🔮 Facebook's systemic importance; code on wheels; gig workers; Fornite, pig's brain and the Caspian sea monster++ #283
I’m Azeem Azhar. I convene Exponential View to help us understand how our societies and political economy will change under the force of rapidly accelerating technologies.
I’m taking some time off with my family this week, so I’ll share some interesting pieces with minimal commentary. If you’re not a member, consider joining the community and supporting our work.
The near future
👔 Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi: “Our current employment system is outdated and unfair. It forces every worker to choose between being an employee with more benefits but less flexibility, or an independent contractor with more flexibility but almost no safety net,” as a new ruling demands that Uber and Lyft classify drivers as employees.
💯 A comprehensive survey of what happens if Facebook goes down. Brillant
🏭 The world’s biggest electronics manufacturer calls time on China as the “world’s factory”. Here’s a Bloomberg take sans paywall.
🏎️ A lovely essay on the car as “the most complex internet device” and the software revolution of the car industry.
Dept of AI
FedEx trains robots to help respond to a growing demand in e-commerce.
Machine-readable ArXiv dataset is now available. The aim is to make the search of this 1.7-million-article repository easier for users.
🧬 DeepMind deploys its powerful deep learning system, AlphaFold, to predict the protein structure of SARS-CoV-2. The results are open-access. I wrote about AlphaFold in EV#254 and EV#225.
😷 Face mask experiments with AI reveal strong biases. Must-read
Philosophers discuss GPT-3. (h/t EV member Robbie Stamp)
🔥 Climate breakdown: 412.49ppm | 3,574 days
Each week, we’re going to remind you of the CO2 levels in the atmosphere and the number of days until we reach the 450ppm threshold.
The latest measurement (as of August 12): 412.88 ppm; August 2019: 410.5 ppm; 25 years ago: 360 ppm; 250 years ago, est: 250 ppm. Share this reminder with your community by forwarding this email or tweeting this.
Short morsels to appear smart fresh from Zoomcation
Apple and Google pull Fortnite from their stores after Epicgames tried to bypass the 30% tax for in-app purchases.
😍 Russian photographers sneak past a sleeping guard into the world’s only nuclear-capable, ground-effect vehicle to capture these amazing images of the Soviet Ekranoplan’s interior.
🐖 Zombie pigs: scientists restore some functions in a pig’s brain hours after death.
Michigan plans to connect the cities of Detroit and Ann Arbor with a 40+ mile corridor for autonomous and connected vehicles.
What you’re up to—notes from EV readers
EV’s Sanjana Varghese has written about humanitarian experimentation and pandemic control measures for Real Life Mag.
Scott Smith’s book How to Future: Leading and Sensemaking in an Age of Hyperchange is out in September. EV readers get 20% off with code KOGANPAGE20 when ordering directly from the publisher.
Karen Hao and MIT Tech Review are launching a new AI podcast next week, In Machines We Trust.
Chris Yiu and his team at the Tony Blair Institute launch a newsletter to offer a progressive take on technology.
Alan Rusbridger on how Oxford’s Lady Margaret Hall is handling admissions amidst the pandemic.
Peter Scott has launched a new podcast, AI and You.
Turi Munthe just launched the Parlia Podcast on opinions: how we form them, why we disagree, what that means for society.
Jack Orlik’s The Mapping Career Causeways project is using cutting-edge data science to create a map of the labour market and support workers whose jobs are at risk.
Adrien Hobt has been working on Blank Compose – a 3D generative model able to produce high-quality and high-resolution (1 million vert) 3D designs in under 20 milliseconds.
Tim Sowula is organising a two-day summit on September 1-2 for research leaders and investors in higher education.
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