Take longer strides in a more purposeful direction advises Scott Stornetta

Category: AI Events GCC
Posted by
Katy

Scott Stornetta, a pioneer in blockchain technology, delivered a keynote address at the AIBC conference taking place in Dubai, illuminating the historical journey and enduring impact of blockchain technology. From pioneering work to contemporary challenges, he reflects on the technological crossroads we find ourselves at.

During the keynote, Stornetta emphasized that their early theoretical papers not only contributed to blockchain theory but also led to the operationalization of the world’s first blockchain on October 13th, 1991—a system still in continuous operation today. While the blockchain initially carried out modest tasks, its uninterrupted functionality since 1991 underscores its enduring nature.

The audience gained insights into Stornetta’s extensive background in technology, including his pioneering work on neural networks for his Ph.D. dissertation at Stanford in 1987. He shared a broader perspective on the technological landscape, urging participants to consider the long-term implications of blockchain and AI.

Stornetta raised critical questions about the practicality of blockchain applications, challenging businesses to demonstrate real value rather than merely riding the hype. As an investor in both blockchain and AI, he emphasized the importance of identifying use cases that genuinely add value to the industry.

Turning the spotlight on AI, Stornetta outlined three scenarios for its future development. He discussed the potential challenges of distinguishing between reality and AI-generated content, signaling a need for careful consideration as technology advances.

New tech leads to new jobs

He also drew parallels between the fear of job loss during the industrial revolution and the concerns surrounding AI today. He emphasized the historical trend of technological advancements leading to the creation of new jobs rather than widespread unemployment. Using examples like the spinning jenny, threshing machine, and switchboard operators, Stornetta illustrated how each technological leap ultimately created new opportunities and industries.

With the agricultural revolution the concern was that all of the farming jobs were going to be lost, says Stornetta. “And guess what? They were.  Which is why we have, what, 60, 70, 80 percent unemployment rates right now? No, we don’t.  Because other jobs got created.” 

“If we can stop worrying about the transient and worry about the long run,  increased productivity creates increased  GDP, which creates more disposable income, that’s what creates jobs.”

AI Realities and Misconceptions

Delving into AI, Stornetta dismissed the overblown concerns of AI enslaving humanity, citing the consensus among AI researchers that such scenarios are highly unlikely. He emphasized the importance of individuals mastering AI tools and learning to use them effectively, highlighting the role of human intelligence in conjunction with technology.

Addressing the rise of deepfake technology, Stornetta warned of the impending difficulty in distinguishing between reality and artificially generated content. He amusingly referenced a deepfake of Tom Hanks endorsing a dental plan and emphasized the need for tools to assert identity in the face of deep fakes.

“We will lose the ability to distinguish between the truth and what is real and the falsity and what is artificial. If you are not in a face to face physical interaction, reality will become a blur.

“When it comes to innovation, in spite of all advancements, what matters begins and ends with people”

In a twist, Stornetta teased an upcoming revelation about leveraging blockchain, Web3, and deepfakes to address concerns simultaneously. Encouraging the audience to follow his social media feeds for more details, he hinted at a solution that could potentially redefine the landscape of identity verification and privacy protection in the age of AI.

Closing with advice for staying relevant in the face of rapid innovation, Stornetta urged attendees to embrace technology rather than fearing it. He emphasized the significance of augmented capabilities and enhanced skills through technology, positioning individuals as the driving force in the evolving economy.

Scott Stornetta’s keynote left the audience with a mix of historical insights, futuristic perspectives, and a tantalizing promise of a solution at the intersection of blockchain, Web3, and deep fakes.

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