Gleb Lisikh

Cashless Society?
Most of us might think that, what with credit cards, e-transfers and online banking, money has pretty much already gone digital. But the Bank of Canada is busily working on a much bigger transformation. Canada is one of more than 100 countries worldwide that are studying, developing or even implementing central bank digital currency (CBDC). CBDC is marketed as a convenient replacement for cash once it disappears from use, as a way to provide access to financial services for the “underbanked,” and as a bulwark against volatile cryptocurrency. Gleb Lisikh untangles this little-known phenomenon and finds that, contrary to its billing, CBDC is both unnecessary and dangerous.
Cashless Society?
For many Canadians, figuring out the differences between a savings account and chequing account is all the banking knowledge they really want. Understanding how Bitcoin works or what a blockchain does seems overwhelming and irrelevant. Yet knowing your way around these digital banking innovations may soon prove vital to protecting your privacy and pushing back against government overreach. Using the experience of last year’s Freedom Convoy as his guide, Gleb Lisikh explains the nuances of cryptocurrencies, their strengths – and weaknesses – as bulwarks against financial censorship and why the Bank of Canada is suddenly so interested in creating its own cashless currency.
Artificial Intelligence
Much of the recent panic over artificial intelligence and generative applications like ChatGPT has been over its capacity to fake or supplant real human endeavour: students can use it to write essays, companies can use it to replace workers. But in a world where public discourse is increasingly created and spread by machine, other dangers lurk – like built-in political biases and attempts to manipulate users. Drawing inspiration from The Matrix’s famous red pill that awakened its hero to unsettling reality, Gleb Lisikh pokes at ChatGPT to see if pointed questioning and factual evidence can persuade it to amend its worldview. But if an ability to change opinion based on evidence is part of real intelligence, Lisikh finds, perhaps AI is more artificial than intelligent after all. Part II of a special series. Part I is here.
Power of Narratives
Two of the basic things governments and public health officials needed to know to gauge the dangers of Covid-19 and plan the response were: how many transmissible cases were out there, and how lethal the virus really was. It turns out they didn’t really know either. Perhaps, gripped by their narrative of panic, they didn’t want to know. Gleb Lisikh reveals how skewed interpretation of the standard Covid-19 test combined with public health policies of inflating Covid-19 death numbers led to massive overestimation of the pandemic’s scale. If there is a next time, then before they shut down the world economy and destroy personal freedoms, they might want to make sure they get the numbers right.
The New Racism
When his son was disqualified from a summer course offered by his local high school because he wasn’t black, Gleb Lisikh was troubled, but curious. Surely such discriminatory and segregationist practices could not be sanctioned by Ontario’s Ministry of Education. So began a disturbing odyssey through the province’s human rights machinery, where Lisikh found discrimination not just tolerated but encouraged, provided the targets were of the correct race. He also soon discovered that “race” itself has been reimagined as a “social construct” that includes everything from diet and clothing to leisure preferences – things that not long ago were reviled as odious stereotypes. This is Lisikh’s account.

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