Six Links Worthy of Your Attention #484

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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, 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: 

  • Joseph Tainter – Wikipedia. “Posting a Wikipedia link seems a bit lazy. But this is a rathole I went down for a few hours, and I know you’ll do the same. Is there a ‘carrying capacity’ of complexity beyond which societies collapse? If there is, how do we know what that threshold is? I hadn’t seen Tainter’s work before this little deep-dive, but he was clearly asking many of the questions that the modern world seems to pose. One of the most damning pieces of his research: Spending energy to discover a ‘more efficient’ way of doing something actually amplifies the decline of a system. ‘To raise world food production from 1951-1966 by 34% we spent 63% more on tractors, used 146% more nitrate fertilizers, and upped pesticides by 300%.’ This has given me a lot to think about, and I suspect it will for you too.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Project SPHINX – When the USSR tried to change the computer forever – Inexhibit. “Something about that Soviet design aesthetic gets me every time. Here’s a personal computer we never had, but which looks like a viable contender.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • When – or if – NASA finds life on Mars, the world may not be ready for the discovery, the agency chief says – CNN. “I just love NASA Chief Scientist’s framing of the possible/likely (?) discovery of life on Mars, and how that will impact how we see ourselves in the universe.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • The Intelligence of Plants – The Paris Review. “While the prospect of life on Mars is exciting, equally intriguing is the idea that the petunia you keep in your kitchen window might be judging our choice of sweater, or contemplating the meaning of life, or … well maybe not quite, but certainly that petunia may well be ‘intelligent; in ways we’ve never imagined.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Would You Survive a Merger with AI? – Nautilus. “When we think about how technology and humans are intertwined, there are ethics (and questions of ethics) at play. When we add in artificial intelligence to augment humans, the questions can run much deeper. We run towards the future, embracing technology and trying everything that it brings forth. There is a deeper question at play here: if AI truly delivers on its promise and we’re interfacing with it – always (constantly there, like the Internet), at what point is our thinking and decisions still ‘us’? Yes. That just blew my mind.” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Humans, Dogs And Celebrities – Twitter. “Have you ever gone over to pet a cute dog, and then realized that the pet’s owner is a celebrity? Awkward much? It happens. Here’s a hilarious, cute and warming Twitter thread about it…” (Mitch for Hugh).

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