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AI on Chain

AI on Chain

Chris Campbell

Posted May 08, 2024

Chris Campbell

There’s an old yarn about families who build generational wealth.

Most of the time, it goes like this:

→ The first generation, a force of nature, builds the wealth

→ The second generation carries the torch, but isn’t quite the lightning rod of the previous generation 

→ The third generation falls into politics and infighting, which begins a slow cannibalization 

→ The fourth generation wraps the Lambo around the light pole at the country club.

I have a theory.

It has to do with the cyclical nature of everything -- from dynasties to civilizations. It also has to do with bigger generational shifts -- and why Millennials like “experiences” more than they do stuff. 

It also has a lot to do with AI and crypto. And why history might be rhyming.

Deep Qualia/High Quantia

Since the Paleolithic Era, cultures have oscillated between what I call “Deep Qualia” and “High Quantia”.

Deep Qualia - a huge emphasis on the subjective experience at the expense of the more quantitative, measurable aspects of reality. (Mystical experiences, rituals, initiations, introspection, experiential, etc.)

High Quantia - a huge emphasis on the objective experience characterized by quantitative tools, often at the expense of the individual subjective experience. (Numbers, tools, language, data, codes, etc.)

Of course, civilizations are a hodgepodge of both, but there’s always one that takes priority at the expense of the other -- a response to the needs and challenges faced by a society at specific historical moments.

For example, during periods of significant scientific discovery and technological innovation -- as our own historical moment has seen -- a society might shift towards High Quantia to better harness and integrate these advancements.

BUT

When one side becomes too extreme, it often triggers a shift toward its opposite—an insight noted by ancient philosopher Heraclitus. (He referred to this natural phenomenon as enantiodromia… and I’m 100% positive I’ve never once pronounced it correctly in real life.)

Sometimes, however, there’s a great synthesis between the two modes of perception.

The easiest example of this: the Renaissance.

Generative Technologies

During the Renaissance, two technologies came to the fore -- the printing press and double-entry bookkeeping.

These technologies were generative, meaning they didn't just serve existing needs—they created new ones and provided the tools to meet them.

The printing press broke the monopoly of the literate elite. It spurred the spread of new ideas and made knowledge a widespread cultural experience rather than a restricted, individual privilege.

This qualitative leap in information sharing promoted a culture of inquiry, introspection, and intellectual curiosity that crossed disciplinary boundaries. In turn, this led to the creation of new professions, industries, and economic opportunities that had not existed before.

Double-entry bookkeeping was just as paradigm-shifting, but on the quantitative side of things.

By introducing a reliable system to record both credits and debits for each transaction, double-entry bookkeeping not only improved the accuracy and reliability of financial records but also fostered a deeper understanding and innovation in financial management.

This led to more sophisticated economic activities and planning. It also enabled the rise of joint-stock companies and the modern corporation.

Therefore…

Double-entry bookkeeping didn't just serve existing market needs—it expanded the scope and scale of economic activity, leading to the creation of new markets, professions, and economic opportunities that had not existed before.

Those two technologies -- with their powers combined -- spurred a Cambrian explosion of creativity and innovation.

Crypto and AI

Today, the emergence of also-generative technologies like crypto (High Quantia) and artificial intelligence (Deep Qualia) could mirror this Renaissance’s great synthesis.

Similar to double-entry bookkeeping, blockchain technology introduces a new layer of quantitative rigor to digital transactions, enabling secure, transparent, and decentralized financial interactions.

(Some have called blockchain “triple-entry accounting,” but I think that’s confusing. There’s no “third entry.” In this context, “automated accounting” makes more sense.)

Crypto’s “automated accounting” method is designed to be automated and immutable, closing the door on vulnerabilities that might arise from human errors or corruption. In this way, blockchain has the potential to foster more trust and efficiency, encouraging new business models and investment opportunities.

Artificial Intelligence, on the other hand, focuses more on the qualitative aspects of technology. By simulating human intelligence processes, AI brings a nuanced understanding of complex data patterns, enhancing decision-making in industries ranging from healthcare to entertainment.

AI's ability to process and generate human-like responses and insights allows for a deeper, more personalized interaction with technology, making it a qualitative shift in how we engage with our technologies.

By combining the quantitative rigor of blockchain with the qualitative enhancements of AI, new platforms for business, communication, and creative expression can (and will) emerge.

In creative industries, such as music and digital art, smart contracts powered by blockchain ensure royalties and provenance for creators, while AI optimizes for engagement.

Similarly, in supply chain management, blockchain can enhance traceability, while AI can help to anticipate disruptions and optimize logistics for a smoother experience.

Healthcare could see improvements in data management with blockchain ensuring secure and immutable patient records, and AI providing predictive insights for personalized treatment.

The list goes on.

In short…

This synergy between blockchain's rigor and AI's insights is not unlike the synergy between double-entry bookkeeping and the printing press.

But, Wait. That’s Not All

But there’s one more facet to this story: the deeper cultural shift happening in America and beyond back toward Deep Qualia.

This is a generational shift that is actively demanding a more qualitative way of investing, doing business, and living.

When the media says Millennials spend more money on “experiences” than they do stuff, this is just one sign of the times.

More on that -- and why it’s bullish for both AI and crypto -- tomorrow.

Renaissance 2.0? Or will Millennials wrap the Lambo around the light pole at the country club?

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