Learning in the Cloud Decentralized

We live in curious times.  Deep Learning is “eating software”, or at the very least becoming the latest trend, the buzziest word.  Its popularity now permeates even into popular culture. At the same time, GPUs (which power Deep Learning) are in scarce supply due to the fourth great cryptocurrency price bubble/boom (and more specifically due…

Arbiter Networks: Simple Low-Latency Scalable Micropayments sans Channels

Current blockchain networks (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.) do not scale efficiently: their per transaction cost is ~O(N), where N is the number of full nodes.  Several recent proposals provide restricted fast O(C) transactions using combinations of payment channels, probabilistic payments, and either cross channel routing (Lightning Network), or surety bonds/deposits to deter double-spending.  I propose a…

Articles from 2015/2016

My most recent writings can be found on LessWrong.  I wrote there rather than here mostly due to the LW/reddit codebase’s superior support for comments and the ready supply of comments/commenters (at least historically – it has been dying). Perhaps the best article I’ve written in a while is The Brain as a Universal Learning Machine, but…

Dark Extraterrestrial Intelligence

In regards to the Fermi Paradox there is a belief common in transhumanist circles that the lack of ‘obvious’ galactic colonization is strong evidence that we are alone, civilization is rare, and thus there is some form of Great Filter.  This viewpoint was espoused early on by writers such as Moravec, Kurzweil, and Hanson; it remains dominant today.  It…

Massively Scalable Digital Currencies

Here we search for the holy grail of micropayments: a decentralized transaction system that can scale to the volume of the internet itself; the promised land where transactions are plentiful as UDP packets, fast as ping, and as cheap as bandwidth itself. Motivation Bitcoin is a working example of a decentralized transaction network.  It’s Proof…

The Case for Bitcoin

If Bitcoin succeeds, future generations will remember it as the greatest investment opportunity in recorded history. The Forbes list of billionaire dynasties will be completely rewritten, with new names such as the Winklevi clan shifted to the front.  A few lucky individuals will become billionaires simply because they tried out this new bitcoin mining app…

Bitcoin: Hype or Revolution?

A Bitcoin evangelist once said : “Bitcoin will either be worth nothing or it will be worth everything.” This mindset makes the case for a compelling small bet gamble: in the worst case one loses ‘only’ 100% of a small wager, in the best case a single bitcoin could eventually be worth millions. Why should…