George Gilder was right about a lot of really important things, including especially the future of the computer, the one that you now hold in your hand, called the smartphone. You have forgotten how revolutionary that prediction was in 1990 when he published “The Death of Television”. Some of you were not even born then, I suppose.
Now Gilder has published another significant book, predicting the demise of Google, or at least its dominance.
Gilder observes that by supplying things for free, Google avoids many problems that arise from payment, including the obligation to provide security, to a great extent. Worse, Google avoids the learning process that is acquired with capitalist transactions.
He considers that blockchain technologies will fix much of what is ailing in America. [In this I remain skeptical, but hopeful as well.]
“They [the Silicon Valley apostolate] have a business plan and solutions which are inappropriate to the human mind”. He sees the human mind as the essential source of value, and that Google and cloud-dependent technologies are over-centralized. “Blockchain is an answer to the cloud mind”.
The number of IPOs has been falling, the number of companies on the stock market has also been falling. Consistently with Peter Thiel’s thesis, we do not seem to be getting the innovation that we ought. According to Gilder, the invention of Etherium has halted this decline.
Consequently he takes issue with Ray Kurzweil, the guy thinks we are approaching a singularity of machine intelligence. Says Gilder, “if you don’t understand consciousness, you don’t understand thinking. Thinking doesn’t produce consciousness, consciousness produces thinking. All these computer scientists are trying to explain away consciousness….To say, oh well, we don’t know what consciousness is, but our computers will compute so fast that it wont matter, that consciousness will emerge like one of their clouds, is I think, one their fundamental vanities of the [Silicon] Valley”.
“What I am against, as Bill Buckley used to call it, ‘immanentizing the eschaton‘; imagining some technology that you came up with last week will end the human adventure, that will subsume all our minds in the clouds, governed by eight giant companies in China and the US, with a few nerds in Israel contributing all the new ideas. This is the vision that I don’t think is going to prevail. I think the human adventure will continue after Google.”
Amen to that, brother.
At 79 years of age, George Gilder speaks as if he were suffering from some neurological ailment that I am not qualified or able to diagnose. Yet he remains a formidable thinker, a seer. I like him. He believes that in principle, machines cannot think, and I agree with him. He foresees the end of the dominance of the current masters of the universe, and how it may come about. He has addressed a vital issue of public interest in Life after Google. Curiously, paradoxically, Gilder reminds me of Timothy Leary, the acid apostle, by his great optimism, but unlike Leary George Gilder is grounded in a formidable mind