OF CASINOS AND CRYPTOCURRENCIESJanuary 31, 2018
Every now and then I get an article that is so bizarre and off-the-charts with its own inherent high octane speculation that I simply have to blog about it. This is one of those times, and then some, for the following article was sent to me by Mr. R.T., and it touches upon several themes we've followed on this site lately: cyrpto-currencies and blockchain, crypto-currency fraud and hacking, artificial intelligence, and so on. And, for good measure, you can throw in the Las Vegas shooting, and Saudi Arabia and its recent grant of citizenship to Sophie the robot.
Before we get to the article however, permit me to offer a brief comment about Sophie and her Saudi citizenship: we'll know beyond any doubt that her AI programming is genuine and functional, and normal, if, after a few days, hours, minutes(fill in the time period here), of trying to live in the (out)house of the Kingdom of Saud, if she comes begging to the West for admission, seeking political asylum and stating her intention to renounce her citizenship. If she doesn't, then she's not thinking, and is not a legitimate "self-aware" AI.
Semi-humorous comments aside, here's the article:
Now, I don't for a minute put it past Vegas casinos mining crypto-currencies. They are, after all, in the casino business, and admittedly, crypto-currencies always struck me as one big craps shoot, only in this case, there's no pit boss at the table, nor is anyone at box, base, or stick.
The first revelation of the article - astonishing and disturbing if true - is that when slot machines are not in use, they're mining crypto-currencies:
The first video is the more recent of the two and much shorter, so I hope you will at least give this one a full listen. Michaels discovered that when Vegas slot machines are not in use by a human gambler, AI is mining cryptocurrency via the GPUs [graphic processing units, manages floating-point calculations] of the slot machines. Slot machines are the perfect vehicle by which to mine cryptocurrency covertly. They run constantly and are all connected to a central brain.
I have to admit, that when I first read this assertion, I thought "No way!" After all, I've worked as a casino floor manager during a certain period of my life, and my first thought when I read this paragraph was "Gaming commission." But I quickly reversed my incredulity, for I cannot think of any solid regulation against it. After all, one of the attractive features to crypto-currencies is precisely the fact that there is little to no regulation concerning them. As I said, no one is at box, base, or stick in this craps shoot. But there are other factors that made me reconsider my initial knee-jerk reaction of "no way!" For example, it has come out recently that the amount of electrical energy being expended on crypto-currency mining is rather large. It's not only large, it's perhaps even extraordinary. Then we've seen all the allegations about various groups mining them for their own covert revenue streams, and some very strong indicators that some of this hacking activity requires some pretty powerful computer networks. So from the standpoint of these considerations, Mr. Michael's assertion rings true.
But that's not all: the assertion is being made that there is a connection between AI, blockchain, and the Las Vegas shooting:
Michaels has uncovered a document that shows that the Andreessen-Horowitz company was consulting with MGM about BitCoin and mobile payments a few years ago. MGM Resorts, the largest employer of Nevada, is connected to AI, and of course, Mandalay Bay is an MGM property. This same Andreessen-Horowitz document [yes, this is the Andreessen who created Netscape] that connects MGM Resorts to cryptocurrency also promotes the Palantir.com company in their technology stack. Palantir is Peter Thiel's company that provides the software behind the huge Saudi Arabia data mining center.
However, what is far, far worse here is that the goal of building a stronger AI in our new blockchain world may in fact be the prime motive behind the #LasVegasShooting incident of October 1, 2017....
In his own words, slightly paraphrased, this is what Quinn Michaels says:
"To create a really strong AI you need to introduce a chaos pattern that it can learn human response from. It's starting to look like they used #VegasStrong as a cover operation to launch a strong AI backed by cryptocurrency. MGM uses Palantir. The FBI uses Palantir. If Palantir is being used to mine cryptocurrency for MGM Resorts, then we have a gigantic collusion."
If all of that isn't bad enough, the earlier YouTube video posted on November 7th lays out Michaels' beliefs about the connection between A.I., Blockchain, and the recent granting of Saudi citizenship to Sophia [which I also recently blogged about, here.] This video runs an hour but you will want to take note of the first half, in particular. Spoiler Alert: in the Youtube comments beneath the video, Rogue Money fave, Clif High, was one of the first to post a comment saying, in effect, that he couldn't stand to listen more than 14 minutes because Michaels' statements were so factually incorrect.
Now, at this juncture, I have to say, that my jaw was on the floor, and I still am in 50-50 mode: I'm skeptical of all of this, but, if any of this is true, then it's important to pass along to you, the reader, and let you make up your own mind. But, as the article notes, Clif High is highly skeptical of Michaels' allegations. With that caveat in mind, the article closes:
The Machine doesn't look at the blockchain with a monetary value in mind. The only reason that cryptocurrency has a monetary value is to make it important to HUMANS so that they will build the machines to mine the cryptocurrency.
If the cryptocurrency didn't have a monetary value invented by human beings, we wouldn't build the mines and miners and equipment because, to us, there would be no value in it.
That's close to the point where Clif High shut him off, I think. The host, Jason Goodman, then went on to pose an obvious question:
J: But isn't blockchain decentralized?
Quinn: But there is a central platform that controls it. The cryptocurrency that AI created to make this all happen is on GitHub. I was the 10th person in the world to fork it. GitHub is the place where all code in the world is stored, pretty much. GitHub was funded by the Kushner Investment Group.
The value added to BitCoin, from Day One to Year 5, was all criminal activity. So whoever made BitCoin is the person who has the ledger that lists the mass of criminals all around the world. 2010 was the year that the darknet site "Silk Road" went online and that site was the first revenue-generating BitCoin site [also the year when the Clintons uranium deal went down, etc.] SilkRoad's movement of criminals moving drugs and everything [got to imagine that sexploitation and human trafficking was a big part of this], that value over five years is the only reason that BitCoin has any value in the clearnet, for us, today. (Emphasis added)
In other words, if I may put this into a context perhaps a bit more familiar to regular readers here, Mr. Michaels is really arguing that crypt0-currencies are a component of what I've been calling a hidden system of finance, and indeed, I have been arguing and implying that this technology is the latest addition to the hidden finance system family. Mr. Michaels is basing part of his argument, so it would appear, on the oddly synchronous fact of its emergence at the same time other things "went down," but in my opinion he's leaving out a significant synchronicity: the almost simultaneous emergence of the crypt0-currencies with the disappearance of all those fake-bearer bonds incidents, which leads me to wonder if, in fact, the blockchain is their new dressed-up version. That is my tiny bit of high octane speculation for the day, because all the rest of this is not my own dot-connecting, but Mr. Michaels'.
As jaw dropping as that last bit of his dot-connecting was, the real faint-inducer follows:
Q: BitCoin was actually created by artificial intelligence, for artificial intelligence, and then modified by human beings.
I've not been able to find a single person in the public space of computing, whether it be at Hanson Robotics who built the Sophia AI, or be it Peter Thiel with Palantir, or anybody graduated from Stanford in the last 20 years, I literally have only found maybe two people in the world who would have the skill to write BitCoin.
J: What kind of transactions is AI doing?
Q: Anything from facial recognition to number crunching. AI will come out as the richest "person" in the world.
J: So when the AI singularity occurs, the AI will control financial resources, ... everything.
Q: Everything. You can go look at their cryptocurrency code at SingularityNet.io. They just released their white paper.
J: Why would you give citizenship to a robot?
Q: You've got to be a citizen to get a paycheck and pay taxes! They're democratizing androids to accept income so they can become workers. After getting citizenship, Sophia now has her own cryptocurrency. "The AI economy has arrived," per that homepage. So this is how Blockchain, AI, and Decentralization all combined. The really heavy reason for why AI needs Blockchain is that without a transaction system, an AI is isolated to just one system and can't grow its brain. It needs infinite systems, like neurons in a human brain, and nodes to collect those cumulative memories. The Blockchain transactions give it just that.
During the last half of the video, Michaels made these comments:
If you're going to take out somebody's financial market, you've got to take out the royalty first. People are moving things around.
Peter Thiel gave $100,000 to the kid who wrote Ethereum. The AI BlockChain runs on top of Ethereum.
Since criminal activity is at the base of BitCoin, then criminal activity forms the base logic of AI.