Robots are likely to hit male jobs first & hardest. Most futurists are men, what does that mean about how we narrate our futures? And what is it really like inside the vortex of endless Tinder hook-ups?
Challenging news from the biosphere as positive feedback loops bring climate change impacts forward. And much much more. Very rich edition for holiday reading!
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Dept of the near future
🔮 Reality is a simulation. If there are other civilisations to ours and if their technologies also grow exponentially, then it is possible we are living in one of their simulations. Weirdly, the physics also agrees. Thought-provoking
🙋 Most futurists are white men in their 60s. How could feminist critiques nudge us towards more nuanced visions of the future? Thoughtful
💏 Hooking up is the new sugar. Tinder allows us to binge on casual hook ups. This essay digs into this vigorous new anthropology. What will the impact be? Eye opening (Although 77% of online teen friendships don’t result in an in person meeting.)
🔥😬 The point of no return. The worst predicted impacts of climate change are already upon us. And thanks to stronger than expected feedback loops, they are happening faster than ever. Long, excellent
😸 Xiaoice is an AI chatbot used by millions of Chinese seeking empathetic conversation about anything. Built by Microsoft it uses text of the Web as a training corpus. Fascinating read
🌍 Was Chomsky right? MIT researchers claim to have found a common universal code underpinning language.
👴 A two-tier economy of frontier firms who take advantage of the productivity gains and others who don’t is emerging. Are bloated patent laws behind this? And is it unhealthy?
👨 Entrepreneurs not governments drive innovation, argues Peter Diamandis. Feels dogmatic & wonder if it should be balanced by Mazzucato.
Dept of referrals
Azeem’s Exponential Digest grows by warm referrals. If you are reading and enjoying, please forward this to three colleagues at work, from Uni or in your portfolio companies. Friendly recommendations work best ;)
Dept of artificial intelligence
Wonderful essay on the black box nature of neural nets and the weirdnesses they may be hiding. The implication: if we can’t understand the rules that are generating AI outcomes, we’ll be surprised by the things those AI might tell us. (We’ll discuss some of this in the Exponential Dinner on AI Ethics in London in September. Ping me if you want to attend.)
AI that helps our daily life and gives us back our time (or helps us do more with less), perhaps ‘augmented intelligence’ is the right term, is making real progress.
Persado helps digital marketers write better copy. (How about just less advertising?)
Some venture capitalists are using AI to augment their investment decisions.
One augmented intelligence app I am playing with is Crystal Knows which uses machine learning to predict the best communication style to use for any given recipient. My profile and link to service. Try it!
Dept of women and men
The automation of the work force is likely to hit men harder than women. The most automatable professions (driving, carpentry, anything involving grip strength or brute force calculation, like options trading) are overhwelmingly dominated by men. Jobs that require more strategic cognition and creativity are more gender balanced. And roles involving high empathy, furthest from the reach of our robot overlords, tend to attract vastly more women.
This has so many implications on society as a whole. After all, all those unemployed men will be chatting on Xiaioice when they aren’t swiping on Tinder. Perhaps time to re-read the Handmaid’s Tale, and reverse the roles.
👍 Great profile on Margaret Hamilton, the person who coined the phrase “software engineering” and led team the wrote the Apollo moon mission’s guidance software.
Separately, First Round capital looked at a decade of investing and found that women outperformed men on founding teams.
Nearly 90% of all Etsy sellers are women. The platform seems to have created a space for women to start businesses quickly and low capital intensity.
Longer reads for the beach
♨️ Eating spicy food makes you healthier, reducing the risk of heart disease, respiratory problems and many cancers. Indian mothers have know this a very long time.
⏃ The speed of light was measured to 99.99998% accuracy in 1879. Here is how. Beautiful story
🙋The last coal plant in New Zealand has powered down. Now it’s 90% renewable. Go Kiwis!
New maps reflecting shrinking arctic ice. Sad.
Bionic eye helps woman see again for the first time in a decade.
🇨🇳 How WeChat became the single interface to Chinese digital life. (I’m curious of the cultural differences between China and the ‘West’ which result in one-sized fits all apps there, and point-solutions here.)
Has Fitbit cracked the code to keep wearables on our arms rather than in our drawers?
How the Internet sees us. Lovely Medium post which vividly illustrates how human’s describe human concepts (like race and religion and emotion)
Obama orders an exascale computer. Should put the US ahead of China in the HPC stakes. (Also, thought governments stopped doing this stuff a long time ago.)
🐕 “The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.” A Chinese factory replaced 90% of humans with robots. Production soared. (No news on the dog, though.)
Graphene’s cousin, Stanene, a tin-based thin-film lattice, is now here.
What you are organising
💥 Reader Rodolfo Rosini is hosting an Unconference on Computational Intelligence next week. In London, Aug 15th. Should be a blast.
👾 Reader Cathy White is looking for female speakers involved in Artificial Intelligence or Virtual Reality for the GeekGirl Meetup UK upcoming conference, “Creativity, technology and the future”. Mail her with recommendations.
(If you are a reader and have interesting news whether it is a new patent, prototype, investment, exit, article, law suit, demo, paper, blog post or child, please let me know.)
Nick Perrett, Conor Ogle, Rodolfo Rosini & others.