With telescopes becoming ever more powerful and missions to Mars, other planets and asteroids being planned, the chances of encountering life forms are increasing, forcing astronomers and astrobiologists to develop acceptable definitions, descriptions and characteristics to identify non-Earth living organisms. Some of those criteria for life include response to the environment, growth and change, replication, self-regulation, self-organization and self-sufficiency. Get ready to be blown away – a group of scientists say those are already properties of blockchain… the foundation of all cryptocurrencies. Does this mean Dogecoin might actually be more like a living dog coin?
“This work presents observations of a blockchain-based distributed virtual machine (dVM) composed of thousands of nodes, or computers, which collectively function as a global general-purpose computer that for practical purposes cannot be turned off. Observations in this study demonstrate that such dVMs possess characteristics associated with biological systems.”
In a theoretical paper “Emergent Bioanalogous Properties of Blockchain-based Distributed Systems”, published in the journal Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, planetary Science Institute senior scientist and lead study author Oleg Abramov lays out how a blockchain-based organism would function just like a biological organism … only better.
“Notably, such systems would have a number of specific advantages over biological life, such as the ability to pass acquired traits to offspring, significantly improved speed, accuracy, and redundancy of their genetic carrier, and potentially unlimited lifespans.”
That sounds a lot like the description of an AI-controlled, self-replicating robot that could travel and explore the universe ad infinitum … and even settle down and colonize a planet. The difference is, a blockchain-controlled self-replicating robot would get rich in the process. And if that’s not scary and dystopian enough for you, the study comes to this conclusion:
“Public blockchain-based dVMs (distributed virtual machines) provide an uncontained environment for the development of ANN (artificial neural network)-based artificial general intelligence (AGI), potentially leading to an ability to direct their own evolution, resulting in rapid self-improvements and the potential to exceed human intelligence.”
Direct their own evolution and potentially exceed human intelligence! Our only hope might be if these blockchain life forms would rather be rich than smart. If it’s any consolation, the press release points out that a blockchain being only fits “some criteria for life,” but we all know it’s only a matter of time.
Are you ready to bow down to a bitcoin overlord? Or are you doing it already?