Tuesday, July 25, 2023


Elon Musk's X experiment What's next for Twitter, or rather for X? Elon Musk has said it will be "the everything app": Twitter, YouTube, PayPal, TikTok and Amazon all rolled into one.......... Musk believes X can "easily" be a $1 trillion company, according to Isaacson — and he's been mulling some form of the idea for close to 25 years. ......... "Elon Musk has essentially wiped out 15 years of brand value from Twitter and is now essentially starting from scratch."

From Twitter to X: Elon Musk Begins Erasing an Iconic Internet Brand The tech billionaire started removing the bird logo that has been part of Twitter’s identity since 2006....... He has said he hopes to turn Twitter into an “everything app” called X, which would encompass not only social networking but also banking and shopping. .......... When brands become verbs, it’s the “holy grail,” said Mike Proulx, a vice president and research director at Forrester, because it means they have become part of popular culture. ............ Unlike the blue bird, which he described as warm and cuddly but perhaps a bit dated and weighed down by bad press, the new logo is “very harsh” ........... Mr. Musk has long been interested in the X name. In 1999, he helped found X.com, an online bank. The company changed its name after it merged with another start-up to form what would become PayPal. ........... In 2017, Mr. Musk said he had repurchased the X.com domain from PayPal. “No plans right now, but it has great sentimental value to me,” he tweeted at the time. ........ Tesla, Mr. Musk’s electric automaker, also has a sport utility vehicle called the Model X. One of Mr. Musk’s sons, X Æ A-12 Musk, is often called X for short. The holding companies created to close the acquisition of Twitter were named X Holdings. Mr. Musk also leads an artificial intelligence company called xAI.......... At one point, he changed the name of a crowdsourced fact-checking feature to “Community Notes” from “Birdwatch.” He recently also had someone cover the w in Twitter’s name at its San Francisco headquarters. .

ChatGPT Is Replacing Humans in Studies on Human Behavior—and It Works Surprisingly Well

The Digital Future May Rely on Optical Switches a Million Times Faster Than Today’s Transistors

Warming Could Push the Atlantic Past a ‘Tipping Point’ This Century The system of ocean currents that regulates the climate for a swath of the planet could collapse sooner than expected, a new analysis found.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

23: Ethan Mollick

In A.I. Race, Microsoft and Google Choose Speed Over Caution Technology companies were once leery of what some artificial intelligence could do. Now the priority is winning control of the industry’s next big thing. ........... They wrote in several documents that the A.I. technology behind a planned chatbot could flood Facebook groups with disinformation, degrade critical thinking and erode the factual foundation of modern society. ............ Dr. El Mhamdi, a part-time employee and university professor, used mathematical theorems to warn that the biggest A.I. models are more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks and present unusual privacy risks because they’ve probably had access to private data stored in various locations around the internet. .......... He resigned from Google this year, citing in part “research censorship.” He said modern A.I.’s risks “highly exceeded” the benefits. “It’s premature deployment,” he added. ......... concerns with chatbots: They could produce false information, hurt users who become emotionally attached to them and enable “tech-facilitated violence” through mass harassment online. .......... Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, made a bet on generative A.I. in 2019 when Microsoft invested $1 billion in OpenAI. After deciding the technology was ready over the summer, Mr. Nadella pushed every Microsoft product team to adopt A.I. ........... Microsoft has released new products every week, a frantic pace to fulfill plans that Mr. Nadella set in motion in the summer when he previewed OpenAI’s newest model. He asked the chatbot to translate the Persian poet Rumi into Urdu, and then write it out in English characters. “It worked like a charm,” he said in a February interview. “Then I said, ‘God, this thing.’”

On holding back the strange AI tide There is no way to stop the disruption. We need to channel it instead ......... Most people didn’t ask for an AI that can do many tasks previously reserved for humans. But it arrived, almost completely unexpectedly, eight months ago with ChatGPT, and has been accelerating ever since............ the substantial benefits of AI are going to be greatly reduced by trying to pretend it is just like previous waves of technology. ........... Large Language Models are here, now. In their current form, they show tremendous ability to impact many areas of work and life. ........ the AIs we have today are going to bring a lot of change........ In conversations with educational institutions and companies, I have seen leaders try desperately to ensure that AI doesn’t change anything. .......... Many organizational leaders don’t yet understand AI, but those who do see an opportunity are eager to embrace it… as long as it doesn’t make anything too weird. .......... AI, as currently implemented, is not really built for centralization ......... GPT-4, the most advanced AI available, is free for everyone in 169 countries through Bing, or for a small charge from OpenAI ........... By trying to make AI like all other technologies, companies are ignoring how transformative it is. One person can do a tremendous amount of work (see how much marketing I could get done with a 30 minute time limit), but it is also different work: tedious tasks are outsourced, interesting tasks are multiplied. The nature of work with AI shifts in way that uncomfortable, risky, and potentially powerful. ............. Jussi Kemppainen of Dinosaurs Are Better, who is developing an entire adventure game, alone. To do that, he is using AI help for every aspect of game design, from character design to coding to dialog to graphics3. He is inventing his own workflows to make this happen, and is able to do that because he is not limited to corporate work systems. .......... There is no way for companies to harness this kind of power and creativity without, in some way, democratizing control over AI. Only innovation driven by workers can actually radically transform work, because only workers can experiment enough on their own tasks to learn how to use AI in transformative ways. And empowering workers is not going to be possible with a top-down solution alone. .......... Nobody really knows anything about the best ways to use AI, and they certainly don’t know the best ways to use it in your company. Only by diving in, responsibly, can you hope to figure out the best use cases..........

Almost every assignment, at every level, can be done, at least in part, by AI.

........ AI can do high-quality work. It can do math. It makes far fewer obvious mistakes. And it is capable of working with vast amounts of data. .......... I pasted in my entire last book into Claude 2 ....... Given this challenge, many teachers want to turn back the clock: blue book exams. Handwritten essays. Oral exams. .......... We are very close to the long-term dream of tutoring at scale, and many other advances promise to make the lives of teachers easier, while improving outcomes for students and parents. .......... we need to articulate a vision for what radically changed education could look like .......... we need to start with the presumption that we are facing genuine, and widespread, disruption across many fields ........... The scientists and engineers designing AI, as capable as they are, have no particular expertise on how AI can best be used, or even how and when it should be used. We get to make those decisions. But we have to recognize that the AI tide is rising, and that the time to decide what that means is now........... 8% Americans own crypto. 2% of Americans have bought an NFT. VR numbers are a bit sketchy, but maybe 20% of Americans have tried it. 19% of Americans in a survey had tried ChatGPT by April. .........

Rookie leaders are stressful: Poll

How to Use AI to Do Stuff: An Opinionated Guide Covering the state of play as of Summer, 2023 ......... Claude 2, likely the second most capable AI system available to the public. The week before, Open AI released Code Interpreter, the most sophisticated mode of AI yet available. .......... When we talk about AI right now, we are usually talking about Large Language Models, or LLMs. Most AI applications are powered by LLMs, of which there are just a few Foundation Models, created by a handful of organizations. Each company gives direct access to their models via a Chatbot: OpenAI makes GPT-3.5 and GPT-4, which power ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Bing (access it on an Edge browser). Google has a variety of models under the label of Bard. And Anthropic makes Claude and Claude 2. .......... Code Interpreter as is an extremely powerful version of ChatGPT that can run Python programs. If you have never paid for OpenAI, you have only used 3.5. .......... Microsoft’s Bing uses a mix of 4 and 3.5, and is usually the first model in the GPT-4 family to roll out new features. For example, it can both create and view images, and it can read documents in the web browser. It is connected to the internet. Bing is a bit weird to use, but powerful. ........... Claude is most notable for having a very large context window - essentially the memory of the LLM. Claude can hold almost an entire book, or many PDFs, in memory. ............ For right now, GPT-4 is still the most capable AI tool for writing, which you can access at Bing (select“creative mode”) for free or by purchasing a $20/month subscription to ChatGPT. Claude, however, is a close second, and has a limited free option available. ......... Microsoft Office will include a copilot powered by GPT and Google Docs will integrate suggestions from Bard. The implications of what these new innovations mean for writing are pretty profound. ......... Use it like an intern to write emails, create sales templates, give you next steps in a business plan, and a lot more. .........

It can generate entirely false content that is utterly convincing.

.............. Particularly dangerous is asking it for references, quotes, citations, and information for the internet ......... Midjourney, which is the best system in mid-2023. It has the lowest learning-curve of any system: just type in "thing-you-want-to-see --v 5.2" (the --v 5.2 at the end is important, it uses the latest model) and you get a great result. Midjourney requires Discord. Here is a guide to using Discord

Power and Weirdness: How to Use Bing AI Bing AI is a huge leap over ChatGPT, but you have to learn its quirks ......... Overall, Bing is immensely more powerful than ChatGPT, but also a lot weirder to use.

Setting time on fire and the temptation of The Button We used to consider writing an indication of time and effort spent on a task. That isn't true anymore. ...... there are a million implications to outsourcing our first drafts to AI. ......... We may not learn how to write as well. We may be flooded with low-quality content. .......... Take, for example, the letter of recommendation. Professors are asked to write letters for students all the time, and a good letter takes a long time to write. ........ you may actually be hurting people by not writing a letter of recommendation by AI, especially if you are not a particularly strong writer. ......... With everyone pushing The Button for most emails, documents, and even (soon!) spreadsheets and presentations, what documents mean is going to change fundamentally, and that is going to spill over to our work. ........... People who use AI enjoy work more, and feel that they are better able to use their talents and abilities. ........ We start to create documents mostly with AI that get sent to AI-powered inboxes where the recipients respond mostly with AI. Even worse, we still create the reports by hand, but realize that no human is actually reading them. This kind of meaningless task, what organizational theorists have called mere ceremony, has always been with us. ............. Stripping away meaningless work removes a huge burden from workers, while reducing inefficiencies and broken processes. This is an amazing opportunity, but only if we are forward-thinking about the future of a world where most work starts by pressing The Button.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

22: Emad

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Thursday, July 20, 2023

20: Ukraine

Why Russia pulled out of its grain deal with Ukraine – and what that means for the global food system From 2019 to 2022, more than 122 million people were driven into hunger by a combination of the impacts of climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine ........ The World Food Program, the world’s largest humanitarian agency, purchased 80% of its wheat from Ukraine. ........ But on July 17, 2023, it said it’s unwilling to stay in the deal unless its demands are met to ship more of its own food and fertilizer. Over the following two days, it attacked Odesa with drones and missiles in one of the largest sustained assaults on the port. Russia also said it would deem any ship in the Black Sea bound for a Ukrainian port to be a legitimate military target........ While Russia has extended the deal after previous threats, this time may be different. Russian strikes caused extensive damage to Odesa, which may severely limit Ukraine’s ability to export through the port in the future – deal or no deal.

WFH forces a global office rethink

Nurses fight for doctor title
Workers doubt they can retire: Poll One in five Americans doesn't think they will ever retire, while only half feel like they can save for the future, per a new Axios-Ipsos poll. Just over a third of people nearing "typical" retirement age — 55 and over — believe they'll be able to retire when they expected to. While most workers say they want to retire someday, "roughly half the workforce, we’re talking 50 plus million people, work for an employer that doesn’t offer a retirement plan," says a senior policy advisor at AARP. But good news for those who've managed to retire: 68% say they feel better than ever. .

Fed launches instant payments Nations including England, China, Sweden and India already have instant payments

20: Video

20: Emad Mostaque With Peter Diamandis

How Instagram Co-founder Mike Krieger Took Its Engineering Org from 0 to 300 People At the time of the acquisition, he had just six generalist developers. ......... In just seven years, Krieger himself went from first-time manager to leading a multi-layered organization of specialized engineers, many of whom are the best in their fields. ........ how to gracefully transition from an early to a more mature technical team, how to introduce new tiers of management, and how to build an engine for unrelenting improvement and innovation. .......... “Have you heard that expression, ‘shaving the yak’?” Krieger says. “Sometimes programming means solving super complex technical problems. But a lot of times, you end up with a long string of tasks that are necessary to get where you’re going, i.e. ‘I need to get this iPhone app running on my device, which means I need to generate this provisioning profile, which means I need to set up for this account, and on and on.’ In the end, you’re shaving a yak to accomplish that original action — you’re so detached from it.” ............ An effective engineering generalist knows when to move on............ Put pride aside and keep your eye on your real goal. “The goal is not to set up Nagios or Munin. The goal is to ship software so that you can get people using it.” ......... In the early days of Instagram, Krieger and and his team recorded their action items in a rolling Google Doc, organized by themes. ........... “One of our themes was being the fastest photo-sharing app in the world. What are we working toward within that theme? Next, we wanted to make the photos look incredible, way beyond what you'd expect from a cell phone. What are we doing on that? Anything that didn't fit into those things went by the wayside. And you want engineers who are okay with that.” ............. The Google Doc was the perfect minimally viable product for tracking all tasks as a team — and making sure that every single one of them rolled up to one of the organization’s most important goals or priorities. It was broken up into days, and under days into themes. Uncompleted tasks under each theme were migrated to the next day. Highest priority tasks were labeled as such. That way, nothing got lost in the mix, it was easy for people to comment and ask questions, and their eyes were always fixed on what was next for the goals they needed to achieve.

Twitter's Blue Check: Is It Worth It?

Twitter Blue: What does paying for Twitter actually get you, and should you do it? Are the additional features worth your $8? .

Should You Pay for a Checkmark on Twitter, for Yourself or Your Business?
Twitter’s Blue Check Apocalypse Is Upon Us. Here’s What to Know. Elon Musk, Twitter’s owner, is changing the platform’s longstanding practice of verifying accounts. That has implications for a range of users. .

How To Get Verified on Twitter in 2023: The Essential Guide Twitter's verification process has changed in the past year. Learn how to get verified on Twitter in 2023 with our simple guide. .

Half of Twitter Blue subscribers have less than 1,000 followers And Elon Musk now says he wants to force these users all into your feed. ...... starting April 15, the platform apparently will no longer promote non-paying Twitter Blue subscribers via its recommendation algorithm on the For You feed. ....... around half of all users subscribed to Twitter Blue have less than 1,000 followers. That's approximately 220,132 paying subscribers. ........ 78,059 paying Twitter Blue subscribers have less than 100 users following their account. That's 17.6 percent of all Twitter Blue subscribers. ......... there are 2,270 paying Twitter Blue subscribers who have zero followers. ....... Twitter Blue currently has a total of 444,435 paying subscribers. ......... less than 0.2 percent of Twitter's 254 million daily active users, a metric previously shared by Musk, are paying for Twitter Blue. ....... only 6,482 legacy verified accounts have paid to subscribe to Twitter Blue. ....... There are approximately 420,000 legacy verified accounts in total, which are mostly celebrities, pro athletes, journalists, influencers, and other notable users that received the checkmark badge for free under Twitter's old verification system. .......... Musk shared that in a few weeks only Twitter Blue subscribers would be recommended to users in the platform's For You feed. (Hours later, Musk "clarified" that this will also include people users directly follow.) ............ The reason so many celebrities chose to stay active on Twitter over other social media platforms was originally due to the legacy verification system. Alexander said he doesn't plan on even staying on Twitter after the legacy verification badges are removed.......... Many Twitter power users who have interacted with Twitter Blue subscribers note that they are most often far right wing accounts, cryptocurrency scammers, and hardcore Elon Musk supporters. We will soon find out if filling users' feeds with some of the least influential accounts on the platform, as Musk plans to do, is a good business strategy. .

Why Elon Musk’s cull of Twitter ‘verified’ blue ticks could prove costly Twitter’s aristocracy is no more. Last year, Elon Musk described the verification process as a “lords & peasants system” and on Thursday he deployed the guillotine. Feudalism has now given way to capitalism: money gets you status....... The change has stripped the blue tick from about 400,000 legacy verified accounts. ....... Subscribers to the new service will get boosted rankings in conversations and search, while their replies will also receive greater prominence. Tweets that they interact with will also benefit. ......... maintaining influence or presence on the platform will cost money from now on, whereas it was free under the previous system ........ users will still be able to see unverified accounts that they follow on the platform’s default For You feed. .......... Musk’s move is largely rooted in financial motivations, despite the anti-feudal rhetoric. ......... He said in his 1 November Twitter thread that giving paid-for verified accounts priority in replies, mentions and search was “essential to defeat spam/scam”, presumably under the logic that a bot account would not pay for a tick and would thus be less prominent. ........ In its last published set of accounts, advertising represented 90% of Twitter’s $5bn (£4bn) in annual revenue. According to Musk recently, revenue is due to drop to less than $3bn this year. Costs have also been slashed sharply, with staff numbers cut by about 75% to 1,500 people, which Musk says has seen off the threat of bankruptcy. But if advertisers do not return in force he will need more than the 600,000-635,000 Blue subscribers the platform is estimated to have, which equates to about $5m+ a month in revenue. .

Twitter Blue for Business 2023: How much does a Twitter checkmark cost? Twitter Blue is worth it if you want to access the prestigious checkmarks, skyrocket your brand awareness, and receive 50% fewer ads....... Users with a Twitter Blue subscription will have their tweets prioritized, which could give you more engagement on the app.

How Elon Musk transformed Twitter’s blue check from status symbol into a badge of shame

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

19: AI

Material Security’s Path to Product-Market Fit — Find Your Winning Idea by Selling Products That Don’t Exist Yet

Embracing the Winds of Change: How Generative AI Reflects the Michael Jordan Moment in Business Michael Jordan's extraordinary journey that began with his selection by the Chicago Bulls in the 1984 NBA Draft ........ Just as Sonny could see that Jordan would revolutionize basketball, visionary organizations are looking at Generative AI with a similar sense of anticipation. ........ Generative AI promises to redefine industries and create unparalleled value. ........ In the history of computational models, we have never seen such rapid progress. These models can handle huge amounts of data, getting better with each step, and improving and boosting their performance at an unrivaled pace. ........ This technology has the potential to transform everyone into a creator. Visual artists, novelists, and musicians have already started to use generative AI to craft riveting stories, compose symphonies, and more. Picture a future where in a few years, some of us may be generating blockbuster movies using generative AI. This possibility is closer than you think. ...........

the deployment of Generative AI could potentially skyrocket the global GDP by a staggering $ 7 Trillion on an annual basis.

......... Imagine your email system thoughtfully drafting the initial version of your messages or your financial software generating a clear description of significant features in a financial report. It's like having a considerate digital assistant at your disposal, subtly enhancing efficiency and accuracy. ......... From writing customized product descriptions to drafting personalized emails, it enables a level of customer engagement that truly resonates. ....... By swiftly scanning documents and providing synthesized responses to queries, GenAI can accelerate the analysis process and possibly capture insights that might have been missed. ........... In the field of software engineering, AI-powered code-completion tools could revolutionize how developers work. Developers could write code descriptions in natural language, while the AI suggests code blocks that fulfill the description. Such tools can speed up code generation by as much as 50 percent while also assisting in debugging, thereby enhancing the overall quality of the developed product. .......... No longer is it viewed as an attribute predominantly linked to humans; we're now recognizing intelligence as a universal property. ........... it's seen as an inherent trait that can be leveraged to catalyze unprecedented levels of creativity and progress............ how we, as organizations and individuals, will tap into its vast capabilities to construct a society that is more efficient, creative, and inclusive.

19: Ukraine