🔮 After Brexit; designing AI; what Uber drivers earn; game changing batteries; Disney princesses, polyamory & artificial meat++ #68

The Exponential View

After the Brexit referendum; the rebirth of the City-State; Google and machine learning; the designer’s role in AI; Uber earnings and what happens when Uber leaves; game-changing improvement in battery performance.

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Dept of the near future

🌆 The rebirth of the City-State. Are we are going to end up with a collection of city-states or clusters of megacities? INTERESTING VIEW

🚕 What happened in Austin after ride-sharing was banned? Price rises, the drunk Zombie apocalypse and renewed opportunities for entrepreneurs. INTERESTING

💡How Google plans to use machine learning to reinvent itself. EXCELLENT LONG READ

🌟 The designer’s guide to Artificial Intelligence: “A deep understanding of biology and its ethics will be key.” THOUGHT PROVOKING

📺 Ben Thompson: TV advertising’s surprising strength and inevitable fall. GOOD ANALYSIS

💰 The gig economy: how much do Uber drivers really make? Not much.

Dept of Brexit

The vote on Brexit was certainly the biggest constitutional and political upheaval in my lifetime. And since nothing remotely as close to this happened in Britain between 1945 and 1972, not even Anthony Eden’s clumsy foray into the Suez, this makes it the biggest thing since the end of World War 2. I polled readers on whether you wanted me to talk about Brexit and 79% of you did, so here goes.

💥 On the sociology of Brexit : an AMAZING essay from Will Davies looks at the themes underlying a large part of the Brexit caucus that is based outside of London. (Of course, we must recognise that the Brexit camp had quite broad support. I personally know of several with stellar records in tech, hedge funds, private equity & more, but this part of the coalition has not attracted the same level of analysis.)

Lord Ashcroft’s polling organisation: How the UK voted and why (sovereignty seems to be number one proximate issue.)

UK living standards remain significantly below the levels before the global financial crisis. Interesting graphs.

Brexit, populism and the end of the second era of globalization. (Good historical perspective).

Political philosopher Michael Sandel: “The energy of the Brexiteers and Trump is born of the failure of elites”. (Also Glenn Greenwald: “Brexit is only the latest proof of the insularity and failure of Western establishment institutions.”)

Brexit should send a signal to the EU that it needs to reform more broadly. (Good tweetstorm)

On the markets and Brexit, Merryn Somerset Webb: the UK is not so bad after all (particularly as Article 50 hasn’t been executed.)

On the mandate for leaving: LSE fellow, James Davies: “The Brexit debate is far from over, in other words. One way or another there will have to be a further vote.”

David Allen Green on the mechanics of leaving and Article 50: “As long as the notification is not sent, the UK remains part of the EU. And there is currently no reason or evidence to believe that, regardless of the referendum result, the notification will be sent at all.” Indeed many in the Leave camp such as Boris Johnson have suggested slowing down the pace of sending the notification, as has Angela Merkel.

An anonymous comment analyses the realpolitik David Cameron’s resignation and the timing of Article 50. (But obviously speculation.)

What happens next. Legally and politically enacting Article 50 may require many more steps, the path to which seems likely to involve the Westminster Parliament & the Scottish parliament. It might even involve another General Election, to ensure Parliament has a very clear mandate. Of course, this could all be wrong, the outgoing Prime Minister could change his mind over the weekend and dispatch speculation by formally notifying the Council of Ministers under Article 50 on Tuesday. May you live in interesting times.

Dept of AI

🌟 Benedict Evans on AI: “we have excitement and bullshit, skepticism and vision, and a bunch of amazing companies being created. Some of this stuff will be in everything and you won’t even notice it, and some of it will be the next Amazon.”

Two EXCELLENT READS on AI Biases: Kate Crawford: Artificial intelligence’s white guy problem. See also Nanette Byrnes: “we seem to be idolizing algorithms, imagining they are more objective than their creators.”

Yann LeCun: A path to unsupervised learning using adversarial networks.

This year will be the year of the bot.

Short morsels to appear smart at dinner parties

🔋 Batteries are on an incredible game-changing price-performance curve.

Impossible Food’s plant-based burger smells and tastes of real beef.

Brain visualisations from the Human Connectome Project

New ‘happiness equation’ links cheerfulness with equality

Polyamorous relationships might be the future of love.

No surprises: Engaging with Disney princess toys makes children more susceptible to gender stereotypes

Finally, take a break. Unloaded minds are the most creative

End notes

Crazy week, wasn’t it!

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