Daily Balajisms - 140 characters will give us flying cars
Innovation in bits is vital for unlocking the innovation in atoms.
Peter Thiel famously said “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” But Balaji says that innovation in bits is vital for unlocking innovation in atoms. Thanks to social media and the network age, people can communicate peer-to-peer and this has weakened the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect, says Balaji.
The Gell-Mann Amnesia, according to Balaji, is happening due to hub-and-spoke topology of the legacy media – where consent was manufactured and experts could communicate with the public only through a centralized structure. The peak centralization in the West was in the 1950s, due to centralizing technologies such as the printing press, newspapers, radio, and television. Since then, we got decentralizing technologies like the transistor, internet, mobile phones and now crypto.
Before social media, there was no way for founders of biotech startups and pharma companies to criticize powerful bureaucracies, such as the FDA, that drives global harmonization in medical regulation.
After Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, and and the subsequent Twitter Files revelations, it became clear for many people that we need free social media to preserve democratic public discourse and ability to criticize public policy.
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya was shadow-banned for his opinions about the societal harm of prolonged lockdowns during COVID-19 pandemics. Thanks to social media, we can discuss the slowness of regulators in approving vaccines, which amounted to an invisible graveyard of hundreds of thousands, just in the US, while Europe was much slower.
The legacy media, such as the NYT, are historically technologically conservative and their hostility towards tech grew after social media and Big Tech disrupted their advertising revenue. The NYT misled the US and global public many times over decades, as Ashley Rindsberg documents in his book The Gray Lady Winked.
We need special innovation zones for longevity, where we can exit the global harmonization of regulators like the FDA or EMA. With bitcoin we are able to exit the Fed. With crypto countries we want to exit the FDA.
Longevity is similar to crypto – because they both invert basic premises. Longevity can be a $100T wealth unlock, similar to wealth creation in China after Deng Xiaoping introduced the moral innovation of “profit is good”. To unlock longevity, we want to be able to make the moral innovation of “self-improvement is good” – with “my body, my choice” and “willing patient, willing doctor”.
And we need a new type of physical social networks to unlock longevity. We need to build highly-aligned communities in the cloud (network unions) and print them onto the land (network archipelagos). And we need crypto social networks that can replace the paper of record with the ledger of record – and provide much better (crypto)history and moral justification for the importance of tech progress.
Balaji aims to go beyond just The Network State book and create a book-app that can unlock longevity by creating highly-aligned communities. The goal is to make communities computable and composable – like DeFi and DeSci. Pseudonymity is itself a collective good. We need to go beyond the sovereign individual and build sovereign collectives, that have done great things together and want to do more.