Articles from Digitopoly
Economists like to say that there are no free lunches. How does that attitude apply to free software and services? It is no secret that many prominent platforms give away services, and so do many widely used open-source projects. The answer should help us understand our world.
Numerai is a blockchain startup. with a cryptocurrency boldly named Numeraire. They have just proposed a marketplace for predictions called Erasure. The premise is that there are lots of people out there with some ability — it may be divine or it may be that they have data and a good statistical model — to predict things.
One of the themes in The Disruption Dilemma, is that when a firm faces disruption, it is unlikely that the Clay Christensen promoted solution of setting up an independent business unit to compete with startups and itself in that new space will work. There are many reasons for this including, most importantly, that the last thing an incumbent wants is to speed up competitive pressures against itself.
Most technology nerds know “tel” as a prefix meaning “transmission over a distance,” as in telecommunications, television, or telemarketing. Most are unfamiliar with an altogether different meaning as found in the phrase “technology tel,” which is the modern and digital equivalent to an archaeologist’s tel.
Blockchain is one of several technologies du jour. It combines clever methods from peer-to-peer decentralized computing to provide an online tracing function for virtual transactions, and, once someone sets it up, it requires minimal intervention from a central auditor. While Bitcoin is the most well-known application of this innovative computer science, verification of authenticity and identity are key functions for many transactions.
News coverage of automation and machine learning tends to focus on extraordinary events, such as computers winning at Jeopardy and Go, and robotic arms flipping burgers in short-order restaurants. Additional headlines foster a sense of nightmares, conjuring pictures of autonomous cars killing pedestrians and newly automated establishments laying off their workforce.
A company called curio.io offered to take certain posts on Digitopoly and have a professional narrator read them. I have heard that many people like audio versions of written stuff and so was happy to let them at it. Their first post is below.
Eric Budish has a new paper out on “The Economic Limits of the Blockchain.” He demonstrates a potentially fundamental contradiction at the heart of ‘proof of work’ schemes to support cryptocurrencies — the most famous of which is,