Six Links Worthy of Your Attention #695

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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: 

  • Wanted: High Performers For The Last Job You’ll Ever Have – Chain Of ThoughtTwo AI topics this week. First up: Whether true AI is here or not, I agree with Peter Norvig on at least one thing: Software that can generate things and work with language is going to forever change our economy. Writers and actors and designers are already taking Big Tech and Big Media to task for turning their source material into new art and writing. Dan Shipper has a big idea: ‘I think there’s an opportunity to start an agency that recruits extremely talented people to train AI by promising them it will be the last job they’ll ever have.’ Under new employment contracts, he proposes, we need to demand an annuity on the work we do to train data models. Which is fine, I guess, until someone better supplants us, and the money stops flowing. Interesting debate.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Artificial General Intelligence Is Already Here – Noema“Peter Norvig knows a thing or two about AI. In this essay co-authored by Blaise Agüera y Arcas, they argue that the most important parts of AGI have already been achieved by today’s Large Language Models, which they call ‘frontier models.’ And, they say, humans wilfully ignore this because we’re guilty of biological exceptionalism, as well as head-in-the-sand concerns about what real AI will do to the existing economic systems on which civilization is based.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Abandoned Lands: A Hidden Resource For Restoring Biodiversity – Yale Environment 360. “Ever since reading about mini forests, (one of my links a few weeks ago), I’ve been obsessed with the idea that we can easily create tiny but healthy islands of flourishing local biodiversity. It’s not that hard: a bit of land (as small as a tennis court!) can be planted densely with a certain mix of well chosen trees and shrubs and the symbiosis of the flora creates a fast growing ‘old growth forest’ in 10-20 years. The fauna comes. Every time I see a bit of unused grass/scrub space in the city, I think: Perfect spot for a mini forest. Parallel research about the restorative nature of abandoned farms and land — and the rich unappreciated wildlife that moves in — suggest that a little bit more thought and care can turn these forgotten places into booster shots for the planet.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • What Happened To San Francisco, Really? – The New Yorker. “The complicated story of the decline of downtown San Francisco into a mess… and where to go from here.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • The Techno-Optimist Manifesto – Andreessen Horowitz. “Every piece of evidence can be ignored or denied. Every scientific theory is challenged to the point where no one believes it. Every person with a perspective is suddenly distilling knowledge in TikTok format in an attempt to ’tell the truth’ or ‘demistify’ the news of the world. It’s hard to be both an optimist and someone who is deeply cynical, but welcome to my current psychological state. Marc Andreessen famed tech creator and investor needs to be an optimist about tech. It’s not only who he is, as a professional, but his livelihood is based on making big bets on technology that other people can’t (yet) see in an effort to change the world. The cynic would ask: Is it tech for the betterment of humanity or a select few? The optimist would ask: Is it tech that moves us to a better world with more equality and quality of life for all? It would be hard to argue that the technological innovations that we’ve had to date have made the world a worse place (it has not… we are infinitely better because of it, and this includes the massive challenges that it has brought). The bigger question is: Will this conitnue or is the next step in tech one that we might deeply regret? I am forever the optimist, but finding it increasingly difficult to not ‘follow the money’ when it comes to articles like this. Will technology help create a better tomorrow… not just for the individuals that will benefit from it by acruing more wealth and more centralized power.” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Science Fiction In Foresight, Strategy And Futures Studies – Design Fiction Daily. “If I am not mistaken, I came across this article from our mutual friend, Patrick Tanguay, at Sentiers. I am a total nerd for this type of thinking… and I am here for it. How can we think about the future and ignore the amazing volumes of science fiction books available to us. We can’t. In this piece, Dre Labre digs deep into the merging of science fiction with strategic foresight as an actionable tool for business leaders to push their models and opportunities forward. Lately, I’ve been on a science fiction book reading binge and, if I am to be honest, it is providing me with more business inspiration (at a multiple) than all of the current business management and leadership books I’ve also been consuming. We can create the future that we want… all we have to do is imagine it… or… someone has already done the imagination part for us already… all we (really) have to do is take the time to read it… and think/do something 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.

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