Six Links Worthy of Your Attention #675

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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: 

  • Who really ever wants a civil war? – Paco Nathan – DerwenPaco Nathan is a merry prankster in the tech world. Endlessly mischievous, he’s been instrumental in building some of the data and AI technologies we use today. He’s also worked for three-letter agencies and served in the military. Oh, and he makes a mean cider. Recently, he published a book entitled, Latent Space. It’s amazing … and free. He also built software tooling to help authors keep track of threads, enforce continuity, and generate artwork. His bonkers description of the book is ‘A fuck-around-and-find-out whodunit tale of neo-noir gore and messy flip-the-script cli-fi about artificial intelligence, animism, national security liberals, insurrection, climate guilt, weaponized media, advanced mathematics, conspiracism, global cyberwar, overlapping polycrisis, and the strangest of bedfellows.’ Highly recommended, and did I mention, free?” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • AI in the Arts Is the Destruction of the Film Industry. We Can’t Go Quietly – Newsweek. “In addition to being a child star, writer, and director, Justine Bateman completed a degree in computer science. There are few people so well positioned to talk about the current writers’ strike, which hinges on a vital disagreement: The use of AI in the creative process of filmmaking. A decade ago, Robin Wright starred as an aging actor who accepts one final role — being turned into a virtual self so she can appear in movies forever. From the initial scenes, the film goes a little bonkers: It’s not just actors who are at risk: It’s society’s definition of truth itself. Prescient, to say the least.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Randall Kennedy: The N-Word – History of Race, Law, Politics, and Power – The Lex Fridman Podcast. “I am such a Lex Fridman fanboy, because he keeps delivering, bringing on great thinkers, and tackling big issues with the time and space they deserve. I particularly enjoyed this conversation with Randall Kennedy, Harvard Law professor, focussing on race, law and freedom of expression. In 2002 (21 years ago!) he published this book with a very controversial title, probably more controversial today than it was then. In our world of inexcusable taboos, Kennedy, a lifelong advocate of improved race relations in the USA, makes the case that we need to be able to talk about hard issues. And that both right and left are moving to shut down any number of critical debates and discussions, not least about that ‘troublesome’ N-word.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Why improv jazz could be the key to understanding quantum weirdness – BBC – Science Focus. “The wave equation and collapsing notes, how jazz improvisation and quantum physics reveal the universe (maybe).” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • AI Panic = AI Hype – Douglas Rushkoff. “One of the bigger ‘problems’ that I have with the conversation surrounding artificial intelligence, is that we are seeing such a huge gap (polar opposites) in how the smartest people see the imminent opportunity/threat of AI, and where this is all going. Last week was a great example of this. In Montreal, we had the C2 Montreal conference. The two sessions that stood out for me was an AI conversation between Yoshua Bengio and Yuval Noah Harari and a separate keynote session with one of my favorite brains, Douglas Rushkoff. I would hold all three of these thinkers in the upper echelons of people I look to for salient perspectives on technology and society. Well, Harari and Rushkoff could not be further apart when it comes to AI. Harari is worried about the clear and present dangers of AI, while Rushkoff thinks this is all parlor tricks. And this is but one of his rants about how what we’re seeing isn’t even AI. Now, I consider myself smart enough to parse all of these opinions and keep pushing forward, but this whole ‘AI is going to kill us all and AI is not even AI’ is not helpful for the greater population.” (Mitch for Alistair).  
  • NFTs Aren’t Obsolete — They’re Just Evolving into Something Much More Useful – Retail Touchpoints. “Does anybody remember or care about NFTs anymore? Are we bored of Bored Apes? Was that a bubble? A ponzi scheme? Quality digital art? The beginning of a new era? Time will tell. The tech hype cycle works this way… build it up…. watch it grow (and grow)… watch it implode… and then (the most important part) the real value starts to uncover itself. I am, actually, a huge fan of NFTs. Not the hype but the philosophy behind them. I do believe that digital assets should have provenance and scarcity (like everyday physical objects). This is a great read about where NFTs are at but – more importantly – how they’ve evolved into something that will have both a commercial and tangible value. Sure, we’re all hyped up about AI, but let’s not forget many of the other emerging technologies that will change the landscape…” (Mitch for Hugh).

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