• Will an AI look at us like “house cats?”
  • PayPal’s ridiculous move…
  • What should The Perceptron target next?

Dear Reader,

Welcome to our weekly mailbag edition of The Bleeding Edge. All week, you submitted your questions about the biggest trends in technology. Today, I’ll do my best to answer them.

If we have a question we’d like answered in a future edition, we can submit it right here.

Now, let’s turn to the mailbag.

The darker side of artificial intelligence?

Hello Mr. Jeff Brown, I read your articles about artificial intelligence. I think you are too optimistic sometimes. I think you should also point out the bad sides of AI.

– Jonaem M.

Hi, Jonaem. You’re right that I’m an optimistic person by nature. As a technologist, it’s easy to see that time and again, technology has consistently proven to be the greatest tool we have to solve the world’s biggest problems. In that sense, I like to think of myself as a rational optimist.

But one of the greatest challenges the world will face over the next decade or so will be coping with the profound changes brought from advancements in technology and biotechnology. I often share this chart, but it’s a great illustration of what I’m talking about.

Human beings tend to be very good at predicting – and adapting to – linear change. Small, incremental changes give us humans time to adapt slowly and naturally. But that’s just not how technology accelerates.

We are at the sharp elbow of an exponential growth trend in virtually every area of advanced technology and biotechnology. This disruption between our linear “programming” and the exponential growth trend will unlock tremendous wealth and make our lives easier and more productive. But the degree of change will also be difficult to adjust to. It will all feel like it is happening too quickly.

And to your point, there is always the risk that bad actors will use advanced technologies for nefarious purposes. This has always been an issue and always will be. Artificial intelligence is a perfect example, Jonaem. And you’re not alone in worrying about this.

None other than Elon Musk stated that a supremely powerful artificial intelligence might one day look at humans as if we were “house cats.” That’s how advanced an artificial general intelligence could be compared to us humans.

Interestingly, this is one of Musk’s motivations for his brain-computer-interface company, Neuralink. Neuralink could eventually augment humans in a way that puts us on more similar footing with an advanced AI. I recognize that might seem unsettling.

I actually deeply share your concerns. More than any time in history, bleeding edge technology like artificial intelligence is widely available. Some of the most advanced algorithms are open sourced for anyone to use.

And it’s remarkably inexpensive to tinker with genetic editing of viruses, as we have painfully learned during the pandemic. The risk of cyber-attacks, damage from AI, or bioterrorism has never been higher.

And while individuals or small groups are capable of using this kind of technology for malicious purposes, it’s actually governments and transnational non-elected organizations that are of greater concern to me.

I worry about the application of AI to power a social credit score system like what’s already in place in mainland China. The Chinese government is using technologies like facial recognition to catch people doing things like jaywalking or smoking in non-smoking areas. These “infractions” are then counted against us and affect our social credit score.

For any readers who are interested, the ethical implications of advanced technologies was one of the topics I discussed with Glenn Beck when I was a guest on his show back in 2019. Any readers who missed that can catch up right here.

Jonaem, thanks for your question. The reality is that it’s up to us to help police our governments, vote for those who abhor the use of technology in these dangerous ways, and fight back against those who cause harm by misusing technology. This battle will most certainly intensify, and we’ll continue to explore these issues in The Bleeding Edge.

An alternative to PayPal?

Hey Jeff,

I was appalled when I read your update about PayPal’s recent announcement. Can’t any business stand on its own two feet instead of going with the mainstream flow?


Do you have any suggestions for a TRUSTWORTHY online payment service?

Thanks in advance. I appreciate your insight.

– Shawn

Shawn, I absolutely share your frustration and disappointment with PayPal. For any readers that missed the story, PayPal announced a new Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that empowers it to subject users to damages of $2,500 per violation, “which may be debited directly from your PayPal account(s).”

A “violation” is defined as “sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials that, in PayPal’s sole discretion, are harmful, obscene, harassing, or objectionable,” or “are fraudulent, promote misinformation, or are unlawful.”

In essence, PayPal wants to take our money for the “crime” of spreading what they deem to be “misinformation.” It’s beyond ridiculous.

I think PayPal has great technology. And it’s one of the greatest success stories in high technology of the past twenty years. But the company has become a bad actor when it comes to respecting free speech and its customers.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so. As I shared on Monday, former PayPal president David Marcus had some choice words for the company he used to work for.

Former PayPal Exec Responds to New Policy

Source: Twitter

You raise a good question, Shawn. If we can’t rely on PayPal, are there any alternatives?

First of all, stay away from Venmo if you can. It’s a very convenient service, but unfortunately it is owned by PayPal. 

A better alternative for iPhone users is Apple Cash. Apple hasn’t been perfect, and it did ban and censor applications in its app store over the last couple of years, but I seriously doubt it would threaten to deduct money from someone’s account.

Another good alternative is Block’s (formerly Square) Cash App. Block’s Cash App is essentially a competitor to PayPal. It provides peer-to-peer (P2P) money transferring and offers banking services through its partners. It’s a great product, and it’s one of the reasons why I like Block (SQ) as a long-term investment.

And I also trust the executives at Block more than PayPal. Block’s CEO is Jack Dorsey – founder and former CEO of Twitter. I know some readers may not be a fan of Dorsey. After all, he was CEO of Twitter as the company de-platformed accounts, including a sitting president. 

Dorsey has always been a bit of an enigma. On one hand, he presided over a company that is the poster child for online censorship. On the other hand, he’s also a vocal advocate for blockchain technology, which – by design – is censorship-resistant.

We recently got some insight into Dorsey’s views on what Twitter has become. As part of Musk’s court proceedings surrounding the Twitter acquisition, several text messages were entered into evidence. Some of those messages were between Musk and Dorsey.

Here are some of Dorsey’s comments:

“…a new platform is needed. It can’t be a company. This is why I left.”

“…you have a surface area that governments and advertisers will try to influence and control.”

Reading between the lines, it’s clear to me that Dorsey was never comfortable with what Twitter had become. And, for now at least, I’ll choose to believe that he really does believe in a more fair, open, and censorship-resistant society.

And as the CEO of Block, I hope he’ll carry those principles over to Cash App. Again, not perfect, but far better than PayPal.

On top of that, there’s Zelle, which is linked to fintech giant Fiserv. This is a good alternative as well. And of course, the Web3 community would tell us that we should just pay each other in cryptocurrency and avoid all these Web2 services entirely. Unfortunately, transaction costs can be prohibitive for cryptocurrencies like ether or bitcoin, and the reality is that most peer-to-peer payments are made in fiat currencies.

Where will The Perceptron go next?

Jeff, a quick question from a lifetime member…love your research. My question. Will the Perceptron be trained to use on the stock market at some time in the future? Keep up the great work!!

– Michael Z.

Michael, you’re ahead of the game on this one.

For the benefit of newer readers, The Perceptron is the name we’ve given to a proprietary neural network that I’ve built – alongside a specialist in the field – to do one thing: find digital assets on the verge of shooting higher.

For a fuller explanation of the technology, readers can catch up here.

To start, we “aimed” The Perceptron at the world of digital assets (cryptocurrencies). It is a great market with incredible amounts of data that is not well understood. It has been a great first “target” for The Perceptron. At the moment, The Perceptron has an 86% win rate on the seven closed out positions… with an average gain of 21.9% over the last seven months. It’s still early, but this is very promising, especially considering that the cryptocurrency market has been in a bear market all year. We can’t wait to unleash The Perceptron when the bull comes back.

But your instincts are correct, Michael. With some adjustments, The Perceptron could be targeted at other asset classes. That has been my plan all along.

The reality is, it doesn’t matter how smart I am – or my team – is; no one person or team of persons can possibly “see” everything that is happening in the public markets in real-time. But an artificial intelligence can. It can actively track thousands of assets and find arbitrage opportunities, notice strange buying patterns in the market, and predict price movements within a certain timeframe. It is such powerful technology with incredible potential that I can’t wait to leverage it even more in my research.

I can’t reveal too much right now, but I will say that my team and I have been busy at work on my next two potential applications for The Perceptron. I should have more updates for my subscribers early next year. And Michael, as a member of Brownstone Unlimited, you’ll be among the first to test The Perceptron’s new capabilities.

In fact, this would be a good opportunity to ask subscribers what future updates they’d like to see from The Perceptron.

An AI-powered equity trading program? What about commodities? Or Forex? Any other clever ideas? I’d be interested to hear your feedback. Feel free to drop me a note via the link below.

That’s all the time we have this week. Remember, if you’d like me to answer one of your questions, send me a note at [email protected]. I’ll do my best to get to it in a future mailbag.


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge