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#164 Political economies, China, FB FWD to a friend. 

Exponential View

Azeem Azhar's Wondermissive: Future, Tech & Society
Dept of the near future

⏱️ Will AI herald the end of capitalism and is the Chinese model of a socialist market economy the next stage of development? (See also: Harold Jarche: automation+capitalism is a perfect storm which makes the case for  why we need new work structures not simply new technology.)

👨‍🏭  The factory of the future: more tailored & faster, with AI as the key driver of enhancements. As workplaces get more automation, employers are focusing on more human skills and workers are looking for more purpose. (That said, Blockchain development is the hottest freelance skill in the job market, growing more than 6,000% since this time last year.)

📈  Algorithmic trading boosts liquidity, increases price efficiency & reduces spreads except in times of market stress, where commonalities between algorithms reduce market quality. It is like watching five-year-olds play soccer, but also an important test-bed for emergent properties of systems with algorithmic actors in it. 

🌶️ Gender inequalities in the labour market start early. Even as babysitters, males are more likely to get a raise than females. And if there was an emotional connection between the female and the child, they were least likely to receive raises. One key issue in this frustrating situation is that women are more likely to be engaged in work which involves “emotional labour”.  (See also: books by women are priced 45% lower than books by men.)

🔎 What went wrong with the Internet ask virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier.

🔬 Biology will be the next great computing platform. (See also, the almost limitless nature of DNA storage.)

🧐 Does Facebook sell your data? (Short essay by me.) 


Dept of political economies

Revisiting American populism:  "the political significance of populists depends above all on the array of power they position themselves against...to understand populism, one needs to analyze the form and the content seriously." Thought-provoking.

Fixing democracy: Dambisa Moyo’s bizarre idea that capability testing the populace before they can vote is a solution for the ills of identity-politics and the failing centre. Truly a “Qu'ils mangent de la brioche” moment.

How do we survive a faster future, asks RAND Corp?

Tim O’Reilly’s on Networks and the Nature of the Economy: How algorithmically managed, internet-scale networks are changing the very nature of the economy & the shape of companies. (Great slide deck.)

Dept of China

Government-backed surveillance projects are deploying brain-reading technology to track emotional states in employees on the production line, the military and at the helm of high-speed trains.

Sensetime, the most valuable private AI company in the world: how and why is its facial recognition technology booming in China?


Consequences of bad social credit: a journalist who called out officials for corruption banned from buying property, travelling on high-speed trains or sending his daughter to a good school.

Baidu launches a blockchain-based photo sharing app designed to protect underlying IP owner's rights.


Alibaba acquires a chip designer to strengthen its internal capabilities. Interesting to understsand what part of this is purley a commercial decision vs a geopolitical one (to reduce reliance on US hardware.)

Chinese AI chip maker Cambricon Technologies released a dedicated ML chip.


Short morsels to appear smart at dinner parties
🎧 Ark Invest's James Wang explains how streaming could create a $50 billion music industry.

How ride-hailing demolished car rental and taxis in the US in only a few years.

Range anxiety is not real and improvements in battery technology are making it even less so. 🔋


Some amazing benchmarks for AI performance improvements: 19x cost improvements in training; 5x improvements in inference time... in about six months. 

COBOL is still widely used in financial systems: Apparently, 95% of ATM transactions pass through COBOL programs, 80% of in-person transactions rely on them, and over 40% of banks still use COBOL as the foundation of their systems.


MIT neuroscientists developed a new MRI sensor that monitors brain activity deep into the brain by tracking calcium ions.

How gun emojis changed in the past four years. 🔫

Newfound giant viruses blur the definition of life.

🤫 Building a secret nuclear suburb.

End note

I’m sorry this issue of EV is so long. I was really busy this week, and per Twain, I didn’t have time to write a short one. 

One of the things keeping me busy is the CogX AI shindig. As I previously mentioned, I'm running the Cutting Edge stage at the event. This is dedicated to breakthrough thinking about AI and its impact. I'd love to see you there so use code 50EV30192 to get 50% off 2-day passes (valued at £1,799). The code expires tomorrow, on Monday, May 7th!


Have a great week!
Azeem

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