Machine learning in the next decade; Apple v Google; the history of board games; Davos’s irrelevance; autonomous cars and the rosy future of cities; Uber’s exponential growth; the value of social interaction; conversational interfaces; better brains and dancing drones.
Dept of the near future
♕ The full history of boardgames (2600BCE to the present). Beautiful, long, illustrated essay on the boardgame & why they are having a revival MUST READ
䷾ The prodigious Stephen Wolfram launches the Wolfram Programming Lab, kind of like BBC Basic for computational programming. REALLY FUN interactive playground, especially for non-coders.
👍🏽 The machine learning problem of the next decade. Great AI systems may only be 80% reliable - designing effective hand-offs to humans will be crucial, argues Lukas Biewald of Crowdflower. INSIGHTFUL
🍎 Apple’s plan to starve Google to irrelevance. (See also: Android generates $31bn in revenue for Google, not bad for a freebee.) Both THRILLING views into the scale of the prize.
🍻 The frat party at the end of the world: “Davos matters because it’s very growth is an existence proof of the decline of global political order”. Umair Haque in REVOLUTIONARY form
Dept of the autonomous future of transport
A quick report from my rusty, trusty barometer - what do my non-tech friends think of tech’s latest hype. In general, their tone and depth of thinking on a subject normally signals a segue into reality, away from the Techcrunch bubble. On that basis, self-driving cars are sliding into the mainstream. Not in market penetration but in consumer preparedness, expectation setting and likely uptake. Read into this what you will, it is after all based on a handful of conversations with professionals in North London.
🚧 Mother Jones does an **EXCELLENT ** take on the real impact of self-driving cars: the end of parking, the freeing up of urban space and a renewal of the city.
Uber is already bigger than car rentals and taxis in the business sector according to data from an expenses management firm.
💶 Leaked numbers show Uber did nearly $500m in Q3 2015, more than its entire revenue base in 2014. (Exponential growth, if you were wondering.)
Dept of the social and personal
_This may be the weirdest section in the brief history of Exponential View, but I noticed a handful of stories linking sociability to health outcomes; at the same time some tales of personal strength. I thought they might sit well together. _
Social relationships affect our microbiome, the patina of bacteria and viruses that live on each of us and may help govern behaviours, development and even gene expression. Introducing the ‘pan-microbiome’, a meta-microbiome that sits across our social groups.
👥 Strong social relationships and friend groups can lead to longer lives. Research in the Nicoyan peninsula of Costa Rica showed up people with disproportionately long telomeres. The indications are"the lack of social ties [can be] toxic over time: lonely people have high baseline levels of stress hormones and inflammation.“ EXCELLENT READ
Privilege and inequality in Silicon Valley. Ricky Yean, a Y-Combinator alumnus, details his own personal struggle to become a successful tech entrepreneur. Personal, WORTH READING.
👮🏼 Work imitates life. Silicon Valley’s worker-friendly offices are just a ploy to keep us all at work.
Short morsels to appear smart at dinner parties
∫ The three cultures of machine learning. SHORT, EXCELLENT and had me reframing my old ‘two-cultures’ mental mode.
The mind-boggling decline in the cost of computing, as captured by Wikipedia. The cost of a floating point operation has declined from $8,300 in 1961 to less than a ten-billionth of a cent in 2015. (Old).
📱The next user interface will be conversational requests through our messaging apps. Uber’s Chris Messina’s long analysis. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED
Netflix just expanded to 130 countries and passed 75m subscribers. It’s an incredible tale of the reinvention (or replacement) of conventional tv.
💀 Bombshell awesomeness: new study shows our brain’s have 10x the memory capacity previously estimated. Challenges for those in the whole-brain emulation camp.
Migrant levels across the Aegean sea are 20 times higher in January 2016 to 12 months ago. Even at low winter levels, Germany is now seeing an annualised rate of 1m asylum applications a year. (h/t @maxniederhofer, article in German.)
Shakespearean tragedies visualised as network graphs.
Deep ocean water is trapping far more heat that we thought. It’s a potential climate timebomb. (Brief, data rich analysis)
🚥Intel’s 100 dancing drones - a stunning, and record-breaking art display.
What you are up to
EV reader Richard Muirhead is hosting an evening event on 2016 Trends with an emphasis on blockchain and Internet of Things. I am moderating the panels. Feb 2nd, London. Details here.
EV reader Evgeny Shadchev is interested in connecting with anyone interested in self-management structures. He has implemented one at Makers Academy including flat hierarchy, self-setting salaries, full transparency, you name it. If you’re interested in exploring this area, then drop him a line on email@example.com
Phew. It’s been a really busy start to the year and I’m looking forward to settling into a 2016 rhythm. Please continue to send any interesting URLs and I’ll try and take a look. Pretty busy with travel right now, so forgive me if you don’t get a reply quickly.