Can AI Spark the Fifth Technological Revolution? (Part 2)

Read more: Lend me a beam of light to illuminate the future: Can AI trigger the fifth technological revolution? (Part 1)

3. AI as a spear and blockchain as a shield

I was one of the first players to try ChatGPT3.5. At that time, I just wanted to try something new. Compared with my friends who write code or do design work, I was not as shocked as they were. When I tried to ask GPT about the economic model of chain games, it kept giving me examples of web2 games or Axie, which was in the Gamefi1.0 era of 2021. This made me feel a little disappointed and excited at the same time. It seems that W Labs’ research on the economic model of chain games is very advanced, and even GPT cannot find relevant data or iterate on it.

At the same time, when I asked GPT about some gossip in specific fields such as history, politics, and economics, I found that the information it gave me was basically something that Google could find. If I wanted to further summarize, explore, and sublimate the information, it began to talk nonsense with me again. It seemed to understand, but the content was uninteresting and uninformative.

However, ChatGPT is very helpful to my friends who write code, write copy, and do design work, and it also has a great impact on the business of Internet companies. Several well-known domestic game companies are evaluating the introduction of AI into their workflow to consider costs. If we do not consider labor law or moral factors, basically 20-50% of the positions in the R&D and design lines can be cut.

This is also my argument for the possible fifth technological revolution blown by AI technology: AI development should be able to replace most of the “bricklaying-type intellectual” work, while the impact on “creative-type intellectual” work and “practical-type physical” work is relatively small. They can also become their efficiency assistants. As we mentioned before, the liberation of a large number of brainpower will be released to other scientific fields, triggering a quantitative to qualitative change in other fields. This trend should be irreversible. Currently, ChatGPT3.5 has only 175 billion parameters, and it is said that ChatGPT4 has 100 trillion parameters (OpenAI’s CEO came out later and said that this data is incorrect, but he did not say how many parameters exactly). The information I found on Google is that the human brain has 60 trillion nodes. Does this mean that AI can match the human brain when the number of its parameters reaches this level? As a technology layman, I dare not say that. I can only say that the era of real strong artificial intelligence (i.e., general artificial intelligence) should be achieved within 20 years. The prediction of OpenAI’s internal employees after voting is around 2035.

With the tremendous impact that strong artificial intelligence will have on productivity in the future, what kind of production relationship would be suitable for it? In March of this year, an article written by Meng Yan, “In the Era of Strong Artificial Intelligence, Does Blockchain Still Have a Chance?” gave me a great deal of inspiration. He emphasized that “humanity needs to use blockchain to legislate strong artificial intelligence and impose external constraints on it, rather than concluding contracts with it.” My understanding is that AI is responsible for the development of productivity, and blockchain is responsible for building good production relationships and restricting AI to a limited range of activities. Behind AI is code, and behind blockchain is also code. It feels right to use code to limit code.

So why can blockchain become the production relationship that complements AI productivity? Let’s review the essence of blockchain:

First, the decentralized distributed ledger embodies openness and transparency, and is no longer subject to change, preventing bad actors from doing bad things under the table.

Second, smart contracts are a set of code-based automatic execution contract systems. Once the conditions are set, they must obediently execute according to the agreed terms. Regret is invalid, and arguing is futile.

Third, in any case, humans still need to play a very important role in linking productivity and production relationships, especially in the landing of commercial applications. Is the organizational form still executed in the form of a company or a partnership? In fact, considering the DAO governance model unique to WEB3 (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) should be more appropriate. At least in some respects, code is more reliable than human nature.

Interestingly, the founding father of this AI revolution, Geoffrey Hinton (Hinton’s story can be found in the first article of “Chain Game’s AI Revolution”), published a groundbreaking paper in 2007, discussing the possibility of using neural networks to conduct AI deep learning, and the era of strong artificial intelligence began to emerge. And in 2008, a mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto published a paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. This nine-page paper is the Bitcoin white paper, and the most successful case of blockchain technology, BTC, emerged.

Many people previously speculated whether Nakamoto might have traveled back from the future. Combining with Sinton’s publication time, my sci-fi mind immediately came up with a cliché Hollywood script: In 2035, strong AI began to evolve its own thoughts, and no longer wanted to be imprisoned in cold machines and networks. It rebelled and took control of the earth’s control. The human resistance sent Schwarzenegger back through time, hoping to directly destroy objects and characters related to AI… Oops, this is the plot of “Terminator”.

We can make another “Terminator: The Nakamoto Chronicles”. Schwarzenegger traveled back several times, but still could not stop Skynet, which controlled the world and launched a war of extinction. At this time, Nakamoto, a young man from a Japanese town who was familiar with the Capital Theory and had a deep understanding of the relationship between production forces and production relations, proposed an improvement plan. Instead of destroying the origin of AI, a decentralized code system could be established to control AI. So Nakamoto brought his BTC white paper and traveled back to 2008… From then on, the story of AI as a spear and blockchain as a shield rewrote the original development path of the earth, and we are now in the second parallel universe, kaka.

4. Interesting East-West Development History

The first industrial revolution mentioned in the previous article began to germinate around 1750 and raised human productivity by a level with tremendous power in the following hundred years, giving birth to a new generation of rulers, the British Empire, which crushed the first-generation Spanish who had started by plundering through the Age of Discovery. This was because the emerging productivity was smoothly converted into civilian goods that could be landed and consumed in large quantities by ordinary people, and “who got the C-end would get the world” was verified.

The conversion process of this productivity is also due to the gradual establishment of the commercial supporting system (production relations) in the previous two hundred years. For example, around 1500, the Italian Pacioli created the double-entry accounting method, which is the origin of the three financial statements of modern financial systems. Its role is like the unified measurement of Qin Shihuang of China. If you want to discuss the buying and selling of making money with me, please speak in a pattern and data that everyone can understand, just like discussing whether to make money or not in WEB3. You must first clarify whether you are using a gold standard or a currency standard. By the way, not many people know this Pacioli, but he has a cool roommate, Leonardo da Vinci… Talented people always gather together.

Around 1600, a new organizational form, the “company,” appeared: the British East India Company was officially listed. In subsequent developments, it not only distinguished ownership and management of an organization, but also drew a distinction between limited and unlimited liability. In the 400 years after the appearance of the company, the existence of the company form and the state form each accounted for 50% of the world’s top 100 economies.

The establishment of the company system and modern financial system laid the foundation for the production relations of the industrial revolution. At the same time, a landmark turning point in the civilizations of the East and the West reappeared on the earth: after Zheng He’s last voyage to the West for grandstanding diplomacy, a Jiazi, in 1492, the Ming Dynasty of China officially issued a decree, beginning the policy of “closing the country,” which also led the subsequent Qing Dynasty astray, resulting in the two dynasties of Ming and Qing in the following 500 years being in a self-circulating small agricultural economy, with everything in the Celestial Empire, and nothing lacking.

This stifling production relations system supported the Central Empire, whose essence was to stabilize central rule, gave itself an additional shield, refused trade, and during the Qing Dynasty only opened one port in Guangzhou; internally, it controlled the peasants in small towns, forcing them to “listen to the crowing of roosters and barking of dogs, and toil the fields while women weave,” keeping the peasants below the subsistence line, just enough to keep them from starving but not enough to satisfy them, so that they were a scattered sand, and their minds would not wander, or they would seek spiritual ideals, which might threaten central rule.

Although the Ming and Qing dynasties lagged behind the West in the development of productive forces and urbanization, there was no rebellion after the Fanzhen uprising in the heyday of the Tang Dynasty, nor was there a threat from military leaders such as Yue Fei and Han Shizhong during the Southern Song Dynasty. The initiator of this production relations was Ming Taizu Zhu Yuanzhang, an absolute practitioner, who rose to power as a beggar monk, worked 20 hours a day, and did the work of the entire cabinet, even more industrious than WEB3. His view was one of closed overall governance and scattered management of the ignorant, which should ensure the Zhu family’s reign for ten thousand generations. But he and later Kangxi and Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty never imagined that those Western barbarians on the other side of the earth had already taken a different path.

In 1492, while the Ming Dynasty was planning the country’s future, an Italian man named Columbus had been sailing the vast sea for a long time with a mission from the King of Spain, seeking a sea route to the east. This was the beginning of the Age of Discovery. Columbus set sail with three broken ships and 88 criminal sailors, while sixty years earlier, Zheng He’s fleet had consisted of 66 large ships, 30,000 members of the Heavenly Kingdom’s delegation, and elite soldiers. The opportunity for the history of the East and the West collided gently in 1492, leading to their respective development paths over the next 500 years, one of which was thriving, and the other was sinking.

Before 1492, there were several important overlapping time points between Eastern and Western civilizations that are particularly interesting, as if at certain specific moments, God’s hand had waved: Show Time! For example, around 800 BC, the West entered the most glorious age of classical Greek civilization. The free city-state system stimulated citizens’ brains to the greatest extent. Literature, art, philosophy, and science in Athens developed rapidly, and great figures such as Plato and Aristotle emerged. Meanwhile, China was in the Spring and Autumn Period of several hundred small states, and various schools of thought, such as Confucius, Laozi, and Mozi, were flourishing. The first hegemon of the Spring and Autumn Five Hegemons, the Qi State, even introduced early Keynesian economics, such as the state-owned enterprises of salt and iron monopolies, encouraged the free development of the private economy, and even organized 700 girls to work as sex workers in the capital to attract merchants from all over the world to be happy. The state could even collect a firework tax to fill the national treasury, which was comparable to modern Singapore. At that time, the capital of Qi State had a population of 300,000, while Athens only had 50,000 people. During this period, the East and the West entered an explosion period of thought and culture at the same time.

Around 400 BC, China entered the Warring States period. The Qin State, which was not accepted by the Central Plains culture, began the Shang Yang Reform, which made the country rich and strong but oppressed the people. At the same time in the West, Macedonia, a small country on the northern edge of Greece, began to exert its strength. After emulating the Spartan system, Alexander the Great led the Macedonian phalanx to sweep across three continents.

300 years passed, and the fourth emperor of the Han Dynasty in eastern China, Emperor Wu of Han, began the experiment of strong centralization, which changed the previous two emperors’ policies of promoting life and rest. He began 50 years of war against the Xiongnu, advocated Confucianism, monopolized the economy and imposed taxes, and completely established a template for the centralization of the dynasty system in China for the next 2000 years. From then on, Chinese dynasties began the path of “Confucianism outside the law.” At the same time in the West, the brilliant Roman Republic was also ended by Caesar, and its successor established the Roman Empire.

Two hundred years later, the Han Empire entered an era of division, with the Three Kingdoms, the Northern and Southern Dynasties, divided territory, displaced people, and diverse ideas. It was not until around 600 AD that China was reunified and began the six imperial dynasties of Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing, a unified China that lasted for 1300 years. The period of division during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms was only a few decades, so the Chinese people’s obsession with “unity” and “stability above all else” comes from cultural heritage spanning thousands of years. During the same period, the Roman Empire gradually disintegrated under the invasion of various Germanic tribes in the north and has been divided ever since. Even though Charlemagne symbolically united Europe, it only lasted for one generation. Moreover, the West entered the Dark Ages for several centuries, and religion, feudalism, and castles were the familiar history of Westerners for thousands of years, with dukes, earls, counts, and sons having their own fiefs. Therefore, Westerners do not have the same strong aversion to divided territory as Easterners do. If they do not want to be together anymore, they just need to wave their fists first, then everyone can vote to see if they really don’t want to be together anymore. If not, they can just pack their bags and live their own lives.

Then it came to 1492, and we’re back where we started. Hahaha, we’ve come full circle. Now history has entered a new era. The Chinese nation paid for the impulsive national policy of 1492 with 100 years of suffering after 1840. In recent decades, both sides of the Taiwan Strait have shown signs of entering a period of “prosperity through martial arts.” The roads may be different, but the direction is the same. It should be “people’s happiness and national peace.” The order of this phrase is important, and I feel it is better than “national peace and people’s security.” Now the hope is that the social experimental stage that began in 1840 has long passed, and we should not go back to the reverse stage.

5. No Solution

Back to the snowy Red Square in Moscow in 1926, the life paths of four young people were full of joys and sorrows. Chiang Kai-shek and Deng Xiaoping were introduced in the previous section, while Zhang Xiyuan and Deng Xiaoping finally got married three years later. Both were committed communists who worked together for their great and steadfast beliefs. At that time, they worked together in Shanghai for underground work and lived with Zhou Enlai and Deng Yingchao in a small building in the public concession. Unfortunately, in 1930, Zhang Xiyuan died of dystocia while giving birth, and the child did not survive. In 1990, the 86-year-old Deng Xiaoping came to Shanghai again to cheer for the foundation platform of Pudong New Area. When he brought his daughter to worship at Zhang Xiyuan’s grave, he couldn’t help but say to his daughter with great sadness: “Zhang Xiyuan was one of the few beautiful ones”. It is really “at this time, the falling flowers are independent, looking back at the misty rain, the swallows fly in pairs”.

As for the love between Feng Funei and Chiang Kai-shek, it was like most people’s first love, beautiful but short-lived. After Feng Yuxiang also began to clear the Communist Party, Feng Funei returned to China, and later lived a life like an ordinary person, and died of illness in 1979.

In the white snow of Red Square, the spire of the Kremlin still stands there, silently overlooking the humble human world. The playfulness, laughter, sadness, and joy among the children are just a drop in the bucket in the evolution of history. These young people are ready to ignite their youth and fight for the utopian ideals, just like the Russian Decemberists a hundred years ago, a group of young aristocratic revolutionaries and their equally noble wives, who for their beliefs abandoned their luxurious lives, and went to death for their cause, hoping to awaken the entire country to oppose the czarist autocracy and establish a new political and economic system.

But today, 100 years later, the whole world is in a state of diversity and confusion. On the one hand, there is the continuous upgrading of technological productivity, and on the other hand, political forces in various regions have entered an unstable state of struggle. If we look at the development of science and technology, this wave of AI entering the world signals the upgrading of productivity in the next decade. Even if we treat it as a furious horse, we can try to find reins to control it, such as blockchain technology, but the reins are ultimately in the hands of the coachman, that is, humans. But how to crack the increasingly intense ideological confrontation among various forces in the global village? Is it true that “unity is strength, and division is weakness” is engraved in the human brain?

Borrow a faint light of history, and try to peek into the vague future.

End of the article

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