April 2, 2021

Podcasts of the month #1

Silvio Micali in Lex Fridman Podcast

Silvio Micali, Algorand's founder, discusses the impact of blockchain technology.

Andrew Huberman in Lex Fridman Podcast

Dr. Huberman, neuroscientist in Stanford University, talks about sleep, diet and psychedelics.

Naval Ravikant on Tim Ferriss Show

Just the classic Naval.

Diana Pasulka in Lex Fridman Podcast

On the fabric of reality and belief systems.

Anthony Pompliano vs. Mike Green - Bitcoin debate

Insightful debate from both the opposing sides.

Other posts

March 23, 2021

Long live the algorithmic king!

In the totality of our recorded history, societies functioned in a straightforward manner. Whether it would be the monarch's order, the God's word or the oligarchical polyphony, there was none but one source of truth.

This is not a bad thing per se, as - in my opinion - revolutionary ideas appear only where constraints have been established. One needs to identify the rules, before challenging them.

Nevertheless, we are somehow convinced that the components of modern life are anti-fragile. I believe that this conviction originates in the fact that we collectively assume that behind our societal, technological and belief systems there is someone that could be held accountable for any mishaps. We think that even if something went terribly wrong, someone will fix it. A "deus ex-machina" kind of deal.

That is invalid.

That's simply because the entities we perceive as accountable for our delicate functioning order are, in fact, untouchable. If we lack the ability of pressuring them, why put our trust in them in the first place? The reason couldn't be anything but pure traditionalism and immaturity.

What if we, for the first time, designed a tool so heavily constrained, that it could not derail from its original purpose? An algorithmic slave, if you will. I find that notion extremely liberating.

I think we could be close to obtaining the maturity required to start putting our collective trust in non-sentient, non-supernatural entities. In constrained technological mechanisms that will behave in a certain, immutable way. Systems that wield the power of a world-conquering empire, but have the apathy of a lifeless rock.

March 9, 2021

A simplistic view of blockchain technology

A blockchain is a type of database. Difference between blockchains and typical databases is in the way that the information is stored in these structures. In blockchains, data is clustered and bound into a block - that is immutable - and then, blocks are chained together in chronological order.

A block consists of a group of validated transactions. Each transaction is validated by a mining node. Each block created, holds the cryptographic hash of the previous block, tying the two blocks together.

Blocks could be created at the same time. This results in different nodes "viewing" different versions of the blockchain history. To ensure parity between the network nodes, blockchains have a ranking algorithm that selects the highest scoring of their history versions. When a peer receives a higher scoring version, overwrites the previous database and retransmits it to the rest of the peers.

Blockchain technology is not inherently decentralized. It's just a way of handling and storing data. Nevertheless, when the implementation of a blockchain is in a decentralized fashion, which means that the blockchain is operated by a peer-to-peer network of a large number of independent nodes, the alteration of the records stored in it becomes virtually impossible.

Every peer holds a copy of the blockchain. Distributed and decentralized blockchain networks don't run the risks of a centralized data storage.

March 6, 2021

Am I writing a diary? Probably.

Feeding my head with a huge informational load creates a setting, in which I find myself not controlling which info cluster I process. I'm basically in auto-pilot mode. Random thoughts, deriving from words I read a while ago, pop up all the damn time.

Thus, I came in terms with the fact that I cannot organize my thoughts well enough so that the structure and sequence of my daily posts will actually make sense. This doesn't pose as a problem to me, though, as I won't meticulously curate what is written in this blog.

My goal is to create an accountable second brain. A place in which I can store knowledge that I can later revisit and put my initial ideas and preconceptions to the test. Notion doesn't cut it for me. It's just too personal.

Anyways, today I came across Tim Denning's Medium page. Read a couple of his articles. I can't say much about the validity of his content, but I surely dig the way he writes. He uses a direct, jargon-free and rather down-to-earth language.

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Thanos Dimitriou © 2020. All rights reserved.