“Cryptography, NFT, Metaverse … The historical deception that is computer science”. The chronicle of Eric Le Boucher

Information technology, the greatest invention of our time, it is said, never ceases to disappoint. We will see that this is not entirely true and that we need to understand why. But let’s start with the obvious disappointment.

Information technology is generally disappointing: economists are desperate to see that its spread has coincided for half a century with the disappearance of “productivity gains” in developed economies, as if its tools, computers, laptops, internet, were useless “productive”, which is really useful. Processing information is certainly faster, but this does not improve the information itself.

IT disappoints in details and the list goes on. The computer is from the beginning an imperfect device launched before being totally infallible and is, by construction, constantly infested with “bugs”. Generations follow one another adding technological layers one on top of the other, creating hyper-complex devices that consume more and more energy to self-manage their past and over which computer scientists have very quickly lost control of the whole. Everything would have to be replaced, just like we just change cars, but that would cause a kind of stroke for the whole society.

setback. IT disappoints with its reversals and its excesses. Return to social networks. They were born as the promise of a planetary agora on which all humanity will have free access to knowledge and discussion. They have become places of hatred and insults and, mixing everything together, they lower knowledge to beliefs in a great decline of humanism. The progenitors of this initially libertarian system now flee from it, horrified, and only the exploiters of the trend of brutalization of the masses remain.

Drifts abound. The current cryptocurrency crash is, it must be said, the latest avatar. The miraculous invention is the blockchain, a technique for printing information, described by its promoters as indelible and traceable. It must be able to act as a stamp of authenticity for any transaction and, therefore, can replace the ancient relic that is money, the instrument of the states that were themselves institutions of the world before. Goodbye dollars, euros and yen! Cryptocurrency is the future of humanity.

What is really happening is the organization of the plunge of the masses into unreality or, if you prefer, into distraction, literally.

Yes, except that billions of bitcoins have disappeared, been stolen and the traceability is therefore not so perfect. In addition, drug traffickers and other criminals use them to escape the surveillance of the authorities through the banks. Yes, except that the cost of bitcoin transactions is actually much more expensive than with ancient currencies. Yes, except that the creation of bitcoin, “mining”, mobilizes thousands of computers that emit the Netherlands’ equivalent of CO2. The carbon trace is very certain and rapidly increasing. China, which initially welcomed minors, with the unacknowledged goal of monitoring this whole small world, has since chased them away because they are too polluting and here they are now in Kazakhstan …

Yes, except that cryptocurrencies ultimately account for only 0.2% of international transactions, the original invention missed its target. It has since boiled down to immense speculation with no underlying “assets”, relying only on the faith of the newcomers that they will make money. The collapse we are witnessing today demonstrates that cryptocurrencies are just a Ponzi scheme where, as always, the gullible are the payers.

Should we regulate them, in other words wrap them up? Obviously. And very strictly. But, as always, the shiny money is being invested in lobbying Washington to avoid it. And to prevent other ingenious inventions like NFT or the metaverse from being prohibited from sucking suckers.

He’s gullible. It turns out a brand new continent, the virtual world, explains our Christopher Columbus. It should be exploited like the real world: we build virtual houses, shops, theaters, beds and fields … We sell all this “construction” and raise prices to attract gullible people. And it worked, banks opened branches, luxury homes rushed there, real estate groups dreamed of fortunes … And everyone started dancing around the virtual golden calf.

All this, it must be remembered, as with cryptocurrencies, is not based on anything. The virtual universe is not real, even if the sellers tell you.

What is really happening is the organization of the plunge of the masses into unreality or, if you prefer, into distraction in the literal sense. The economy of attention (Bruno Patino), the cognitive apocalypse (Gérald Bronner), describe this plunge as that of ancient Rome in games.

“The effort to think deeply has turned into the pleasure of thinking quickly”. And in this context, many more people can express themselves, which allows them to regain their dignity.

So don’t be silly! We are not experiencing the end of the world but entering a new era, we must adapt, we must better anticipate. The constitutive bug of computer science marks the transition from the world of square ideas to the world of imperfect tools. See how Elon Musk is doing: He finishes calculations early on NASA, performs missile tests and corrects. We are in constant motion. Win the one who is intelligent. Change of rules: the game of the strong and the scholar becomes the game of skill.

At the same time, don’t miss that the game has a reality, that of pleasure. As Alessandro Baricco says (The game), which supports this information revolution, “the effort to think deeply has turned into the pleasure of thinking fast”. And in this context, many more people can express themselves, which allows them to regain their dignity. Hence, among other things, the success of the populists and the difficulty of the elites to dive into this world where emotion dominates, where mutiny (Yellow Vests) revives pride, where convincing truth must be vibrant, light, fast, effective and if possible, fun.

So, infantilization of the masses or a new mental era in which humanity, which has seen others, will be able to settle? It’s up to you to say. Sorry ! It is up to you.

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