 The Social Impact of Intelligent Systems by Haley Campbell-GrossHaley Campbell-Gross from HumanCurrent

In this episode, Haley talks with Dr. Mihaela Ulieru, a scholar of distributed intelligent systems, Founder and President of the IMPACT Institute for the Digital Economy, and a Fourth Industrial Revolution champion at the World Economic Forum, where she advocated to include Blockchain among the "Top 10" in 2016. Ulieru talks about the interplay between society and technology and its effects on our humanity. She shares many paradoxical examples for how technology, like artificial intelligence and blockchain, can help us transcend our limitations while also preying on them. Ulieru also urges leaders to educate themselves on the ways blockchain can streamline their business, stating it‚Äôs now ‚Äúa matter of survival‚ÄĚ.

Sometimes I get the impression that our hosts in this series can be a bit too credulous when they don’t have the technical background to push back on their interviewees. This episode is a prime example.

While Dr. Ulieru may have some of the technical background to talk about blockchain, I think it’s a bit irresponsible for her to be evangelizing it the way she is without more concrete and successful examples. This interview falls into the trap of many conversations about blockchain and evangelizing it without enough push back on its long term potential.

About 30 minutes in she mentions the Sapien Network as a replacement for social media using blockchain. I’m curious to dig into it a bit to see what it is and how it actually works. Is it or could it be IndieWeb friendly? I don’t have high hopes, but I’ll try to take a peek shortly. Again here she simply evangelizes that it’s the solution to our problems without any discussion about why except to say “but blockchain!”. At present their site says they have 5,800 users.

At about 34 minutes in she also mentions a YouTube replacement on blockchain called Snacked (perhaps I misheard her?), but I was unable to track down such a site with the functionality she mentioned. Here again she states a reasonable problem, and simply states the solution as “blockchain!” without any direct specifics about why blockchain is a good solution and how it works to make a marked improvement.

‚ÄúFor any business that can use blockchain (to improve their processes) and is not using it now, I think it‚Äôs a race against time right now, so educate yourself because it‚Äôs a matter of survival for your business. Especially educate your leaders.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ Dr. Mihaela Ulieru
Statements like this can be deadly for businesses when they’re done in this sort of evangelizing fashion without any supporting reasoning below it. There is too much blockchain FUD out there, particularly when the technology is over a decade old, and there are very few, if any, real success stories and lots and lots of vaporware.

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