Notes on Balaji Srinivasan Interview: Technology Will Lead to a Borderless World

Overview: [[Balaji Srinivasan]] does a wide ranging interview with [[Nick Gillespie]] from [[Reason Magazine]] discussing his ideas around #Voice and #Exit, the relationship between technology and the logic of violence, his intellectual heroes, among other topics.

1:45 At least two responses you can make when encountering ossified systems that you don’t like:

  • [[Voice]]: Expressing dissatisfaction (e.g. democracy, revolution)
  • [[Exit]]: Recognizing you won’t be able to change the system, so you leave and start something new.

All progress takes this form: you build something up, and once you get to a certain scale it becomes ossified. At that point, people start to [[Exit]] to go build something better. #progress #innovation

4:35 Technology is reducing the barrier to [[Exit]]. Two ways it does this:

  • Cloud dimension: Because of the cloud, you can earn from anywhere, collaborate from anywhere. Eventually, [[Balaji Srinivasan]] believes this will be taken further using [[cryptocurrency]] and [[VR]].
  • Mobile: Geography becomes less important. Increasingly, you live in an apartment complex and wouldn’t recognize anyone, but you have hour long conversations with people thousands of miles away.

7:30 [[Bitcoin]] and other [[cryptocurrency]] lets you transfer funds without an intermediary. This is a huge win for small payments across borders, which would otherwise have not been feasible due to very high transaction costs.

9:00 [[Silicon Valley]] benefited from having a lot of people close together to create an innovative environment. Can you achieve that same effect virtually?

12:30 Talks about the book “The Sovereign Individual” #[[Book: The Sovereign Individual]]. It’s like the book of prophesies. It’s written in 1999 and many sentences seem like they’re ripped from last week’s headlines and many have yet to happen. Most books you can summarize into a sentence, but this book is the opposite. You take a sentence and you can expand it into a whole book. #[[To Read]]The book talks about how changes in [[technology]] change the logic of [[violence]]. What happens when you can’t see someone’s money? Good things and bad things. Good things: everything becomes voluntary and you can keep money you create. Bad things: it’s hard to track down robbers if they manage to steal some cash. So, more petty crimes. But fewer wars (government’s can’t seize funds).

19:45 Talks about his experience being considered by [[Donald Trump]] as a candidate for the head of the [[FDA]] and what he would have done if he was appointed.

21:30 When nations are on the rise, people are often more willing to take substantial risks to make [[progress]]. If you look at the [[history]] of [[aviation]], [[automobiles]], [[railroads]] a lot of people died. History of [[chemistry]] – the CRC handbook of chemistry and physics from a long time ago has a lot of tastes and smells for new compounds, because people would actually taste and smell new compounds! Wouldn’t want to be the guy that did this for cyanide.

23:45 [[Balaji Srinivasan]]’s intellectual and business heroes. He calls himself a pragmatist and technologist. Avoids political labels, because that can maximize your coalition to build something new.

  • [[Srinivasa Ramanujan]] (mathematician) is one of his intellectual heroes. He would like to build things to identify talent like that, giving them opportunity to rise.
  • [[Lee Kuan Yew]] – a founding father of [[Singapore]]. He wrote a lot and gave many interviews. He had a great book “From Third World To First” #[[To Read]]. His work, and [[Singapore]] generally, defies traditional “left” and “right” political boundaries. This influenced his thought on finding pragmatic best outcomes and not just going down partisan routes. #politics #ideology

30:00 Advice for his young son in this new world: “probably want him to go Satoshi”. You can’t discriminate against Satoshi – competes completely on the basis of ideas. Also, mobs can’t take him down and ruin his reputation by attacking other aspects of their life. #[[Satoshi Nakamoto]] #pseudonymity #Parenting