Annual Global Research: 2015 Report

BITCOIN

bitcoin_logo_flat_coin_star_bl_by_carbonism-d3h7bxh

1 Bitcoin = $431

 

Peace, Liberty, Progress

As 2015 wraps up, Bitcoin, with no government backing, enjoys being the best performing currency in the world. – Erik Voorhees

 

The Only Way to Freedom is Through Its Practice Here and Now

* Every single transaction that takes place outside the nexus of state control is a victory for those individuals taking part in the transaction – The Dread Pirate Roberts, 2012

* The smallest act like buying a drink with Bitcoin is a hammer that chips away at the enemy’s power –Beautyon

 

The World’s Strongest Currency in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015

SG Kinsman

 

Blockchain.info Now at 5.5 Million Wallets

December 2012: 100,000

December 2013: 1 million

December 2014: 2.7 million

December 2015: 5.5 million

Lee Banfield

 

All-Time High Transactions Per Day

The number of transactions per day on the Bitcoin network has doubled during the year, from ~80K/day in December 2014 to ~160K/day in December 2015 – Lee Banfield

Number of Transactions per Day (Blockchain.info)

“The real usage is catching up to the hype. I still believe, 100 percent, that bitcoin is the future,” Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, says.

Coinbase says that more than 41,000 businesses and 2.8 million people are using its various services. It’s signing up about 3,500 new users a day, and this rate jumped about 70 percent in the wake of the recent price rally.

“Bitcoin has been in the news a lot as of late, and it has been good news. People will see that and say, basically: ‘I want a cash option on the future of the technology,’” Van Valkenburgh, director of research at the Coin Center says.

“It’s like if you were able to buy a small piece of the Internet in 1994. Would you?”

Cade Metz

 

The Greatest Generational Opportunity

I think bitcoin is one of the greatest mispriced assets I’ve seen in my career. I am extremely bullish on bitcoin.

Given the investment capital and human capital dynamics pouring into this ecosystem, I believe bitcoin is one of the greatest generational opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs.

The easiest way for people to invest in this ecosystem is by simply buying bitcoin — which I like to characterize as a tracking stock representing this exciting, new frontier in technology, and well beyond. – Matthew Roszak

 

An Incorruptible Foundation for an Economy

* People will understand that a currency beyond political manipulation is immensely valuable –Datavetaren

* It will be the most globally liquid and trusted asset in history – Pierre Rochard

If you’ve read the financial news headlines recently, you’d swear that each central bank governor could make it rain from the heavens on command, that each of these shamans in suits had the privileged ear of God.

There’s no Governor of Bitcoin, no CEO, and no High Chancellor of the monetary supply. There’s simply the math. Ding-ding-ding mine the blocks. Every 10 minutes on average. That’s it, that’s all.

No one’s inflating Bitcoin unpredictably, no one’s trying to “surprise markets” by changing its interest rates, and no one can scratch Bitcoin’s back during its election campaign to buy political favours later. This is entirely the point: Bitcoin’s an incorruptible foundation for an economy – Pete Dushenski

 

The Bitcoin Central Bank’s Perfect Monetary Policy

Bitcoin’s core service is its impeccable monetary policy. Everything else is epiphenomena. – Pierre Rochard

 

Bank of England Worrying about ‘An Uber-type Situation’ in Banking

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney worries that technology will disrupt the banking and financial services industry in just the same way that it has torn apart newspapers, radio and the postal service.

His chief concern is that governments will fail to regulate it until it’s too late — “an Uber-type situation,” as he put it at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week. – Jim Edwards

 

The Technical Doubts Have Evaporated, Now Fear is Setting In.

First they said Bitcoin was a Ponzi Scheme, then they said it was only for “techies” then they said it was a bubble, then they said some other nonsense about it.

Now, no one says any of those things, and they are onto the next iteration of their FUD; for example, the transaction rate is “not fast enough”. They have conceded that Bitcoin works exactly as specified, and are running out of novel attacks.

The rumblings of complete capitulation are starting to be written, and its a distinct pleasure to read them – Beautyon

 

 

MINING

All-Time High

Bitcoin has added more computational power to securing its network in the past 2 weeks than it had in total 18 months ago. – Jameson Lopp

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The Bitcoin hashrate reached an all-time high of 905 petahash in December 2015, almost triple December 2014’s 313 petahash.

Two years ago, the Bitcoin network stood at just 12 petahash. – Lee Banfield

 

If Google Mined Bitcoin

All of Google today would represent less than 1% of mining. The sheer degree of what is happening in mining hasn’t been appreciated in the press.

If we assume there are 10 million Google servers and each of these servers is running. You can multiply that through and you get about one petahash.

If they turned off all their data centers and pointed them at bitcoin, they’d be less than 1% of the network – Balaji S. Srinivasan, 21 & Andreessen Horowitz

 

The Bitcoin Network vs. The World’s Largest Supercomputer

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Chris Dixon: The world’s largest (known) supercomputer is China’s Tianhe-2. 80,000 processors. 33,000,000,000,000,000 calcs/sec.

Alan Vazquez: Can it break Bitcoin?

Dan McAdrdle: No, Bitcoin network does ~375,000,000,000,000,000 *hashes*/sec, each of which is many thousands of individual calcs.

Chris Dixon: Yeah I think bitcoin is now >4 zettaflop

Ray Yousesef: How cute… Tianhe is only 142,024 times slower than the bitcoin network…

 

 

ALTCOINS

Federal Reserve Notes

Why don’t steady productivity increases lead to lower prices?

They should, but are constantly outrun by money supply increases. – FreeDumb Fighter!

 

US Dollar: The Fed’s 2% Inflation Target

The Federal Reserve right now is trying to ward off technological deflation by having a target 2% inflation rate a year.

Yet economists I have read peg technological deflation at around 3% to 4% a year presently.

When nanotechnology really takes off and prices plummet 75-80% and technological deflation goes from 4% to 10% and then possibly 20% a year or more what is the FED going to do?

Will we have a race between technological deflation and the “printing press?” A fight between two exponential functions-the singularity versus exponential inflation and debt! It’s absurd!

You can’t stop the acceleration of the fall in prices set off by the law of exponential returns by a tsunami of inflation and debt like they have been doing for the last 100 years.

The Welfare state and its old failed neo-Fabian ideas are done. Rumpelstiltskin economics, the art of spinning worthless paper into a currency that is forever losing its value is over – C. James Townsend

 

Top 5 Strongest Currencies in 2015

(Change against US $ at 12 December 2015 against rates one year ago)

  1. Bitcoin (XBT) +21%
  2. Israeli Shekel (ILS) +2%
  3. US Dollar (USD)
  4. Swiss Franc (CHF) -2%
  5. Japanese Yen (JPY) – 2%

Bottom 5 Weakest Currencies in 2015

  1. Venezuelan Bolivar (Black market rate) -78%
  2. Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH) -34%
  3. Brazilian Real (BRL) -33%
  4. South African Rand (ZAR) -31%
  5. Colombian Peso (COP) -28%

Note that the money used in the world’s freest financial system — Bitcoin — has appreciated the most, and the money used in the world’s most Socialist and regulated economy — Venezuela — has lost the most value. – SG Kinsman

 

Short Gold, Long Bitcoin was a Great Trade in 2015

The bear market in gold continued in 2015 (down 11.2 per cent).

Sell an ounce of gold to buy bitcoins at the beginning of this year, and you can now buy back 1.62 ounces. – John Authers

You know gold bugs are starting to get uncomfortable. Bound to become one of the biggest contributors to BTC future rally. – Alex B.

 

 

MARKETS

The Trade Is The Settlement

Overstock and Patrick Byrne hosted a flashy launch party for several hundred people at Nasdaq headquarters overlooking Times Square, at which they unveiled their version of the smart-contract trading platform, t0.com (that’s “t” and zero, not the letter “o;” it’s a play off “T+3,” Street shorthand for the three days it takes a contract to settle).

Mr. Byrne unveiled it in a typically colorful, impassioned speech that included references to the Torah, Martin Luther, “the holy church of capitalism,” the development of the Nasdaq and electronic exchanges, and his own sometimes contentious history with Wall Street.

People familiar with Mr. Byrne’s long history may be surprised that he chose a site like Nasdaq for the launch. More than a decade ago, he was involved in a bitter, pitched fight against naked short sellers who were targeting Overstock shares. But, saying that he was raised on free markets, he viewed it as a sort of homecoming, and hoped that these contracts would put an end to naked shorting and other abuses.

“Think about what this is,” he said on a visit to the Journal’s office on Monday. “It’s really about getting the existing capital markets to be crypto-capital markets.” – Paul Vigna

 

Overstock.com SEC Approved to Issue Shares Using Bitcoin Blockchain

In a Form S-3 filed with the SEC on November 10, Overstock.com sought approval to issue up to $500 million in new securities “from time to time” in the form of common stock, preferred stock, depositary shares, warrants, debt securities or units.

Overstock’s t0 (tee-zero) platform has been working on bringing equity trades and settlement to the blockchain since it was first announced in April 2015.

In July, Overstock sold the first cryptobond on the blockchain. – Jacob Donnelly

 

Bloomberg Commodity Index

Commodities are down again. The Bloomberg Commodity Index is at the lowest level since June 1999.

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Jeroen Blokland

 

 

PRIVACY

Chainalysis

The fact that this company has a NPV >0 is proof that Bitcoin is failing in terms of privacy. Fix it. –Justus Ranvier

Chainalysis Roadmap, April 2015

 

Bitcoin Wallet Privacy Threat Model

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An updated version of our threat model is on GitHub: Open Bitcoin Privacy Project Threat Model

 

BIP47: Reusable Payment Codes

I think BIP47 (reusable payment codes) is one of the most important developments in bitcoin this year. – Andreas Antonopoulos

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Payment codes are a technique for creating permanent Bitcoin addresses that can be reused and publicly associated with a real-life identity without creating a loss of financial privacy.

They are similar to stealth addresses, but involve a different set of trade-offs and features that may make them more practical.

You can publicize your payment code in the same way that you can publicize your email address. Even if everyone knows your payment code, nobody can monitor the blockchain to see how many payments you have received or which transactions are yours. – Justus Ranvier

  • Besides running circles around blockchain analysis outfits, BIP47 reusable payment codes are very Blockchain Alliance unfriendly. – SamouraiWalletDev

Something . . . that we’re heavily involved in is BIP 47 . . . [also known as] payment codes. Remember that? I prefer to use the phrase payment address because I think they’re comparable in many ways to an email address and a Bitcoin address is not

A payment address is more like an email address. For example, you can use the same address every time. So, you have a single address. People can always send to that same address, and that means they don’t have to ask you first for an address to send to . . . Furthermore, whenever you receive a payment through a payment address (or payment code, BIP 47), there is a return address. Both parties can see a complete history of all the transactions that were sent between them; the critical point is no one else can.

You know what this means? This means that all those companies who are sprouting up to provide blockchain analytics on the source of funds — these companies are not going to last. They’re going to cease to exist. They are a temporary aberration. They’re building on the past instead of the future. – Chris Odom, Stash

 

The Greatest Weapon of Oppression in the History of Man

The government’s motives are reflected in its symbols. Here’s a sampling:

* The NSA bird holds a key to unlock everything that is not public – in other words, what is private is the government’s business. Know It All. Collect It All. Exploit It All.

* The Earth-sucking octopus represents one of a fleet of NROL surveillance satellites.

Total Information Awareness is a program set up years ago that had the same agenda as the dystopian film Minority Report: arrest people before they commit a crime. The sinister inspiration for the Total Information Awareness logo is echoed on the one dollar bill, which features the all-seeing eye of God.

Symbols of mass surveillance 

mass surveillance symbols

Understanding the motives helps us see every justification of mass surveillance for what it really is – a veiled threat: If they don’t do it, terrorists will kill you. Terrorism, the mortal danger to civilization which kills fewer people than autoerotic asphyxiation, bathtub falls, toddlers, and lightning.

Mass surveillance equals perpetual uncertainty. No matter how honest and benevolent you consider the current American government, no one knows what laws a future regime will impose.

The highest profile shills for mass surveillance are the usual suspects: politicians and mega-corporation execs who have the most to gain. Former U.S. Senate majority leader Trent Lott: “What are people worried about? What is the problem? Are you doing something you’re not supposed to?”

I was in Amsterdam when the Snowden story broke. CNN was non-stop asking politicians and pundits, “Is Edward Snowden a traitor?” Those who said he betrayed America also said something else: Mass surveillance is only an issue if you’re a criminal. If you’ve got nothing to hide then you’ve got nothing to fear.

To apologists of mass surveillance, what did Anne Frank have to hide?

Walking from Anne Frank’s Secret Annex into CNN’s nothing-to-hide mass surveillance chorus provided a rare moment of clarity in my life. Her father’s disclosure a decade earlier of a single piece of data, their religion, destroyed his family. The disclosure was a legal requirement to be issued a passport.

Otto Frank never would have disclosed his family’s religion had he known it would lead to the murder of his loved ones a decade later. His family would have fled Germany and attempted to illegally immigrate elsewhere, as millions have done throughout history.

After examining the Frank family passports in the Secret Annex, it later struck me how much more information is extracted by the US census and annual American Community Survey. Where were you born? Are you “Black, African Am., or Negro?” Are you Pakistani? Latino? Are you unemployed? What is your profession? How much money do you make? Do you own or rent? How much do you spend on utilities? Who lives with you? Do you have children? How well do you speak English? Do you speak another language at home? What is your marriage status? Have you been divorced? Where did you go to school? Have you been employed by the U.S. military? Which wars did you fight in? And on it goes…

Living under mass surveillance is living with a noose around your neck. 

Millions of Americans today are caged and millions more are on probation or parole. The “land of the free” is the most imprisoned nation in the world on both a total and per capita basis. The prison-industrial complex is booming.  New prisons are being built every day. Prosecution isn’t a constraint either since only a handful of cases see a trial.

You can’t know what circumstances will cause you to hang. History is loaded with never-saw-that-coming catastrophes. The 20th century alone is an inconceivable horror – 262 million corpses engulfed in various government wars and genocides. That’s equivalent to every single adult living in America today suddenly perishing.

All the nightmare regimes of the past that kids study in school predate the era of computerized mass surveillance. The ability to lock down people’s lives instantly… to track them, analyze them, trap them, financially paralyze them, impersonate them, frame them, and apprehend them is unprecedented.

Governments always seek to control the governed, but mass surveillance is the most powerful weapon of control ever devised. Because of its novelty, invisibility, and deep complexity, many people can’t comprehend its implications and therefore don’t defend against it.

Mass surveillance is a silent, invisible weapon. The only time you’ll actually feel immediate danger is when it’s too late – David Montgomery

 

PGP: Trust, Integrity, Diligence

“No decrypt available for this PGP encrypted message.”

– TOP SECRET / COMINT / REL TO USA, AUS

* Documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden have suggested that there are types of hardened cryptography – including the open-source GPG, based on Phil Zimmermann’s Pretty Good Privacy – which when used properly are immune to attack – Gareth Halfacree

* That GPG works was one of the most powerful Snowden revelations – Michael Goldstein, The Satoshi Nakamoto Institute

* Use PGP whenever you can. Use it for boring things. Use it to encrypt guacamole recipes. Make the NSA’s life hard – Eva

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In case you wanted to know why so many are opposed to you using GPG, it’s because it actually works.

Get it now: Please To PGP (Guide for Linux, OS X, Windows).

All the belly-aching about GPG for the past decade was either motivated by laziness or government/corporate psyop.

Set aside all the excuses, all the disinfo, all the ego, and maximize your use of PGP in 2015. Just do it. Message me if you need help.

Using PGP is not about ~ muh government ~ or ~ privacy ~. It’s about the virtues of trust, integrity, and diligence (Meditations on Cypherpunk Nightmares)

Pierre Rochard

WikiLeaks is going through the roof over Google, alleging the search company of violating the constitutional rights of its members after complying with an overbroad government request for the email content and all related information of three WikiLeaks staff – Nicole Arce

Any journalist using Gmail without GPG is incompetent. Any journalist involved in any way with Wikileaks using Gmail without GPG is insane – Beautyon

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Internet serfing starts with not using GPG.

Modal internet serfer: votes for Obama and doesn’t use GPG, then complains about mass surveillance by governments and corporations.

“I will defend to the death your right to free speech, but using GPG is much too complicated for me sorry.” – Internet serfer

“I’m a bitcoin expert, but I have no idea how to use GPG, that’s way too complicated.” – Internet serfer

Pierre Rochard

 

 

COMPANIES / PROJECTS / PRODUCTS

Tesla Autopilot 7.0 Unleashes Self-Driving Capabilities on Model S

Tesla’s use of an over-the-air update to create self-driving cars is one of the most important things ever to happen in technology.

Think of the foresight required. Hardware sensors had to be built years in advance to accommodate the future software. Think of the boldness. Establish facts on the ground – everywhere. Ship the future so fast they can’t ban it. The Network outruns the State.

There will be rearguard actions. Some states may try to ban it. Cross a border, car turns dumb. The future: now a geographical patchwork.

But on balance, Tesla has set a new precedent for permissionless innovation. And it can be applied to many other verticals outside cars. – Balaji S. Srinivasan

I never thought I’d see autonomous automobiles driving on the freeways.

It wasn’t many years ago [they] put out a request to see who could build a car that could go across the Mojave Desert to Las Vegas from a place in Southern California, and several engineering teams across the country set out to do this. Nobody got more than about 300 yards before there was a problem.

Two years later, they made the full 25-mile trip across this desert track, which I thought was a huge achievement, and from that it was just a blink before they were driving on the freeways.” – Gordon Moore

 

Death on the Roads

Road traffic accidents kill an estimated 1.25m people a year, according to a new report by the World Health Organisation.

Road accidents kill more men than women, and are the biggest killer of 15- to 29-year olds globally.

The Economist Data Team

 

Tesla Autopilot Prevents a 45mph Head-On Collision

“Was travelling a little under 45 mph. There was some rain, but roads were pretty dry. I was watching stopped traffic to my right.

I did not touch the brake. Car did all the work. Sadly no audio, because I had an Uber passenger and Washington has strict privacy laws about recording conversations.”

 

 

Tesla Self-Drives Coast to Coast

From: California, USA To: New York, NY, USA

Two new EV world records! – Carl Reese

Congrats on driving a Tesla from LA to NY in just over two days! – Elon Musk

The Model S crossed the country in record time for an electric vehicle—and drove itself nearly the entire way (from the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach California to East 31st Street in Manhattan).

Carl Reese, Deena Mastracci, and Alex Roy made the coast-to-coast drive in 57 hours and 48 minutes, a time that is still to be verified by an independent third party.

They had autopilot mode engaged 96 percent of the time, Reese says, using it at speeds around 90 mph. It eased the burden on the team, a big deal when you’re in a car for 57 hours straight.

It highlights how quickly and enthusiastically autonomous technology is likely to be adopted. – Alex Davies

 

 

“The Falcon Has Landed”

 

 

After SpaceX Makes History, Musk Talks About a City on Mars

“This may one day be looked back upon as the day that the Space Age really began, because it showed that you can return a stage for reuse without a huge standing army of technicians to do it—unlike the shuttle,” Charles Lurio, who writes a space newsletter wrote Monday evening after the launch and landing.

For Musk, whose main goal is the colonization of Mars, the landing shows that the technology to reuse powerful rockets is real.

“I think it really quite dramatically improves my confidence that a city on Mars is possible,” he said on a call with reporters Monday evening. “That’s what all this is about.” – Christian Davenport

 

Will SpaceX Accomplish It’s Goal of Getting to Mars in the Next 15 Years?

Yes, absolutely. The colony might take 20 years to get started, but if they just wanted to send something to Mars and not get it back they could do that a lot sooner. They could do that in a year or two. – Steve Jurvetson

 

Telepresence & Virtual Environments

With the advent of the Internet, geography has just gone the way of the dodo. The only location that matters anymore is on Bitcoin’s blockchain. – Pete Dushenski

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  • Within a couple years there should be thousands of live streaming telepresence panoramas that we can teleport between – John Carmack, Oculus VR CTO
  • Magic Leap, a virtual reality company, raised $50m in February 2014 and then $550m in October. It persuaded the second set of investors to contribute by showing them a virtual cup of coffee alongside a real one and asking them to pick up the real one – Calum Chace
  • The Oculus Rift is already many times better than traditional alternatives, and consumer versions will soon be cheap and widely available. It is inconceivable to think that VR will be anything less than the dominant medium within 5 years – Zack Kanter

 

Let me tell people about Bitcoin in cold NYC, from a warm beach, via the doublerobotics robot –Roger Ver

Bitcoin entrepreneur Roger Ver has been effectively locked out of his native USA after this week being denied a non-immigrant visa for the third time.

Ver became a citizen of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, a small Caribbean nation, in February 2014 and handed in his US passport a month later.

A frequent attendee and guest speaker at bitcoin conferences worldwide, he makes a point of wearing a ‘borders are imaginary lines’ T-shirt when going through immigration at airports – Jon Southurst

 

 

PLACES

Singapore

 

Hong Kong

Autonomous drone delivering a chocolate bar from Kowloon side to the south side of Hong Kong island in less than 14 minutes – Sky Frog

 

 

LEARNING / EDUCATION

Education is the Process of Conquering One’s Environment

* The widening of this circle ends only with life. Every day the world should be made new by some new acquisition of truth. – John H. Finley

* I don’t care about money. I want power. Not power over people, but power over nature and the destiny of technology. I just want to know how it all works. – George Hotz

 

Computer Science

Nick Szabo: Computer science gives you far more leverage to change the world than any other study in our age.

Patrick Molgaard: I’d argue the winning combo is (strong domain knowledge) + (programming ability), which might preclude actually studying compsci

Nick Szabo: No: the best combo is domain knowledge + comp sci. Mere programmers have far less ability to reason about what is possible.

 

Great News: Intro to Computer Science Overtakes Economics as Harvard’s Most Popular Class

The most popular fall-semester course at Harvard is Introduction to Computer Science I.

The tech course enrolled almost 820 students for the current fall semester. That total is the highest in the three decades the course has been offered and it’s the biggest class offered at Harvard in at least a decade, according to The Harvard Crimson.

Most interesting, though, is that the course has supplanted “Introduction to Economics” as the Ivy League school’s most popular course. – Tom Huddleston, Jr.

 

Augmented Reality Education

The future of learning, if this new Magic Leap video is any indication, is mighty interesting. –Subrahmanyam KVJ

 

 

Learning in Virtual Reality

Humanity is standing on a precipice. We have never been closer to achieving a world where everyone has the ability to live and thrive. Biotech, nanotech and AI promise to reshape the world and have the potential to imbue humanity with near-godlike powers.

Virtual reality (VR) is often called the “final medium” due to its unparalleled power to share experiences and ideas. VR films and stories are shockingly effective at generating empathy and creating the impetus for action. VR education will allow us to learn faster and more interactively than ever before. And VR collaboration spaces will allow us to work from anywhere to solve the world’s grand challenges.

The potential use cases for VR in classrooms are endless:

A history teacher could lead his or her class on a tour of ancient Rome, providing a visceral connection to the past which was never before possible.

Science teachers can take their students to another galaxy or shrink them down and show them chemical reactions from the molecular scale.

Imagine a physics class where students take a trip to Mars, learn the physics of launching a rocket to orbit and then work with a group to plan out a rocket launch.  – Jason Ganz

 

Collaborative Virtual Reality Communities

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Social virtual reality is going to be an absolute game changer for collaboration. Because social VR will do what no other has been able to do—actually make you feel like you are in the same room with another person. Very soon, we’ll start to see virtual reality seminars, meetup groups and hackerspaces.

It’s tough to explain just how impactful social VR can be.

The first time I was in a social VR space, I was floored at how real it felt. I spoke to a group of VR enthusiasts around the world, swapping stories of our VR projects, and it honestly felt nearly as natural as being there. If you haven’t tried social VR, it’s hard to get across just how impressive of an experience it can be. Even compared with the best video telepresence tools we have available, there still is nothing like the feeling of actually working together in the same room. That is the feeling that virtual reality provides.

We’ll see VR hackathons where groups meet up in social VR to compete to create the greatest project. We’ll see open source groups holding weekly town halls and meetups where contributors get together to improve the project. – Jason Ganz

 

 

THE SINGULARITY

An Asymptote Toward Zero

The event horizon of a coming economic singularity where all prices drop down an asymptote toward zero as technology advances exponentially.

As ephemeralization escalates, as we can do “more and more with less and less until we can do almost anything with practically nothing,” as Buckminster Fuller stated, old technology, old energy sources etc slowly vanish.

What we, the human race, are facing as we race toward the event horizon of the coming economic and technological singularity is something that no human society or culture has ever experienced before. – C. James Townsend

Commodity Prices 140 Years

* Whatever isn’t deflationary deserves to die – Urban Future (2.1)

The US economy: a tug of war between Moore’s Law (hyperdeflation) and federal subsidies (price inflation)

  • Technology: disruption, automation, and an exponential drop in prices.
  • Policy: bailout, subsidies, and continually rising prices.

Balaji S. Srinivasan

 

Science‘s 2015 Breakthrough of the Year is CRISPR

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The genome-editing method called CRISPR has matured into a molecular marvel that much of the world—not just biologists—has noticed, which is why it has been selected Science‘s 2015 Breakthrough of the Year.

CRISPR has appeared in Breakthrough sections twice before, in 2012 and 2013, each time as a runner-up in combination with other genome-editing techniques. But this is the year it broke away from the pack, revealing its true power in a series of spectacular achievements.

Two striking examples—the creation of a long-sought “gene drive” that could eliminate pests or the diseases they carry, and the first deliberate editing of the DNA of human embryos—debuted to headlines and concern.

Each announcement roiled the science policy world. The embryo work (done in China with nonviable embryos from a fertility clinic) even prompted an international summit this month to discuss human gene editing.

The summit confronted a fraught—and newly plausible— prospect: altering human sperm, eggs, or early embryos to correct disease genes or offer “enhancements.” As a genetic counselor quipped during the discussion: “When we couldn’t do it, it was easy to say we shouldn’t.” – John Travis

 

In Ten Years How Will Technological Advancements Enable Radical Life Extension?

I think that in the next 10 years we’re likely to hit a tipping point that I have historically called “robust mouse-rejuvenation”. I think it’s more like 6-8 years at this point, to be honest.

I believe that we’re going to reach a point where we have mice in the laboratory and we extend their lives by a sufficient magnitude and by appropriate means, so the scientific community will begin to believe strongly that we’ve cracked this; that it’s only a matter of time before we bring ageing under comprehensive medical control for human beings as well.

Once the scientific community, the acknowledged, expert, credentialed scientific community, has a consensus, that’s when my job will be done, because literally the following day Oprah Winfrey will be saying, “Well, if it’s possible and it’s only a matter of time then let’s make it as little time as possible”. Then, the day after that, it will be impossible to get elected unless you have a manifesto commitment to actually have a war on ageing, right now. – Aubrey de Grey

 

Calculations Per Second Per $100

I used to say that this is the most important graph in all the technology business.

I’m now of the opinion that this is the most important graph ever graphed. – Steve Jurvetson, DFJ Venture Capital

 

 

The Watershed Moment: Quantum Computer Announcement from Google

Boom! Google just announced their watershed results in quantum computing using their D-Wave Two.

It is rare to see a 100,000,000x leap in computing power… at least in this universe! =)

From the D-Wave board meeting today, I learned that it cost Google $1m to run the massive computation on their classic computers. The SA and QMC (classic computers) data points cost $1m of energy, and the green curve totally choked on large problem sets (that’s why there are no green data points in the top right). The D-wave computer operating cost was well over 100x less.

Has there ever been a leap forward like this in human history? (in any thing, like computing, energy processing, transportation… I am guessing there have purely algorithmic advances of this magnitude, but having trouble thinking of a single advance of this scale) – Steve Jurvetson, December 2015

 

The Metaverse

The Metaverse is a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space,  including the sum of all virtual worlds,augmented reality, and the internet.

The word metaverse is a portmanteau of the prefix “meta” (meaning “beyond”) and “universe” and is typically used to describe the concept of a future iteration of the internet, made up of persistent, shared, 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe. – Wikipedia

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With at least 250 companies working on VR now, a large number of them are working on realizing the Metaverse, this science-fiction idea of virtual reality and all that it leads to. – Tim Sweeney

Perhaps, it’s reasonable to assume that over time, our virtual worlds will become indistinguishable from our current reality.

Soon, we won’t visit the Internet from the glass window of our computer screens, but rather walk around inside it as a physical place.

Philip Rosedale, the creator of Second Life, recently announced plans for a bold new virtual universe with a potential physical game map as large as the landmass of Earth.

Essentially, he’ll create a virtual world with its own laws of physics, and once he’s pressed play, a newly formed universe will have its own “let there be light” creation moment.

Where we go from there will be stunning to watch. – Aaron Frank

 

The Metaverse: Immersive 3D Equivalent of the Internet

We’re building an open-source virtual reality platform that gives everyone the power to create, explore and share virtual worlds. – High Fidelity

What is the metaverse? It’s Philip Rosedale’s second crack at playing god—at least in the virtual sense. Rosedale created his first virtual world, Second Life, in 2002. Now, he and his new company, High Fidelity, are building another world—and this time, they’re thinking on planetary scales.

Speaking at the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality conference, Philip Rosedale said that by harnessing the shared power of home PCs, “We could collectively create a space whose literal scale is comparable to the landmass of the planet Earth.”

Rosedale and High Fidelity aim to build a scaffold, set the ground rules, and hit play. That is, they’ll provide laws of physics and a Big Bang. The High Fidelity world itself, however, will be built by residents. There’s no predicting what will emerge, and that’s the beauty of it.

While you can access the world on your laptop or desktop PC, you can also visit using a headmounted display, like the Oculus Rift.

In his talk, Rosedale also hit on some other perhaps more intriguing visions for High Fidelity beyond simply social VR. As virtual reality comes online: The big question is what will we use it for most?

Looking back to the early days of computing in two dimensions, games and word processing were fun and useful. But they were dwarfed and ultimately embedded in something bigger. Something we call the Internet. Done right, Rosedale thinks virtual worlds can build on the Internet, even encompass it, and grow just as fast (only in three dimensions). How? By making sure they are free, open, and interconnected.

Back in the mid-90s, AOL and CompuServe were our first online portals, but they were eclipsed by a wilder, more chaotic model. Why? The hyperlink. An isolated web page isn’t as useful as one linking to other pages for more information. Their usefulness as a whole rapidly climbs with interconnectivity.

“If we can build a metaverse in which the spaces we create are linked together—or whoever successfully does that,”Rosedale says, “Those combined spaces with those hyperlinks will rapidly dominate everything, in terms of our total usage.”

How will we create the 3D equivalent of webpages? How will we connect them to each other? And how will we organically search them to find whatever we like?

These are questions High Fidelity and its community of cocreators will explore. If it’s early days for virtual reality—it’s even earlier for Internet-like VR. – Jason Dorrier

 

Moving Into The Metaverse In The Same Way We Moved Onto The Internet

Philip Rosedale wants to build the Metaverse, the virtual reality experience depicted in the Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash so many years ago. His first-generation attempt to do so was Second Life, the virtual world created by his former company Linden Lab.

Rosedale believes that the Metaverse will be the destination for all things, with applications expanding far beyond entertainment and gaming. It will enable a global village for communication with a billion other people in the world, he said.

Rosedale believes the Metaverse will happen because the technology to do it is getting cheaper and more accessible.

You can manipulate virtual environments in a natural way and communicate,” Rosedale said. “These virtual experiences are not science fiction. We are in alpha. It is starting to work. All of the components are there.”

He noted that his board of directors had a meeting inside virtual reality the other day.

But it’s still a ways off before everybody will be able to step into the Metaverse. First, the experience has to be low-latency, or with instantaneous interactions. As you move, your avatar, or virtual representation of yourself in the animated world, should also move. It should also sort out matters of identity.

Right now, about 15 people can participate in the same room at the same time. Rosedale wants features such as identity, hyperlinks, shared content, infinite spaces, and large audiences.

“The revolution and exponential growth in 3D content will be mind-boggling,” he said. “If we have a Metaverse where people build things, it will be ten times more fun with this gear. We’ll be buying and selling virtual goods.”

The Metaverse will rapidly become a huge virtual space, and exploring it will become a pastime, much like it has in Second Life, he said.

He added, “It would be totally editable. You could go into a space in virtual Siberia  and write on the wall and come back years later and find it.”

In conclusion, Rosedale said, “Much of our human creativity may move into these spaces. I think that it will. We will move into the Metaverse for much of our work, design, education, and play in the same way we moved onto the Internet. There is very little that stands in the way of that happening.” – Dean Takahashi

 

The Singularity vs. The State

Plato’s cave is our status quo and we sit in our chains and are mesmerized by the pretty pictures on the wall. It is high time humanity grew up and finally left the cave.

No matter what the political state and its crony’s do, or try to do, they will fail as more and more individuals unite to help bring about the coming economic and technological singularity.

How can you regulate or ban such things as guns when you can print an entire AK 47 at home on a 3D printer?

Or because prices have dropped so low that you can have a fully equipped bio-lab in your garage how then can you suppress say an antiaging technology or a cure for cancer?

The techno-libertarians, techno-progressives and Transhumanist’s are becoming a force to be reckoned with (though I am concerned with the influence of technocracy among many Transhumanist’s) and if the political state moved to ban such things as Uber, Lyft, Airbnb etc you would have a riot on your hands and it is only going to get worse for the State.

I think more and more neo-leftist’s are going to wake up and realize with the Libertarians, that Statism is an old failed religion and that their empowerment and freedom will truly come from the evolutionary forces released by the Technium.

The left-wing Hegelian’s foresaw that the State was destined to wither away and a new holographic system, a holoarchy, would arise that would allow individuals to perfect themselves and to become the best they could be in a social and economic structure that gave them the time and abundance to do so.

If the techno-libertarians have taken up this course of action because we on “the left” have ignorantly abandoned it, then that is to our shame. We will have to play catch up and join them on the evolutionary journey to a new earth, one in which the arising Noosphere, the Global Brain, has fully evolved and the present order has been transcended.

I truly believe that the political State’s days are numbered, especially as profits and prices drop as technological deflation accelerates the emperor will be seen by more and more people to be naked and standing in their way to the fuller life they wish to live.

The coming singularity is already showing us that the locus of power is shifting back to individuals united and interrelated in a new distributed network system. We have to have faith and trust in this new arising paradigm and complex system and help it along, to be its midwives, but instead I see too many people manipulated and moved by ideological fearmongering to prop up the old order and its outmoded ideas.

The old order has no answers for us and no solutions; in fact it has caused all of our problems that we are now dealing with.

I think in the end it may very well wither away from disuse as more and more people leave it alone and turn to technological solutions and innovations to solve their and the world’s problems as A.J. Galambos theorized that we would finally learn to invent the technology that will give us the ability to have absolute liberty and freedom. To be in total possession of our primary property, which are ourselves, and all of our creative talents. – C. James Townsend

 

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