Six Links That Make You Think #723

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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for Interesting, Tilt the Windmill, Interesting Bits, HBS, chair of Strata, Startupfest, FWD50, and Scaletechconf; author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (Rebus Foundation, PressBooks, LibriVox) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see.”

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another: 

  • We Need To Rewild The Internet – Noema“This is a powerful piece with some amazing lines. The sprawl of RSS and blogs has become a monoculture of Meta, X, Google, and a few others. Leaning into this ecosystem crituque, Maria Farrell and Robin Berjon say, ‘our online spaces are not ecosystems, though tech firms love that word. They’re plantations; highly concentrated and controlled environments, closer kin to the industrial farming of the cattle feedlot or battery chicken farms that madden the creatures trapped within. Now I need a shirt that says, ‘IT’S NOT A FEED IT’S A FEEDLOT’.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • An AI Startup Made A Hyperrealistic Deepfake Of Me That’s So Good It’s Scary – MIT Technology Review. “I’m ready for my AI Doppelganger, Mr. Demille. If you got scanned – really, properly, from all angles, with many expressions, scanned – and from that point on a computer could replace you online, would you do it?” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • The Deaths Of Effective Altruism – Wired. “The high priests of Effective Altruism say: If you want to do good in the world, the best thing is to: choose a career that makes a ton of money, and donate lots of that money to the most ‘effective’ charities. How do you know which charities? Well, effective altruists have websites that will tell you, and handle your transactions. And take a cut. There’s always been something fishy to me about this approach to improving the world. Sam Bankman-Fried, the bitcoin convict, was a big EA man, and you won’t be surprised to know that many in Silicon Valley are too. There’s something nice about a philosophy that tells you: If you wish to make the world a better place, become outrageously rich. This is a long skewering of the EA movement, which, according to the author, is more or less a fraud.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • How The Suburbs Became A Trap – The New Republic. “Whenever I walk around much of Montreal, I think: the urban planning model here is just right. Big parts of the city are filled with relatively dense row-houses of two or three-stories, often but not always broken up into a flat/apartment on each floor. The results in neighbourhoods like mine is what I feel to be the perfect mix of density and space: there is no sense of being either crammed in, or isolated, and there are enough people to make street-level commerce thrive in all directions. The suburbs take the opposite approach: more space, single family homes, big back yards, and cars. An idyllic kind-of-country life near the city. But things are not going all that well in suburbia.” (Hugh for Mich).
  • Synthetic Data: A Safer, Smarter Solution For Training AI? – Strategy + Business. “My hot take? synthetic data is the real opportunity in the current discourse about the future potential of AI. That’s where I have been spending a lot of my time and it really has been baking my noodle. For those who don’t know, synthetic data involves using generative AI to mimic the properties of original datasets without containing sensitive information, allowing for its use in AI training and machine learning without privacy risks. Re-read that last sentence. If you are suspicious of what these many companies are doing with your personal data, now you don’t have to share it… and even if you don’t share it, they might still be able to target and speak to you as if you had. So now we have this sophisticated advancement where there is no security risk to consumers and the utility to industries is well beyond anything we could have ever thought. Now start thinking about what happens to the regulatory and data governance industries when all of this data is synthetic. If you’re in business and not digging deep into the topic of synthetic data… woe is you…” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • A Rock Star Ideas Festival In Brooklyn – Tablet. “At one of the TED events in Vancouver a few years back, I was seated next to Melissa Chen. She was one of the most impressive young people I had met in some time. Along with her business partner, Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, at Ideas Beyond Borders (and we had a mutual connection through Steven Pinker). Beyond the dinner event and couple of social encounters in the following days at TED, we had lost touch (although we connected on Social Media). Recently, I have been sharing a lot of links related to public intellectuals, the intellectual dark web and a host of individuals creating very deep conversations about our current situation (from politics to culture wars and beyond). I’ve enjoyed this brain journey immensely. Melissa recently posted about a live event called, Dissident Dialogues (which is being co-organized by her husband and ex-Mumford & Sons co-founder, Winston Marshall), taking place this weekend in Brooklyn. I bit the bullet, bought a ticket and as you read this I will be in sessions listening to people like Steven Pinker, the Triggernometry hosts, Chris Williamson, Richard Dawkins and many more. Why? Because I want to grow. Because I feel that every angle of content is so swayed politically that I don’t even know my own beliefs anymore. This is less about validating my current thoughts and much more about being open and trying to sit there with different (and I am sure there will be many ideas that I don’t agree with) perspectives. I want to sit there… in it… and force my brain to look at different values and new angles. I’m not sure what to expect, but you might be seeing a slew of new perspectives from others in the coming weeks. Here is a preview of the event.” (Mitch for Hugh)

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on XFacebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.

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