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Alex Gladstein: Bitcoin, Authoritarianism, and Human Rights | Lex Fridman Podcast #231

Alex Gladstein is the Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation and the Oslo Freedom Forum. Please support this podcast by checking out our sponsors:
– Stripe: https://stripe.com
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– Codecademy: https://codecademy.com and use code LEX to get 15% off
– NI: https://www.ni.com/perspectives
– Eight Sleep: https://www.eightsleep.com/lex and use code LEX to get special savings

EPISODE LINKS:
Alex’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/gladstein
The Little Bitcoin Book: https://littlebitcoinbook.com/
Human Rights Foundation: https://hrf.org/

PODCAST INFO:
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Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2lwqZIr
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2nEwCF8
RSS: https://lexfridman.com/feed/podcast/
Full episodes playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrAXtmErZgOdP_8GztsuKi9nrraNbKKp4
Clips playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrAXtmErZgOeciFP3CBCIEElOJeitOr41

OUTLINE:
0:00 – Introduction
1:34 – Universal human rights
15:34 – Authoritarianism
25:44 – AIs impact on civil liberties
37:07 – Edward Snowden and government surveillance
40:46 – Money
44:59 – Bitcoin
1:00:46 – Government response to Bitcoin
1:11:17 – The blockchain
1:16:40 – Can Bitcoin fail?
1:19:31 – Bitcoin scams
1:23:16 – Patriotism
1:25:39 – Human Rights Foundation
1:30:13 – Conflict with China
1:33:03 – Corporate accountability
1:48:25 – Garry Kasparov and the HRF
1:53:34 – Journalism, conversations, and truth
2:00:48 – Alex’s book recommendations
2:08:54 – Attacks on Bitcoin
2:10:34 – The future of humanity
2:14:55 – Advice for young people
2:26:12 – Meaning of life

SOCIAL:
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Written by Lex Fridman

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  1. Here are the timestamps. Please check out our sponsors to support this podcast.
    0:00 – Introduction & sponsor mentions:
    – Stripe: https://stripe.com
    – Paperspace: https://gradient.run/lex to get $15 credit
    – Codecademy: https://codecademy.com and use code LEX to get 15% off
    – NI: https://www.ni.com/perspectives
    – Eight Sleep: https://www.eightsleep.com/lex and use code LEX to get special savings
    1:34 – Universal human rights
    15:34 – Authoritarianism
    25:44 – AIs impact on civil liberties
    37:07 – Edward Snowden and government surveillance
    40:46 – Money
    44:59 – Bitcoin
    1:00:46 – Government response to Bitcoin
    1:11:17 – The blockchain
    1:16:40 – Can Bitcoin fail?
    1:19:31 – Bitcoin scams
    1:23:16 – Patriotism
    1:25:39 – Human Rights Foundation
    1:30:13 – Conflict with China
    1:33:03 – Corporate accountability
    1:48:25 – Garry Kasparov and the HRF
    1:53:34 – Journalism, conversations, and truth
    2:00:48 – Alex's book recommendations
    2:08:54 – Attacks on Bitcoin
    2:10:34 – The future of humanity
    2:14:55 – Advice for young people
    2:26:12 – Meaning of life

  2. I am speaking out of ignorance.
    Please understand that before you respond.

    It seems to me – and I have given this a lot of consideration and have listened carefully to a lot of videos, but I am not tech-savvy – that crypto-currency is a very, very cleverly put-together scam. Not scam as in the one that the Bulgarian crypto-currency woman pulled (Dr. Ruja Ignatova). Rather I think it is a long-term game, like the so-called "long-march" that the so-called "radical-left" is supposed to have pulled off so well in the socio-political arena.
    This business about "numbers go up" being used by greedy business people who will inadvertently cause "freedom go up" seems like a very clever scam to encourage wide-spread adoption of what will eventually turn out to be a completely readable record of every transaction that everyone has.
    I fully understand that this interviewee is claiming precisely the opposite, mentioning things like "coin-joining."
    For a long time (again I could be wrong, so don't allow yourself to get angry if you disagree), and I hope you can satisfy me that I am wrong, I have read about, and listened to people speak about, the increasing number of infringements of privacy (both overt and covert) and in particular the control of people's access to the right/ability to buy and sell. It's the ultimate way to control a population with very little effort and with complete data-availability.
    If you are tempted to snigger "conspiracy theorist" at this point, don't bother wasting your time – you will not be allowed to waste mine.

    Question.
    Without spending hours and hours – on top on what I have spent trying to understand without being tech-savvy – how can I satisfy myself that this is not just another very cleverly put-together scam of the nature I wrote about above?
    I am sure I will have more question later.
    Thanks for any clearly written non-tech explanations you can point me to.

  3. No, I don't think a Pride parade is by any means a good litmus test of assessing whether or not a society is free. For example, you can be openly gay in California and never face persecution. God help you if you refuse certain substances.

  4. I am probably going to have your most unpopular comment, but if we are talking about human rights. What about all of the completely innocent Infants that are murdered every year through abortion!! Don’t you think the blood of all of those innocent people destroyed without any voice is worth standing up for!! Yes you both sound caring and loving and I am sure you are. Being a voice for those murdered out of convenience is hard because people say that they are not human! But they are and their innocent blood cries out!! Who will be bold enough to stand for these beautiful innocent victims! How can we expect freedom and safety for anyone when we look the other way when innocent lives are taken! Nothing against either of you, I thank you for the content, but I believe any time human rights are considered, I believe the unborn must be discussed.

  5. Depends on if a community of minority’s is using propaganda to grow its numbers artificially! It depends on if the minority is using and abusing the majority! … The Tyranny of the minority is vary REAL!!! This guy doesn’t understand this !

  6. This is an important and fascinating dialogue. As much as I would love to have genius level intelligence, which could only be enhanced via AI,
    I am not optimistic that it will be permitted in current societies. The fact that Data is already controlled by Globalization does not point to the humanitarian use of Artificial Intelligence.

  7. I highly disagree with the idea that we can “rotate” the presidential administrations by voting we truly do not have a real voting system, the media literally crafts the image in line with what outcome they have selected and as an individual you don’t have a way to talk to and verify the choices of hundreds of millions of people so at a certain point you have to accept what information is available and when the only source of info on who was voted for most or won the most states is the mainstream media how do you know that the results of tens of millions of votes is what they say it is? You could only realistically ask a couple thousand people as an individual and you would still have tens of millions of people left to check with and make sure the narrative is true and when they control the narrative there’s no way to figure out what’s actually going on with the presidential election whatsoever.

  8. Free speech does not exist. This guys lives like in a dream. :¨In America there is freedom of speech¨…??? :¨politicians wants people to have a good life¨….wtf. How are you interviewing Lex? wtf ! Usa is not Authoritarian? wtf !!!! cut the bullshit !

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