On Decentralization and Network Societies: An Interview With David Orban
The sixth D10e decentralization conference is coming to Bucharest, Romania next month featuring a line-up of over 40 innovators focused on decentralized technologies, such as Bitcoin, singularity, autonomous governance and more.
The two-day conference will take place February 21-22 with the aim of educating attendees on the future of financial technology, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, the sharing economy, and disruptive network societies.
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This week Bitcoin.com caught up with David Orban, faculty member of Singular University and founder of Network Society Ventures. Orban will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming D10e event in Romania. During our conversation, Orban explains the importance of decentralized technologies in regards to network societies. We discuss artificial intelligence, Bitcoin, smart contracts, and many more subjects that are shifting the paradigms of traditional societies.
Bitcoin.com (BC): Can you tell our readers about Network Society Ventures?
David Orban (DO): Network Society Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm. We invest in startups at the intersection of exponential technologies that are accelerating the change in our society through decentralization. Activities that were previously organized in a centralized, hierarchical way now can be achieved through an entity that is distributed and organized in a network.
BC: Can you explain what types of education are taught at Singularity University?
DO: Singularity University, headquartered at NASA Research Center, is funded by Google, and other entities. It analyzes, teaches about exponential technologies and puts this into action through its startup accelerator and fund. We are living in an exponential time where we can achieve more and more through the positive application of technology. We offer Singularity University executive courses, an eight-week summer course, and global competitions that award participation in our courses. We also have a global summit in San Francisco, and vertical conferences about medicine, finance, manufacturing, as well dozens of SingularityU International Summits all around the world.
We look at the impact of technologies from our interdisciplinary point of view. How they interact with subjects like artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, energy, transportation, medicine, and biology that are affected by various kinds of technology.
BC: How do you feel about Bitcoin’s relationship towards network societies and technological singularity?
DO: Finance is itself a technology. It is essential for the functioning of our society, and it evolves from barter to coins, to banknotes, fiat money, and then to digital money. The invention of blockchain technology is an important mathematical innovation and the applications it is bringing are going to be much more than the current one of just payments.
As it reorganizes and redesigns in a nimbler and more inclusive manner for a new series of smart contracts and financial practices compared to before, it is going to be the basis for new activities for billions of people – many of whom have been previously excluded from the modern financial world.
BC: You will be speaking at the upcoming decentralization conference D10e in Romania. Can you tell our readers what you will be discussing?
DO: We have been able to see how our society has changed both in our present time and through the history of civilization. We can ask ourselves, what are the drivers of this change? Is it a heightened sense of justice that drives evolution? Is it some other force that enables a society to shift from a monarchy to a democracy? My opinion is that it’s more fundamental than that. Energy and our capacity of using various types of energy sources are what naturally give us different kinds of social and economic organizations.
As we enter the age of renewable energy such as solar, hydropower as opposed to the age of carbon and oil, we will see a new type of socio-economic organization unstoppably emerge. Solar is decentralized, not geographically concentrated; it allows people to self-organize and equip their communities according to their needs in terms of being self-sufficient in energy. And everything else follows. This includes self-determination, financial independence, the ability to grow food and so forth.
I will be discussing how these subjects are affected across many different industries and technologies, examining what are the consequences both in the short term and long term.
BC: In regards to cryptocurrencies, machine learning, IoT, biometrics, artificial intelligence (AI), and others, what technology excites you the most?
DO: We live under the fallacy that human-level intelligence would be the endpoint. That is not the case, there is no reason for it to be the case and AI systems will briefly cross human level performance and then exceed it forever. That is what is happening today in many areas.
As we see superhuman performance, and we incorporate systems in our society that have superhuman performance, there will be a huge challenge but also a very exciting new tool to better manage our ever more complex society. I believe that artificial intelligence today and tomorrow is going to be an incredibly important and exciting field. I am very happy that after a decade it is now becoming evident to more people of how powerful and important AI will be.
BC: Do you feel these decentralized technologies will affect current governance and the rule of nation-states?
DO: The transformation of our socio-economic organization towards decentralization is fundamentally undermining the rule of the nation-states. It enables at a fine grain level groups of people to self-organize in a manner that was not possible before with the benefits of accelerating technologies and for a better quality of life. It is likely that even though this is the case, there will be some role for nation-states. The new layer of services and opportunities that network societies offer in a non-geographical manner are going to be superimposed over the original layer provided by the nation-states. There will be entirely new activities that will be beyond the reach of the nation-state implemented on this new network society layer.
What do you think about technology’s role with decentralization and the new layers of network societies?
Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com is a media partner and sponsor of the D10e conference in Bucharest, Romania.
Images courtesy of D10e, and Shutterstock.
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