Magic Leap’s magic leap; the tech industry designs our life, and it matters; are we nearing the edge of the planetary boundary? The availability of data is the real trigger for our AI progress. How Copenhagen weaned itself of cars, and why car manufacturers may be liable for autonomous vehicle accidents. The new monied caste system and Victorian Balloonists.
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Dept of the near future
🔮 Magic Leap: the incredibly hot company bringing mixed reality to the mainstream. MUST READ Wired profile by Kevin Kelly.
🌟 The tech industry designs our life, and it matters. There is a “fundamental misalignment– between what the attention economy is competing to produce and the aspirations people have for their lives” ESSENTIAL READING from Tristan Harris. (See also EV#54 on technology as social experiment).
🔥 The planetary boundary: “An impending clash of global warming and the planetary boundary, as it exceeds 50%, may very well trigger unimaginable colossal ecological collapse similar to an asteroid collision.” IMPORTANT
💡 With new technologies, perfection tends to arrive just before obsolescence. Great historical perspective by Benedict Evans. VERY RELEVANT
👻 The Gimmick economy: “Capitalism and Communism which briefly resembled victor and vanquished, increasingly look more like Thelma and Louise; a tragic couple sent over the edge by forces beyond their control.” **THOUGHT PROVOKING
Dept of artificial intelligence
💥 “Perhaps the most important news of our day is that datasets—not algorithms—might be the key limiting factor to the development of human-level artificial intelligence.” MUST READ
Also: this readable blog post shows some great evidence for the above conjecture. The algorithms which marked a milestone in AI progress pre-dated that datasets used to train them by 15 years on average.
AI trainer - a job for the 21st century. Meet the humans who power chatbots.
“Algorithms are like a very small child … They learn from their environment.” Columbia Journalism Review on the algorithms that rule our lives.
Starcraft, the computer strategy game, which is "all about bluffing” is the next target for AI researchers in Google and Facebook.
Demystifying Deep Reinforcement Learning: really nice blog post explaining the DeepMind paper. (Some maths or ML exposure required.)
Dept of future transport
🚴🏼 Copenhagen weaned itself of cars by better accounting. A kilometer cycled adds 18 cents to society, a kilometer driven costs society 16 cents.
Who is responsible when a self-driving car crashes? Most likely the manufacturer, and they don’t seem to mind.
Lithium prices double as Tesla and other tech giants scramble for the metal.
🇦🇹 Apple’s new car may be built by a contract manufacturer in Austria.
The car rental industry in the US is being hammered as business travellers switch to Uber.
Greylock’s Simon Rothman on how Uber used money as a weapon to win.
Exponential Dinner #6 - The Age of Em
Exponential Dinners are private, participatory intimate dinners where EV readers can sit in conversation with a world expert on a relevant topic.
Our next dinner is on the topic of Work, Life and Love in the Age of Robots. Our discussion leader is Professor Robin Hanson of George Mason University & Future of Humanity Institute. Robin has been studying the impact of machine intelligence for more than 30 years and brings a deep economic & historical lens to the question.
Dinner is at 7pm on May 16th in London; the cost will be £75.
If you are interested in attending, please register your interest here. (This event will be oversubscribed.)
Short morsels to appear smart at dinner parties
🎈 “No inconvenience followed my insensibility.” Gorgeous tale of the Victorian balloonists who ascended to 37,000 ft and almost killed themselves.
💎 The velvet rope economy is the new caste system. Luxury and equality in the age of privilege.
These 216 words used to describe emotion and relationships have no counterpart in English. (h/t @doctorow)
🐬 Dolphin chatter appears to exhibit advanced syntax, how it will help us understand non-human intelligence. (Also, great review of Fran der Waal’s new book, Are We Smart Enough to Know how Smart animals are?)
Ravens score as highly as chimps on cognitive tests. How come brain size doesn’t matter?
Your ‘brainprint’ is unique - and we can now recognise it with 100% accuracy.
Bitcoin is becoming as stable as gold. Might increase confidence as a store of value.
The average web page is now as 'heavy’ as the original Doom install image. (Recall: Doom was a 3-d first person shooter from the mid-90s).
What you are up to
Recent EV subscriber, Nick Corston, is on a mission to connect kids, creativity & businesses through new educational methods. He has a gathering in London on May 24th. Looks really worthwhile.
Thanks to everyone who replied to the reader survey. We’re humbled by our NPS (just over 70) and it’ll drive us hard to keep it going.
Also, I’m really keen to balance the gender split of the EV readership (currently estimated at 76:24 male/female). Open to advice. Or even more helpfully, please recommend female friends to sign up.