The next Silicon Valley; life under abundance; death of TV; rethinking marriage; Uber++ #23
|Azeem Azhar||Aug 23, 2015|
The next Silicon Valley won’t be any of the current contenders, except Silicon Valley itself. | If technology creates wealth, luxury & abundance, how will we spend our time? | Algorithmic bias | Deeper dives into TV & marriage.
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Dept of the near future
💻 There is no next Silicon Valley. New regions have their own paths to forge. Excellent tweetstorm by @vgr
🔥 Technology has created more jobs than it destroyed in the past 140 years; and increased consumption of luxuries.
🌴 What is life after automation and abundance asks Richard Newton? Short, thought provoking
🎸 Internet-enabled business models are supporting a new slew of independent creators whose talents would previously have been lost to the Man. Lovely photoessay
😇 Simply having an open network instead of a closed one is the best predictor of career success.
🙋 Algorithms score and predict us. Do we have a right to know? Do we have any right to change them? Excellent essay by @frankpasquale (We thought deeply about this at PeerIndex, happy to discuss on twitter.)
😧 Computer scientists identify biases in algorithms, and the processes by which they become biassed. Important
Dept of television & video
We spend about a third of our waking lives watching linear video. For the past decades the bulk of that has been on TV screens. The pressure on TV from new technologies has been around since the VCR and was certainly a huge concern what I was a strategist at the BBC in the 1990s. The jury is no longer out. The entire TV ecosystem has been under siege. Screens multiply and video platforms like YouTube and Facebook deliver a much wider range of video. Kids now view linear TV as a form of punishment (see issue 17 of AEV).
Now Facebook is staffing up in product & engineering teams in London to help persuade brand advertisers move wholesale from TV to Facebook.
The combination of collapsing ad revenue, declining subscription revenue, increased alternatives for consumers and a weaker political clout (politicians get social now; Google, Uber & Facebook have better lobbyists than old media) is a depressing cocktail for traditional TV businesses.
The result? Internet advertising has overhauled TV in many markets.
📺 Netflix helps US consumers from seeing 130 hours of advertising per year.
Record numbers of Americans are cutting cable TV subscriptions says the Financial Times. These two brilliant charts show the disruption of the US cable industry in action.
Of course, if you are an independent creator, the opportunity to create and build an audience is probably better than ever.
Dept of marriage, love and sex
Ashley Madison this week (Read a good interview with the hackers, Impact Team.) Tinder and the dating apocalypse last. The summer heat has got everyone hot under the collar.
The reasonable heavy use of Ashley Madison (35m people, 60+ countries) reminds me of the boom of bit torrent for TV shows and movies 10 years ago. That torrent of torrents showed a strong latent demand for a particular set of product attributes (downloadable video) that the existing institutions (studios and networks) were not catering for.
Perhaps the real takeaway of the Ashley Madison hack is that it is an indicator of widespread latent demand for a new ‘product line’ in the 'marriage category’? That latent demand not being infidelity but rather a reframing of the norms of a marriage. That is the traditional model of marriage conferred survival advantages initially and then political / power advantages to complex culture structures (like clans or religions), and that as a species were pushing past those boundaries?
After all a survey of futurists overwhelmingly supported plural marriages.
A third of young Americans are not exclusively heterosexual, 3-4x higher than the 45+ cohort.
👠 As for Tinder, the last two hundred years have been filled with moral panics about women using technologies for libertine ends.
Also, chastity belts were a myth.
The film Women, Men & Children explores some of these issues. Worth watching.
Short morsels for dinner parties
👫 Coding was a gender-balanced activity until the 1980s. Why did women stop? Gender stereotypes in media, advertising and movies drove the drop. (I researched this last year and found ratios particularly bad in the UK.)
🎵 The top songs on Spotify. Nice graphics for our broad, bland tastes via @hunglee
䷕First-person drone racing looks amazing (Vice Mag)
😱 Boston Dynamics’s new humanoid robots are quite something. Usual scary video plus interesting details on innovations in manufacturing them.
🐒 Chimps and monkeys have entered the stone age. Another myth of human exceptionalism smashed. (Good feature by the BBC.)
Modeling how nature evolved complex coordination strategies using robots. (Interesting how we’re teaching complex systems and AI about the world, and learning about the world and underlying realities from them. See Algorithms of the Mind, issue 12.)
Uber’s stunning, mind-bending revenue numbers worth reading. 9x topline growth in 3 years.
Hyperaddictive Snapchat lost more than $130m last year. Still in ‘growth’ mode :)
🌐 Image scaling with convolutional neural nets (Accessible introduction by Flipboard’s engineering team)
⚽️ With the football (soccer) season upon us, nice blog post on clustering player performance and identifying similarties. Might be too late to help Arsene Wenger find talent.
Morgan Stanley really loves Tesla (with a price target nearly 95% above closing last week.)
Solid state batteries with their long life-times could be a game changer
What you wrote
Reid Hoffmann: “In the Networked Age, everything accelerates and amplifies. What was once scarce can become abundant. That’s true for microprocessors, bandwidth, market sizes, and, yes, even billion-dollar companies”
Rob Moffat on “Disrupting insurance”
Matt Wichrowski asks whether VCs can make money on pure-play AI startups.
(If you are a subscriber and have written a post, launched a company, won an award, have an event, please ping me and I’ll see if I can include it in the next Exponential View.)
Thanks for awesome referrals last week.