The times they are a-changing, but according to Bitcoin creator Dr. Craig S. Wright, they always do. That’s one of the themes in this week’s episode of The Bitcoin Bridge, as we speak to the man who advocates for the “global ledger of truth” about the nature of truth itself, and whether we can ever really guarantee we’ll find it.
Dr. Wright is an optimist, something that’s comforting to hear—especially from a man who doesn’t subscribe to the Silicon Valley-promoted tech-utopian vision of social media, self-driving cars, AI… and heavy-handed online content moderation.
We ask the question: To be implemented in a way everyone trusts, does Bitcoin require a certain set of circumstances? Or in other words, should we make sure we’re living in a society that values openness and rationality before asking everyone to trust a single blockchain record? What would happen if Bitcoin were adopted under a totalitarian regime, similar to the one in Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”?
Dr. Wright is also perturbed at the removal of information from the internet, but as he says, that’s one of the things Bitcoin is designed to prevent. Or at least, if it can’t prevent it, prove when and by whom the information was removed. It’s hard to pretend something never existed if there’s a trusted, verifiable record that it did. For example, he says, the government couldn’t suddenly tell you we were at war with Eastasia instead of Eurasia, because you could “prove” it isn’t true.
Is that all there is to it, though? Watch the full discussion to find out.
Dr. Wright also notes that the issue of “relative truth” isn’t new. In fact it’s ancient, since Plato was talking about it over 2,600 years ago. Today, as we’re seeing all the same arguments rehashed, it would be wise for anyone to study history more carefully to see that all this has happened before.
But that’s another problem with today’s world. Studying history, and particularly Western philosophical history, is becoming devalued and even shunned in some regions. Rationality is under attack.
There is such a thing as “universal truth,” he says. Two contradictory theories can’t both be right, and there are no “personal truths.” There are ways to test truth, and it’s possible to judge cultures on whether their practices are right or wrong. However, we need to discover the truth before we can have a sustainable world.
Overall, it’s a discussion more about the philosophy of Bitcoin and the universal ledger, what it’s trying to do, and how. You’ll also hear Dr. Wright’s views on social media, Zoom meetings, Wikipedia, and even how he spends his days. There’s not so much technical detail about Bitcoin and its creation here, but definitely a lot about the thoughts that led to it, and the reasons for its existence.
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