Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Blockchain Technology

If you relate two of today’s megatrends on the technological front: Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Blockchain, you can draw some parallels. I don’t think I need to write much about what those technologies are; there are a plethora of sites out there to explore those topics in great length. I will only expand just a little bit, so I can describe the striking similarity that occurred to me.

Blockchain

As far as Blockchain technology is concerned, there is a great debate out there on the consensus mechanisms. The two most popular are POW (Proof of Work) and POS (Proof of Stake). Let’s explore very briefly those two mechanisms:

Proof of Work as mentioned in Wikipedia is: “a form of cryptographic proof in which one party (the prover) proves to others (the verifiers) that a certain amount of a specific computational effort has been expended.” POW is popularized by Bitcoin which is the first created cryptocurrency and is still leading in terms of market cap.

On the other hand, Proof of Stake protocols “are a class of consensus mechanisms for blockchains that work by selecting validators in proportion to their quantity of holdings in the associated cryptocurrency“. Proof of Stake, is considered a more modern protocol which was developed mainly to address POW pain points. Those include: increased computational cost, high energy consumption and thus big environmental impact. On the other hand, users criticize POS for being more centralized, since users who have large amounts can control it. Moreover, users express concerns about how secure are POS protocols and whether those blockchains can be considered as being securities (like common stock of a corporation). Some very popular proof of Stake blockchains are: Ethereum, Cardano, Polkadot, Avalanche, Tezos and Solana.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Let’s head now to the Artificial Intelligence (AI) topic. This is something that I am not that much familiar with, but I will try to unwarp the main theme that I see. But first things first: let’s give a brief definition. This will help unfold the similarity I am trying to convey. Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence – perceiving, synthesizing and inferring information – demonstrated by machines. In essence, technologies such as: visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, translation, all constitute AI.

One of AI’s promises is the work automation. As AI is getting more advanced over time, lots of unskilled working hours can be substituted by computers and automation systems. Right now, those tasks include mostly simple repetitive tasks. But as AI capabilities are improving, it will eventually also replace more complex processes, such as decision making and managerial tasks.

But it’s not only cost cutting of human resources involved in AI. It will enable us to solve complex problems and tackle difficult challenges on a global scale. More importantly, those solutions will be provided in a more efficient way. The improved efficiency will subsequently help us to consume less resources (all sorts of them: time, capital, energy, human effort).

So how Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Blockchain relate?

So here is the common theme I saw: these technologies both walk us out of a “work” intensive process. They seem to validate our proclivity to conserve energy & effort as expressed in the principle of least effort. In blockchain, we swift from an effort intensive validation method (POW) to a passive POS method. In a similar trend, with the use of AI, we choose to outsource some of our work & effort to machines and let them optimize the resources needed for that work.

A little bit of weirdness

The other day, I read a social media post about a young teenager (aged 11) who visited a technology & computers museum. The post was made by the museum owner who noted that the little guy was particularly interested about the museum, knew a lot of things about the computers on display there, and about technology in general. Moreover the post mentioned that the kid knew how to write code with python and a lot of cool new technologies most of us are not familiar with. The museum owner finished with some advices give to the kid about technology and asked for comments about what other advice should be given to the young “geek”.

I couldn’t fail to notice that almost all comments written, were about how to unplug and enjoy real life and especially on how not to be a “nerd”. Although I can see the value of unplugging from digital world and I very much strongly support limits on screen time for adolescents (such limits I also impose to my own kid), I would also like to further elaborate on this notion of “nerdiness”.

What if the world needs not another “normal” guy? What if in the pursuit of progress & innovations we need people deviating from the standard way of thinking? How many breakthroughs in life have been achieved by the normal guy next door and how many from the nerdy, unpopular and weird-looking guy (accommodating sometimes a peculiar view of the world)? I would bet my money on the second group.

Conditioned for small outcomes

On many Sundays I go on a long walk (approx. 5km) in my city. Many times I get lucky and find a few coins down on the street. The value of those coins is very low to even have an incentive to spend them; just a few cents (50 cents, 20 cents and those kinds of coins).

This has led me to be conditioned to look down and search for coins many times as I walk. But this tendency prevents me from enjoying the surrounding environment; instead of looking at passing people & urban setting, I look at just a boring tarmac. Without wanting to, I miss the joy of my walk. Also, in the very rare occasion of running into a banknote, I will most likely miss that too, because it will not be sitting firm on the ground but would hover by the air above my sight.


The conclusion of this short anecdote of mine is that if you look for opportunities, don’t limit yourself to small outcomes. Be bold and go big! Do not condition yourself for anything subpar! Remember this:

If you guide your sight low in order to find a coin, finding one is the best thing it can happen to you.

A list of interesting Podcasts

An mp3 player playing a podcast.
Image by syifa5610 on Freepik

What is a Podcast?

A podcast is an audio recording in digital format ready for download or streaming over the internet. It very much resembles a program broadcasted on Radio Waves with the main difference being -of course – the medium (i.e. Internet vs Radio Waves) and that it’s pre-recorded vs. -mostly- live. Podcasts are mostly talk shows and their goal is not only to entertain but also inform & educate their audience. Hence, they explore a huge range of topics that span from Business to Politics, Technology, Science, Arts, Health and generally speaking every facet of human life. Also they vary a lot in format with some being as short as 20-30 minutes while others being on the lengthy side extending to 2-3 hours long.

One can choose to listen a Podcast on any capable computing device connected to the internet such as Smartphone, Tablet, Desktop Computer or Notebook. Another option is to use such a device to download the audio files and then transfer them to a mp3 player (but I guess this is now very old school since smartphones have almost completely replaced mp3 players, iPods and the like).

Find out more about Podcasts in wikipedia.

List of interesting Podcasts

Below I have assembled a list of interesting Podcasts I am subscribed to (in no particular order). Most of the times, I cannot catch up with all the newly released episodes. Still, I find merits in all of them and I would highly recommend them. Each link opens on PocketCast: my preferred App to listen to Podcasts.

I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do. Do you have other Podcasts that you would like to recommend to me? I would be happy to find out, please add them in the comments below.

Some quick thoughts on climate change

If the recent catastrophe of Ian hurricane didn’t make people radically change the way they think about climate change, then nothing can. No government policy or corporate ESG initiative can motivate them to act responsively, if even in the face of destruction people are still numb.

Those who believe they are safe, far away from disaster, they will soon be dissapointed. Calamity will soon be on their front door and reversing the tragedy at a later point will be more difficult. I don’t want to sound like a doomsayer but only a complete idiot cannot see the effects of our collective lifestyle in the environment.

A pointless pursuit

Image by Freepik

This blog has been live for just a few days and it strikes me that it has been attacked already 32 times. It’s a totally crazy number for a blog with just 2 posts, no registered users & no e-commerce activity. A malicious party will hardly find any benefit at all if they hack it.

Thankfully, WordPress installation has pre-installed tools to counterbalance those offences such as Wordfence. This is a “life saver” tool for web admins that can save them lots of time, money and effort. The service is constantly monitoring a website and blocks attacks automatically as they happen.

I guess hackers deploy code that blindly & automatically attack new sites just in case… Supposedly they will figure out what to do with them after they succeed.

Early Frustrations

Image by pch.vector on Freepik

Famous management guru Peter Drucker once said:

What gets measured gets managed.

When it comes to blogs, the most important measurement is of course site traffic. With such an abandunce and easy access to rich data (via Google Analytics or similar platforms) it is a -hard to resist- temptation to constantly check charts and numbers. But how can someone avoid the frustration of zero traffic when a new blog starts? Or even at a later time, when still numbers remain low and below expectation? Most likely, dissapointing figures will drive people involved in this project, to abandon it quickly.

Perhaps, a solution -far from perfect I admit- would be to completely ignore analytics for the first period and focus solely on the content of your site. And if you cannot resist temptation, maybe a temporary deactivation or your analytics platform will secure you don’t get a chance to be disapointed and quit at the very start.

Hello world!

Image by Freepik

Yet another time for me in front of a “Hello World” post. Through the years I have edited* it many times; more than what I can recall.

*Edited and not written because a “Hello World” sample post is pre-loaded in every WordPress installation.

I can’t even remember when I first started blogging.. I moved to my own domain (this one here) back in 2007 but before that, I have been blogging already for some years with Blogger.

Back then I was a recent graduate of Business Administration and my main focus was Marketing & Sales topics. This blog was mainly a platform to post such articles. Over the years focus has deviated some times a little bit, or subject matter has been enriched with other topics as well.

This time, I will not impose any such limitations on the topics I blog about. On my quest to improve myself -and document hereby the process- any thoughts that can support this pursuit will be hosted here.