“True disruption will come when we can disrupt the ego”, says Jennifer Greyson – one of the most vibrant, critical and inspiring minds IMPOV when it comes to profound arguing about the attitudes, potentials and pitfalls in the realm of Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain & Crypto.
Are the times when science fiction literature was able to predict socio-economic changes and technological developments already over? – Which works come to mind and in your opinion are still relevant today? – Which aspects & visions from your own science fiction writing come close to what you pursue today?
I think science fiction can often impart wisdom in ways that humans are more willing to ponder. When presented as fiction, the reader is allowed to ponder the plausibility and take steps to either embrace or prevent the technology (Star Trek’s Communicators v. Terminator’s SkyNet). Science fiction is a way to roll consequences forward in a way that readers can see the impact and I think that makes it a powerful tool.
As for my own writing, we haven’t been able to implement Nikola Tesla’s time travel, so I’m still waiting…
How did you transition from writing science fiction to creating science prediction within the Neureal project?
As writing one’s own fiction isn’t exactly lucrative for 99% of the writers out there, I did a lot of ghostwriting for the 1% that was able to pay their bills with it, writing for NYT best-selling authors, or non-fiction for serial entrepreneurs. When I met Wil, the architect for the Neureal project, I’d originally offered to ghostwrite for him, but then we realized my extensive business background running a multi-million dollar company was more applicable and I became CEO (as well as chief writer).
I’ve never seen a space quite like crypto and it’s one I’ve embraced wholeheartedly, both philosophically and technologically.
What are you working on right now?
OH.MY.GOODNESS. where to start? I’m overseeing an ecosystem of 9 projects, 7 of which are blockchain, as well as an initiative called the Blockchain Sisterhood which is working to bring more women into the crypto/blockchain space.
Beyond that initiative, my favorite is Co.Co, which is an “AirBnB for office space.” They’re both incredibly exciting and I have several others, including GiveCoin which is a charity platform led by retired NBA player, Lance Allred. And, of course, all the data from the ecosystem is funneling up into the predictive AI.
Through Jan Gupta´s participation in one of Neureal´s community livestreams, I initially discovered her inspiring project “DeLife.io”. – In what ways are you associated with Jan and her project as well?
I adore Jan!!! Her DeLife is one of the initial projects supporting the Blockchain Sisterhood ecosystem. Jan and I have come to rely on each other as sounding boards and to move our projects forward. She’s doing amazing things over there and she was such a huge inspiration into how the entire idea of the Blockchain Sisterhood came together. We’ve talked often about sharing economies and how to maximize resources.
Could you elaborate on why you feel that “healthcare” is the place where you feel AI´s and Crypto´s / Blockchain’s impact at it deepest?
As a patient, I feel the frustration of having zero control over my medical data. Changing doctors is a terrifying prospect because I know I have to repeat the process of gathering my records; the time consuming uselessness of the task is unnecessary. We’re so far beyond faxing and disjointed record-keeping, especially in an area that is literally impacting people’s health. I don’t even have a serious health issue and I know the frustration, I think it’s likely a massive burden for a lot of people.
Then there’s the other side, medical billing and the runaround that both patients and doctor’s offices have to endure. The system is so very broken and it’s one that could be so easily impacted with blockchain. Then adding the AI component into preventative medicine could mean less trips to the office in the first place. We’re already seeing AI’s ability to out-diagnose doctors. The more we can leverage the technology to do the heavy lifting, the more we can allow doctors to truly specialize and do what they’re uniquely qualified to do.
What about AI and Crypto may render these technologies and learnings as part of a “humane revolution”? – What are possible pitfalls we should try to avoid in this respect?
People tend to think in binary terms. 1 or 0. AI is not all or nothing. It’s not us v. them. AI is a collaboration between human and machine, not so differently than how we all work with our smart phones. That is AI, plain and simple. AI is not Westworld, it’s not Ex Machina. Those are stories. Just as Jurassic Park is not likely to happen, neither is Westworld. I mean, come on. I have the curse of knowledge when it comes to AI and sometimes it gets incredibly frustrating when people default to thinking robots are going to take over and kill us all. Do you really go to the zoo and think we’re one step away from a T-Rex in there? No.
The pitfalls we should avoid are letting science fiction determine our rationale. Stories are just that. Science is far different.
What are your experiences: Where does AI and Crypto already leverage humanitarian and conservational endeavours?
Blockchain is already doing so much good. Blockchain is creating accountability. I’d love to think that’s something we can do as humans, but we’ve proven to be quite awful at it. I think that is because so many of us are operating from scarcity and fear-based thinking. We worry there’s not enough–not that we’re not justified, I mean, watch the news for an evening. There’s not enough water, or ice caps, or food, or jobs, or money. But that isn’t true. Blockchain is allowing for accountability from farmers in supply chains to the coffee shops selling $5 coffee. To land ownership. To banking. Those are huge strides to getting us all to abundance and distribution.
But that must come first.
AI without accountability–and immutable accountability at that–is dangerous. We must have the infrastructure in place before we can really see leaps in AI. And it’s coming, but I think the slowness at which we’re seeing it move is prudent.
In a brief, concise conversation – which I hope to deepen together soon – Samson Williams said:
“Humans are driven by greed and care for themselves first. Blockchain doesn’t address the human element. Meaning how to get humans to be less human and more humane.”
> From your perspective: Where do we draw inspiration from – to evolve empathy, grit & wisdom for creating positive impacts with the products, services & tech we develop?
I think this resonates back to the scarcity mentality. We are not humane because we operate from a place of lack. We cannot be compassionate for others because we cannot first be compassionate for ourselves. We’re seeing movements into self-care and as that increases, we’ll see it ripple out through our projects and actions. If we could learn to draw inspiration from our own perfection, we’d begin to see the world in different ways.
The sharing- & platform economy may has left us with the issue of ‘platform ownership’ as an unfinished sympathy. – Now, with the rise of peer-to-peer distributed ledger technologies: Will ‘platform cooperativism’ be possible, indeed?
I’m not sure I’m going to answer this right, but I’ll answer what I think you’re asking. Cooperation is key. I’m frustrated by the amount of similar platforms we’re seeing. Why do we need more than one energy platform? Why are these developers not working within those existing ecosystems?
Same with any duplicate platform. To me, that is nothing more than a money grab, which speaks of ego, of wanting to have the BEST platform. That’s silly and a waste of good tech that could be a collaboration to create ONE energy/cellular/data/security platform. I’d like to think platform cooperation is possible, but only if it’s done in the truest sense of collaboration, and we seem to have lost that.
Is the fear that the ‘big guns’ take over the space of AI and Crypto ungrounded?
NO. I think it’s wholly founded. And…the cryptoverse proved that it couldn’t figure out how to self-regulate or work together or figure out solutions. A lot of bad decisions happened in crypto and it cost us time and productivity that needed to happen. Tragic, really. But I think there’s still time to get on track and create the adoption we want to see. It’s going to take adding women to the space–history has shown that if you want adoption, you iterate for women–they control the spending and the decision making in near every household. Crypto better start iterating for end-users, not just coders or the Big Guns are going to steam roll us.
“Education over regulation” & “Justice in distributed ledger technologies” & “Making ourselves comfortable in uncomfortable settings”
> Could you elaborate on those aspirations of yours?
You ask the best questions – I sincerely hope there’s not a word count on this! Based on results, you can’t regulate humans from doing something. Pick any historical event from prohibition to the fall of the Berlin Wall, regulation doesn’t work. Maybe for a time, but human nature is to seek that which we cannot have, whether a territory or an alcoholic beverage. Add the power of FOMO as a motivator and people will do whatever they have to in order to participate. Governments have tried regulation with little success and if I thought their intention was to actually protect the “little guy” then I’d be all for it. But regulation protects those who are already in power. Education has always been a means to empower those that regulation seeks to exclude. It’s also why we haven’t seen adoption of crypto–coders aren’t typically the best educators. And most are big fans of exclusionary knowledge, they like how ego feels when they’re able to create an esoteric language. That’s gotten us where we are, but it won’t get us to the next iteration. If we are to grow the crypto/blockchain space beyond it’s current reach, we must begin to teach.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable is one of my most favorite sayings (to the annoyance of most everyone in my life). Growth is uncomfortable. Most everyone enjoys comfortable situations and spaces. But in order for growth (of ourselves and crypto as a whole) we get to be uncomfortable for a while. Coders get to iterate for non-coders, they get to teach, they get to lay their egos aside and understand that some people are just beginning. Big Guns get to honor the tech and what it took to create, they get to set their need for power aside. Immutable ledgers are shifting the way everything happens, from coffee to business. If any of us are to survive this disruption, we must willingly choose discomfort.
Speaking about “education”: You are on the advisory board at the Kerala Blockchain Academy in India as well. – What is significant about this hub and its agenda?
I continue to be impressed with the strides and inroads they’re making with their recent strategic partnerships. Again, this is another country that is embracing not only the tech, but its impact and as they’re creating initiatives and mentorships to train up new developers, the impact is being felt in many areas.
Which political processes and policy frameworks, if any, do you see relevant to ensure that we (internationally) have a regulatory and legal framework that is up to the challenge of dealing with the digital age, especially AI and Crypto?
Iterating for end-users. I know that’s neither a political process or a policy framework, but I don’t think we need either of those. That’s simply doing things a certain way because that’s the way we’ve always done it. We need new ways and systems for a new tech and a new asset class. Forcing either blockchain or crypto to fit into corrupted systems is silly and defeats the entire point of creating them.
We police the internet and call out bad actors because we have websites that are easy to read. Yes, future generations will be bilingual and able to read code same as children born in a digital age can use a smart phone better than people who had to adapt. The problem with waiting for humans to catch up to the tech is that our tech is outpacing us. Based on the current age women are choosing to have children (in developed countries), it takes three decades for a new generation. Can you even imagine where crypto will be ONE decade from now, let alone THREE? Forcing humans to adapt to the tech is futile. The tech must adapt to the humans if we are to have adoption. The iPod was not the first MP3 player, but it was the one that iterated for the masses, same with Windows. Computers would not have gained the adoption they did until they got easy to use. The internet needed to be easy. Crypto needs to be easy.
Crypto doesn’t need regulation, it needs education. It needs iteration for the end-user.
OR. IT. WILL. DIE.
Regulators are buying time for the Big Guns. That’s it. That’s why we’re playing these games. The power and money behind the regulators KNOW what this tech is. But it must be developed for the end user–UNLESS the Big Guns can iterate faster; they can scoop up the tech, patent it and use it behind their user interfaces. Boom, adoption. But not the adoption Satoshi was looking for, that’s for sure.
How can AI and Deep Learning be ensured on the one hand, and private data of individuals be secured on the other hand simultaneously? – AI is based on Deep Learning, isn´t it? Deep Learning needs datasets or livestreamed data to be trained, right? If so, what requirements does this present for policy frameworks?
The secret isn’t privacy, it’s the ability to choose who profits from our data. Right now, we don’t get a choice who profits. If we could profit, would we care about privacy? AI needs data. And the AI doesn’t care what porn you’re watching or what route you take to work, it simply needs all the data it can have. AI is a judgment free zone. What’s the fear? Why do we need privacy? Because we’re afraid of being judged, of the data being leaked, of our mother-in-law knowing our spending habits. AI doesn’t care. Privacy or profit…I think if we could each be able to profit off our own data, we’d care less and less about privacy.
What political frameworks pose current hindrances for AI and Crypto in the US? How do you see them possibly solved?
There’s no solving the US. I hate to say it, but the US cares too much about things that are in direct opposition to crypto. AI might be able to navigate the restrictions, but it won’t gain adoption here in the places that matter–like healthcare, or insurance, or the DMV. The US is passionate about process…transactional occurrences, obscurity, and paper shuffling keep US residents too busy to see what’s happening inside our (really messed up) government. The US has zero interest in fixing any of that. Meanwhile, the rest of the non-first world countries are embracing it at a pace that will leave the US behind–tragically behind.
Talking about your home state in the US: What specific policies & direct measures support AI & Crypto to thrive in your state?
Utah isn’t doing a whole lot. There was talk for a time of appointing a tech czar and I would have like to see that come to fruition, but there’s a lot of banking power controlling what happens here. Old rich men are very much in control of this state and its legislation. While we’re advanced as far as our tech communities go, any adoption of blockchain is happening behind the scenes (as I referenced in one of the earlier questions.) Patrick Byrne, however, is the ultimate torchbearer for all things crypto and tZero is going to be a massive win for the entire crypto industry. Wyoming is aggressively working to be the exception (as it typically is) and I have the first AI blockchain LLC set up there. I’ll likely set up LLCs for the other projects there as well. I’m always looking at what’s happening elsewhere around the globe as the US continues to lag behind in crypto friendly taxation and crypto treatment–which I don’t see changing anytime soon. Malta and Gibraltar are my current favorites.
“But for the first time, there is a coming disruption, a distribution of power that gives opportunity and a handful of options to the rest of us. We get to seek a new way of rising, of lifting others alongside us, of distributing not just the power, but the wealth – in all forms of currency – wealths of knowledge, of enlightenment, of compassion and connection.”
> How are solidary attributes put into practice by Crypto, indeed?