A chat with Feynman about crypto

AI like Open AI already allows you to create full articles from a simple sentence, and results are extraordinary. It’s hard to know if a text is created by a human or a machine. We have also seen AI like Dall-e 2 (Elon Musk, Open AI) or Imagen (Google) are now able to create images from a text following users requests. As I explained in this article, AI not only create an image from text but reproduces the style of any painter. We can now ask for “a painting of Dalí about Egypt” and the AI is able to reproduce Dali’s peculiar style and apply it to a specific topic.

But one of the most fascinating things to me, and we are close to achieve, is to reproduce the thinking of great intellectuals and scientists. Any one that we have enough information to define his style of thinking. And the amount of information we have of the most recent characters is enormous.

Technology already exists. You just need to train the AI algorithm with everything that person has written, said and done. In fact, how many times you said: my father here would say this. It’s the same. If you are a huge fan of an historical character, you can play the game of trying to figure out what would he do in a certain situation.

Do you imagine having a conversation with Albert Camús, Mandela or Salvador Allende? about any topic, actual or past? Some projects are working on it, although those that I tested are far yet from getting good results.

Do you imagine having a small chat with Richard Feynman about blockchain?

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Professor Feynman, what do you think about Bitcoin?

It seems to me that it is one of the most elegant ways I have ever seen to solve a complex problem such as double-spending with a peer-to-peer electronic cash system that doesn’t require any financial institution for validation. From a mathematical point of view it is a simple and elegant solution, beautiful by itself. It should be taught in schools, not to promote its use, but as an example of how to solve a complex problem by emerging different technologies.

Yes, but I don’t think they will teach it in schools, Bitcoin has bad press. The European Central Bank said recently that it has no intrinsic value while others think it’s the Holy Grail.

Once I turned down a job at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, they thought I was wonderful. Then I learned a principle: I’m not responsible for what people think I’m capable of doing.

(Laughs). I’ve heard about it, it’s called the imposter’s syndrome. It happened to me once. One day you discover yourself sitting in the director’s chair and you think, how dare they? What have these people seen in me?

Exactly, but the principle says: what they think about you is not your fault. I found out this principle and somehow helped me with the pressure. The same thing applies with Bitcoin. Bitcoin solves a mathematical problem beautifully, the rest is people’s problem. Some will think it’s worthless, some will have too many expectatives, it’s their problem.

You won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. Do you think that Satoshi Nakamoto should be awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics?

(Laughs). For me awards, honors, are horrible. I don’t like them at all. I don’t understand them. The prize is the pleasure of finding things out, the kick in the discovery, the observation that other people use it, those are the real things. Honors are unreal to me, and I think that Satoshi Nakamoto would agree with me, he never said: Hey, my name is Hal and I created the Bitcoin. 

I’m working as an analyst on a crypto investment fund, trying to understand how this market works, analyzing  trends and this sort of thing. Any tips to improve my job?

Try to find the rules of the game. One way, that’s kind of a fun analogy in trying to get some idea of what we’re doing in trying to understand nature, or physics. Is to imagine that the gods are playing some great game like chess, let’s say, and you don’t know the rules of the game, but you are allowed to look at the board, at least from time to time, in a little corner, perhaps, and from theses observations you try to figure out what the rules of the game are, what the rules of the pieces moving are. 

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That’s the most beautiful analogy of describing the financial market I’ve ever heard, professor. 

Well, I was talking about physics, (laughs) but I suppose it applies here also.

It’s incredible how much physicists advanced in discovering the rules of nature and how little we’ve done with the rules of the market.

That’s because social science is not a pure science. It’s a pseudoscience, so it’s harder to find immutable rules, but the mechanism, the science process to find the truth it’s the same. What do you know about financial markets by now?

We know some pieces of the board. For example, we have defined the whales, big players with the capacity of influence to move prices or attack and destroy cryptos like Terra/Luna. They would be like the queen in a chessboard. Full capacity of movement, in any direction. In bearish moments of the market like this one, they use to accumulate resources. We also know that small players, chess pawns, move depending more on some sensations, feelings, they feel euphoria and panic and they usually let their sentiments drive their decisions. But we barely know how many other pieces are on the board, how they move. We barely have a couple of good theories, Dow and Elliot curves for example, to understand the rules.

In physics we start by proposing theories. Once we have them we have to demonstrate that they apply in any situation, that’s the beauty of it. You have to find out the rule that applies so when you go back to the chessboard, you can predict, or at least, understand, the movement of any of the pieces. To do this, you have to create tools to check the board as often as possible, and measure those movements with the best precision.

One of the most fascinating things about Blockchain, from my point of view, is that, for the first time in history, we can have records of any movements in the market. The blockchain records all the transactions made by all the pieces from the beginning of the game. We have the record of the first Bitcoin mined! Fascinating. 

Can you imagine what it would be like for a physicist to have the record of all the movements made by an atom in its history since its creation? (Laughs). 

Our Head of Trading in the fund, Albert Salvany, comments almost every day in his Twich channel the tool that allows to see the whales movements in real time. We can see their color, red or green if they are moving forward or backward, and we can also see the velocity. It’s an amazing graph. And we are working with a new tool to capture all the movements in Decentralized exchanges like Sushiswap and Uniswap, so we can see exactly where the money comes from and where it goes, for every wallet, for every player, doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, so in the future, we will be able to recognize and understand the rules that apply to those movements just by deduction, by observation. We are about to do giant leaps in this field.

I understand your excitement, the door for new knowledge it’s being opened in front of you, this new measurement tools will help scientists to understand better why people act the way they do in the financial market. It’s the pleasure of finding things out.

Professor, thank you very much for sharing your wisdom. If you don’t mind, I’ll come back from time to time to have a chat with you.

Of course, you know where to find me.

Hope you enjoyed this imaginary little chat with AI Feynman. If you have any questions for him, or you would like to chat with any other historical character just leave a comment ;-).

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*All the Feynman answers are adapted from his books, interviews and videos. There’s a huge amount of material on the internet about him, there’s even a twitter account ;-). Most of those answers are adapted from the book “The pleasure of finding things out”.

Yours in crypto.