💡 AI and techno-determinism; a better model for startups; Skynet; blocking backdoors; art and machine learnings++ #50

The Exponential View

Technology and the arc of history; Demis Hassabis; Skynet’s executions; why Copenhagen works; a better model for startups; the FBI, Apple & security; gender, equality, diversity and business outcomes; AirBNB’s addictiveness & more :)

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Dept of the near future

🌟 As God might be. “Conversations about technology are almost always conversations about history. What’s at stake is the trajectory of modernity. Is it marching upward, plunging downward, or bending back on itself?” READ ONE THING, READ THIS.

👼 Demis Hassabis: the superhero of artificial intelligence. Sympathetic portrait of the DeepMind founder.

🔫 On the problem of probabilistic, predictive executions. The NSA’s Skynet programme may have wrongly labelled thousands of people in Pakistan as terrorists. DETAILED, MUST READ

📱 Benedict Evans: mobile and 20 years of hindsight. “Nokia and Blackberry were skating to where the puck was going to be, and felt nice and fast and in control, while Apple and Google were melting the ice rink and switching the game to water-skiing.” EXCELLENT

🇩🇰 Why Copenhagen works. Brookings Institute on what makes one of the world’s most progressive, pro-climate cities world. INSIGHTFUL

🌟 “Startups, like the male anatomy, are designed for liquidity events”: Finding an alternative to the Silicon Valley model of innovation that is long-term, equitable, community-oriented and inclusive. SUPERB

Dept of pay-it-forward

Hi everyone! Exponential View grows solely and exclusively by your referrals. It’s a huge personal motivator when the community grows.

So as it is mid-February, please take the time to tweet a recommendation and forward this to a few colleagues at work (sign-up link).  Muchas gracias.

Dept of security & privacy

The Apple/FBI stand-off is the news of the week. It’s a complicated, detailed, tale. Here are three things you should read.

Security guru, Bruce Schneier: “Why you should side with Apple”

⚖ Jonathan Zdiarski, a top expert in iOS forensics: “Not only is Apple being ordered to compromise their own devices; they’re being ordered to give that golden key to the government, in a very roundabout sneaky way.” EXCELLENT READ h/t @simoncast

Eccentric, cybersecurity demigod (running out of terms here!), John McAfee: “I’ll decrypt this phone for you”. (Eccentric ebullient genius throws hat into the ring.)

In other security/privacy stuff:

Stuxnet was only the first step. The US hacked into critical civilian infrastructure in Iran “to allow its operatives to disable the country with a devastating series of cyberattacks at a moment’s notice”

😴 Hidden Facebook API lets you figure out if your friends are awake. CREEPY

Tired of being chased around by creepy adverts? Five tools to protect yourself

Dept of gender & equality

“An increase in the share of women in senior management positions from zero to 30 percent would be associated with a 15 percent rise in profitability” says a 22,000-firm wide survey by EY.

Despite this, a new study in Harvard Business Review says “women do not get their fair share of credit for group work, especially when they work with men.” #wtf

🔥 And even on eBay, buyers spend 20% less on equivalent products if sold by women.  #ffs

Mitch Kapor, inventor of Lotus 1-2-3, on how investors can build successful strategies by taking diversity seriously.

Short morsels to appear smart at dinner parties

🔥 Civilisation is 25 years old. A billion hours have been played. (At least 17,492 by me.)

Fascinating overview of the generative artificial world of No Man’s Sky.

⨍ The role of the artist in making machine learning understandable to the public. (Deep post)

How meditiation how it changes brain and body

Neuroscientists reverse some Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice

Should governments support startup incubators? (Worthwhile analysis by Richard Florida)

🍎 Johnathan Srouji: Apple’s chipmaker.

Once people try AirBNB, they don’t want to use hotels. GS research.

🇨🇳 A Chinese millionaire sues himself to get around currency controls.

As Saudi Arabia enters a fiscal crisis, cushy jobs disappear. Fascinating.

A super-anthropomorphic robot hand

What you are up to

EV subscriber Doc Searls on the move to the intention economy: “what if we don’t need advertising at all

End note

Back from a brief break in Copenhagen, stunning city. Some recommendations: Hotel SP34 and restaurants, Host and Radio. Thanks for all the AR leads, really appreciate it. Ciao.