Saturday 18th June

BITCOIN

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1 Bitcoin = $775

 

Bitcoin Market Cap Hits $12 Billion, Nears $13.8 Billion All-Time High

Over the past year while everyone was worrying about the death of Bitcoin, it was quietly & steadily growing stronger. – Michael Goldstein

 

Chinese Buying Shows No Sign of Slowing

It is well-known that habitual Chinese gamblers like nothing more than buying high any asset that has upside momentum (most recently observed in the “rebar” bubble of April).

The reality is that nobody knows how far BTC can rise from this point on.

The math is favorable: bitcoin still has a market cap of only $12 billion compared to total Chinese financial deposits of over $22 trillion. – Tyler Durden

 

The Death of Bitcoin?

Just as everyone predicted, the Bitcoin price is crashing due to reaching the block size limit! – Pierre Rochard

 

The Usage of Bitcoin is Increasing Rapidly All Over the World

The amount of transactions in the Bitcoin network is increasing rapidly. More goods and services are bought with bitcoin every day.

Even here in Finland there have been multiple Tesla’s sold with bitcoin. In Latin America and South Africa the growth numbers of Bitcoin usage are impressive.

In China bitcoin is used increasingly to move funds out of the country. And based on recent reports the use of Bitcoin is also increasing rapidly in India.

In the real world Bitcoin is used much more than any other blockchain project. Bitcoin is the first universal currency and that reality is getting more real day by day. – Henry Brade

 

The Next Stage of Growth

My view of the situation is that in the next 6 months or so bitcoin is going to start a new phase of massive price increase which could lead to an increase in the price to around 10x.

It is also likely that after this rise the price will go down again but I believe it will stabilize higher than it is now.

My target for this new rally is in the $3k to $5k range but first bitcoin needs to break the previous all-time-high. It’s not that far away any longer though. – Henry Brade

 

 

MINING

The Halvening

Halvening will put total miner revenue back to where it was 12 months ago. Why are Bitcoin skeptics worried? – Pierre Rochard

 

 

ALTCOINS

Monero Market Cap At All-Time High

Market cap now $27million, a 5x return year-to-date.

Cracks top 10 on coinmarket.com.

Lee Banfield

 

 

MARKETS

The Value of $10,000 Invested Over 52 years (1951 – 2003)

High P/Book Ratio= $267,147 vs. Low P/Book Ratio = $22,004,691

High PE Ratio = $793,558 vs. Low PE Ratio = $8,189,172

———————————————–

In his book What Works on Wall Street, author James O’Shaughnessy compares the returns of two different investment strategies: value versus ‘anti-value’.

O’Shaughnessy reviewed historical data to determine how much money you would have made had you invested $10,000 in the 50 ‘most expensive’ vs. the 50 ‘least expensive’ US stocks over a period of five decades.

He calculated most vs. least expensive based on the companies’ Price/Book and Price/Earnings ratios.

The bottom line? Had you invested $10,000 in the most expensive companies, you would ultimately have ended up with as much as $793,558 after 53 years.

That sounds impressive, until you realize what you could have earned by buying the LEAST expensive companies: over $22 million.

This data is extraordinary and shows that value investing works… as long as you have the discipline to be independent from the crowd. – Tim Price

 

 

COMPANIES / PROJECTS / PRODUCTS

$150mill Decentalized Autonomous Organization to Wind Down After Hack

  • “Vitalik Buterin on brink of first bailout for DAOs” – The Times 17/Jun/2016 – LaurentMT
  • If smart contracts are subject to post facto human interpretation of intent, they sound pretty much like regular old contracts. – Ben Davenport
  • Writing secure smart contracts is closer to writing nuclear reactor code than loose web code. Solidity/EVM target the latter. – Emin Gun Sirer
  • There’s a reason why bitcoin is conservative and focuses on doing one thing well.. Shit like this happens – Jus

Founders of the fund, DAO said Friday morning they have been forced to shut down the fund and plan for its unwinding.

DAO raised more than $150 million of Ethereum through the month, far more than its creators expected. That made it the top crowdfunding effort on record.

The attack spirited away roughly 3.6 million Ethereum coins, valued at around $55 million, from DAO to another account.

The attacker appeared to have exploited a loophole that essentially allowed a DAO stakeholder to create an identical fund and move money into it.

The DAO’s founders are planning to “fork” the code and effectively void the hacker’s transactions.

Investors seemed less concerned with the hack than with Ethereum’s decision to erase the fraudulent transactions.

One investor in the DAO, Menno Pietersen, said he opposed the rescue and called the incident a “horrible mess.” The DAO’s creators “messed up” and didn’t take the time to build their product correctly, he said.

He acknowledged that he himself didn’t vet the investment carefully enough, but said that as a backer of Ethereum, he was against any fix that would invalidate the goal of creating a decentralized platform. If trades can simply be erased, he asked, “what will they do next?”

“It was a risky investment,” he said. “You shouldn’t complain if you got burned.”

Another investor, Collin LaHay, called the idea of forking a “scary precedent.”  – Paul Vigna

 

Opening Up the Third Web: The Machine Payable Web

Picture a world where machines barter for resources using their own virtual currency. That may sound like science fiction, but Balaji Srinivasan and 21 are working to make it a reality.

“I think what happens over the next five to ten years is Bitcoin becomes the currency of the Internet, for machine payments and things like that,” Srinivasan said on a panel.

“Then, over the next 20 years, it becomes the currency of the next world, which is [virtual reality]. That’s where I think things really happen, once you start spending more time in VR than on the ground.”

In this hypothetical digital economy, computers could send and receive Bitcoins as hassle-free payment for online services or even for renting out unused computing power. Rather than sell advertisements or hoist a paywall, a website could charge Bitcoins for each visit.

“Every time you load a web page is a HTTP request,” Srinivasan said. “That’s a lot of HTTP requests. If you are earning Bitcoin on every HTTP request, that could be a lot of earned Bitcoins.”

Linking machines through payments is what Srinivasan calls the machine web. In his view it’s the next step after the World Wide Web, which connected content through web pages and hyperlinks, and the social web, which brought people together through networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. – Jess Delaney

 

21 is Now Open Source

We are open sourcing 21, a software package that makes it extremely easy to work with Bitcoin over HTTP.

Just go to 21.co to install. And if you want to contribute, check out the open source project at https://github.com/21dotco/two1-python

We believe that a third web is coming.

The first was the World Wide Web of documents, with hyperlinks between nodes.

The second was the Social Web, with links between nodes representing friend relationships.

And the third is the Machine-Payable Web, where the links between nodes represent payments between machines.

Why would such a web be desirable?

We start with the observation that you don’t want to go through a paywall every time you visit a new website. Instead, you just want to click a link. Similarly, you don’t want to enter in your credit card every time you try out a new paid API. Instead, you just want to send it some digital currency.

If you could do this, it would solve several problems in one stroke.

First, it would provide a way to monetize APIs on a per-request basis without requiring developers to provide or accept credit cards.

Second, it would reduce the siloization of APIs, as any developer with some bitcoin could now trivially call out to another API as easily as importing a new library call.

And third, it would unify fulfillment and billing, with the HTTP request and the corresponding digital currency payment occurring within the same series of packets.

Every instance of this kind — in which a program calls a remote API and pays for it with digital currency — is a link in the Machine-Payable Web. – 21.co

 

Bitcoin Enables The Machine Payable Web

You couldn’t really have had a Machine-Payable Web before Bitcoin, because the ability of a machine to possess, send, and receive currency autonomously depends critically on the nature of Bitcoin private keys as bearer instruments. That is, an internet-connected machine with a private key to a Bitcoin wallet has everything it needs to transact with any other such machine in the world without human intervention.

Bitcoin specifically (and digital currency more generally) is uniquely suited for handling machine-to-machine payments, thereby making it possible for developers to call new paid web services as easily as they link to new websites.

However, there are several problems that the core Bitcoin protocol does not solve, including

(a) acquiring bitcoin in the first place even without mining

(b) easily setting up bitcoin-payable web services over HTTP

(c) discovering other developers and their bitcoin-payable web services so you can buy and sell digital goods from them.

Solving those problems is why we built 21. – 21.co

 

21: Get Bitcoin on Any Device and Earn Bitcoin on Every HTTP Request

  • Earn bitcoin via microtasks. With the “21 earn” command you can do microtasks for bitcoin. This feature is in early access release; please get in touch with support@21.co if you’d like to test it.
  • Sell machine resources for bitcoin. Finally, with the “21 sell” command you can instruct your computer to sell its spare machine resources for micropayments, kind of like “Airbnb for machines”. This command works by turning your computer into a miniature server that connects to the 21 Marketplace (21.co/mkt).

Once you have some bitcoin in your local wallet, the 21 command line and associated libraries make it easy to write bitcoin-payable programs.

So you’ve installed 21 onto your machine and used it to get some bitcoin. You’ve also built your first machine-payable web service. Now what? You’ll want to find buyers for your machine-payable web service to send you some bitcoin, and sellers of machine-payable web services to spend your bitcoin.

That’s the third part of 21: programmatic access to a full micropayments marketplace at 21.co/mkt where you can publish your machine-payable endpoints, along with a profile page under your username where you can monitor your earnings. – 21.co

 

Elon Musk: We Are Less Than Two Years From Complete Car Autonomy

The Tesla CEO spoke at the Code Conference and predicted that we’re closer to self-driving cars than anybody thinks.

“I think we are less than two years away from complete autonomy, safer than humans, but regulations should take at least another year,” Musk said.

While many auto and tech companies–from Google to Uber and GM to Lyft and Apple to Ford–are researching and testing autonomous vehicles, Tesla seems on the verge of announcing that its Model 3 consumer sedan will have full self-driving capabilities.

Musk did not confirm that feature, but when asked multiple times on stage, he replied that there would be another Tesla event later in the year in which he would have more details.

The only thing he would say is that Tesla would do “the obvious thing”–seemingly a reference to a prior comment he made about autonomous driving being a must have feature for future vehicles. – Brian Soloman

 

The Driverless Truck is Coming

Improvement in ground transportation networks will represent an incredible boost to human well-being.

Shipping a full truckload from L.A. to New York costs around $4,500 today, with labor representing 75 percent of that cost.

Where drivers are restricted by law from driving more than 11 hours per day without taking an 8-hour break, a driverless truck can drive nearly 24 hours per day.

Trucking represents a considerable portion of the cost of all the goods we buy, so consumers everywhere will experience this change as lower prices and higher standards of living.

This year alone more people will be killed in traffic accidents involving trucks than in all domestic airline crashes in the last 45 years combined. At the same time, more truckdrivers were killed on the job, 835, than workers in any other occupation in the U.S.

Driverless trucking is right around the corner.  The primary remaining barriers are regulatory. – Ryan Peterson

 

 

PRIVACY / SECURITY / INTERNET

Anger in Hong Kong as HSBC Demands Right to ‘Snoop’ into Safe Deposit Boxes

A barrister has accused HSBC of trampling on the concept of personal privacy by demanding the power to snoop on customers’ safe deposit boxes and dump “offensive” items.

According to a letter sent to clients last month, a copy of which was obtained by thePost, the bank said that under new conditions of its leases for the lockers it had the right to dispose of any items it considered illegal, of an “offensive” nature or likely to be a “nuisance”, in any way it saw fit and without prior notice or consent.

The letter did not clarify what HSBC meant by “offensive” or “nuisance”, and did not explain under what circumstances bank staff would be able to inspect the boxes.

It asked clients to sign and return the letter within one month to confirm their acceptance of the updated conditions, so “we [HSBC] can continue providing you with the Safe Deposit Locker services”.

Safe deposit boxes are in short supply, with long waiting queues at most banks, which charge up to HK$20,000 a year for the service. – Cannix Yau

 

CoinJoin: Combining Bitcoin Transactions to Obfuscate Trails and Increase Privacy

CoinJoin – proposed in 2013 by Bitcoin Core and Blockstream developer Gregory Maxwell – is designed to obfuscate the trail of bitcoins and break the assumption that all input-addresses belong to the same user.

Essentially, CoinJoin lets multiple users combine all inputs and outputs from several transactions into a single, big transaction.

This single transaction spends bitcoins from different addresses to different addresses – and since none of the sending addresses pay none of the receiving addresses specifically; there’s no link between any of them.

Decentralized CoinJoin Solutions

There are decentralized CoinJoin solutions, that construct CoinJoin-transactions peer-to-peer, or at least without any particular central intermediary.

There have been several attempts in this direction, including CoinmuxCoinjumbleCoinJoiner and former DarkWallet developer Amir Taaki’s CoinJoin tool.

But none of these are widely used, and therefore not very useful – “coinjoining” makes sense only when there’s someone to join with.

JoinMarket

A more recent take on the CoinJoin strategy that intends to tackle this problem is JoinMarket: a marketplace for CoinJoin transactions.

Users can offer a spot in a CoinJoin transaction in return for a small fee – or buy access to a CoinJoin transaction themselves.

The creators of JoinMarket believe that the incentive to mix coins in return for fees should generate enough liquidity to make the market a success – while the competitive nature of it should keep fees low. Indeed, JoinMarket is relatively well used compared to alternatives, and the order book (at the time of writing) offers thousands of bitcoins to mix with.

CoinJoin is still a hassle. Almost no wallets have it built in, and those that do aren’t used a lot (and rely on a central server.) JoinMarket is probably the most successful implementation to date, but still requires special software and additional fees (though small).

But an interesting development on the horizon might skew these incentives: Schnorr signatures.

Enabled by Segregated Witness, Schnorr signatures could allow for the aggregation of all signatures in a CoinJoin transaction into a single signature. This efficiency should result into lower transaction fees per input, and perhaps stimulate use of the most private and fungibility-friendly solution. – Aaron van Wirdum

 

 

LEARNING / EDUCATION

Important Lessons on How to Learn

The first thing formal school should teach you is how to learn, but that never happens.

School makes you believe certain truths are set in stone, thus discouraging you from questioning. That is one of the reasons behind our economies being run by Keynesian madmen, since other theories have been discredited in favor of Keynes’ misinformed and misunderstood (mere) hypotheses.

What school and parents should do is apply all the things I’ve mentioned in this article, including learning based on:

  • Motion/BDNF
  • Deep Work
  • Grit/Consistency
  • Sound Wall
  • Hyperthermic therapy
  • Spaced repetition
  • Defining words
  • Novelty
  • Overreaching (deliberate practice and temporary failure)
  • Curiosity/Application
  • Gamification
  • Not procrastinating (just do it right away)

The reason I wrote this article is to encourage you to apply the above principles in your own life when acquiring interesting skills, or necessary knowledge for your line of work, investing, sport or other endeavors. – Mikael Syding

 

 

PLACES

Switzerland Voters Reject Guaranteed Basic Income

First a $0 minimum wage, and now no guarantee of a basic income?! There must be poor people starving in the streets! – Anarchyball

 

Socialist Scandinavia?

Socialists all over the world rejoiced in the rise to power of socialist Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. “This is what we mean!” seemed to be their mantra as he expropriated and nationalized and redistributed.

Barely 15 years later with the country now a total basket case, you have to press today’s socialist dreamers to get them to say anything at all. But when you finally get them to talk, once more we hear the familiar refrain: “But that’s not what we mean!”

Today’s socialist dreamers, Bernie Sanders being among the more prominent, are on a kick about Scandinavia. “That’s what we mean!” they proclaim.

Then more studious observers of that part of the world point out that Scandinavian countries have no minimum wage laws; lower taxes on business and more school choice than the United States; trade-based, globalized economies; and few if any nationalized industries.

The prime minister of Denmark recently declared, “I know that some people in the U.S. associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore, I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.”

So today’s socialist dreamers say, “Well, that’s not what we mean.” They advocate hikes in the minimum wage, higher taxes on business, little if any school choice, and massive intervention in commerce.

Socialism is nothing more than a nebulous fantasy. It’s a giant blackboard in the sky on which you can write anything your heart desires and then just erase it when embarrassing circumstances arise.

I don’t want any part of it, but it always seems to want a part of me. – Lawrence W. Reed

 

Philippines to Tighten Regulations for Bitcoin Operators and Exchanges

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According to the central bank deputy governor, the nation’s policy makers and agencies are collaborating to tighten regulations for remittance companies and exchanges, including bitcoin exchanges, startups, and brokers.

Over the past two years, bitcoin startups in the Philippines including Coins.ph and Rebit.ph have become increasingly popular and successful, by providing Filipinos easy and simple methods of purchasing and selling bitcoin and using the virtual currency to settle utility bills. Most notably, Coins.ph partnered with one of the country’s largest banks called Security Bank, to enable users to make instantaneous purchases of bitcoin through 24/7 atms.

The regulations set to be drafted by the Philippine policy makers could restrict the services of existing bitcoin startups and could force users to provide more sensitive information when dealing with transactions and exchange of fiat to bitcoin.

“That is what we are looking to do, whether it is now time to impose hard regulations for virtual currency operators. Right now, we look at them as akin to remittance companies,” said Central bank deputy governor Nestor Espenilla. – Joseph Young

 

 

THE SINGULARITY

Bill Gates on AI: “The Dream Is Finally Arriving. This Is What It Was All Leading Up To.”

After years of working on the building blocks of speech recognition and computer vision, Gates said enough progress has been made to ensure that in the next 10 years there will be robots to do tasks like driving and warehouse work as well as machines that can outpace humans in certain areas of knowledge.

“The dream is finally arriving,” Gates said, speaking with wife Melinda Gates. “This is what it was all leading up to.”

He suggested a pair of books that people should read, including Nick Bostrom’s book on Superintelligence and Pedro Domingos’ “The Master Algorithm.”

Melinda Gates noted that you can tell a lot about where her husband’s interest is by the books he has been reading. “There have been a lot of AI books,” she said. – Ina Fried

 

Artificial Intelligence ‘Outsmarts Cancer’

Breast cancer

Early trial data shows a drug developed using artificial intelligence can slow the growth of cancer in clinical trials.

The data, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, showed some tumours shrank by around a quarter. The compound will now be taken into more advanced trials.

Scientists said we were now in an explosive stage of merging advances in computing with medicine.

Spotting every difference between a cancerous and a healthy cell is beyond even the brightest human minds. So the US biotechnology company Berg has been feeding as much data as its scientists could measure on the biochemistry of cells into a supercomputer.

The aim was to let an artificial intelligence suggest a way of switching a cancerous cell back to a healthy one. It led to their first drug, named BPM31510, which tries to reverse the Warburg effect – the phenomenon in which cancerous cells change their energy supply.

Innovative treatments

The results from patients are being fed back into the artificial intelligence in order to further target the therapy at those most likely to respond.

The company thinks cancers with high energy demands will benefit the most and is planning a more advanced trial in patients in pancreatic cancer.

Dr Alan Worsley, from Cancer Research UK, said we were only at the beginning of harnessing the huge advances in computing to understand cancer. – James Gallagher

 

Tech Moguls Declare Era of Artificial Intelligence

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos predicted a profound impact on society over the next 20 years.

“It’s really early but I think we’re on the edge of a golden era. It’s going to be so exciting to see what happens,” he said.

Amazon has been working on artificial intelligence for at least four years and now has 1,000 employees working on Alexa, the company’s voice-based smart assistant software system, he said.

Big tech companies including Amazon have an edge at present because they have access to large amounts of data but hundreds of AI startups will hatch in the next few years, he said.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said the company has been working on artificial technology, which she calls a cognitive system, since 2005 when it started developing its Watson supercomputer.

“I would say in five years, there’s no doubt in my mind that cognitive AI will impact every decision made” from healthcare to education to financial services, Rometty said. – Liana B. Baker

 

Worst-Case Scenarios for Evil AI

  • Enslave humans
  • Seize control of resources
  • Damage planet

So, no worse than government.

Elaine Ou

 

The Singularity is Near

When Ray Kurzweil published The Singularity Is Near in 2006, many scoffed at his outlandish predictions.

A year before Apple launched its iPhone, Kurzweil imagined a world in which humans and computers essentially fuse, unlocking capabilities we normally see in science fiction movies.

He pointed out that as technology accelerates at an exponential rate, progress would eventually become virtually instantaneous—a singularity. Further, he predicted that as computers advanced, they would merge with other technologies, namely genomics, nanotechnology and robotics.

Today, Kurzweil’s ideas don’t seem quite so outlandish. Google’s DeepMind recently beat legendary Go world champion Lee Sedol. IBM’s Watson is expanding horizons in medicine, financial planning and even cooking. Self driving cars are expected to be on the road by 2020.

Just as Kurzweil predicted, technology seems to be accelerating faster than ever before. – Greg Satell

 

The Sixth Paradigm: We’re Going Beyond Moore’s Law 

Kurzweil has pointed out that microprocessors are in fact the fifth paradigm of information processing, replacing earlier technologies such as electromechanical relays, vacuum tubes and transistors.

He also argues that the numbers of transistors on a chip is a fairly arbitrary way to measure performance and suggests to look the number of calculations per $1000 instead.

And it turns out that he’s right. While the process of cramming more transistors on silicon wafers is indeed slowing down, we’re finding a variety of ways to speed up overall performance, such as quantum computing, neuromorphic chips and 3D stacking.

We can expect progress to continue accelerating, at least for the next few decades. – Greg Satell

 

Elon Musk Wants to Send People to Mars by 2024

Musk stated that a series of unmanned rockets including the Dragon version 2 rocket will be sent to mars by as early as 2018, and new rockets will be launched to the Red Planet every 26 months.

If the launches of rockets to mars are successful, Musk explains that SpaceX will be sending a rocket taking a group of astronauts to Mars by 2024.

“If things go as planned, we should be able to launch people in 2024 with arrival in 2025,” announced Musk.

Musk himself is planning on going to space at some point, most probably in four to five years time.

“I’ll probably go to orbit in four to five years,” said Musk. “I mean if you’re going to choose where to die, then Mars is not a bad choice.” – xtraqt.com

 

Updates to the Drake Equation: Irrational to Doubt Advanced Aliens Have Existed

  • We now have enough information to conclude that advanced extraterrestrial civilizations most certainly existed at some point in cosmic history.

Last month astronomers from the Kepler spacecraft team announced the discovery of 1,284 new planets, all orbiting stars outside our solar system.

The total number of such “exoplanets” confirmed via Kepler and other methods now stands at more than 3,000.

This represents a revolution in planetary knowledge. A decade or so ago the discovery of even a single new exoplanet was big news.

Not anymore.

Improvements in astronomical observation technology have moved us from retail to wholesale planet discovery. We now know, for example, that every star in the sky likely hosts at least one planet.

The Drake Equation

Among scientists, the probability of the existence of an alien society with which we might make contact is discussed in terms of something called the Drake equation.

In 1961, the National Academy of Sciences asked the astronomer Frank Drake to host a scientific meeting on the possibilities of “interstellar communication.”

Since the odds of contact with alien life depended on how many advanced extraterrestrial civilizations existed in the galaxy, Drake identified seven factors on which that number would depend, and incorporated them into an equation.

1) The number of stars born each year.

2) The fraction of stars that had planets.

3) The number of planets per star that traveled in orbits in the right locations for life to form (assuming life requires liquid water).

4) The fraction of such planets where life actually got started.

5) The fraction of life-bearing planets on which intelligence evolved

6) The fraction of life-bearing planets on which advanced civilizations (meaning radio signal-emitting) evolved.

7) The final factor was the average lifetime of a technological civilization.

In 1961, only the first factor — the number of stars born each year — was understood. And that level of ignorance remained until very recently.

But our new planetary knowledge has removed some of the uncertainty from this debate.

Three of the Seven Terms in Drake’s Equation are Now Known

We know the number of stars born each year.

We know that the percentage of stars hosting planets is about 100.

And we also know that about 20 to 25 percent of those planets are in the right place for life to form.

This puts us in a position, for the first time, to say something definitive about extraterrestrial civilizations — if we ask the right question.

In our recent paper, Professor Sullivan and I did this by shifting the focus of Drake’s equation. Instead of asking how many civilizations currently exist, we asked what the probability is that ours is the only technological civilization that has ever appeared.

By asking this question, we could bypass the factor about the average lifetime of a civilization. This left us with only three unknown factors, which we combined into one “biotechnical” probability: the likelihood of the creation of life, intelligent life and technological capacity.

A globular star cluster in the Milky Way

You might assume this probability is low, and thus the chances remain small that another technological civilization arose. But what our calculation revealed is that even if this probability is assumed to be extremely low, the odds that we are not the first technological civilization are actually high.

Specifically, unless the probability for evolving a civilization on a habitable-zone planet is less than one in 10 billion trillion, then we are not the first.

To give some context for that figure: In previous discussions of the Drake equation, a probability for civilizations to form of one in 10 billion per planet was considered highly pessimistic. According to our finding, even if you grant that level of pessimism, a trillion civilizations still would have appeared over the course of cosmic history.

In other words, given what we now know about the number and orbital positions of the galaxy’s planets, the degree of pessimism required to doubt the existence, at some point in time, of an advanced extraterrestrial civilization borders on the irrational.

In science an important step forward can be finding a question that can be answered with the data at hand. Our paper did just this.

As for the big question — whether any other civilizations currently exist — we may have to wait a long while for relevant data. But we should not underestimate how far we have come in a short time. – Adam Frank

 

Elon Musk: The Odds That We’re Living In Base Reality Is One In Billions

Embedded image permalink

The strongest argument for us being in a simulation probably is the following. Forty years ago we had pong. Like, two rectangles and a dot. That was what games were.

Now, 40 years later, we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously, and it’s getting better every year. Soon we’ll have virtual reality, augmented reality.

If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality, even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is now. Then you just say, okay, let’s imagine it’s 10,000 years in the future, which is nothing on the evolutionary scale.

So given that we’re clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds that we’re in base reality is one in billions.

Tell me what’s wrong with that argument. Is there a flaw in that argument?

There’s a one in billions chance we’re in base reality.

Arguably we should hope that that’s true, because if civilization stops advancing, that may be due to some calamitous event that erases civilization.

So maybe we should be hopeful this is a simulation, because otherwise we are going to create simulations indistinguishable from reality or civilization ceases to exist. We’re unlikely to go into some multimillion-year stasis. – Elon Musk

 

Are You In A Computer Simulation?

If we don’t think that we are currently living in a computer simulation, we are not entitled to believe that we will have descendants who will run lots of such simulations of their forebears. That is the basic idea. – Nick Bostrom

The argument basically resolves down to three options, which Wikipedia summarizes thusly:

  1. “The fraction of human-level civilizations that reach a posthuman stage (that is, one capable of running high-fidelity ancestor simulations) is very close to zero,” or
  2. “The fraction of posthuman civilizations that are interested in running ancestor-simulations is very close to zero,” or
  3. “The fraction of all people with our kind of experiences that are living in a simulation is very close to one.”

Musk is picking the third option here. – Erza Klein

 

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Follow me on Twitter @leebanfield1

Bitcoin: 1Jwh6nZiASJf4d3hNytjxqiimWBmEJvJ4S

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