Stanford Graduate School of Business Talk on AI, Robotics, and Smart Contracts

On April 9, 2015, Steve Omohundro spoke to the Stanford Graduate School of Business “High Tech Club” (thank you Damien and Naamah) about “AI, Robotics, and Smart Contracts”. Here are the slides as a pdf file. Many interesting questions and issues were explored. Lots of discussion of the impact for FinTech as AI systems build better models of actual economic activity in the world and act autonomously to trade on information. Discussion on the impact for new venture creation, valuation, and assessment of the likelihood of success. Discussion of “Decentralized Autonomous Organizations” (DAOs) and their impact on the future of business. These autonomous collections of “smart contracts” can buy and sell goods and services and create contracts with other participants in an economy. Emerging blockchain-based platforms like Ethereum (which should launch in the next few months) will enable a whole range of “machine to machine” transactions making up what economist Brian Arthur calls the “second economy”. Lots of discussion of how to regulate this new economy and who should and will be the regulator. Governments tend to avoid proactive governance and to wait until problems arise to begin dealing with them. But these new technologies are being developed so rapidly that we probably need a coherent vision for them well in advance of their deployment.

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