Six Links Worthy of Your Attention #657

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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:

  • If Materialism Is True, the United States Is Probably Conscious – Eric Schwitzgebel – University of California at Riverside“I’ve been thinking a lot lately about collective, emergent behaviours. If you believe in the kinds of scientific thinking I do, then you probably think of a human body as the emergent behaviour of a lot of organs, themselves the product of tissues, themselves the product of tiny protein machines made of molecules. But if you buy into this, why stop at humans? This philosophy paper (bonus for xenoplanet anthropology!) argues that a country (such as the US) exhibits the behaviours of conscious beings. It’s a long read, but leaves me with questions. Is the Internet just a big upgrade to the nervous system? Are AI art and Fanfic its art form? Who’s the brain? Can it feel pain? Is it just having a bad decade?” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • ChatGPT and Winograd’s Dilemma – Freddie deBoer. “I’d never heard of Winograd’s Dilemma, but it’s a really interesting test of the theory of the world, and whether someone understands it. Changing a single word in an ambiguous sentence alters who the word ‘they’ refers to, because the reader understands the behaviours of the two parties. I’m getting tired of AI articles, but I’m loving what they’re doing to advance a conversation about the nature of knowledge and thinking itself. Also, I’m totally using this sentence when I give talks on the subject.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Louis C.K. – This Past Weekend With Theo Von #425 – YouTube. Louis CK in a long and personal interview with comedian Theo Von. Louis’ me-too transgressions are not touched on directly, but there are all sorts of things you wouldn’t expect: talking about mothers and fathers, first loves and first sex, the challenges of A-list fame, falls from grace, middle school and much more.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • The Montreal Mafia Murders: Blood, Gore, Cannolis, and Hockey Bags – Vanity Fair. “I love me a good Montreal crime romp.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Uncertainty – Nautilus. “I do love articles like this. Someone – deeply steeped in complex science and mathematics – using their trade to better understand human nature and psychology. Can quantum mechanics help you out with your everyday anxieties? Well, this article purports the idea that embracing uncertainty can lead to greater creativity and problem-solving abilities. It also suggests that by accepting uncertainty, we may feel less pressure and be more open to new ideas and possibilities. In short, accepting uncertainty can lead to a greater sense of control over one’s life. So, is accepting uncertainty the new mindfulness? This scientist thinks so!” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • New podcast creation has fallen off a cliff – The Verge. “Here’s the datapoint: ‘fewer podcasts were created in 2022 than in the two years prior. Even so, the margin is shocking: the number of new shows created dropped by nearly 80 percent between 2020 and 2022.’ My honest thought was: Why is that a metric worth anything? Podcasting is hard. Just like Blogging is hard. Just like making YouTube or TikTok videos is hard. It’s all hard hard work. Easy to create and distribute (so everybody jumps in early and makes a run at it)… but nearly impossible to do well — especially with quality and consistency over a long period of time (so everybody who jumped in early to make a run at it realizes that it’s hard and can’t be done well over the long haul). At this point, I don’t know how many millions of podcasts are in production each week, and I don’t really care. Here’s what truly matters: Are more and more people listening to podcasts? And, are more and more advertisers/brands interesting in supporting this audio format?” (Mitch for Hugh).

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