The Intuition Fabric: If A.I. is the New Electricity then Blockchain is the New Light Bulb

Carlos E. Perez
Intuition Machine
Published in
4 min readAug 13, 2017
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What did Andrew Ng mean when he said “A.I. is the new Electricity”? He certainly did not mean it as a form of energy delivery. That is of course what electricity is. It is a delivery mechanism of energy from its source to possibly a remote place that consumes the electricity. The power industry is a reflection of this where you have companies that generate electricity and companies that distribute electricity. A.I. is of course not a distribution mechanism, the better analogy here is the Internet is the new Electricity. That is, if we think of electricity as a distribution technology.

Andrew Ng of course is making the analogy in terms of the transformative effects of electricity:

“Just as electricity transformed almost everything 100 years ago, today I actually have a hard time thinking of an industry that I don’t think AI will transform in the next several years,”

So, in this context, let’s try to understand the transformative effect of the lowly light bulb. The light bulb was one of many other inventions that was enabled by electricity. However, it does have a special place among all the inventions in terms of its impact. The light bulb made it more convenient for people to see at night. As a consequence, the amount of productive and leisure time expanded tremendously (To the detriment of our healthy sleep patterns). The light bulb enabled the phrase “The city that never sleeps”.

Ever since the first light bulb, the cost to produce light has dropped by a factor of 500,000:

By 1900, 60 hours of work could provide 10 days of light. The light bulbs would burn 100 times as bright as a candle, steadily, and inodorously. By 1920, 60 hours of work could already pay for 5 months of stable light. By 1990, that increased to 10 years of light. Today? 52 years.

An even subtler enablement is the enablement of trust. Humans associate the existence of light to the existence of trust. Ever since our primitive ancestors discovered fire, we have always relied on light for safety and security. The invention of the light bulb enabled this trust on a massive scale. So much that, “the city that never sleeps” connotes having a ton of enjoyment and entertainment rather than the other interpretation of 24 by 7 endless toil.

So what is blockchain? It’s a colloquial term to refer to decentralized ledger technologies. Its core function is the orchestration of trust on a massive scale. It is inherently scalable because it is intrinsically decentralized. So when I say that “Blockchain is the new light bulb” then I mean it from the context of enabling trust on a massive scale. Blockchain can be summed up as “orchestrated trust”, some will even call it “programmable money”. Vinay Gupta, who has the keenest intuition about blockchain technology, writes:

We have achieved programmable money. You might say that this doesn’t sound very complicated or impressive, but just wait and see where this goes.

What kinds of things can you do with programmable money? Nearly the entire financial system is built from programmable money. They don’t call it that, of course, but the loans and bonds and derivatives and futures and mortgages and credit default swaps and all the rest?

Money is subordinate to the concept of trust.

I personally am uncomfortable with the use of the word AI. It’s meaning has been diluted for several decades now. AI to make any real sense required an identification of the specific AI technology that is used. Also, I use the word “Blockchain” in the title to a specific kind of blockchain. This blockchain is known as the “Intuition Fabric”. You are welcome to review the white paper on this. The more precise title for this article therefore should be be “If Deep Learning is the New Electricity then Intuition Fabric is the new Light Bulb.” That of course doesn’t work out as well. Very few know what Deep Learning is about and almost nobody has heard of Intuition Fabric.

Intuition Fabric wallet interface

♡ this to reserve some Intuition (AIG) tokens!