Electric cars & the end of oil; prejudice in AI; bitcoin’s crisis; the next computer platforms; immortality; measuring consciousness; Somalia’s financial leap; the Mir space station. Enjoy the smorgasbord!
Dept of the near future
☀️ Electric cars will cause the next oil crisis. OUTSTANDING Bloomberg NEF report - electric cars will be cheaper that petrol ones by 2022.
⚖ Priors and prejudice: “There is no such thing as general purpose induction, and if we want our models generalize from data like us then they need to have the same inductive biases we have.” STRONG, technical overview on building AI systems.
👷 “We must seriously start talking about decoupling income from work.” EV subscriber, Scott Santens on the case for Universal Basic Income. EXCELLENT
💰Bitcoin “is experiencing a crisis that didn’t really have any parallels in the early days of the Internet”. MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito on the risks to bitcoin & the blockchain.
💡The mobile era is over. Venture capitalist, Chris Dixon, on What’s Next in Computing. MUST READ, especially if you aren’t in the tech industry.
😇 Immortality beckons: “If you’re alive in 30 years, chances are good you may also be alive in 1000 years” MIND-OPENING
Dept of artificial intelligence
I have been thinking about the notion that artificial intelligence poses a slim but grave risk to humanity. We have private initiatives (such as Deepmind’s ethics board), OpenAI and academic groups, like Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute. But do these disparate efforts actually translate into a coherent approach? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
How to think about bots: “Excitement about bots is palpable at the moment. This is partially because the creative, political, legal and ethical futures of this technology are so open. Semi-autonomy, the dual human-computer nature of bots, provides fodder for all sorts of revolutionary production and reception.”
🌟Modern day hero. Roger Anderson “wages battles against evil telemarketers, tweaking and honing a robot that can talk endlessly to telemarketers, wasting their time so they don’t have to waste yours.”
🌎 Google’s PlaNet can determine the location of a photo better than a human.
⨍ The role of the artist in making machine learning understandable to the public. (Repost from last week with correct URL)
Dept of consciousness
🔮 Who is to say our machines don’t already have minds? And how can we tell. SUPERB ESSAY by George Musser on consciousness, integrated information theory and Φ. As I have written before, Tononi’s integrated information theory revives panpsychism, the idea the consciousness is everywhere. The notion that your thermostat might display some degree of consciousness make many uncomfortable. The theory seems to be gaining ground as a route of investigation.
Nicole Rorsheitz published a nice primer on the current state of consciousness research covering off The Western Scientific Method, Eastern Self-Examination, and TAmerindian Internal Observation. (Suitable for the lay reader.)
Short morsels to appear smart at dinner parties
💸 Necessity is the mother of invention. How instability has transformed Somalia into a cashless society
🙁Climate change takes from the poor and gives to the rich.
US photovoltaic installations are going through the roof. #YAY
Tesla’s summon feature lets the car park in impossibly tight spots. (Cool video)
Blockstack provides decentralized namespaces that can be used to point at resources and at identities.
AirBNB is struggling in London. Here is why.
How the porn industry is using AirBNB rentals as film sets.
We’ve discovered the tetraneutron.
The man who made the worst video game of all time.
🚀Fires, collisions & mould: the Mir space station was a true superstar.
Exponential Dinner #5
Exponential Dinners are private, participatory intimate dinners where EV readers can sit in conversation with a world expert on a relevant topic.
Consciousness is probably the most interesting problem in science. I am delighted to have Anil Seth, Professor of Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience, University of Sussex, lead us in a discussion: “What in the world is consciousness?”
Dinner is at 7pm on March 21st in London.
If you are interested in attending, please sign-up here.
P.S. If you are a product manager with consumer internet experience, I am hiring for my team in London. Ping me if you’re interested.