This book is written as a guide to understand blockchain and it’s implication for our daily lives and business and describes a simple business framework in my opinion you obviously want to add value to the entrepreneurs and business people.. on that note besides looking at how Blockchain can have an impact.. What is the best business advice anyone ever gave you?
The best advice I ever received was to make sure I was solving a problem. “What problem do you solve?” is a critical question to ask yourself not just once but regularly as you build your company. People don’t buy technologies, they buy solutions to problems.
We talk about this a great deal in our online classes like Oxford Blockchain Strategy and Oxford Fintech. More than 15,000 students across MIT and Oxford have taken our courses, in 140 countries, and in all of these programs we’re working to help our students apply knowledge immediately to their work. A problem-solution mindset is integral to our pedagogy.
You have a lot of experience with artificial intelligence. How will the AI Revolution impact our daily lives, and when do you think the average person will begin to experience these AI disruptions in our lives?
Artificial intelligence is already showing up in our daily lives – think about Google or Siri. When we use these systems, we don’t say to ourselves “oh, that’s a great AI”. We might say “I found that on Google.” “Googling” something has become a verb. “Alexa, play Despacito” has entered the vernacular. These are all visible instances of how AI is already impacting daily life; there are many more subtle ways that AI is already affecting us, from how our airline tickets are priced to what TV shows we watch.
What I’m working on through projects like the digital learning platform we are developing, and the digital classes we deliver, is how AI can more profoundly integrate with human society and create new hybrids that go beyond what either people or AI can do by themselves. It’s the topic of my next book that will be coming out from Little Brown in about a year, on AI and the future of work.
You are involved with various startup projects. How do you think about which ones to get involved with?
As you can imagine, I get approached fairly regularly about advising companies. For sanity’s sake, and so that I can have meaningful impact and not just “rent out my name” the way some people do, I work with a very limited set of organizations and I am more meaningfully involved with them. So there are a handful of projects where I have a substantial or co-founder role, and a few larger organizations and government-related entities that likewise I help, versus colleagues I know who are “advising” on 15 or 20 companies. I want to made a difference.
You talk a lot about Social Physics and how it creates social impact. What is the best way to describe Social Physics to a layperson?
Social physics is an example of a computational social science, where quantitative (computer) systems are used to understand and predict human behavior. With social physics, you can even shift behavior - MIT Professor Alex Pentland and his colleagues were able to do things like help millions of day-traders improve their returns using small “nudges”, help an entire government region in Europe to reduce energy usage so that they could “go green” and only rely on renewable energy sources, and help the Government of Colombia figure out how to distribute medical aid, job training and other benefits to war-torn regions of the country previously held by the FARC (the rebels). Prof. Pentland talks more about how this science works in his book of the same name.
Last but not least you’ll be joining CryptoDaily as a regular contributor what can we expect from you?
I’m excited that the Basic Blockchain discussion has led to an opportunity to contribute regularly to CryptoDaily. To get started, we’re going to be excerpting parts of the book, and talking in more depth and specificity, about how blockchain impacts business and society. We’ll use that series as a jumping-off point to an ongoing discussion about blockchain use cases. As the adoption of blockchain shifts from POCs to scale, we need to convey to the general business community what blockchain is actually go for. Clearly articulated use cases should help in the effort.