The Jordan Peterson Mask – Put A Number On It!
That’s what Jordan Peterson is: a fake framework. He’s a mask you can put on, a mask that changes how you see the world and how you see yourself in the mirror. Putting on the Jordan Peterson mask adds two crucial elements that rationalists often struggle with: motivation and meaning.
Mandatory Obsessions – Put A Number On It!
Once you’re the expert on X, if someone says outright that Y is more important you get personally offended. This isn’t always wrong. “Let’s shift some focus away from such-and-such” is often a politically savvy way to say “let’s shift some respect and prestige away from so-and-so”.

In my brain sits the meme: climate change is scary, but there’s little I can personally do about it and there’s no point discussing it ad nauseam because none of my friends impact Chinese energy policy.
communication  signalling 
It’s Good to Be Bad If You’re a Bank - Bloomberg
That would probably be a sufficient answer in itself—“we already use people’s data to make vastly more money than most hedge fund managers can dream of, why mess around with securities regulation?”—though I still find it a little counterintuitive that advertising all of the world’s goods and services would be more lucrative than owning them. But Schmidt’s answer strikes me as underestimating the level of … not trust, certainly, but resignation? … that people feel toward big tech companies. “We can’t exploit people’s search and email data for profit, they would go crazy,” is just an odd thing to think when you are running Google.
Google  levine  best-of-2018 
2 days ago
The Experience Economy – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
Still, experience management — which, the last few paragraphs notwithstanding, is still glorified surveys — has limited utility. When an ERP system shows a problem, it is very clear who is responsible, and what needs to be done to fix it; the situation is the same with CRM. What makes experience management into an actual tool of management is tying customer feedback to specific moments in time, whether those be customer service interactions or specific transactions.
stratechery  innovation-mapping 
3 days ago
Playboy Interview: Steve Jobs
Playboy: Are you saying that the people who made the PCjr don’t have that kind of pride in the product? Jobs: If they did, they wouldn’t have turned out the PCjr. It seems clear to me that they were designing that on the basis of market research for a specific market segment, for a specific demographic type of customer, and they hoped that if they built this, lots of people would buy them and they’d make lots of money. Those are different motivations. The people in the Mac group wanted to build the greatest computer that has ever been seen. In the market place, Apple is trying to focus the spotlight on products, because products really make a difference. IBM is trying to focus the spotlight on service, support, security, mainframes and motherhood.

At the time we designed Macintosh, we also designed a machine to build the machine. We spent $20,000,000 building the computer industry’s most automated factory. But that’s not enough. Rather than take seven years to write off our factory, as most companies would do, we’re writing it off in two. We will throw it away at the end of 1985 and build our second one, and we will write that off in two years and throw that away, so that three years from now, we’ll be on to our third automated factory. That’s the only way we can learn fast enough.
Apple  jobs 
7 days ago
The Technology Tel – Digitopoly
Archaeologists define tel as a mound created by many generations rebuilding on the same location, where past efforts become foundations for new generations. This meaning of tel arises in locations that humans have inhabited for many centuries, such as the ancient cities of the Near East and Mediterranean.

Most crowded technology tels generate spawning, that is, the movement of activity to other locations away from the technology tel, either to escape the price of space or the lack of available space. For example, today, the equipment for the electronic New York Stock Exchange and related ex-changes for high-frequency traders sits in northern New Jersey. These are organized around some datacenters, which, if you think about it, are just miniature technology tels coordinated by a manager.
7 days ago
The Innovative Development and Societal Impact of Artificial Intelligence - Google Docs
The proper meaning of “supporting innovation” should be “tolerating failure.” The development of any discipline is not smooth sailing, and the realization of any innovative goal will not happen overnight. The development of AI for more than 60 years vividly illustrates the ups and downs of the development of a discipline’s innovation. It could be said that without the “cold winters” in the development process of the past, there would be no new spring for AI development today.
chinai  innovation-policy 
7 days ago
Girard, Rene | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
According to Girard, metaphysical desire can be a very destructive force, as it promotes resentment against others. Girard considers that the anti-hero of Dostoyevsky’s Notes From the Underground is the quintessential victim of metaphysical desire: the unnamed character eventually goes on a crusade against the world, as he is disillusioned with everything around him. Girard believes that the origin of his alienation is his dissatisfaction with himself, and his obsession to be someone else; that is, an impossible task. Whereas the philosophers of the 18th century would have agreed that communal violence comes to an end due to a social contract, Girard believes that, paradoxically, the problem of violence is frequently solved with a lesser dose of violence. When mimetic rivalries accumulate, tensions grow ever greater. But, that tension eventually reaches a paroxysm. When violence is at the point of threatening the existence of the community, very frequently a bizarre psychosocial mechanism arises: communal violence is all of the sudden projected upon a single individual. Thus, people that were formerly struggling, now unite efforts against someone chosen as a scapegoat. Former enemies now become friends, as they communally participate in the execution of violence against a specified enemy.

Myths will usually tell a story of someone doing a terrible thing and, thus, deserving to be punished. The victim’s perspective will never be incorporated into the myth, precisely because this would spoil the psychological effect of the scapegoating mechanism. The victim will always be portrayed as a culprit whose deeds brought about social chaos, but whose death or expulsion brought about social peace.
Philosophy  girard 
7 days ago
globalinequality: Hayekian communism
I remember, as a precocious high-school student in Yugoslavia, how I scanned the newspapers for the indicators of industrial growth. Since Yugoslavia was then among the fastest growing economies in the world, I was deeply disappointed when the monthly growth rate (annualized) would fall below ten percent. I thought ten percent was the normal growth rate of communist economies: why would you care to become communist if you would not grow faster than under capitalism?
8 days ago
A Natural History of Beauty | Melting Asphalt
The central element of this metaphor — that the key must fit the lock — describes the dynamic between Beauty and Desire. But the metaphor breaks down in a few important ways. For example, a lock-and-key system makes a binary outcome (the key either fits perfectly or not at all), whereas a Beauty-and-Desire system is much more fluid (the Beauty player can trigger stronger or weaker attraction in the Desire player). Also, a lock-and-key system is engineered up front, whereas natural beauty games evolve organically. I’ve thought about this quite a bit over the years. And increasingly I’m convinced that much of what makes humans unique — including our taste in beauty, but also many other things — is our hunger for prestige. Specifically, the honeybee gets to make its choice (of which flower to pursue) entirely on its own, without regard for what the other bees are doing. A bee’s only concern is whether a flower has nectar, not whether any other bees are also attracted to it.⁴ In contrast, an art collector must not follow her own instincts in isolation, or she risks investing in something that has no market value. Instead, in the fine art world, it pays to have broadly the same tastes as everyone else (unless you’re buying art for personal consumption, e.g., to hang in your bedroom).

More generally, predators and prey exist in the wrong game-theoretical relationship, i.e., one of exploitation. This is not conducive to beauty. Instead, beauty arises from a collaboration between a Beauty player and a Desire player.
Beauty  Psychology 
8 days ago
Opinion: Has Internet governance become irrelevant? | APNIC Blog
As the IETF matured it became more like many other technology standards bodies, but there have been moments when the spark of the early days has returned. The IETF’s reaction to the Snowden leaks was to regard the surveillance actions of national security agencies as a form of attack on the IETF’s protocols. The response was one of taking the IETF’s protocols and adding strong encryption wherever possible. The results have been rapid and profound. The web now uses encryption as the de facto standard. The IETF has produced standards that encrypt mail, messaging, and even time synchronization. They have been thorough in taking even the last vestiges of traceable information and defining ways of encrypting it.

There is a widespread perception that these new generic top-level domains represent havens of online abuse and malfeasance. ICANN, as the policy forum that has the carriage of stewardship of the namespace, appears to be largely impotent in being able to stop this behaviour and incapable of stopping itself from allowing applicants to pay ICANN large sums of money to generate even more such unnecessary top-level domain names.
8 days ago
What is a “full stack” developer? – Thinkful – Medium
Typically when a job posting or job title uses the word “full stack” they are referring to someone who has both “Frontend” and “Backend” Development knowledge. Taken more generally, it can refer to…
innovation-mapping  software 
8 days ago
The Alternative to Ideology - Niskanen Center
As Michael Oakeshott noted, however, “Obsession with a single problem, however important, is always dangerous in politics; except in time of war, no society has so simple a life that one element in it can, without loss, be made the centre and circumference of all political activity.
8 days ago
Opinion | Artificial Intelligence Hits the Barrier of Meaning - The New York Times
The mathematician and philosopher Gian-Carlo Rota famously asked, “I wonder whether or when A.I. will ever crash the barrier of meaning.” To me, this is still the most important question. As the A.I. researcher Pedro Domingos noted in his book “The Master Algorithm,” “People worry that computers will get too smart and take over the world, but the real problem is that they’re too stupid and they’ve already taken over the world.”

Unlocking A.I.’s barrier of meaning is likely to require a step backward for the field, away from ever bigger networks and data collections, and back to the field’s roots as an interdisciplinary science studying the most challenging of scientific problems: the nature of intelligence.
8 days ago
Shopping While Black: Past, Present and Future? - Marginal REVOLUTION
The last case, the Amazon Go case, is in part a decline in the value of statistical discrimination since shoplifting is no longer a problem (in theory, assuming the technology works) but in this case the decline in statistical discrimination is driven by much finer discrimination. The moment a shopper enters the Amazon Go store, Amazon knows their name, address, entire shopping history, credit history and potentially much more. Moreover, a shopper’s every movement within the store is tracked to ...
discrimination  capitalism  best-of-2018 
15 days ago
ᴅᴀᴠɪᴅ ᴘᴇʀᴇʟʟ ✌ on Twitter: "1/ "Marketing is the science of knowing what economists are wrong about." Here’s a collection of marketing insights, mostly inspired by @rorysutherland, a marketing executive at Ogilvy & Mather. Thread!"
10/ What are Maximizing Brands?

Maximizers seek the very best of everything.

Maximizing Brands thrive when we’re outside of daily and normal routines. Think… wedding planning and extravagant trips. Tiffany’s is the perfect example.

Maximizing Brand purchases are rare.
tweetstorms  marketing 
15 days ago
Economists think antitrust policy should pay more attention to workers - Free exchange
In a recent paper Suresh Naidu, Eric Posner and Glen Weyl put forward three explanations for this. First, legal theory since the 1960s has embraced the idea that a merger’s economic efficiency ought to be judged solely by its effects on consumers. Second, regulators have not caught up with the emerging conclusion that labour markets may not always be competitive. Third, any harms to workers were thought to be best dealt with by labour-market regulation and trade-union bargaining, rather than by ...
15 days ago
Import AI 118: AirBnB splices neural net into its search engine; simulating robots that touch with UnrealROX; and how long it takes to build a quadcopter from scratch
One of the secrets about AI research is the gulf between frontier research and production use-cases, where researchers tend to prioritize novel approaches that work on small tasks, and industry and/or large-scale operators prioritize simple techniques that scale well. This fact is reflected in this research, where the researchers started work with a single layer neural net model, moved on to a more sophisticated system, then opted for a scale-up solution as their final product. “We were able to deprecate all that complexity by simply scaling the training data 10x and moving to a DNN with 2 hidden layers.”
airbnb  ML 
16 days ago
Poaching Waymo Leader Zhang Yimeng and Another Half Year for Pony.ai - Google Docs
She said that Waymo is indeed very far ahead in the autonomous driving field, but it is not flawless. In terms of technological pursuits, because of Waymo’s early start, there are some historical burdens in terms of technology that are difficult to avoid.

The scale of the company is large, and it is inevitable that the development process cannot balance speed and flexibility.

Most importantly, there is also the China factor. This girl from the northeast (of China), though she has always been s...
chinai  waymo 
16 days ago
The AI Cold War With China That Threatens Us All | WIRED
In May, facial-recognition cameras at Jiaxing Sports Center Stadium in Zhejiang led to the arrest of a fugitive who was attending a concert. He had been wanted since 2015 for allegedly stealing more than $17,000 worth of potatoes. Comment: interesting piece, but pieces like this lose points when they don't consider scenarios like the sub-structure of existing society losing their popularity, e.g. not considering the impact of AI/autonomous weapons weakening the grip of nation-states themselves. Under Xi, Communist Party committees within companies have expanded. Last November, China tapped Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and iFlytek, a Chinese voice-­recognition software company, as the inaugural members of its “AI National Team.”

Shortly before Trump’s inauguration, Jack Ma, the chair of Alibaba, pledged to create a million jobs in the United States. By September 2018, he was forced to admit that the offer was off the table, another casualty in the growing list of companies and projects that are now unthinkable.
ai-policy  chinai 
17 days ago
IBM’s Old Playbook – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
The actual technologies underlying the Internet were open and commoditized, which meant IBM could form a point of integration and extract profits, which is exactly what happened: IBM’s revenue and growth increased steadily — often rapidly! — over the next decade, as the company managed everything from datacenters to internal networks to external websites to e-commerce operations to all the middleware that tied it together (made by IBM, naturally, which was where the company made most of its prof...
17 days ago
The Problem with Facebook and Virtual Reality – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
That may be true technologically, but again, the fundamental nature of the service and the business model are all wrong. Anything made by Facebook is necessarily biased towards being accessible by everyone, which is a problem when creating a new market. Before technology is mature integrated products advance more rapidly, and can be sold at a premium; it follows that market makers are more likely to have hardware-based business models that segment the market, not service-based ones that try and reach everyone.

That there gets at Facebook’s fundamental problem: the company is starting with a use case — social networking, or “connecting people” to use their favored phrase — and backing out to hardware and business models. It is an overly prescriptive approach that is exactly what you would expect from an app-enabled service, and the opposite of what you would expect from an actual platform. In other words, to be a platform is not a choice; it is destiny, and Facebook’s has always run in a different direction.
facebook  vr 
17 days ago
Jair Bolsonaro, Far-Right Populist, Elected President of Brazil - The New York Times
Opponents enjoyed far more advertising time on television and radio — which is allotted by party size — and rolled out slickly edited campaign materials. But Mr. Bolsonaro’s campaign drowned them out with a bare-bones, scrappy communications strategy. He and his sons broadcast shaky, poorly-lit videos on Facebook and Instagram in which Mr. Bolsonaro cracked jokes, took aim at adversaries and bemoaned the state of Brazil.
brazil  facebook  politics  2018 
18 days ago
New schemes teach the masses to build AI - No PhD, no problem
It is working. A graduate from fast.ai’s first year, Sara Hooker, was hired into Google’s highly competitive ai residency programme after finishing the course, having never worked on deep learning before. She is now a founding member of Google’s new ai research office in Accra, Ghana, the firm’s first in Africa. In Bangalore, some 2,400 people are members of ai Saturdays, which follows the course together as a gigantic study group. Andrei Karpathy, one of deep learning’s foremost practitioners, ...
21 days ago
Griffith on Police: ‘Be Rottweilers of aggression not pot hounds of nothing’
“I’d rather be seen as the police service being rottweilers of aggression to ensure the law is enforced than to be pot hounds of nothing.”
t&t  scary 
27 days ago
Peter Brackley's charming delivery underlined our emotional bonds with football commentators
The eagerness with which Brackley tucked into the surnames of Italian football's peak years certainly added to the thrill of this rare, pre-YouTube glimpse into football beyond the English Channel (his son's classmates, one Brackley anecdote goes, used to greet him with cries of "Rrrrrravanelliiiii!") and it was a decade-long chapter of his career that he remained fond of.
obit  Football 
4 weeks ago
Anpanman | Deep reads from The Japan Times
The franchise set a new Guinness world record for the most number of characters in an anime series when it breached the 1,768 mark in June 2009. That number has since risen to more than 2,300.
japan  anpanman 
5 weeks ago
Finding a Lost Strain of Rice, and Clues to Slave Cooking - The New York Times
The search for the missing grain led to Trinidad and Thomas Jefferson, and now excitement among African-American chefs.
t&t  agriculture 
5 weeks ago
Moruga Hill rice goes global - Trinidad Guardian
Fran­cis said the red­dish, choco­late flavoured Moru­ga Hill rice was brought to T&T from Africa 200 years ago by the Merikins West African slaves. As pay­ment for fight­ing for the British against the USA in the war of 1812, the Merikins were giv­en lands in Moru­ga, where they grew the beard­ed rice on the hills.

The strain was lost in the Unit­ed States and Fran­cis said Moru­ga is the on­ly place in the world where the rice is grown.

He said be­cause the rice is high in fi­bre and iron, t...
t&t  agriculture 
5 weeks ago
Island Renewable Energy Solutions to meet the SDGs – UNLEASH Lab – Medium
Renewable energy is not just about mitigation, but can also improve quality of life. Both Tokelau and Eigg are examples of communities that only reached 24-hour electricity after installing renewable energy. With a changing climate now seen as inevitable, renewable energy is also an adaptation mechanism for climate change that can make communities more resilient and less dependent on fuel imports.
solar  climate 
5 weeks ago
Pocket: The Microsoft Provocateur
He stated the belief that “we are on the brink of a revolution of similar magnitude. This will be driven by two technologies—computing and digital networking. . . . The result of these two technologies will drive the cost of bandwidth per customer down by enormous factors. . . . This is the key to changing the economics of distribution, and it is central to the entire notion of the ‘information highway.’ ” It also infuriated Myhrvold and Microsoft that the Internet was free. They saw it as a flower-child culture that disdained profits and copyrights—and Microsoft. The Net’s combination of free content and sparse advertising led Myhrvold to be dubious—as he had been all along—of its commercial potential. “Nobody gets a vig on content on the Internet today,” he wrote. “The question is whether this will remain true.”

“Animation is a bit like software in that it is made up of a large team of talented people who work as steady employees,” he wrote. “If we made Excel the way that ‘Prince of Egypt’ is being made, then every dialog box would be reviewed by Bill.”
history  microsoft 
5 weeks ago
Breaking Open New Prospects for “China Chips” - Google Docs
The examples of China Chips, China Screens, and China Cars all tell us to not rely too much on foreign-funded enterprises. The purpose of foreign-funded enterprises is different from that of market-oriented domestic enterprises. The objectives of foreign-funded enterprises are to bypass China's tariff barriers (by building chips/panels/car factories in China) and to reduce costs. But for an ambitious market-oriented domestic-funded enterprise, its purpose is to link together the industrial chain, raise up its own brand, and work hard to develop (or acquire) the critical segments (of the industrial chain) that can easily “squeeze the throat”, expand its own breathing space, and invisibly bind together its own destiny with the needs of the nation.

Thus, it is not a joke to say that breaking open new prospects for “China chips” will be reliant on Alibaba and Tencent.

Also, the most important point - both LCD panels and chips have a marked "periodic law":

Most of the time, as capacity increases and technology advances, prices will continue to fall.
But every few years new applications appear: for instance, smartphones, mining machines, AI chips, etc. For this period, chips/panels are in short supply, and prices skyrocket (the wave of 2016-2017).
chinai  best-of-2018 
5 weeks ago
Second Machine Age or Fifth Technological Revolution? (Part 3) – Beyond the Technological Revolution
These incumbents are embodied by the term ‘dinosaurs’, acting towards the microprocessor as railway magnates responded to the ‘impracticality’ of automobiles, and as canal engineers tended to respond to the railways; unlike the digital natives, they fail to see that ‘this changes everything’. It is at this point, during the crossover, where the disruptors come in and where finance, which is not tied to any particular technology or product, can shift to the new without great effort, facilitating What is crucial to understand is that those new ultra-high productivity sectors are not the primary engine of job creation: rather, the greater wealth they create overflows into other lower-productivity activities that cater to the new model of everyday life and cover complementary services for the new production practices. That is the source of the replacement jobs. It is the combination of both that brings the so-called ‘golden ages’ of each surge.

"The superstars are the top earners in music, sport, software development and so on, along with CEOs and other top managers in business. Indeed, it is astonishing that the few at the top can earn in a few months what a worker in the same society will earn in a lifetime. The historical parallel with previous surges is not very strong in this case. There have always been a few millionaires emerging from the bubbles or from the revolutionary industries that each time replace the engines of growth, but I must agree that the current superstar culture is unique. However, whilst I do not deny that some of the causes for this phenomenon can indeed be attributed to technology, in my view, much of the context behind this extreme polarity is socio-political. For that reason, I will refer to the superstar phenomenon in the next post, when discussing the social shaping of each revolution."

The typical market competition of the installation period – the so-called Gilded Age[8] – eventually results in the formation of monopolies or oligopolies. J.P. Morgan united all the steel makers to form US Steel; he did the same with agricultural equipment to create International Harvester. In these and in many other cases, he did it with the explicit goal of ending what he called ‘ruinous competition’ (cited in Morris 2005). In the electrical industry, a multiplicity of firms consolidated into only two, General Electric and Westinghouse. Ironically, anti-trust legislation, designed to avoid collusion for price-fixing among the many, actually encouraged the creation of near-monopolies such as the National Biscuit Company, the American Tobacco Company and other such mergers, typically with ‘National’, ‘American’, ‘General’, ‘International’ or U.S. in their name. A similar process was happening in the dominant European countries: powerful cartels were formed and major companies, such as Siemens and Krupp, emerged to control each industry.
5 weeks ago
What can a technologist do about climate change? A personal view.
Enevo works at the system level, not consumer level. There are fewer customers at system-level, but those customers have the motivation and leverage to implement heavy efficiency improvements.

There are many reasons, of course, why organizations tend not to publicize their problems. But in a planetary crisis, the “secretive competitive company” might not be the ideal organizing structure for human effort. In an admirable gesture of global goodwill, Tesla recently “open-sourced” their patents, but patents represent solutions. What if there were some way Tesla could reveal their open problems?
climate  technology 
5 weeks ago
Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040 - The New York Times
A landmark United Nations report paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding damage requires quickly transforming the world economy.
5 weeks ago
The Social Conglomerate – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
This idea of conglomeration – ever larger companies, delivering ever more specialized and segmented products – isn’t limited to just Facebook. Google is arguably a machine-learning conglomerate with multiple products; Amazon a logistics conglomerate with multiple services; even Apple a personal computer conglomerate offering multiple products with different form factors and interaction models.
facebook  stratechery 
6 weeks ago
Don't Be Evil
The technologies that we've developed are infrastructures. We don't have a language yet for infrastructure as politics. And enough magic still clings to the devices that people are very reluctant to start thinking about them as ordinary as tarmac.

Think about an auditorium where someone sits onstage and the audience watches, versus a Quaker meeting where everyone sits in a circle. They're very different.

So, structure matters. Design is absolutely critical. Design is the process by which the politics of one world become the constraints on another. How are those constraints built? What are its effects on political life?

When I went to Burning Man, that's what struck me: I am in the desert. The desert of Israel, from the Bible, under the eye of heaven, and everything I do shall be meaningful. That’s a Protestant idea, a Puritan idea, a tech idea, and a commune idea. All of those come together at Burning Man and that's one of the reasons I'm fascinated by the place.
tech  best-of-2018  Culture 
7 weeks ago
Ads Don’t Work That Way | Melting Asphalt
There's one more honest ad mechanism to discuss. This one is termed (appropriately) honest signaling, and it's an instance of Marshall McLuhan's famous dictum, "The medium is the message." Here an ad conveys valuable information simply by existing — or more specifically, by existing in a very expensive location. A company that takes out a huge billboard in the middle of Times Square is announcing (subtextually), "We're willing to spend a lot of money on this product. We're committed to it.

The key differentiating factor between the two mechanisms (inception and imprinting) is how conspicuous the ad needs to be. Insofar as an ad works by inception, its effect takes place entirely between the ad and an individual viewer; the ad doesn't need to be conspicuous at all. On the other hand, for an ad to work by cultural imprinting, it needs to be placed in a conspicuous location, where viewers will see it and know that others are seeing it too.

Brands build trust over time, and not just trust in the quality of their product, but trust that they won't change their brand messaging too sharply or too quickly.
7 weeks ago
10 Day Samadhi (Concentration) Retreat at Spirit Rock
With mindfulness practice you are remembering to recognize the present moment’s experience. You recognize what’s happening in your mind on a moment to moment level, enabling you to short circuit — and ultimately uproot — the aforementioned unwholesome habits of mind: you recognize when the craving of more pleasant things or the aversion to bad things enters your consciousness as the thought is still in formation and before it can take root. When you feel joy you can just feel joy in that moment. If you begin to crave more joy in that moment, as many of us do to our detriment, a mindful mind will notice it in that moment and curtail the craving. If you feel anger, with mindfulness you can notice that anger depends on thinking anger related thoughts in that moment and you can choose to return to the present moment’s experience instead.

This struck me as a relevant life theme. There are situations that call for gritty effort; there are situations that call for more “receptive” effort; and there’s a skill to knowing which type of effort to employ and when.
7 weeks ago
A radical idea for reducing inequality deserves more attention - Free exchange
More significantly, a social wealth fund raises difficult questions about the structure of the economy. It would create a conflict between workers’ interests as wage earners and their interests as recipients of dividends: more revenue flowing towards pay-cheques would mean less for profits. Left-leaning critics worry that a social wealth fund might undermine efforts to strengthen labour unions. A fund might, ironically, soften public attitudes towards capitalism’s more ruthless aspects.
7 weeks ago
Earning the Right to Get Swindled - Bloomberg
It also tells you that authorities say a lot of nonsense: “unspecific general warnings” about cryptocurrencies have no effect on crypto market prices because crypto markets conclude that they will have no effect on the world. And crypto markets think that “central bank digital currency issuance”—in which central banks softly chant the word “blockchain” while issuing centralized government-controlled fiat currency—is as silly as I do.
crypto  bitt 
7 weeks ago
Instagram’s CEO – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
Controlling one’s own destiny, though, takes more than product or popularity. It takes money, which is to say it takes building a company, working business model and all. That is why I mark April 9, 2012, as the day yesterday became inevitable. Letting Facebook build the business may have made Systrom and Krieger rich and freed them to focus on product, but it made Zuckerberg the true CEO, and always, inevitably, CEOs call the shots.
7 weeks ago
Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and the war over change - Vox
“I call it the democratization of discomfort,” says Richeson. “There were whole swaths of people uncomfortable all of the time. Now we’re democratizing it. Now more people across different races and religions feel uncomfortable.”
america  identity-politics 
7 weeks ago
The Crisis Was in the System - Bloomberg
I just mean to endorse Wong’s claim that if you want to understand Facebook, the main thing you have to understand is Facebook, the product and architecture and algorithms and effects and interactions, the system of it. Understanding the people who built it is not a substitute for that, because the system has moved beyond their conscious control. Facebook does things in the world that are not directly willed by the people who built it; to understand and predict those things, you don’t interview ...
8 weeks ago
The European Union Versus the Internet – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
This, you’ll note, is not a statement that copyright is inherently bad, but rather an argument that copyright regulation and business models predicated on scarcity are unworkable and ultimately unprofitable; what makes far more sense for everyone from customers to creators is an approach that presumes abundance.

The regulatory corollary of Aggregation Theory is that the ultimate form of regulation is user generated.
8 weeks ago
Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy? | The New Yorker
In Sri Lanka, after a Buddhist mob attacked Muslims this spring over a false rumor, a Presidential adviser told the Times, “The germs are ours, but Facebook is the wind.”

Tristan Harris, the design ethicist, said, “When you’re running anything like Facebook, you get criticized all the time, and you just stop paying attention to criticism if a lot of it is not well founded. You learn to treat it as naïve and uninformed.” He went on, “The problem is it also puts you out of touch with genuine criticism from people who actually understand the issues.”

A former Facebook official told me, “They only want to hear good news. They don’t want people who are disagreeing with them. There is a culture of ‘You go along to get along.’ ”

The caricature of Zuckerberg is that of an automaton with little regard for the human dimensions of his work. The truth is something else: he decided long ago that no historical change is painless. Like Augustus, he is at peace with his trade-offs. Between speech and truth, he chose speech. Between speed and perfection, he chose speed. Between scale and safety, he chose scale. His life thus far has convinced him that he can solve “problem after problem after problem,” no matter the howling from the public it may cause.
facebook  interview 
8 weeks ago
interfluidity » SWF+UBD
Concentrated interests are relentless, diffuse interests depend fatally upon the caprices of the news cycle. Captains of industry seem to hate regulation, because they are bound to hate whatever regulations find favor in the public’s eye. They are not so deregulatory in the shadows. Quite the contrary.

We can all, as Mike Konczal put it on Twitter, “spitball” about politics. But I think it fair to say that it would be difficult to sustain the political will to cumulatively impose new taxes on capital holders, every year, year after year after year over a period that might span decades. But the “gimmick” of actually using the proceeds from a single tax, enacted once and continued indefinitely, to purchase capital assets, generates the same effect as this compounding tax schedule in a way that seems natural and inevitable and legitimate under the norms of present-day capitalism. If we accept that other capital holders get to enjoy the miracle of compound returns, why shouldn’t a fund owned in equal shares by all citizens get to enjoy the same? Actually constituting a SWF delivers a regime of effective taxation that, I think it is fair to say, ordinary politics simply could not.

Bank finance, in the United States at least, has been eviscerated as a source of capital for entrepreneurial ventures whose assets do not serve readily as loan collateral. A combination of industry consolidation and regulatory constraint has rendered “soft-information”, “relationship” lending increasingly risky to, and rare among, bank decision-makers. Ideally banks are cooperative enterprises through which communities undertake the risks of their own development, but American banking institutions are simply no longer suited to that model.
9 weeks ago
The 'Black Chic' Wave - Quillette
Perfect color-blindness, as a matter of human psychology, is impossible. All of us notice skin color whether we want to or not. But that’s a fact about human psychology, not a guide to what ethical ideals we should encourage. By analogy, consider selflessness. Perfect selflessness is impossible. Nobody could honestly say that their level of concern for themselves is identical to their level of concern for a stranger. But we do not let that stop us from encouraging people to strive for selflessne...
america  race 
9 weeks ago
Resistant protocols: How decentralization evolves – John Backus – Medium
Still, the shift from central hosts to link-only websites tells the full story of decentralization. When the law points to a piece of centralized software and demands modifications that users don’t want, technologists split that software into parts and obscures the objectionable features the legal system understands.

The path we followed from centralized mp3 distribution to the modern BitTorrent ecosystem is a case study following one of the biggest mainstream decentralization movement the world has seen. Napster had 80 million users at its peak. In 2007, BitTorrent was ~60% of global internet traffic. From 1997 to 2007, users flocked to the best user experience possible that was just decentralized enough to stay alive.

Each successful phase of decentralization we saw represented the minimum viable decentralization necessary to stay alive.

These lazy workarounds match because decentralization isn’t the product, it is just a means of staying alive.

Without activism, we would have beautifully designed decentralized technologies which are impossible to use in practice.
decentralisation  software  best-of-2018 
10 weeks ago
Opinion | How to Make a Big Decision - The New York Times
In a post-mortem, the subject is dead, and the coroner’s job is to figure out the cause of death. In a premortem, the sequence is reversed: “Our exercise,” Dr. Klein explains, “is to ask planners to imagine that it is months into the future and that their plan has been carried out. And it has failed. That is all they know; they have to explain why they think it failed.”
10 weeks ago
A Total Rethinking of Tencent's Strategy - Google Docs
from the data point of view, merchants connect customers through WeChat to conduct business, the data that Tencent can get is only the log-in data. If transactions are made through WeChat payment, Tencent can also get the data on the total amount of the transaction, but Tencent cannot get the deeper and more valuable transaction data, such as the product name, unit price, etc. Through connecting these types of data acquired, Wechat’s dimensions are still too singular.
chinai  tencent 
10 weeks ago
Uber’s Bundles – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
Here’s the thing though: Uber is better equipped than anyone else to deal with Waymo’s potential ability to extract margin for superior self-driving technology. After all, the company is already paying for driving technology — the technology just happens to be a human!
uber  stratechery 
10 weeks ago
Building AI-first products – David Bessis – Medium
This means aligning two different sets of constraints:

market: you must identify something substantial enough to create massive value, yet users will have to be comfortable with letting a machine replace them on this specific task;
technology: the something must be one of the very few problems that today’s AI can not just kinda solve but truly solve with adequate levels of quality, reliability and demonstrability.
design  ai 
10 weeks ago
What is an API? In English, please. – freeCodeCamp.org
An API isn’t the same as the remote server — rather it is the part of the server that receives requests and sends responses.

To summarize, when a company offers an API to their customers, it just means that they’ve built a set of dedicated URLs that return pure data responses — meaning the responses won’t contain the kind of presentational overhead that you would expect in a graphical user interface like a website.
software  innovation-mapping 
10 weeks ago
Tesla, software and disruption — Benedict Evans
Meanwhile, the people who are first to bring the disruption to market may not be the people who end up benefiting from it, and indeed the people who win from the disruption may actually be doing something different - they may be in a different part of the value chain. Apple pioneered PCs but lost the PC market, and the big winners were not even other PC companies. Rather, most of the profits went to Microsoft and Intel, which both operated at different layers of the stack. PCs themselves became a low-margin commodity with fierce competition, but PC CPUs and operating systems (and productivity software) turned out to have very strong winner-takes-all effects. Being first is not the same as having a sustainable competitive advantage, no matter how disruptive you are, and the advantage might be somewhere else.

We will go from complex cars with simple software to simple cars with complex software. Instead of many stand-alone embedded systems each doing one thing, we’ll have cheap dumb sensors and actuators controlled by software on a single central control board, running some sort of operating system, with many different threads (there are a few candidates). This is partly driven by electric, but becomes essential for autonomy.
tesla  innovation 
10 weeks ago
Deep Learning Tips and Tricks – Towards Data Science
Use dropout on the input layer as well as hidden layers. This has been proven to improve deep learning performance.
Use a large learning rate with decay, and large momentum.
Constrain your weights! A big learning rate can result in exploding gradients. Imposing a constraint on network weight — such as max-norm regularization with a size of 5 — has been shown to improve results.
Use a larger network. You are likely to get better performance when dropout is used on a larger network
11 weeks ago
The Impossible Job: Inside Facebook’s Struggle to Moderate Two Billion People - Motherboard
While Facebook’s AI has been very successful at identifying spam and nudity, the nuance of human language, cultural contexts, and widespread disagreements about what constitute “hate speech” make it a far more challenging problem. Facebook’s AI detects just 38 percent of the hate speech-related posts it ultimately removes, and at the moment it doesn’t have enough training data for the AI to be very effective outside of English and Portuguese.

His ultimate solution for content moderation, he wrote, is a future in which people in different countries either explicitly or through their activity on the site explain the types of content that they want to see and then Facebook’s artificial intelligence will ensure that they are only shown things that appeal to their sensibilities. He describes this as a “large-scale democratic process to determine standards with AI to enforce them.”

“The idea is to give everyone in the community options for how they would like to set the content policy for themselves. Where is your line on nudity? On violence? On graphic content? On profanity? What you decide will be your personal settings,” he wrote. “For those who don't make a decision, the default will be whatever the majority of people in your region selected, like a referendum.”

The slides viewed by Motherboard show over and over again that, though Facebook believes in a borderless world, the reality is that enforcement is often country-specific. This is to comply with local law and to avoid being kicked out of individual markets. Bickert told Motherboard that Facebook sometimes creates country-specific slides to give moderators “local context.” And, as Zuckerberg wrote in his letter, Facebook believes that eventually it will have to have culture- and country-specific enforcement.

[Moderator] “There’s a collapse of the context with which we see the world, or use to interpret this content,” he added. “We should be the experts, and instead are in this false construction. It's not a reflection of the real world basically.”

Startlingly, Facebook only started collecting data on why moderators delete content in 2017, Rosen told Motherboard.

“We still don't know if it's really going to work out, due to the language challenges,” Rosen said. “Burmese wasn't in Unicode for a long time, and so they developed their own local font, as they opened up, that is not compatible with Unicode. … We're working with local civil society to get their help flagging problematic content posts, and, current events also, so that we can go and take them down, but also understanding how we can advance, especially given our app is extremely popular, the state of Unicode in the country.”
nlp  facebook  speech  AI 
11 weeks ago
Was the WTO a mistake? - The Washington Post
I am in favor of allowing countries much greater latitude in the conduct of industrial policies. When they succeed, this is good not only for the countries themselves but also for other nations because it enables economic growth and hence, greater trade opportunities. When they fail, the costs are borne primarily by domestic consumers and taxpayers. I think the case for international rules and disciplines to limit the use of industrial policies is a lot weaker than people realize.
industrial-policy  wto 
11 weeks ago
AI Nationalism — Ian Hogarth
The Chinese state appears to have recognised the importance of data to its AI nationalism efforts. China’s latest cybersecurity law mandates that data being exported out of China have to be reviewed.

China’s annual imports of semiconductor-related products are now $260 billion and have recently risen above spending on oil.

[2017] AlphaGo defeated world No.1 Kie Jie 3-0 in Wuzhen, China. Live video coverage of AlphaGo vs. Ke Jie was blocked in China.

This kind of dependency would be tantamount to a new kind of colonialism.

We can see small examples of new geopolitical relationships emerging. In March, Zimbabwe’s government signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement with a Guangzhou-based startup, CloudWalk Technology for a large-scale facial recognition program where Zimbabwe will export a database of their citizens’ faces to China, allowing CloudWalk to improve their underlying algorithms with more data and Zimbabwe to get access to CloudWalk’s computer vision technology. This is part of the much broader Belt and Road initiative of the Chinese Government.
ai-policy  industrial-policy  best-of-2018 
11 weeks ago
Overcoming Bias : Compulsory Licensing Of Backroom IT?
It seems that making good backroom software, to use internally, has become something of a natural monopoly. Creating such IT has large fixed costs and big random factors. So an obvious question is whether we can usefully regulate this natural monopoly. And one standard approach to regulating monopolies is to force them to sell to everyone at regulated prices. Which in this context we call “compulsory licensing”; firms could be forced to lease their backroom IT to other firms in the same industry...
IT  productivity 
11 weeks ago
The Best Books on Artificial Intelligence | Five Books Expert Recommendations
He says that that’s true, but that Moore’s Law, when it comes to integrated circuits, is actually the fifth paradigm of this exponential improvement in computing power, which goes back to vacuum tubes and other things before. Another one will replace integrated circuits.
ai  books 
11 weeks ago
A machine-learning approach to venture capital | McKinsey
But most of the Chinese firms didn’t fully understand venture capital, and many of the great deals from 2005 to 2010 got gobbled up by US venture firms. Alibaba and Tencent, for instance, are US funded. Almost every early good deal went to a conglomerate of foreign venture capitalists.

In the venture-capital world, success has historically been driven by a relatively small group of individuals who have access to the best deals. However, we’re betting on a paradigm shift in venture capital where...
vc  china  ml 
11 weeks ago
Steering by the Socialist Idols in the Heavens Leads Us to Sail Not Towards but Away from the Shores of Utopia: (Early) Monday Corey Robin Smackdown
Capitalism, the market... bureaucracy... democratic polity... can be... cold monster[s].... We... live among these alien powers... try to direct them to human ends... find the specific ways in which these powers we have conjured up are hurting us, and use them to check each other.... Sometimes... more... market mechanisms, sometimes... removing... goods and services from market allocation.... Sometimes... expanding... democratic decision-making... and sometime... narrowing its scope.... Leaving ...
capitalism  socialism 
11 weeks ago
The best is the last — Benedict Evans
The point of this excursion into tech history is that a technology often produces its best results just when it's ready to be replaced - it's the best it's ever been, but it's also the best it could ever be. There's no room for more optimisation - the technology has run its course and it's time for something new, and any further attempts at optimisation produce something that doesn't make much sense. The Constellation was perfect - the XC-99 or the Bristol Brabazon just showed that pistons had r...
11 weeks ago
IBM Has a Watson Dilemma - WSJ
Dr. Kelley said Watson’s recommendations can be wrong, even for tried-and-true treatments. On the other hand, he said, it is fast and useful at finding relevant medical articles, saving time and sometimes surfacing information doctors aren’t aware of.
watson  AI  health 
11 weeks ago
NLP's ImageNet Moment
Empirical and theoretical results in multi-task learning (Caruana, 1997; Baxter, 2000) indicate that a bias that is learned on sufficiently many tasks is likely to generalize to unseen tasks drawn from the same environment. Viewed through the lens of multi-task learning, a model trained on ImageNet learns a large number of binary classification tasks (one for each class). These tasks, all drawn from the space of natural, real-world images, are likely to be representative of many other CV tasks. In the same vein, a language model---by learning a large number of classification tasks, one for each word---induces representations that are likely helpful for many other tasks in the realm of natural language. Still, much more research is necessary to gain a better theoretical understanding why language modeling seems to work so well for transfer learning.
12 weeks ago
Hiroshima | The New Yorker
among a people obsessed with a fear of being spied upon—perhaps almost obsessed himself—he found himself growing increasingly uneasy.

Then a tremendous flash of light cut across the sky. Mr. Tanimoto has a distinct recollection that it travelled from east to west, from the city toward the hills. It seemed a sheet of sun.

Dr. Fujii was the proprietor of a peculiarly Japanese institution, a private, single-doctor hospital.

(A colleague working in the laboratory to which Dr. Sasaki had been walking was dead; Dr. Sasaki’s patient, whom he had just left and who a few moments before had been dreadfully afraid of syphilis, was also dead.)

There, in the tin factory, in the first moment of the atomic age, a human being was crushed by books.

Under many houses, people screamed for help, but no one helped; in general, survivors that day assisted only their relatives or immediate neighbors, for they could not comprehend or tolerate a wider circle of misery.

Mr. Tanimoto climbed up the bank and ran along it until, near a large Shinto shrine, he came to more fire, and as he turned left to get around it, he met, by incredible luck, his wife. She was carrying their infant son. Mr. Tanimoto was now so emotionally worn out that nothing could surprise him. He did not embrace his wife; he simply said, “Oh, you are safe.”

In a paroxysm of terrified strength, he freed himself and ran down the alleys of Nobori-cho, hemmed in by the fire he had said would never come.

In the garden, on the way to the shelter, he noticed a pumpkin roasted on the vine. He and Father Cieslik tasted it and it was good. They were surprised at their hunger, and they ate quite a bit.

When he had penetrated the bushes, he saw there were about twenty men, and they were all in exactly the same nightmarish state: their faces were wholly burned, their eyesockets were hollow, the fluid from their melted eyes had run down their cheeks. (They must have had their faces upturned when the bomb went off; perhaps they were anti-aircraft personnel.)

It killed ninety-five per cent of the people within a half mile of the center, and many thousands who were farther away.… The rays simply destroyed body cells—caused their nuclei to degenerate and broke their walls.

General MacArthur’s headquarters systematically censored all mention of the bomb in Japanese scientific publications, but soon the fruit of the scientists’ calculations became common knowledge among Japanese physicists, doctors, chemists, journalists, professors, and, no doubt, those statesmen and military men who were still in circulation.
japan  history  ww2 
12 weeks ago
Guide to working in AI policy and strategy - 80,000 Hours
A rough rule of thumb is to aim to read three or so AI papers a week to get a sense of what’s happening in the field, the terminology people use, and to be able to discriminate between real and fake AI news. Regarding AI jargon, your aim should be for at least attaining interactional expertise – essentially, the ability to pass the AI researcher Turing Test in casual conversations at conferences, even if you couldn’t write a novel research paper yourself.
ai-policy  career 
12 weeks ago
How the World Works - The Atlantic
The tree which bears the fruit is of greater value than the fruit itself.... The prosperity of a nation is not ... greater in the proportion in which it has amassed more wealth (ie, values of exchange), but in the proportion in which it has more developed its powers of production.
econ  industrial-policy 
12 weeks ago
Defining the Heisei Era, part 3: Introspection | The Japan Times
the communications software Line, which itself is a kind of Galapagos technology, developed by South Korean engineers for specific use following a breakdown of communications resources during the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and now the most popular messaging app in Japan and other Asian countries while being virtually unknown in the West.
12 weeks ago
Why Facebook is losing the war on hate speech in Myanmar
“Honestly, Facebook had no clue about Burmese content. They were totally unprepared,” he said. “We had to translate it into English for them.”

- FB systems struggle with Burmese text (small datasets?)
- Buddhist nationalism

Facebook’s troubles are evident in a new feature that allows users to translate Burmese content into English. Consider a post Reuters found from August of last year.

In Burmese, the post says: “Kill all the kalars that you see in Myanmar; none of them should be left alive....
facebook  myanmar 
12 weeks ago
Yes you should understand backprop – Andrej Karpathy – Medium
TLDR: If you understand backpropagation and your network has ReLUs, you’re always nervous about dead ReLUs. These are neurons that never turn on for any example in your entire training set, and will remain permanently dead. Neurons can also die during training, usually as a symptom of aggressive learning rates.
12 weeks ago
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