Michael Dunworth is the co-founder of Wyre Payments. In this interview, we discuss Bitcoin, private keys and the role of technology in advancing human understanding. We also talk about the significance of security, identity, and the evolving nature of society in the digital age, when the challenges of distinguishing real from fake is becoming increasingly difficult.
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The internet has been transformative. But, could its benefits soon be outweighed by its disbenefits? Whilst it has enabled people to connect across the world in real-time, ironically, digital technology has had a significant negative impact on human connection and community. People are increasingly finding meaningful connections with disparate online communities at the expense of developing connections with people in their immediate surroundings.
Then there are the technical challenges. Technology has made it easier for impersonation and deepfake scams such that distinguishing real content from fake content has become increasingly difficult. There are plenty of examples of fake conversations involving well-known figures like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, which can deceive people into believing false information. The nature of identity in the digital age is therefore evolving quickly.
There is a need for identity verification. Potential solutions are being developed. A worrying number of these involve centralised control of the verification process. There are obviously huge second-order risks of this approach. Could public key cryptography be part of the solution to verify the authenticity of digital content without harming privacy? Could Bitcoin secure more than just monetary value?
But, how do we combat the atomisation of society caused by the internet? Will people regain a valuation in the importance of local communities, human connection and hard work, or, will technology continue to inflict damage on individuals, communities and the nation-state? Technology advances human understanding. But, it’s also swallowing humanity.