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CS – NCUT
Org. Behavior Forum, FCU, IMBA
Future and singularity
Walter Williams makes a great point when talking about how well the free market caters to the common man while other types of economic/political systems such as socialism or communism not so much. At least in the free market the average Joe can get at least a little bit of what the rich man has. What in the world is the meaning of that? OK, think about this… If the rich man can own a Mercedes Benz or a Rolls Royce, the poor man can go rent one for a day and still enjoy a bit of what the rich man has. But can the poor man do so in a socialist or communist system? Does the poor man have any freedom to do so? While rich people can often buy or bribe for more “freedom” in a communist system the poor guy cannot. It is why it is much better to be poor in a free market system than in a socialist one. Stefan Molyneux joined us for a great discussion on the case for the free market where he points out that even in a developed economy, if the system does not operate on free market principles, tons of trouble and things could go wrong!
Growing up in the internet age is very different. People, especially students have everything at their fingertips and could have all kinds of things available to them in a few seconds, entertainment in particular. Thus, there is little room for other type of motivation besides that of being entertained at all times, classrooms included. Teachers are often caught between a rock and a hard place since competing with the internet for the students’ attention is not an easy task. Are there any solutions to this issue? How can students be motivated to stay focused and productive. Perhaps reminding them of the not so distant past and giving them some examples of great achievers could stir up some motivation!
For many content creators that made a living from E-commerce selling ideas and more on YouTube, the kind of things, deplatforming and demonetizing YouTube is doing recently is no short of an apocalypse. In Revelation 13:16, 17. And the second beast required all people small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark of the beast or the number of its name.
Prophecy interpreters would say that right hand means actions and forehead means ideologies or a way of thinking. There you have it… If your actions and ideologies conflict with those that aren’t necessarily more ethical than you but they’re the ones calling the shots, you’re doomed, just like many content creators on YouTube.
If your income depends solely on YouTube and on top of that your credit card and bank account was frozen or closed because YouTube or some social justice warriors made it happen, welcome to YouTube’s apocalypse. Perhaps not exactly as the one In Revelation 12:16, but not too different. Although to religious fanatics this may seem as a fulfilling prophecy, to rational people and visionaries it’s a great sign for opportunities of new and better alternatives for E-commerce than YouTube ever was. This means, it’s time to search for new and better treasures hidden within the great human mind. Whenever there is such a transition, some of us will lose and some of us will suffer, then again, more of us may benefit and profit in the future!
People make decisions in life being influenced by a wide variety of factors. In modern days, TV was a major factor as the old Depeche Mode song well said it “Let me see you make decisions, without your television”. Whereas, in post-modern times social media is playing a constantly increasing role in many people’s lives when it comes to decision making. One might be surprised that life, business, relationship decisions done by many people worldwide are influenced largely by Facebook posts. Posting images, videos, opinions, comments, articles and various other materials on Facebook, YouTube and other social media can have profound effects upon people and their actions worldwide. Many people can get self-help but also self-destruction. Is it the fault of those who post stuff that aid others to self-destruct and/or make terrible life or business decisions? Yes and no, depending on age, IQ and state of mind at the time one reads a post, watches a video or seen other types of postings.
In the article article “To post or not to post – that is the question”, a simple, harmless post managed to make someone do something rather silly and perhaps even irresponsible. Maybe those reading the article can help out to find some better words in their replies to describe someone that would do such a thing and then somehow make the person posting the image feel responsible for the posting. Let’s work on making social media a better place where people can learn and benefit their life rather than the other way around!
“money is a matter of functions four, a medium, a measure, a standard, a store”
Alfred Milnes (1844 – 1916)
What is money? At present, by most economic standards, BTC holds up quite poorly as a form of money. It can be used as a medium of exchange, however adoption rates (double incidence of wants) are still low, and due to the volatility in BTC price relative to USD, people are apprehensive about using it to pay for goods. You may recall that the talk we had was actually on Bitcoin Pizza Day. BTC is a usable measure of value, however most frequently it operates as a pair against alternative cryptocurrencies only, not as a measure against USD or commodities, though the USD pair is likely the most frequently traded. That said, for practical purposes we must note that there are very, very few people who would walk into Starbucks in June 2018 and convert the prices from USD to “sats” or mBTC to make life easier, the same way an American expat might do with a local currency while on vacation.
As a standard, also, BTC’s properties are taking time to establish. With the USD as an international reserve BTC has a lot of work to do to challenge something of that magnitude. The changes, barring any sort of major international monetary collapse, would likely only come in inter-generational timeframes, as such trust takes a long time and significant reserves to establish. Personally, I do not see grandparents using it as a benchmark for measurement of their personal wealth in my lifetime, though if I am proven wrong on this point, it will be happily so.
As a store of value, despite the robustness of the cryptographic code and software mechanism that protects the chain, it is not acting competing well, however the timeframe on this discussion is important. The problem is not a technical one, it is a market one. If you picked the right time to buy (almost any time before 2017), then it can be said to have increased in value, but to be a store, it is only required to preserve value, relative to another known alpha, such as USD or better still, a basket of currencies. Specifically, it does not have to appreciate in USD terms. The locked in 21,000,000-coin limit, with ~17,000,000 already mined and a virtually unknown amount lost on old hard drives also means the final store value is unclear. Sadly, discussion of whether it is actually deflationary needs far more space than we have here.
So, can BTC really be a global currency? The many solutions offered by BTC and alt-coins are a promising start to a very young industry. Measurements like transactions per second (TPS), security and relative ease of use by even the lowest common denominators of society seem far fetched in 2018. The advent of off-chain solutions like Lightning Network (LN) albeit controversially resolve many scaling issues as we saw in the two videos.
Perhaps the most fundamental issue that is rarely explored, perhaps eschewed by the technical discussions; is that of trusted third parties. So far in this century we have witnessed several governments exhibit irresponsible, or simply unwise, behavior in respect of their responsibilities for monetary supply control. It is in places like Venezuela where they are seeing inflation figures passing 16,000%, that even after the BTC/USD pair dips hard, that they are still making a significant Bolivar gains in terms of spending power. When one also considers the benefits of passing wealth on to subsequent generations, in such a simple way as remembering a private key, then it puts confiscation, by taxation or other means such as inflation safely out of the reach of greedy persons.
Just a little reminder here, and I know I stressed this during the talk, but it bears repeating: NEVER share your private key. NEVER.
Other things we discussed, that we do not have time to cover fully here are: (i) The relationship between market capitalization and number of transactions, which should give you a good impression of how quickly BTC is being adopted as a cryptocurrency standard, versus “certain other pretenders to the throne”. (ii) The fact that government regulators are still unsure of how to treat BTC, is it an asset, a commodity, a security, a currency? Each respective department is vying for legislative control over the cryptodomain, which should also tell you something about how important it will become. (iii) The totally open nature of the BTC ledger that lays all accounts bare. This makes it extremely unwise to use BTC to commit fraudulent or illegal activities, though some aspects of this are subject to change with LN offering routing over TOR type networks.