Six Links Worthy of Your Attention #665

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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:

  • The Unpredictable Abilities Emerging From Large AI Models – Quanta Magazine“Each of us is, at our core, a bunch of atoms strung together into molecules that are arranged into proteins. Those proteins are pretty unique: They’re able to absorb energy (sunlight, pizza) and turn it into more, well, us. And when enough of them get together, weird things happen, like consciousness. We don’t know where consciousness comes from, but it seems to be a property that emerges from complex systems. And now that Large Language Models underneath chat tools like ChatGPT, Bard, and Bing are complex enough, they seem to suddenly be able to do things that smaller models couldn’t. They’re built atop symbols — an AI doesn’t know what a ‘table’ is, but it knows that the word ‘table’ is often near ‘chair’ and ‘dinner’. Are they thinking, in the sense that humans are? Or are they thinking in some other sense? Whatever the case, it feels like humans consciousness has competition, at least for many jobs. This article talks about, and links to, many ‘beyond Turing test‘ tasks we didn’t think a language prediction tool could accomplish — but seems to be able to do.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • The Broccoli Tree: A Parable – Vlog Brothers – YouTube. “Spending a week in Southern California with friends, desert, and probably a little too much wine. My great friend Randy showed me this Vlog Brothers video about a tree, which is both beautiful and poignant. Worth watching.” (Alistair for Mitch – video embedded below).
  • Yasheng Huang on the Development of the Chinese State – Conversations With Tyler. “I’m fascinated by – and worried about – geopolitics over the coming decades, as China grows in power, emerging as a true rival to the dominance of the US. I’ve read a number of books about China, coming from different angles, including Yasheng Huang‘s Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics. Here, he talks at length with economist Tyler Cowan about the growth of China, and the challenges a still-authoritarian country faces as it navigates an uncertain future.” (Hugh for Alistair – podcast embedded below)).
  • ILT’s Favorite Fonts of 2022 – I Love Typography. “I’m a bit of a font nerd. Here’s a collection of great new fonts designed last year.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • The case for slowing down AI – Vox. “As usual, a technology comes along and finds a commercial application… and we all panic. AI has been used behind the scenes in business for a long while, but now we can see how it operates in the wild… and how anyone can now use it to create everything from text and images to video and audio bits. Scary. Thrilling. Innovative. Terrifying. Do we allow technology to march forward? Do we demand our government step in and regulate it? Do we stop it? Slow it down? Here’s a perspective on why we might want to pump the brakes on it…” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Hitting the the Aesthetic Triad While Gazing at Art – Lit Hub. “Let’s step away from the AI pump or panic and look deep within our own souls. Art… the value that it brings to us and our culture. Can you explain it? Someone once said: ’Talking about music is like dancing to architecture.’ This is something that I often reflected on in my music journalism days. Well, let’s get beyond the emotions and dig into the science. What, exactly, is happening in your body and your brain when you take in art? Read on…” (Mitch for Hugh).

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