Life after [sic] Google

The Book of the Week is “Life after [sic] Google, The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy” by George Gilder, published in 2018.

The author explained that Google’s business model is being eclipsed by blockchain technology. Google offers many services for free, and derives revenue from advertising. The author neglected to mention that one sign that Google is on the wane, is that, in 2013 it stopped updating its PageRank data– a measurement of the extent to which each website on the World Wide Web is networked to other websites.

A bunch of tech-industry greats are improving blockchain technology in the form of various competing cryptocurrencies, which are a financial instrument whose value fluctuates (See this blog’s post, Digital Gold). Blockchain technology’s advantages include efficiency, scalability, improving cybersecurity, and the fact that it is virtual.

Google data centers (comprised of physical servers) derive their power from the Columbia river. Worldwide demand for additional power is growing every day. According to the author, another possible power source for data centers is atomic. He wrote, “China plans to build as many as forty new-fangled nuclear plants, the next wave of data centers may well be in Shenzhen.” Considering that parts of China are in an earthquake zone (!), China might not want to end up like Japan. However, politically, it does have a sociopathic disregard for the health and safety of its citizens.

Anyhow, cryptocurrencies’ major cybersecurity feature is that they are comprised of a decentralized peer-to-peer network so they don’t have a central point of failure. Nevertheless, a major rival of Bitcoin– Ethereum– was hacked for a $150 million loss on one of its nodes. Google has all its data in one place, so theft of data and cyber-attacks are much more efficiently accomplished.

One other financial entity that uses blockchain technology is a hedge fund of the company called Renaissance Technologies. Its software mines terabytes (inconceivably large) quantities of data in order to find minute, even obscure correlations between (at times unrelated) variables that allows it to buy and sell securities at a profit. For more than thirty years, it was delivering inconceivably large returns. Until, starting in 2020, it didn’t. The author argued that since the software isn’t generating new knowledge for the world, it is not generating real wealth for society. Economically, that is bad.

Read the book to learn a wealth of additional information about the features of virtual reality versus artificial intelligence in connection with Google and other technological marvels.