So much AI, so little time!

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

I don’t know if the human body can change as fast as the changes being brought on by meta-sizing of everything. As someone who loves the possibilities of technology, it is inevitable we will need computers to augment our internal capabilities to deal with these changes. For now, even the best efforts are not good enough and we have a ways to go.

From my own blog in 2019, Why we need to slowdown time

For the past few weeks, I have immersed myself in various generative AI tools. It has been a while since I have woken up and been excited about what every new day will bring. There are so many tools and apps to try. And new things to learn. We may have a long way to go — ChatGPT is spectacularly wrong about my bio — but still, this feeling of something new is afoot is like a jolt of energy after taking a sip of an ultra-strong coffee. Again, don’t get me wrong — this phase of “AI” comes with all sorts of risks. However, there is no need to avoid it or not understand it. 

Wayne Shorter & Herbie Hancock, in an open letter to the next generation of artists, extoll them to think differently and think anew

The world needs new pathways. Don’t allow yourself to be hijacked by common rhetoric, or false beliefs and illusions about how life should be lived. It’s up to you to be the pioneers. Whether through (Read more...)

Revisiting the cutting edge world of Tesla

A couple of months ago, the NYT argued that Elon Musk's long history of cutting corners with respect to ethics and safety was simply the price to be paid for advancing potentially life-saving technology.

Some of Musk’s most questionable decisions, though, begin to make sense if seen as a result of a blunt utilitarian calculus. Last month, Reuters reported that Neuralink, Musk’s medical-device company, had caused the needless deaths of dozens of laboratory animals through rushed experiments. Internal messages from Musk made it clear that the urgency came from the top. “We are simply not moving fast enough,” he wrote. “It is driving me nuts!” The cost-benefit analysis must have seemed clear to him: Neuralink had the potential to cure paralysis, he believed, which would improve the lives of millions of future humans. The suffering of a smaller number of animals was worth it.

There was, as we pointed out at the time, a subtle flaw in that argument.

With the complicated exception of SpaceX, none of Musk's businesses are on the cutting edge of anything. In autonomous  driving, AI, solar cell development, brain-machine interfaces, tunneling machines, and countless other technologies where Musk has promised revolutionary disruptions, his companies are, at best, in the middle of the pack and, in some cases, not making any serious effort at all. (On a related note, despite attempts to muddy the waters with creative statistics, Tesla spends far less than any of its major competitors on R&D.)

Now Faiz Siddiqui, writing for (Read more...)

A Conversation With Mike Zamansky

This post is by Fred Wilson from AVC

Mike Zamansky is the person who got me interested in K12 Computer Science Education in NYC, a cause I have now contributed almost fifteen years of my life to.

Our family’s public charity, Gotham Gives, has been funding the work we do in K12 Computer Science Education in NYC for the last decade and a month or so ago, the Gotham Gal recorded a podcast with Mike talking about the early days of our journey into K12 Computer Science, how we met, and what transpired.

That podcast is up on YouTube and I’ve embedded it here. It’s about ten minutes long.


Albert Wenger — Mar 14, 2023
The Banking Crisis: More Kicking the Can

The ghost in the machine

This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog

“The computer wants you to click this button.”

“It thinks you asked for something else.”

“He’s mad at you.”

Thousands of generations ago, we evolved our way into a magnificent hack. It turns out that we can more safely navigate the world by imagining that other people have a little voice in their heads just as we have one in ours.

By projecting the narrative voice to others, we avoided fights that could be fatal. It’s a powerful shorthand that allows us to use limited brain processing power to interact in complicated cultural situations.

It worked so well, we began applying it to dogs, to lizards and even to the weather. It’s a great place to find the origins of bad decisions and superstitions.

The truth, of course, is that your cat doesn’t have a voice in her head. But we still act like she does. And that cloud doesn’t really have an angry face in it, a bug we see so often that we even gave it a name. Pareidolia is proof that the mistake is almost universal.

And now, AI chat is putting the common sense of this to the test. We know exactly what the code base is, and yet within minutes, most normal humans are happily chatting away, bringing the very emotions to the computer that we’d bring to another person. We rarely do this with elevators or door handles, but once a device gets much more complicated than that, we start to imagine the ghost (Read more...)

375. Founding Unicorn Startup Alloy, How to Scale a Go To Market Strategy, and The Next 10 Years in FinTech (Laura Spiekerman)

Laura Spiekerman of Alloy joins Nate to discuss What Does the Future of Fintech Hold? Insights on Growth, Fraud, and Community Banking. In this episode we cover:

  • Alloy's mission and the role it plays in fintech
  • The importance of community banks in fintech design and development
  • Challenges of scaling a go-to-market business in fintech 
  • Laura's insights on the future of fintech, including concerns about fraud and blockchain technology
  • The impact of fed now on fraud prevention in fintech

Shields up

This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog

Years and years ago, I helped the Weekly World News make a book.

While their periodical was weekly, it certainly wasn’t news. They were just four people in a small office in Florida. They gleefully made stuff up every week. They had a few filing cabinets of stock photos, and they invented stories featuring UFOs, aliens, “scientists” (in quotation marks) and various other diversions for folks trapped in the checkout supermarket line.

And now, of course, we are all trapped in that line. And now, the algorithms are pushing spineless profit-seekers to bombard us with junk, junk that shows up on the home page of search engines, in our social media feeds and in our email.

Adblockers are one of the most popular innovations of the last few years. What I want is a junkblocker. A big button on my browser that says “shields up.” And just imagine if it was set to on by default.

No celebrity gossip. No conspiracy theories. No weight loss breakthroughs. It would automatically block fist fights, trolling, urgent but unimportant breaking news, insights about the royal family, discussions of whatever happened to a star from thirty years ago, aliens, UFOs, MLMs, the latest pump-and-dump schemes, things that are true but irrelevant, things that are relevant but didn’t actually happen and stories designed to demean, degrade or intentionally inflict distress with little recourse available.

When you put it that way, who doesn’t want a button like that?

Somehow, we survived as a culture for (Read more...)

Impending Cancellation of Thousands of Startup Credit Lines

While some of the dust has settled around Silicon Valley Bank’s demise, a number of second and third order effects are still looming. For startup-land, one of the biggest challenges on the horizon is the impending cancellation of startup credit lines. Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) was the largest provider of debt to startups, and still is as the new bank Silicon Valley Bridge Bank (SVBB). So, if the bank still has $6.7 billion dollars of loans out to startups what’s the problem?

The problem is that the majority of deposits have left the bank and aren’t coming back. Without deposits, the bank can’t lend as much. The bank has to maintain certain capital ratios, and with intense scrutiny, will be more conservative with how it uses deposits to make money. Many startups will still be able to keep a credit line, but it’ll likely be much smaller than in the past.

In addition, startups are difficult to underwrite. While the SVBB staff is being paid 50% more than their normal salary to stay on for 45 days, many will inevitably be let go because the bank has many fewer deposits, so it needs many fewer employees. Once a fair number of employees are let go, the volume of underwriting capacity will decrease, and the bank will opt to focus on the higher quality startups. 

Finally, startups have shown they’ll happily move their deposits anywhere, as opposed to a small business owner that wants to work with the bank that’s in (Read more...)