An intimate portrait of Geoff Hinton. Busting big tech for the good. Web 3.0. Demographics, big vs. small cities, and automation. Raising unbiased bots. Punks, outer space, and much more.
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DEPT OF THE NEAR FUTURE
💯 Scott Galloway'sessay on busting up big tech is a MUST READ.
👙 The death of clothing. Americans are buying fewer clothes.
🚨 Have self-driving cars stopped getting better, asks EV reader, Mark Harris. Self-driving cars power problem: “Our ride was often jolty as the car adjusted speed. It felt like a 16-year-old cab driver was at the wheel.” What it’s like to ride in Uber’s self-driving car.
🎯 Why the Web 3.0 matters and you should know about it. Slightly breathless outline of the future of the decentralized web.
💂 How do accelerators impact the development of start-up hubs? (Also, great analysis from Dealroom: London is still the European king for startup funding, but there are challenges ahead.)
DEPT OF WORK, AUTOMATION & INEQUALITY
Bain, a consultancy, published results of their research into demographics, automation and inequality, warning of increasing volatility. Interesting and challenging times ahead: “faced with market imbalances and growth-stifling levels of inequality, many societies may reset the government's role in the marketplace.” EXCELLENT read.
Will Denayer: How inequality is growing and why: “neoclassical recipes have decreased productivity [and] make investment in new technologies less rewarding.”
Automation may hit employment levels in smaller cities harder than larger cities. (Academic paper). Large cities just appear to be more resilient because they can support and supervise more specialised jobs, tend to be more innovative and harness the types of people willing to adapt and use emerging know-how.
The US milk industry may turn to robots as it becomes harder to find casual labour. (Despite the $8k annual cost for a robo-milker, more automated dairies are more profitable.)
Gorgeous story about the painting robot that didn't steal anyone's job, to the surprise of many: “the Whites hired their first robot painter, which increased the productivity of the human laborers by a factor of four.”
Robots fill gaps in eastern European factories.
- “Bitcoin” among the fastest-growing freelance skills in demand on Upwork.
- Germany’s largest trade union wins over the right to 28-hour work week. This is a milestone moment, showing workers' desire to effect a new balance between their work and private lives.
DEPT OF ALGORITHMS AND BIAS
Great essay on “raising” unbiased and respectful bots.
⭐ Interview with Virginia Eubanks about her new book: “My fear is that sometimes these systems act as empathy overrides—that we are allowing these machines to make decisions that are too difficult for us to make as human beings.”
Popular face detection algorithms recognise black female faces orders of magnitude less well than white male faces.
Uber female drivers earn less than male drivers. Interesting challenges for the design of algorithmic management systems.
SHORT MORSELS TO APPEAR SMART AT DINNER PARTIES
Photos of the subcultures that refuse to die (Mods and punks, anyone?)
👩🎤 How public music education elevated Sweden as the leading power in the global pop industry.
The observer effect in elections: election forecasts may reduce the turnout for the winning candidates.
Researchers reveal what the first Briton from 10,000 years ago looked like.
Police in China is using facial recognition glasses to scan travellers.
Really good machine learning benchmark comparing GPU performance, trade-offs and providers.
WHAT YOU ARE UP TO
A friend of EV, Gregor Macdonald, published the first part of his ebook on the energy transition: the story of how wind and solar break through the power grid, and revolutionise transportation.
Internet visionary and Grateful Dead lyricist, John Perry Barlow, has passed away. He was certainly an inspiring force in helping us understand the potential of the internet, that it might “create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.”
EV reader, John Battelle, remembers Barlow fondly. I only met Barlow once in person. It turned into a very late night as he waxed lyrical on the potential of the internet and technology, and the need to find a new consensus and set of rules for cyberspace. The meeting aside, I was certainly influenced by his ideas as I first learnt about the emerging cybersphere in the early 1990s.
Have a safe week,
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