The Energy Behind Cryptocurrency And More On This Week's CTRL ALT Delete Segment On CHOM 97.7 FM

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Every Monday morning at 7:10 am, I am a guest contributor on CHOM 97.7 FM radio out of Montreal (home base). It’s not a long segment – about 10 minutes every week – about everything that is happening in the world of technology and digital media. The good folks at CHOM 97.7 FM are posting these segments weekly on i Heart Radio, if you’re interested in hearing more of me blathering away about what’s going on in the digital world. I’m really excited about this opportunity, because this is the radio station that I grew up listening to, and it really is a fun treat to be invited to the Mornings Rock with Terry DiMonte morning show. The segment is called, CTRL ALT Delete with Mitch Joel.

This week we discussed: 

  • Cryptocurrencies and their technology platforms (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) are tough to wrap our heads around – from understanding what they are to why the markets are going crazy over them. As governments try to figure out what do about bitcoin mining, Chinese companies have been eyeing Canada. Quebec, in particular. It turns out that cryptocurrency mining is a huge power suck. So, countries like China (where some of the largest mining farms are) are looking for other regions to continue their work. Cryptocurrency mining consume a lot of energy, because it uses computers to solve complex math puzzles to validate transactions in the cryptocurrency, which are written to the blockchain, or digital ledger (complex, like I said). The first miner to solve the problem is rewarded in bitcoin, and the transaction is added to the blockchain. Hydro Quebec described a potential sales pipeline of around thirty large cryptocurrency mines after a campaign by them to attract data centres to the province triggered a ton of interest from bitcoin miners. Manitoba wants in on it too. Interesting times.
  • Last week talked about my Maclean’s article, Why Facebook is cleaning up the neighborhood, about how Facebook will be amping up what we see from our friends and family, and throttling even more organic content from brands and corporate entities. Now, Facebook is about to launch a ranking tool to decide which news outlets are trustworthy. How will they do this? Complex algorithms? Hire thousands of people to monitor? Nope. Us. We will do it. Facebook announced last Friday that they will use surveys to rate news organizations and assign them trust score. Do we trust one large corporation to decide which news is trustworthy? Do we believe in the wisdom of the crowd?
  • Robots can’t take our jobs, right? Especially jobs that are more cerebral and less physical, right? Not so fast. Last week, an artificial intelligence program built by Alibaba and Microsoft beat humans on a Stanford University reading comprehension test. The scariest part of this news item? This quote: “Luo Si, the chief scientist of natural language processing at the Chinese company’s AI research group, called the milestone ‘a great honor,’ but also acknowledged that it will likely lead to a significant number of workers losing their jobs to machines.” Ouch. 
  • App of the Week: Google Arts & Culture.