While I was in Beijing last week, I met up with Jeff Hsu, a friend from my Berkeley days. Jeff is the CTO of a big data startup in China and at some point, we started chatting about the idea of creating a country that transcends borders. Why? Because we think that technology can one day bridge the gap between people from different geographies and cultures.
That night, the topic once again sneaked up over dinner. So before I forget everything, here’s a brain dump of what I thought are important avenues of creating this borderless nation:
1) military takeover, 2) culture, 3) commerce
- Military takeover is self explanatory and is the worst kind because it brings the most suffering and cost to both humans and the environment.
- Culture includes language, music, ideas (philosophy, religion, etc), and customs.
- Commerce is at its very basic from is the exchange of goods and services, and currency.
A few interesting insights:
- In order to create a borderless nation, you have to leverage at least one of the above.
- Technology and infrastructure acts as enablers and accelerators of each lever. For example, the high speed rails China is building as part of its One Belt, One Road initiative is at its best a way to exchange culture and improve trade; at its worst a way to better move around troops. Another example, VR as an empathy machine puts people into the shoes of others so that they can have shared experiences.
- Bitcoin, at its full potential, is a way to achieve the borderless country vision from a pure commerce angle by providing a common currency across the world with near friction-less transaction costs. The underlying blockchain technology is an experiment in replacing human trust (another key barrier in commerce) with computers and math.