The industrial revolution allowed us, for the first time, to start replacing human labour with machines.
When I was in grade five or six, I just remember quite a lot of people were always talking about me like I was some kind of math genius. And there were just so many moments when I realized, like, okay, why can't I just be like some normal person and go have a 75% average like everyone else.
A smart contract is a mechanism involving digital assets and two or more parties, where some or all of the parties put assets in, and assets are automatically redistributed among those parties according to a formula based on certain data that is not known at the time the contract is initiated.
I think people don't realise that running a piece of code that verifies some conditions for a financial transaction, that by itself is a lot less work than verifying a cryptographic signature, and so even if the virtual machine is inefficient, the cryptographic signature is still going to dominate.
I personally like hard forks. Particularly, I like the fact that they give users a measure of control, requiring them to opt in to protocol changes. Sure, they can be a little more chaotic if they're controversial, but that's the price of freedom.
When I came up with Ethereum, my first first thought was, 'Okay, this thing is too good to be true.' As it turned out, the core Ethereum idea was good - fundamentally, completely sound.