With the help of Ryan Heath and Derek Robertson
For many years, the World Economic Forum has been meeting in Davos. was derided as “a strange annual gathering of the very rich, the very powerful, and the very ignorantAccording to Michael Hirsch, writing for Foreign policy magazine in 2019. Hirsch captured Davos’ key irony: “The people the forum asks to solve the problems of global capitalism are often the same people who represent the problems of global capitalism.”
After a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, Davos is back this week with a new element: a large and growing industry theoretically interested in changing the balance of power, or at least decentralizing some of that wealth.
There is no doubt that the Davos crowd is interested in Web3, blockchain and cryptography, all systems designed to take some power away from the very central bank crowd that flocks to the meeting. And the interest is clearly mutual. Like Ryan Heath from POLITICO found this week, the main street of the city was crammed with crypto company logos and showcases — but not because they were invited. “People who don’t have access to political leaders have parties next to political leaders,” as he put it.
One billionaire had cold thoughts about why his peers might be so crypto-curious. David Rubinstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group, told Ryan: “We saw what happened to the Russian oligarchs: it (their wealth) was visible and could be taken away (by sanctions). I think a lot of very rich people will say, well, maybe I should have something in something that no one can take away.”
“No one knows that I have it, it is not visible. So I’ll put some of my fortune into it in case it’s a rainy day or someone comes after me.”
Rubinstein said he does not own cryptocurrencies himself: “I’m not saying that cryptocurrencies are something I would buy: they don’t belong to me,” but like many investors, he supports companies that serve the crypto industry.
For all experience, Davos is not necessarily a place where technical innovation is viewed critically. It’s a place where big companies pay to decorate themselves with nice ideas like sustainability and good governance. This year, virtualization and decentralization have clearly joined this party.
Lockheed Martin touted the idea blockchain network in spacecaricature the Internet on Earth as “centralized” when the whole basis of the modern Internet is that it is a decentralized packet-switched network.
The epitome of Davos’ approach to technology could be “Global Cooperation Villageis a virtual immersive space brought to you by the people who invented Davos. As Julien GattoniWEF’s managing director, told Derek that the village could be a place where “a participant can use virtual reality to interact with a refugee in a camp in Africa and give that experience to people who couldn’t be in Davos.”
Back in 2019, Hirsch concluded his denunciation of Davos by writing, “But let’s face it: these people need to go out more.”
It’s hard to imagine that a virtual visit to a refugee camp from a comfortable Swiss mountain retreat was exactly what he had in mind.
Artificial intelligence has made significant progress in both writing and graphic art. How about music?
Per Pitchfork This week seasoned music journalist Philip Sherburne takes a close look at the use and history of artificial intelligence in music productionrelated to David Cope’s early experiments imitating classical masters such as Bach with the help of a computer.
Like large language models that generate eerily human-like lyrics, AI that generates music ultimately based on simple human input – whether it’s just tonal information and instrument samples or the human voice itself. This raises serious questions, Sherburn writes, “about property rights, copyright, ethics, and even basic media literacy.” What happens when something as unique as a voice becomes just another tool in a software toolbox?
“There must be some sovereignty over one’s own voice,” experimental technologist and musician. Holly Herndon Sherbourne said. Legislators have just begun deepfake addressing, the visual equivalent of such voice control tools; “Voice Cloning” in the Wall Street Journal 2017 blog entry called itstill on the distant horizon.
The creative implications of musical and vocal AI can be either exciting or relaxing, depending on whose hands it is in. One musician worries Sherburn about the risk that “people will get used to AI shitty sound”. On the other hand, the practical implications may require much closer attention from technical observers. – Derek Robertson
- The debate about whether cryptocurrencies are real securities is finally over. I’m going to court.
- If you’re still not sure what “quantum teleportation” is or why it’s important – a lot – read it.
- Cryptocurrency Critic celebrates increased attention of regulators to the industry.
- Cory Doctorow explains fixed spectrum or “decentralization” which exists not only in the blockchain.
- sony moves aggressively in VRand over 20 “major” games announced for the upcoming headset.