Is globalization coming to an end? If so why. Have we reached the limits of GDP? Life-saving artificial intelligence. Demis Hassabis on his plans for AI. How would you solve the trolley problem? Teens and Snapchat. Putin and Trump. Climate change starts to bite. Silicon Valley’s sterile aesthetics.
SUPPORT EV: Donate via PayPal. (You choose the level. Thanks to all those who have.)
Dept of the near future
🌏 The international security implications of the end of globalization. **MUST READ. **“The 4th Industrial Revolution will unfold over the next couple of decades bringing amazing advances in manufacturing and services. Manufacturing, services, energy, and agriculture all seem to be moving to localized production. The net effect is slowing and may be reversing globalization. If this is happening, the basic assumptions undergirding sixty years of post-World War II prosperity and security will change too.” (Ties together AI, 3-d printing, trade and more.)
💰 GDP is a wildly unsuitable measure of well-being in the digital age. “It’s time to measure all the value that human beings produce around the world: networks of extraordinary value, digital assets of infinite use and reuse, and the new gig employment opportunities” THOUGHT-PROVOKING
💡 Tim O'Reilly: We need new rules for the economy. Time to replace “one of the failed rules of today’s economy: humans are expendable. Their labor should be eliminated as a cost whenever possible.” WORTHWHILE
🌟 Demis Hassabis on AI: “Ultimately the control of this technology should belong to the world, and we need to think about how that’s done.” EXCELLENT
🔥 Fantastic Q&A with Yann LeCun, one of the major research forces in deep learning. Somewhat more technical but a GREAT READ view on where the technology is heading.
Dept of artificial intelligence
Today we’re challenging that predominant media narrative of the threats from AI.
💡🚃 Up first, MIT Media Labs has built a trolley problem simulator to help inform the ethics of autonomous cars. Very playable - and a good opportunity to contribute to the discussion. ht @moia
Japanese doctors find IBM Watson diagnoses a rare leukaemia that they hadn’t spotted - potentially saving a patient.
Apple acquires a Seattle-based AI firm called Turi for $200m. Turi makes a distributed computing framework. This is an acquisition in the foundational technologies to strengthen machine learning and AI capabilities. (Or to borrow from Carlota Perez’s framework, this is an installation-phase technology, in common with many of Apple’s earlier machine learning acquisitions like Acunu and Topsy.)
Word vectors are a fascinating computational approach to understand human text. Great intro to them here. (Yann Lecun refers to them in the Q&A above).
Short morsels to appear smart at dinner parties
🔞 How teens really use Snapchat. Recommended reading if you are over 19.
🇷🇺 Trump and Putin. Who is using whom? (Wonderful essay from David Remnick)
🌧 Rain bombs, a weather phenom rising in frequency as a result of anthropogenic climate change are increasing. Ellicott City in Maryland has had two once-a-century storms in five years. Here is the data. (See also, rising sea-levels may leave a $1trn bill for US householders.)
July’s electric vehicle sales have surged.
Facebook’s plans for virtual reality. Good feature.
Is Silicon Valley spreading the same sterile design aesthetic around the world?
How is the Trump campaign affecting Trump’s business? Data from FourSquare.
🐘 Elephants pass on knowledge generation to generation.
Remember the alien megastructure Kepler spotted? It got weirder.
500 years worth of longevity survival rates. Things have really improved.
🐻 Feel-good Sunday. Video of a baby bear hugging a firefighter who saved it from a wildfire.
What you are up to
EV reader, Doc Searls on advertising: No-one owns your experiences. “If companies actually believe in free markets, they need to believe in free customers. Those are people who, at the very least, are in charge of their own experiences in the networked world.”
🇱🇰 I had a great vacation break exploring Sri Lanka. It is quite a special microcosm, with multiple climates, and the only place where you can spot whales in the morning and elephants in the afternoon. It has been sufficiently isolated yet occasionally connected (to India and via the Silk Route) to create some quirky cultural fusion. (For example, active Hindu shrines embedded inside working Buddhist temples). Recommended as a destination.