Over the last few weekends I’ve been spending time reading an article penned by Issac Asimov in 1983 that attempted to predict what life in 2019 would be like and it’s inspired me to try and do something similar, however focusing on crypto’s role in the future. Before we go into the story, I highlight the amazing amount of data we humans are producing and it’s role in the future as it relates to crypto.
I’m going to do this via a very short story, creating a fictional character and traversing through his day to see how crypto touches and affects it (should be fun but I know some out there will be critical).
As an FYI as I write this I’m listening to Vangelis (if you’re not familiar see Blade Runner soundtrack; they inspired Daft Punk and many others) and just finished reading Philip K. Dick’s UBIK — just so you know where my head is at.
As Asimov wrote in 1983 about “Computerization”:
“The jobs that will disappear will tend to be just those routine clerical and assembly-line jobs that are simple enough, repetitive enough, and stultifying enough to destroy the finely balanced minds of those human beings unfortunate enough to have been forced to spend years doing them in order to earn a living…it is these (jobs)that computers and robots are perfectly designed for to take over.”
How can computers & “the machines” take over? We humans produce the fuel, the sustenance they need to do their work. With the implementation of Machine Learning, coupled with the amount of data humans create daily, roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes, much of what Asimov predicted is beginning to become true. Jobs from radiologists to law clerks are beginning to have their computerized counterparts do more and more. A multitude of conversations are underway about these potential future events such as: “Why AI could destroy more jobs than it creates, and how to save them”
Our physical bodies are made of flesh and bone but in the future our “data”, digitized zeros and ones, will also continue to become a more integral part of our “self” or what I call our “digital self”. As seen above, we created a LOT of data which can be used for good, or in cases we’ve already bore witness to, bad (intentionally or unintentionally).
In UBIK there is an interesting development of one of the main characters, Joe Chip, who shows his disdain and contempt for the world they live in now (in the future) whereas humans are valued for their “creds” (a form of currency/value that back when Dick wrote was not digitized but obviously in this day and age can and will be) and not themselves:
“People like me will rise up and overthrow you, and the end of tyranny by the homeostatic machine will have arrived. The day of human values and compassion and simple warmth will return…”
So that’s a lot of discussion on data — you may ask, where does crypto fall into that. Decentralized systems, distributed ledger technology (DLT) or whatever your catch word for the technological innovation associated with crypto relies on digitized data as it’s lifeblood. You can’t put a physical handshake between two parties of a transaction or agreement on chain; you can put an image or a digital timestamp of when said handshake occurred and have that validated.
So let’s do this as a fun thought experiment; let’s set up a fictional character and live a half day in his life in 2053 and see how data and crypto interplay.
The date is December 31st, 2053; Pax, an urban dweller in the EZ2 District of New York (neighborhoods/districts in “the future” are named with their flood risk profile since the great floods of 2030) wakes up at 5:30AM ET as his SubQ sends gentle vibrations throughout his body to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
Pax awakes, his latte and cranberry scone have been transported via drone that has an active RFID chip monitoring the heat of the coffee and the freshness of the scone based on the elements agreed upon in the smart contract; they are already waiting for him at his front door. His monthly subscription to Starbucks, that he pays for in BUX — a cryptocurrency created by Starbucks in the year 2020, makes it simple and easy.
At 5:45AM Pax gets dressed in his smart running workout clothes which have sensors monitoring a host of metrics including cadence, ground contact time and stride length. His virtual trainer sends him real-time feedback through his Cochlea implants to help improve running form and reduce the chances of injury. The data collected on his 35 minute run is then processed, hashed and validated by consensus network; it is sent immediately to his insurance company as part of his smart contract to lower his insurance premium. Every 10 miles he runs he gets 0.0012 BTC off his insurance premiums.
His atomized AI shower head knows that Pax wakes up, works out and needs to be ready to shower accordingly every weekday at 6:20AM. Since he’s in EZ2 he’s only allotted 5 minutes of water usage daily. That is monitored via a smart meter which measures the water consumption and communicates that data to a network tasked with managing EZ2 District’s water usage. Any overages and Pax knows he’s going to get charged 0.0002 BTC so he hops to it.
At 6:23AM Pax leaves the shower and proceeds to voice activate his Magic Leap V20 glasses and watch the news. His favorite station is quite special as it “leverages a decentralized network that acts as a mesh, selectively letting information pass.” He remembers the old days when news was filled with bias and paid for content and thoroughly enjoys not having to worry about that any longer.
Pax takes off his glasses and puts on his AlterEgo v12; without a word spoken he’s immediately taken to his local prediction markets (PM); first he checks the weather and sees 59% of the users are using their REP tokens to predict rain from 8AM to 1130AM; he packs his rain gear. Second he uses the PM to see if his Loop is running on time or delayed; 75% of REP tokens are betting it’s on time which eventually gets validated by the proof of location protocol (PoL) that’s used.
Before Pax leaves his receives a holographic BackChannel call from his brother Francis, who’s been taking some time off after finishing his 30 week course at Lambda. He’s currently in Vis and had a little too much fun, drinking a lot of orahovac— Pax sends him over 5 BTC which he gets in 500 Milliseconds; the party continues.
Pax boards his Loop, which is verified by the PoL and commences his trip to Boston for his daily meetings; the trip is estimated to take about 20 minutes. Upon arrival he boards his SEAP (shared electric autonomous pod) which he used his AlterEgo to order ahead of time and pay for; to get the .9 miles he needs to go takes less than 2 minutes and costs just 0.00123698 BTC.
(*Note: this is just a fun thought experiment I’ve been doing over the last week to see how technologies may meld in the future*)
I am aware some of the capabilities and functions may not come to fruition — I’m just trying to open conversation as to how crypto may touch our lives in the future, helping to make us healthier, more informed citizens.