🔮 Human exceptionalism; the future of jobs; the Internet's gilded cage; VC returns; guns, dogs & New Yorkers++ #77

The Exponential View

Human exceptionalism and modernity. Jobs of the future. Uber and the end of car ownership in LA. The death of the advertising business model. Unpicking venture capital returns. Future citizenship patterns.

_Shorter than usual due to a bout of insomnia. _

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Dept of the near future

😐 The myth of human exceptionalism is being killed by the technologies we have created. Here is why we should embrace our demotion. EXCELLENT READ by Tom Chatfield. (Read alongside this review of  Anthony Gottlieb’s new book on the enlightenment which asks “are we really so modern?”)

💸 The demise of advertising business models & the return on attention. CHALLENGING perspective from EV subscriber, John Hagel.

🔮 How do you get a job that doesn’t exist? EV reader, Laurent Haug: “Much like the Arts and Crafts movement, born as a reaction to industrialization in the 19th century, the resurgence of artisanal, “old world” values signals not only a nostalgic desire for handcrafted goods, but a desire for a different model of social and economic progress.” THOUGHT PROVOKING

📽 How Uber & Lyft are persuading people in LA to get rid of their cars. FASCINATING, snippets include a hint at how large Uber is in LA - 150k rides per day.

💡 The Internet is not an engine of liberation, argues Nick Carr.

Dept of finance & moolah

Venture capital firms are notoriously secretive about their returns. Industry watchers rely on the occasional releases from public pension systems, like Calpers. See this link which includes returns data for funds from well-known firms like Index, Foundry, Highland & Upfront.

This week, the WSJ got hold of the returns data for Andreesen Horowitz, a top venture fund. The paper found that the returns weren’t quite as high as one might want to believe: 42% IRR for Fund I; 25% for Fund 2; 27% for Fund 3. These are still great numbers, considering holding government bonds costs you money. But in some cases, Andreesen’s returns seemed below top quartile benchmarks for VC as an asset class.

💡 Andreesen Horowitz responded with a clearly stated argument which outlines some fascinating intricacies of fund accounting. Ultimately only cash distributions matter. RECOMMENDED

Elsewhere:

Short morsels to appear smart at dinner parties

Is it possible that AI systems will be permanently inscrutable? The challenges of interpretability

🍏 New Yorkers will pay $56 a month to shorten their commutes by a minute.

Will you be able to tell what a self-driving car is about to do? (No eyes to gauge intent.)

🇫🇮 A world record 4G download speed in Finland. And I learnt that “Finland, with an estimated 3 million smartphone users, consumes about the same amount of data as India’s 220 million users.”

💰 A trend: the rise in the number of countries where you can buy citizenship or residency. Shows a big spike after the GFC. Reckon this trend will accentuate and we’ll see increased competition (& innovation) at city & national level for paid-for citizenship.

Global warming is now causing flooding on the eastern seaboard of the US. (EXCELLENT essay) See also these amazing videos of hurricanes as seen from the ISS.

🔫 How US cops trace guns. (Without computers)

🐶 Who’s a good boy? Dogs recognise words and tonewhen you talk to them.

Leaked details on the iPhone 7: A10 chip, waterproofing and 12 megapixel cameras.

End note

A little shorter this week due to travels and a late bout of insomnia. Hopefully, will catch up on sleep this week.

Have a good one!