If work doesn’t work, what’s next? Should robots have rights? Rules for thinking about the future. The sad banality of fake news. The insanity of climate change. Machine learning will separate successful firms from failures. Counting the neurons in the human brain. How turkeys are growing. Tattoos.
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Dept of the near future
👷 Does work work? James Livingston: “[W]ork means everything to us [as] inhabitants of modern market societies.. . It’s been the medium of most of our thinking about the good life since Plato correlated craftsmanship and the possibility of idea” but “there’s not enough work to go around, and what there is of it won’t pay the bills”. What happens next? THOUGHT PROVOKING
🤖 If animals have rights, should robots? Nathan Heller in the New Yorker: “[The] future urges us to get our moral goals in order now. A robot insurgency is unlikely to take place as a battle of truehearted humans against hordes of evil machines. It will probably happen in a manner already begun: by a symbiosis with cheap, empowering intelligences that we welcome into daily life.” EXCELLENT
🔮 Vivek Wadhwa: The six new technology rules that will govern our future.
🗞 Fake news. It’s banal but it really just is about the money. An interview with a fake news mogul from an LA suburb and half-a-world away with fake news entrepreneurs from Tblisi. ENLIGHTENING (Also read how Tim O'Reilly checks the veracity of news.)
📈 Four megatrends affecting our future: Reasonably nice graphic-rich view from HP.
Dept of climate change
🔥 Will Denayer on climate change: three tales about extraordinary insanity MUST READ
Fiona Harvey: Will the current arctic ice melt trigger an uncontrollable climate change?
How long have we known about climate change? Nearly 200 years argues Katherin Heyhoe.
Dept of machine learning
Machine learning is becoming an essential part of the business toolkit, and a new digital divide will emerge between firms who get it and those who don’t, argues Professor Enrique Dans:
“In short, very soon, companies will be divided between those who are able to take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning for their day-to-day operations, and those that continue to operate as they always have, making them much less productive and much more unpredictable”
Woe betide any firm that isn’t investing in the discipline in a structured way.
But ML is still very hard because getting to work, debugging it and optimising it becomes exponential harder than ordinary programming. Here is a very clear explanation by Zayd Enam. GOOD READ
In Cameras, ecommerce and machine learning, Benedict Evans argues:
We should expect that every image ever taken can be searched or analyzed, and some kind of insight extracted, at massive scale. Every glossy magazine archive is now a structured data set, and so is every video feed. With that incentive (and that smarthone supply chain) far more images and video will be captured.
- Quick, Draw: fantastic game the lets you put a Google neural net to the test. RECOMMENDED
- Interview with Jaan Tallinn, founder of Skype, on the existential threat of AI.
- Intel’s commitment to AI is so significant that I am actually linking to a press release.
- AWS selects MXnet as its framework of choice for deep learning
- Zero-shot translation with Google. Interesting visualisations of the internal representations learnt by the machine
- Feature engineering is sometimes better than deep learning
Exponential Salon: The Future of Longevity
Our last event of the year is a dinner salon on the Future of Longevity.
Our lead interlocutor is Dr Shamil Chandaria, Shamil is a philosopher, having had a successful career in finance, artificial intelligence, med-tech and technology. It’ll be a superb discussion on how we might live longer lives and how we’ll need to lead those longer lives well.
The evening will also feature Katz Kiely on the how to manage change in an ever-changing world.
The event will be participatory and include dinner and drinks. In keeping with the topic, we’re serving a luxury vegetarian feast.
If you’ve been enjoying Exponential View this year, this dinner event will be a good chance to meet some of your co-readers.
December 5th in London.
Short morsels to appear smart at dinner parties
🌟 Our 86-billion neurons. Excellent review of neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel’s breakthrough work in understanding the brain.
Renaissance’s Medallion Fund has pumped out 80% annual returns for nearly three decades. Great profile
Apple fanboy? You’ll have clicked “I agree” to 100,000 words of legalese
🇸🇳 Senegal introducing a blockchain-based ecurrency
🗺 Seven billion people in six minutes. How humanity spread [video]
Psychological dispositions of liberals, libertarians and conservatives. (Fascinating four-year-old paper.)
I am in San Francisco this week with a packed schedule.
Flew over yesterday which is why we have a shorter & later EV than usual. Turns out editing it on a plane without internet access isn’t so easy.
We have a meet-up on Thursday co-hosted by Lux Capital and SVB. It’s pretty full but you can still register here. Will be great to meet in person.
Have a great week!