Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #396

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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 InterestingTilt the WindmillHBS, chair of StrataStartupfestPandemonio, and ResolveTO, Author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) 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 Invasion of the German Board Games – The Atlantic. “I’m headed to Panama next week for a five-day event on the sustainability of business. While a lot of the Geoversity lineup has to do with nature and biology, there’s an underlying theme I’m hoping to explore: Objective Functions. Life, for example, has an objective function of adaptivity and survival of the fittest. In an increasingly algorithmic age, the objective function we give to a machine–an AI, a robot–can send it off in perilously wrong directions (Nick Bostrom famously imagines an AI we tell to ‘make paperclips’ which, following these instructions to the letter, turns the entire universe into paperclips). A big part of these functions is the underlying game systems that make parties co-operate or compete. As part of the discussion, I’ll be interviewing Ubisoft‘s VP of Editorial, Tommy François. He’s been thinking a lot about games where bigger, better, faster isn’t the only goal–and it seems like the Germans are a good model.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Taco Bell Made the Perfect Trailer for a Fake Movie About Why They’ve Never Sold Fries – AdWeek. “I never wondered why Taco Bell didn’t have fries. But if you’re gonna change up a menu, this is how you do it.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Can Planet Earth Feed 10 Billion People? – The Atlantic. “With all due respect to Will Rogers, I never met a doomsday apocalypse prediction I didn’t like. Nukes? Climate Change? How about an oldie (but goodie): can we feed a global population that is expected to be twice what it was in 1987? We’ll find out, sometime around 2050.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Philip K. Dick and the Fake Humans – Boston Review. “I love the first line of this article: ‘This is not the dystopia we were promised.’ Orwell and Huxley got it wrong, but Philip K. Dick‘s notions of the blurring lines between human and non-human, reality and non-reality (or competing realities), capture better the strange place we find ourselves in today.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders – Scientific American. “You know the saying, ‘if you’re the smartest person in the room… you’re in the wrong room.’ Still, being around people who are smart and super strong leaders is intimidating. Even after all of my years and all of my work experience, I can feel that way when confronted with acknowledged smart leaders. I often wonder, ‘what do I have to add to this conversation?’ But maybe that’s all wrong? What if the smartest leaders are perceived as not that effective by the people who work for them? This is a fascinating read that flies in the face of conventional wisdom.” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • The Problem With Courting Amazon – The Atlantic. Amazon has turned the hunt for their second HQ into a competition akin to how we watch cities try to lure the Olympics. Is this the right comparison? Which cities have truly benefited and flourished after hosting the Olympics? As a Montrealer, it’s hard not to look at our Olympic Stadium (and all of the infrastructure that was put in place… and then subsequently neglected) and wonder about the tax payer’s implications, and what it ultimately cost our city. Other cities have had the same narrative. Here’s an interesting read on how business like this rolls out. Does the city that gets the next Amazon HQ win as the country suffers?” (Mitch for Hugh). 

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