Can we think exponentially? Will the singularity happen? Do we need better business models? Is innovation over-rated? What happens when capital becomes bits? Did Elon Musk have a good week? Is AI improving faster than ever? What to do with a racist algorithm? Who fired the robots? So many questions… ;)
Dept of the near future
📈 How to think exponentially: HELPFUL introduction
∅ No singularity here. Computers won’t outstrip human capabilities within many of our lifetimes, argues John Markoff. (Note: implied in the argument is that outstripping is possible.) EXCELLENT
🔧 All hail the maintainers: “Crack cocaine, for example, was a highly innovative product … contemporary discourse treats innovation as a positive value in itself, when it is not.” Time to recognise the value of maintenance** THOUGHT PROVOKING** (h/t Shehnaz Suterwalla).
🎂 As a counterpoint, read how software gets bloated. “As systems get bloated, the effort required to understand and change them grows exponentially … [and you] move on move on to cleaner, more elegant platforms.”
Dept of electric vehicles, renewables & Musk
Elon Musk has delivered us a mind-bending two weeks, with the Tesla 3’s c $10bn product launch and remotely landing a reusable rocket on a robot drone ship in the middle of the ocean. Quite overwhelming.
☀️☀️ This presentation by Tesla’s CTO, JB Straubel, on energy storage, EV’s and the grid is an ESSENTIAL READ.
“We are now witnessing Elon Musk’s slow-motion disruption of the global auto industry” is an excellent analysis by Quartz on what Musk means for the traditional auto industry.
Wrapped finally by this great analysis: “Tesla & Rivals May Kill The Petrol Car As Early As 2025” (Also has some nice graphs in it.)
This is not just grim news for traditional auto, but it must be super-grim news for oil. I wonder about whether a vicious cycle of declining demand might take hold in oil, accelerating the relative appeal of EVs and the increasing unattractiveness of oil as a source of fuel. I’d be interested to see any simulations/models of that effect, especially if those models stretch to local fuel retail distribution and consumer behaviour.
US coal production is 38% down YonY.
Finally, Elon landed a rocket on a robot ship. (Video).
Dept of artificial intelligence
😀 When there is a gold rush, sell shovels. Great profile on Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia, whose GPUs are the darlings of mainstream machine-learnists.
There is a definitely a gold rush. Q1 2016 saw a slight dip in AI deals, but riding a more powerful upward trend.
🌩 Why AI development is going to go even faster. Why? Cross-disciplinary collaboration and healthy feedback loops between fields.
My friend Pete Warden released TensorFlow of Poets a few weeks ago. He promises it allows you to kick-off TensorFlow (Google’s machine learning framework) with a minimal of real coding.
On racist algorithms: “if “all an algorithm is doing” is reflecting and transmitting biases inherent in society, it’s also amplifying and perpetuating them on a much larger scale than your friendly neighborhood racist.”** GREAT READ**
A platoon of semi-autonomous trucks completed a 2000km drive across Europe.
Short morsels to appear smart at dinner parties
The sugar conspiracy. We’ve known since 1972 that it was sugar not fat that was the greatest danger to our health. The inside story of how nutrition scientists got it wrong.
🚕 Uber is surging, yellow cabs collapsing. Stunning data from the New York cab scene.
🎞 Film dialogue by gender: a study of 2,000 films. Fantastic exploratory tool, women under-represented.
Amazing: more than 2,000 YouTube channels. Amazing: more than 2,000 YouTube channels have more than a million subscribers.
Touching a robot’s intimate parts makes people uncomfortable.
The earth’s wobble has changed because of melting ice says Nasa.
Lovely survey of propulsion methods for interstellar travel.
What you are up to
EV subscriber Marko Ahtsaari’s Sync Project is using music as a precision medicine. (Video)
Congrats to EV reader, Martha Lane Fox, for her appointment to Twitter’s board of directors.
I’m speaking on “Should you be worried about AI and Machine Learning?” at the Business of Software Conference Europe, 16-17th May, Ireland.
The organiser, EV reader Mark Littlewood, is offering the first four Exponential View readers TWO free hotel nights in Ireland’s best hotel, when you sign up. Mark curates exceptional people from the tech industry for an intimate, conversation rich event. Would be great to see some of you there.
Ciao for now!