4 months ago 12 min read

How Time-Freezing Technologies Like Bitcoin and A.I. Will Transform the Future


Sydney Bright, a seasoned science journalist, offers her opinion in this editorial on the advantages of mindfulness-based practices on one's health.

Where are we headed with technology? Will robots eventually outsmart us and take our jobs in full? Will humans and machines unite symbiotically to form a new super being? Or are machines only means through which our more basic nature can flourish? In this post, I'll make the case that technology will enable people to live more naturally in a world free of the terrible realities that prevailed 10,000 years ago.

People who are aware of my research on the science of meditation frequently query me as to why my blog also covers economics and Bitcoin. First, I believe that any inquiring mind should be well-rounded. It is important to pursue a variety of academic interests because they all help to create a more comprehensive view of reality. I initially thought of them as just being different aspects of my hobbies. But now I see that they are partially related and offer an intriguing prognosis for the future of humanity.

I've developed a greater appreciation and curiosity for computers in general as I get more involved with Bitcoin and learn more about the development of the internet and computers. A broader grasp of computers and where they may lead us comes with such interest and education. Of course, this is a hot topic, especially when talking about robots and artificial intelligence (AI). Many believe that computers will soon surpass humans in intelligence, which would be problematic. Neuralink's main goal, according to Elon Musk, is to give people the same computing capacity as computers, preventing them from outpacing humanity. In actuality, I believe that this viewpoint may be erroneous. I believe it may be the other way around: Our excessively analytical thoughts are what are overpowering us. To return to a more wholesome living marked by mindfulness, the scientific advantages of which are discussed throughout this essay, computers should perform part of the thinking for us.

Let's first look at some historical context to better understand what computers have to do with this. Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace appear to be the first figures in the history of computers. Mathematician Charles Babbage, who is considered as the "Father of the Computer" was born in 1791 and is credited with creating the device known as the difference engine. This device would address a certain mathematical issue once it was turned on. It may be compared to a very sophisticated and potent calculator, except that the computer was programmable and would output a new value after receiving inputs. Due to funding concerns, the machine was never constructed. Ada Lovelace, a friend of Babbage and the daughter of Lord Byron, created an algorithm to help the computer solve Bernoulli numbers. As a result, she is recognized to as the first computer programmer in history. After discovering that a machine like this could answer arithmetic issues as well as other kinds of difficulties, she made substantial contributions to the subject. This concept advanced the field the most, if not entirely. She could be referred to be the "Mother of Computer Science", perhaps.

Forward to World War II. English intelligence commissions mathematician Alan Turing to decipher the German opposition's Enigma encryption. German messages would need to be decoded using this cryptographic cipher, but the code was always changing. The complexity of the encryption makes it practically difficult to crack in 24 hours using human resources. Turing made the decision to create a computer that would perform it in its place. Imagine that before this period, each equipment did a single function: automobiles drove, plows plowed, calculators computed, etc. This scenario is well recounted in the movie "The Imitation Game." Mr. Turing developed the idea for a machine that could be programmed to "think," probably with inspiration from his mathematic predecessors like Ada Lovelace. Turing envisioned a universal machine that could be programmed to do anything by "thinking," or more specifically, a machine that could "carry out any operation which could be done by a human computer." We now know that he successfully created a version of such a machine during the war, which saved many lives. The first completely functional computer was made by him. Of course, his computer was incapable of genuinely thinking anything through. Nevertheless, it began a great process.

Humans have been attempting to develop more sophisticated computers since since Turing. The modern computer, as opposed to Turing's device, makes use of electrical circuit boards. In addition, ours can now carry out more tasks than Turing's machine ever could. Looking back, it seems clear that people have been creating a single, enormous universal machine. Of course, there are a variety of shapes, sizes, quality, etc. in computers. However, the majority of them use the internet to connect and carry out tasks that many of us take for granted. They support the foundation of our contemporary society. Even more fascinating to consider is that programmers created the coding and programming necessary to create the internet in a way that is spread internationally. Worldwide academics and programmers started creating protocols like Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), which now control our current internet. Imagine that a large number of computer aficionados sat in their rooms, tapping fingers against keyboards to communicate with one another, aside from academics and chosen businesses. They created the foundation of our global internet without receiving any financial compensation from organizations or users. In the end, people continue to collaborate to construct the internet's foundation, all for the benefit of society. It appears that making this global Turing computer is a natural human tendency, but why?

According to a theory I've heard, we are the caterpillars that will develop into artificial life, which will take the place of our butterfly. This prognosis, in my opinion, is incorrect. It confuses logical intellectualism with living and paints the Turing computer as having negative effects on human advancement. What are we creating here? An international network of communication that enables the exchange of information is the internet. We built a global Turing machine that would gather, store, organize, and process data for us. Built on this global Turing machine was the next major decentralized innovation: Bitcoin. How does it work? It keeps track of everything, controls it, and ensures the security of our financial system. We'll have amazing robots and AI soon. They'll do our farming, building, cleaning, and other tasks. To complete all of our duties that require thought, we are building a global Turing machine.

To what purpose? Alfred North Whitehead, a mathematician and philosopher, once said,

"It is a profoundly erroneous truism that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.”

The point is precisely this. To free ourselves from having to think about our tasks, we are creating a machine that will complete them. The highest kind of existence, in our contemporary, Western, analytically oriented civilization, is thought to be thought. We start to fear the idea that a machine will take the place of our need to think because we think that's what makes humans special. But letting rid of this conceit would benefit us greatly. The final frontier in comprehending reality is wisdom, not knowledge.

In the following parable, Daoist scholar Zhuang Zi (庄子) effectively explains this concept:

“Yan Hui said, ‘I am making progress.’ Zhongni replied, ‘What do you mean?’ ‘I have ceased to think of benevolence and righteousness,’ was the reply. ‘Very well, but that is not enough.’ Another day, Hui again saw Zhongni, and said, ‘I am making progress.’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘I have lost all thought of ceremonies and music.’ ‘Very well, but that is not enough.’ A third day, Hui again saw (the Master), and said, ‘I am making progress.’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘I sit and forget everything.’ Zhongni changed countenance, and said, ‘What do you mean by saying that you sit and forget (everything)?’ Yan Hui replied, ‘My connection with the body and its parts is dissolved; my perceptive organs are discarded. Thus leaving my material form, and bidding farewell to my knowledge, I am become one with the Great Pervader. This I call sitting and forgetting all things.’ Zhongni said, ‘One (with that Pervader), you are free from all likings; so transformed, you are become impermanent. You have, indeed, become superior to me! I must ask leave to follow in your steps.”

I take away from this paragraph the idea that attaining enlightenment is more likely to occur in the absence of analytical knowledge than in the presence of it. In other words, wisdom gained through mindfulness leads one to that higher state of understanding as opposed to the common belief that knowledge and thought are required to arrive at the reality of the world. That is what meditation helps with. Developing a calmer, more present mind via practice can help us understand ourselves and the universe better. This is what distinguishes humans from other species. It is what distinguishes biological beings. Wisdom is the talent of life, whereas intelligence is the talent of the computer.

Our lives can become less tedious thanks to machines, giving us more time to just be. The economics of a hyperbitcoinized world can be used to comprehend this effect. The ability of Bitcoin to replace our current fiat-based monetary system with a sound money system is one of the arguments in its favor. A sound money system is characterized by money that has its purchasing power decided by markets, independent of governments and political parties, as opposed to a fiat currency system, which is defined by inflation. This must be taken into account. Because living expenses are always rising in an inflationary environment, each paycheck is worth less than the one before it. This encourages spending rather than saving of money. Because this spending promotes the economy and helps the wealthiest get richer while the poor get poorer, policymakers tend to prefer this arrangement. Instead, a deflationary climate would be most advantageous to us. A deflationary economy sees daily decreases in the cost of living. Even if the next paycheck you receive has the same number on it, it gives you more spending power. Even in the absence of interest, savings increase in value daily, enabling earlier retirement. Imagine if saving for retirement took 60 years 100 years ago. It took 40 years for the following generation, and so on. In a deflationary environment, having enough money to retire eventually required just one day. In the end, people wouldn't need to work nearly as hard to save enough savings to enjoy the rest of their lives with plenty of spare time. Of course, this is not just due to the financial system; it would also be primarily attributable to the technological improvements that make our lives simpler and easier to manage. Even without Bitcoin, this might still take place.

The Turing machine will spread over the world and take many of our jobs. But without Bitcoin, the financial system would only favor the wealthy and powerful, depriving the poor of the full benefits of the growing economy. Much of this is already evident in modern society: the wealthy enjoy opulent lifestyles without putting in excessive hours of work, while members of the middle and lower classes toil away day in and day out with meager rewards. Everyone can gain from technology advancements using Bitcoin. We do not need to rely on dishonest central banks to keep track of global transactions, accounting, etc. because it performs the "thinking" for us. All ships will rise with the tide in this fashion. Once more, the global Turing machine will do our thinking so that we can lead peaceful, comfortable lives. The most recent development in this wonderful machine is Bitcoin.

Of course, this isn't a completely original thought. Many individuals predicted that computers and robots will eventually replace us in the workforce and provide us more leisure time. We now have more confidence that this money will be dispersed evenly throughout the world thanks to the invention of Bitcoin. So, the next question is: What are we going to do with our free time? We shall have a choice with this spare time. I contend that we must weigh the advantages of mindfulness against the risks of an overly analytical mind. We have the option to simply be in this overflowing future.

I will talk about the scientific studies in this article that show how mindfulness meditation has excellent and numerous physical and mental health advantages. This, in my opinion, is meaningful because it exemplifies how health can be improved holistically and naturally and highlights a more fundamental truth about the human condition that we don't frequently think about these days: We evolved to be conscious. Intuition and critical thinking are highly valued in today's society. People go to school to develop their thinking skills so they can address issues at work or in further education. Do not stop thinking. The problem is that thinking distracts us from being conscious and, if not controlled, can lead to bad health. In problem-solving and engineering, thinking can be useful, enabling us to create our modern comforts. However, thinking can also fill the mind with unhelpful, repetitive thoughts that cause a variety of debilitating mental health issues. We must emphasize how beneficial mindfulness meditation is. Refocusing the mind on the here and now is a component of mindfulness.

But it has come at the expense of our well-being. I'm not saying that this has been done incorrectly. I'm arguing that this was a necessary sacrifice to provide future generations the ability to practice mindfulness without having to work. In a future where the global Turing computer handles all thinking-related jobs, the amount of work required to survive will be extremely low. Future generations will have a tremendous amount of free time to devote to their health, pleasure, and well-being. Everyone will discover these things in their own way, but it seems obvious that this will unavoidably incorporate mindfulness exercises that maintain the health of our bodies and minds. They will have options for maximizing their health that we do not, thanks to their freedom and riches. By doing this, future generations will be able to benefit from the fruits of nature, which will probably result in a healthier society and world.

It helps me to think of life as being filled with balance. Systems frequently fluctuate and swing back and forth like a pendulum. Humans used to be hunters and gatherers who experienced life mindfully. Then we started farming, which drastically increased the number of hours each day we worked while also drastically reducing the variety and health of our diets. It seemed like a peculiar course to follow from a certain perspective. We put in longer daytime hours for a diet of lower quality. The technology we started to develop at the start of the agricultural revolution shows that the pendulum is swinging backward. In order to return to a more organic and conscious state of being, we are building these intricately efficient economies alongside a global computer that can perform the job for us. The shocking conclusion to a lengthy history of conflict is that we shall live in enormous luxury and wealth as opposed to suffering for basic requirements as we did 10,000 years ago.

Of course, there is a cautionary aspect to this story as well. Many people who read this article would concur that we are headed toward an automated society where people are not required to labor in order to survive, but others might view this as dangerous. Some people could see this world as dystopian, full of slothful people living unhealthy lives, engrossed in their virtual worlds and disconnected from reality. This is a potential outcome and it relates to the balance. Even if the global Turing machine can think for humans, it shouldn't take care of everything. It always has two sides and always will. Technology can be helpful, which also means that it can be harmful. A excellent example is social media, which is extremely beneficial because it has facilitated greater global communication and cross-cultural interchange. However, it also started to steal our focus, contaminating our minds with routines that prevent us from being conscious of our immediate surroundings. We should learn to avoid the temptations that technology presents and the uses for which we shouldn't utilize it. Generally speaking, we shouldn't use technology in ways that interfere with our ability to be present and conscious in our natural surroundings.

There are components of our mental and physical health that we take for granted in this thought-driven society, as evidenced by the studies discussed in this article, which also includes the advantages of meditation and spending time outdoors. Our bodies were built to thrive in the outdoors. They cannot survive inside, let alone in a virtual environment like the metaverse. People today want to escape the concrete jungle and enter the digital jungle without completely understanding our biological demands. Our bodies will not like living in a virtual environment, despite the fact that our minds might. Our contemporary culture, which prioritizes mental activities and pleasures over the discipline required to sustain a conscious state of being, encourages this behavior. Allow computers to think for us so that we can live a life of being. Let's resist letting computers take over our thoughts.

This period in human history is amazing. It is becoming increasingly obvious how prosperous human life could be as a result of technological breakthroughs. We won't, however, be given it to us for free. Technology can provide us lives that beyond our greatest dreams. However, technology's dualistic nature also means that, absent a change in our cultural perspective on life, it may become a weapon of mass destruction. Ancient civilizations recognized the value of mindfulness techniques. Due to the circumstances of our existence at the time, there was an innate understanding of our connection to Earth and environment. This improved our mental, physical, and spiritual knowledge of our place in the universe. It is clear that the wisdom attained via mindfulness is gradually being lost to the passage of time. The Turing-created universal computer, which can think in any language, has the potential to give us a life of immense luxury in which we might behave more naturally than we have throughout the course of our biological evolution. Additionally, it has the power to deter us from spending time in nature, rip us away from it, and harm our health in the process. We should exercise caution when trying to combine our minds with computers or when believing that a virtual reality environment can adequately replace the real one. We have the power to decide whether or not technology will advance human health and prosperity. Whatever form we direct it toward, it will take. Our ability to select a life of mindfulness or a life of indulgence as we build determines our guidance.

Disclaimer: The author's personal view may be included in the information, which is subject to market conditions. Before making a cryptocurrency investment, do some market research. Your individual financial loss is not the responsibility of the author or the publisher.

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