Six Links Worthy of Your Attention #671

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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 Dream of the Motorcycle Warlords – Anarchonomicon“I’ve been spending too much time thinking about the heavy consequences of a coordination problem — the idea that humans can’t cooperate because they lack full trust, which makes us fall back to less efficient, more competitive ways. This is, effectively, the Great Human Problem: How do we take a species that evolved from competition and make it cooperate? There are plenty who think this is an insoluble, inscrutable problem, and that the overwhelming cost of coordinating society through things like the law and policing soon consume all of that society’s energy (bleak, I know.) If you’re the insurgent or the antagonist, you have an entirely different ‘tech tree’ of tools at your disposal. And on top of that list is … a motorcycle?” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Game Theory As A Dark Art – Less Wrong. “I’m a bundle of fun this week, aren’t I? Game theory is the study of competition and coordination. Most people have heard of the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Tragedy of the Commons. It’s why two players with imperfect information or misaligned goals often act in ways that seem to be in their individual best interest, but actually aren’t when seen from the perspective of someone who has all the fact and isn’t competing. This post outlines a number of scenarios in which game theory can be hacked, often ingeniously. Hopefully we can apply this sort of thing to Wicked Problems like climate change, AI alignment, and world peace. Hopefully.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Evelyn Evelyn – ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ – Amanda Palmer – YouTube. “I’ve been thinking a lot about AI, art and humanity lately. We’ve all seen or heard or read poems and jokes and songs generated by AI, and however ‘good’ these are now, they will all get better. But at some point there’s a question of what exactly we mean by ‘better’, why does art matter, why does experiencing art matter, or creating it? It’s an odd thing, there are certain chord progressions, certain vocal techniques that will send chills down my spine (some might be the same for you; some will be different). With enough data, those moments are identifiable by AI, and (soon enough) will be easily replicated. When they are, will we have the same chills as when we listen to a real human making art? Maybe. If I had to guess though, excellent AI art will make live human art (the kind we consume, and the kind we make) more valued and sought after. I was struck watching this clip, of how deeply different my reaction would be to the AI version of this video, compared with the ‘real’ human version. But maybe I (or you, or our kids) won’t feel that way in 100 or 3 years, I don’t know.” (Hugh for Alistair and the video is below).
  • Oscar Peterson Piano Lesson – David Funk – YouTube. “On the other hand, if AI can create more (artificial) Oscar Peterson and Dick Cavett conversations in front of a piano, would that be so bad? (Maybe it would, I don’t know).” (Hugh for Mitch and the video is below).
  • Edward Frenkel: Reality is a Paradox – Mathematics, Physics, Truth & Love – Lex Fridman Podcast #370 – YouTube. “It turns out that Edward Frenkel is one of the world’s greatest living mathematicians, and the author of a book called, Love & Math. What I love most about The Lex Fridman podcast is guests like this. Super-brilliant individuals that are very well known in certain circles and completely unknown is most others (I had not heard of Edward before this conversation). My limitations with math happened in high school. It was, simply, a difficult subject for me and it’s a climb that I didn’t continue to ascend. But… wow… this conversation… many moments that left me staring blankly into the abyss and other moments that had my eyes welling up with tears. This is a powerful conversation that is also very challenging. This is why I want you (and everyone else) to stick with it. I will also use this conversation as a benchmark for what a true ‘podcast conversation’ should be: Something in-depth, intelligent and really different from the constant stream of self-promotional drivel that fills a lot of shows… sadly. Take a listen… and stick with it, please.” (Mitch for Alistair and the video is below).
  • Reading books is not just a pleasure: it helps our minds to heal – Psyche. “I have always believed that reading isn’t just an escape or a way to grow… but it can heal you when you’re not feeling well. It turns out that my thinking is not unique to me. Bibliotherapy is a practice where people engage with literature to ease the pain of existence and find solace in difficult times. Throughout history, notable figures like Michel de Montaigne, Plato, and George Eliot have praised the therapeutic effects of reading. In the course that is described in this article, students were asked to share books, memoirs, and poems that had deeply affected them, and the result was an emotionally charged and moving experience for all involved. So… read! Read more… and read a lot… It turns out that bibliotherapy can offer huge benefits for mental and emotional health by helping anyone to find the right book at the right time. When incorporated into shared educational or social settings, its healing effects can be even more profound. Read this and ruminate on it.” (Mitch for Hugh).

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