Vitalik Buterin, the Ethereum co-founder, recently took on X/Twitter to talk about several topics. The tech enthusiast touched on topics like techno-optimism, AI risks, and ways to avoid extreme centralization.
With a touch of nuance, the co-founder expressed optimism regarding technology. Buterin is an ardent proponent of transformative technology and a firm supporter of maintaining the status quo in the world.
Active human intention is required to exert control over technology in both directions. The last century has seen significant improvements for the planet in both quantifiable and unquantifiable ways.
The most prominent exception to the trend of “everything is getting better in the past century” is climate change. While the most pessimistic scenario of an ongoing temperature surge won’t result in extinction, it can kill more people than several wars.
However, Buterin has high hopes for humans to figure out ways to overcome this challenge. Human civilization causes a problem N times and fixes it N + 1 times, stated Buterin.
On the topic of AI, the Ethereum co-founder bashed the population that thinks AI is just another technology. AI can radically transform culture and power balance throughout the world.
While some believe it can result in human extinction, it remains an extreme claim. Studies have found that AI killing off the human species has a 5–10% chance. Statistically, it is the same percentage as dying due to non-biological causes such as injuries.
Modern science fiction has portrayed AI as a tool for a dystopian future. Building AI that grows with humans can normalize the technology over time. Eventually, AI will become more than humans using tools, and civilization must integrate ways to deal with it. The technology, if used in a sensible manner, can do far more good than bad.
With regard to the subject of extreme centralization, Buterin concurs that the present condition of computer security is truly appalling. This is largely due to the absence of cyber defense in relevant domains.
The centralized choke points impede the ability of industries to collect data and manipulate outcomes. Cryptographic technologies, such as blockchains and zero-knowledge proofs, are thus future technologies. These technologies can potentially enhance privacy, transparency, and security across various sectors.
Buterin closed the discussion by stating that these are challenging problems. However, the Ethereum co-founder is looking forward to seeing how humans’ collective efforts can overcome them.