On the Facebook news feed; understanding active matter; the anthropocene is here; technology’s biggest impact; the robot economy; finally, a use for economists; Moore’s Law, monkey’s and chimeras.
Dept of the near future
😀 The Facebook newsfeed is the most powerful media-control tool ever, determining the reading list of over a billion of us. Here is how it works. (EXCELLENT although a bit hagiographical.)
✨ The physics of life: the rise of active-matter theory to help us understand swarms of physical objects. FASCINATING
🌎 The case that we have created a new geological epoch, the anthropocene, strengthens.
💡Which technology will have the largest impact over the next 10 years? I put this question to you via a tweet. The resulting discussion makes for intriguing reading. MUST READ
💰How will the rise of the robots affect income tax collection? Do we need to levy property taxes on them, as if they were slaves in ancient times? REALLY INTERESTING. (Read alongside the strengthening case for universal basic income. And also this excellent St Louis Fed report: growth in jobs involving routine tasks has stagnated. One question to ask is how do these shifts change the political economy and how states get funded.)
😎 Better than New Year’s Resolutions: Design thinking for an improved you.
🔮 2016 is likely to be a big year for consumerisation of virtual reality technology. This accessible longish read explains how to make VR experiences seem real.
Dept of artificial intelligence
⭐️ EV reader, Joshua Gans, comments on Nick Bostrom’s views on super-intelligence. I really recommend reading this, in particular, this wonderful insight about the value of economics. It has been grounded in the notion of the all-knowing rational agent: a poor proxy for a real human, but not a bad one for a superintelligent AI as described by many of the AI-pocalypsers. “Economic theorists have been thinking about what happens when superintelligent agents interact for over a century.” EXCELLENT, BRIEF
How to build an ASI: the kindergarten approach. Higher levels of intelligence can’t be engineered, they need to be evolved. Here is one approach.
🌈 High wow factor: using deep learning to automatically colorise black-and-white images.
Also: how to build an economic moat in an AI system. The importance of data network effects.
This is really good if you are involved in building machine learning systems: ten lessons from building machine learning systems.
Dept of pay-it-forward
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Dept of future transport
🚗San Francisco’s largest taxi firm files for bankruptcy: unable to compete with the new business models of Uber and Lyft. This really good Will Oremus story identifies the core competitive dimensions where this battle was fought and why the incumbent lost.
GM has struck a deal with Lyft which might help transform the company away from vanilla car ownership models.
Deep-ish dive in VW’s new Electric Minibus. (Nice pictures.)
Toyota continues its hiring binge adding more of the world’s best roboticists to its slate. (And despite all the hype, automakers are ahead of Silicon Valley in autonomous driving patents.)
Pictures of the first Hyperloop tubes lying in the desert. (Nice pictures, hideous voice over.)
Short morsels for dinner parties
Moore’s Law in a single image - great visualisation just by looking at character rendering in video games.
Mobile adverts can infer your medication and dating preferences. (Dept of “No shit, Sherlock.”)
Antibiotics are essential to human health, why waste them on animals? POWERFUL argument from
🐖 Human-animal chimeras are on their way. We’ve probably come further than you think.
How young adults spend their time: 2004 vs 2014. More time grooming, less time shopping.
Virtual reality hits the adult industry. Super NSFW analysis by Vice.
🙊 Judge rules against monkey in copyright battle. You read that right.
Dept of ultra giveaways
I have two tickets to see Prof Luciano Floridi, Professor of Philosophy and the Ethics of Information at the Oxford Internet Institute, on Jan 14th at Second Home in London. I will be enjoying -15 degree temperatures in Oslo at the time, so I am happy to give these tickets to an EV reader or two.
Please let me know if you want them.
Thanks to all those who recommended content this week. Please continue to do so.
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