In 2017, I founded The Cryptocurrency Alliance Super PAC. One of the many unexpected perks that come with creating a political organization is the opportunity to meet with major players in the associated industries. In my case, this was cryptocurrency, blockchain, and technology futurists. More specifically I frequently get sent various books, articles, and whitepapers to read before their release.
I typically don’t write reviews for books, unless I truly think they are of critical importance, and the book’s content are being glossed over and can add to a productive dialogue. George Gilder’s recently released book, Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy, is one of those truly exceptional books. That said, the book discusses in passing many complex subjects and is littered with terms (metaverse, thermodynamic entropy, protein-fold geometries), which may require some previous knowledge or additional reading. To the author’s credit, there is a glossary briefly covering some of the general theories and topics discussed.
George Gilder is an American investor, writer, economist, and co-founder of the Discovery Institute, a non-profit think tank based in Seattle. His 1981 international bestseller Wealth and Poverty advanced a practical and moral case for supply-side economics and capitalism during the early months of the Reagan administration and made him Ronald Reagan’s most quoted living author.
Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy chronicles Silicon Valley’s “nervous breakdown” as the aggregate and advertise model of Google creates an internet full of excessive ads and personal privacy violations, that is ultimately unsustainable.
The book offers the solution of the cryptocosm, the new digital architecture of blockchain and its derivatives. While he suggests that many of the blockchain ventures will ultimately fail, Gilder posits that the surviving companies and the cryptosystem will ultimately shift the next generation of the Web from closed silos of captured data to open supercomputers on which blockchain can provided an immutable database on which to build structures of trust. Once this data is planted on the global blockchain, it will no longer be necessary to create physical enclosures to organize a vast parallel computer.
The “Google Age” has resulted in many of technological shortcomings facing modern society: porous internet security, unmoored money, regulatory overreach, network concentration, and diminishing returns of big data. Gilder suggest that all of these problems derive from the hypertrophy of trusted third parties that need to be collapsed into simpler systems, controlled by individual agents closer to the actual point of service.
Life After Google provides an interesting viewpoint that runs counter to the mainstream narrative that a few Silicon Valley giants, such as Google, will forever remain masters of centralized data and that due to advances in AI, the new digital world may not need humans anymore and we will incrementally live unemployed forever. Gilder’s argument is more or less the opposite — he believes AI is ultimately a signal of an industrial regime at the end of its rope. The issues associated with business strategy, intellectual property, privacy, and security cannot be solved within the current computer and network architecture.
While I personally think we are not as close to the end of the “Age of Google” (and am not even sure this will necessarily happen at all in the immediate future) it is nearly impossible to anticipate future trends in technology, especially when the future of humanity, social order, and the global financial system are at stake.
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Casey Botticello is a partner at Black Edge Consulting. Black Edge Consulting is a strategic communications firm, specializing in online reputation management, digital marketing, and crisis management. Prior to founding Black Edge Consulting, he worked for BGR Group, a bipartisan lobbying and strategic communications firm.
Casey is the founder of the Cryptocurrency Alliance, an independent expenditure-only committee (Super PAC) dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain advocacy. He is also the editor of several Medium publications, including Medium Blogging Guide, Investigation, Strategic Communications, K Street, and Escaping the 9 to 5. He is a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania, where he received his B.A. in Urban Studies.