COSM A Technology Summit

Innovate Our Way To Freedom


There is a future after lockdown that promises to be better than the present. The power of the private sector to make wealth – unfathomable amounts of it – is still there. Technological know-how has enduring power to survive the worst political attacks. The engine of entrepreneurship can be unleashed in an instant; it only needs the boot off the neck.

These are the kinds of issues I work on daily, attempting to find and flag the great innovations that define our future. I will be speaking at what looks to be a great event: COSM Technology, November 11-12, 2020, at the Bellevue, Washington, Hyatt Regency. Anyone can attend; you can get your tickets here

I explain further, in this special note below

Crossing the chasm of Covid, escaping the snares of Life After Capitalism, doffing our masks and mental diapers, we’re rushing toward the COSM!

That’s our new Internet and financial web annual technology festival in Bellevue, Washington. This one is at the Hyatt Regency from November 10th to 12th. The architecture spans and transcends the globe.

Speakers will be Peter Thiel, Bob Metcalfe, Kai Fu Lee, Niall Ferguson, Ari Emanuel, Newt Gingrich, Andy Kessler, Jim Tour, Carver Mead, and among others, me. I’ll be debating some of these guys to keep them suitably down-to-earth and cosmic.

In particular, I will try to abate the fevers of Gingrich, author of a book on China policy that foresees some benefit from a new cold war, and of Niall Ferguson, who believes that modern technology promotes doom.

We’ll be distributing their books, but hey, splashing some cold water on their pages and palls of incendiary pessimism. At COSM, we know better.

COSM is a national summit on the realities of ascendant technology and the political myths of economic decline. By objective indices pioneered at Discovery Institute, economic growth is at least twice as fast as the pace measured by economists. Gauged correctly—by the working time in hours and minutes it takes to buy goods and services rather than by the manipulative morass of global monies—the world is now enjoying a golden age of ever-broader-based prosperity. Yet, best-selling books and winning political campaigns focus on stagnation and poverty, pandemic and climate catastrophe. The question is why, and how we can upend the dialog of doom.

Up with Innovation! 

Held in the blessed, sylvan sweet spot of the Pacific Northwest, the summit illuminates the synergy between Seattle and the world and provides a scene of civilized conversation and exchange. It highlights the global tide of innovations from this pullulating pacific haven of leading tech companies and celebrates human creativity and invention, while examining threats to its continued dominance both here and abroad.

Provoking debate and deliberation on the cosmic unities fusing apparently divergent technologies and conflicting empires, our mission is to acclaim the accomplishments, while reclaiming the values and virtues that made them possible. From artificial intelligence and blockchain to 5G and WiFi6, from tokenized time to autonomous vehicles, from cloud computing to the biotech revolution, from the “spatial web” to the efflorescence of space flight, it is all ascending in Seattle, and at COSM.

Participants at COSM will explore how technology intersects with government regulation, antitrust illusions, international conflict, the “outside trading scandal”, real creative investment, and the triumph of the free human spirit. Through keynote speeches and Q&A, panel discussions, parties, and ample informal gatherings, attendees will interact with national technology leaders, industry peers, and colleagues.

But the heart of the COSM is the launch of new paradigms of future technology. In the spirit of my book, Life After Google, we will be introducing a radical new path to transcendence of all the current platforms, social networks, search engines, and content suppliers of the existing Internet.

Introducing the new technology paradigms of our era, COSM moves from wafer scale to nano scale, from the reinvention of property in Non-Fungible Tokens to the reinvention of global capital markets on blockchains.

We’ll be provoking debate and deliberation on the cosmic unities fusing apparently divergent technologies.

The Price of Time 

Crucial is the time price revolution: the view that the real value of anything is measured by the time it takes for a worker to earn the money to buy it.

It sounds simple and even obvious. In my theory, it stems from the information theory of money as time. Money must be scarce to mediate transactional tradeoffs and priorities. Time is the economic resource that remains scarce when all else becomes abundant. 

Money is the device that enables the scarcity of time to be fungibly translated into transactions and valuations. It’s tokenized time. Everything in economics—indeed nearly all metrics in science—must finally be defined in terms of hours and minutes and seconds. When governments manipulate money, they are really rebelling against time.

The time-price method of gauging value and economic progress is a huge breakthrough. It can transform nearly all economic calculations and assumptions, from the rate of economic growth, to the weight of debt, to the degree of inequality to advance of technology, to the impact of atmospheric CO2 to the level of true interest rates.

Time-prices open a pandora’s wealth of questions and problems. In science, what is first encountered as an interesting curiosity becomes the key to broad understanding. Signs of magnetism and electricity in amber (electra) emerge as the pervasive condition of all matter and energy. Initial anomalies of shocks and attractions ultimately led James Clerk Maxwell in 1865 to discover and calculate the velocity of light in any medium without carrying out any physical experiments. 

My daughter, Louisa, wrote a major book on quantum “entanglement,” The Age of Entanglement (Knopf, 2008). The uncanny linkages between photons at huge distances began as an elusive and enigmatic effect. For a long time it was dismissed as a possibly deceptive figment of the statistics or influence of the measuring gear.

Now physicists recognize quantum entanglement as a property of all light everywhere. It is the enabler of the growing fashion of “quantum computing” that we will be discussing at COSM. 

When I wrote Knowledge and Power (2013), I stumbled on time-prices in writing a chapter entitled “The Light Dawns”. It told the story of William Nordhaus, the Yale professor who demonstrated that prevailing accounts of economic history underestimate real economic growth by a factor of nearly a hundred thousand.

This is an exponential “oops!” moment, where an existing paradigm resoundingly gives way.

Now we face a possible collapse of many favored paradigms in Life After Google and beyond. Climate change competes with COVID as an insidious brain blight afflicting much of western physical and social science, stultifying not only the Nobel Prize committee, but such publications as The New York Times and The Economist. 

Strange fears have even induced people across the country to cover millions of acres of otherwise useful land with windmill totem poles and druidical sunhenges, and their faces with masks. Strange fantasies induced Time Magazine completely to lose all sense of proportion last year and name as its “Person of the Year” the crazed Swedish 14-year-old Greta Thunberg.

But I digress.

As explained by Gale Pooley of BYU and Discovery Institute and Marian Tupy of Saint Andrews and Cato Institute, time prices obviate such claims by combining in one number the two key effects of innovation: the rise in wages and the decline in costs. Prices are subjective. Workers decide what to buy with their hours of toil. Gauging the value is only the number of hours and minutes a typical person is willing to spend to earn the money to buy it.

Forget all the “hedonic” adjustments and estimates of what things are truly worth. All you have to do is divide the number of hours of work into gross domestic product, however it is calculated. The result is the time price of GDP. 

If it is a socialist regime, the basket of goods will be heavily determined by some oligarchy. Under capitalism, the oligarchs have to manipulate a political process. Free markets enable the worker to buy what he wants. 

As Pooley and Tupy show, globally since 1980, despite all the monetary noise and the cultural “headwinds,” workers have been able to buy some 700 percent more goods and services with their hours and minutes. Despite claims of “extreme weather,” agricultural and marine commodities have become radically cheaper. No need to figure out the physical efficiencies and yields of every item in the basket. Just compute the hours and minutes of work and divide them into any monetary measure of the relevant part of the economy.

It’s cosmic, and you all are invited to join the carnival of ideas in Bellevue in November. Register now.