Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future


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This is a post from Wait but Why which took forever to write. The post is as long as Old Man & the Sea, well almost. But, if you want to understand (really understand) what Elon Musk is up to these days and understand human brain better as a bonus, please invest some time reading it.

Not only is Elon’s new venture—Neuralink—the same type of deal, but six weeks after first learning about the company, I’m convinced that it somehow manages to eclipse Tesla and SpaceX in both the boldness of its engineering undertaking and the grandeur of its mission. The other two companies aim to redefine what future humans will do—Neuralink wants to redefine what future humans will be.

The mind-bending bigness of Neuralink’s mission, combined with the labyrinth of impossible complexity that is the human brain, made this the hardest set of concepts yet to fully wrap my head around—but it also made it the most exhilarating when, with enough time spent zoomed on both ends, it all finally clicked. I feel like I took a time machine to the future, and I’m here to tell you that it’s even weirder than we expect.

The complete article

Tim Urban — Wait but Why

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Rankings and Ratings in Our Lives


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I am guilty of this and so are most people these days. Our reliance on ratings and stars to make a decision or a judgment is progressively increasing. Today’s needull looks a little deeper into how the ratings are generated and should we blindly trust them.

On Zomato, a 29-year-old who is a ’13 connoisseur’ (having hit 20,000 points) says, “I am not a food critic. I am a food influencer.” He adds, “When we bloggers and microbloggers go to a restaurant, we are treated like gods. We get 15 dishes on the table, in the hope that we will like one. I am equivalent to five reviewers, so my rating matters more.” In the last year-and-a-half, he has been to more than 600 restaurants in NCR and says that he has two meals out nearly every day.”

The complete article

Nandini Nair — OPEN

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The Crisis of Attention Theft—Ads That Steal Your Time for Nothing in Return


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Attention is a resource and we have limited quota of it. This is being stolen by Ads, whether we like it or not. Ads are everywhere, ads we don’t want and don’t need.

What makes it “theft?” Advances in neuroscience over the last several decades make it clear that our brain’s resources are involuntarily triggered by sound and motion; hence the screens literally seize scarce mental resources. As neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley and psychologist Larry Rosen put it in their book, The Distracted Mind, humans have an “extreme sensitivity to goal interference from distractions by irrelevant information.” Meanwhile, in the law, theft or larceny is typically defined as the taking control of a resource “under such circumstances as to acquire the major portion of its economic value or benefit.” Given the established market value of time and attention, when taken without consent or compensation, it really is not much different from someone taking money out of your pocket. Hence, when the firms selling public-screen advertising to captive audiences brag of double-digit growth and billions in revenue, those are actually earnings derived by stealing from us.

The complete article

Tim Wu — Wired

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Ask a Female Engineer: How Can Managers Help Retain Technical Women on Their Team?


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An insightful piece.

Klara: I have thought about returning to finance, where I worked before starting to code, and teaching. When I feel like a code monkey – i.e. get a ticket, build a feature, and repeat, then I find programming isolating and boring. Right now when I look at my job, and envision the next 5 years, it looks like more of the same thing. I recently started teaching high school kids how to code, and that has been immensely gratifying.

The complete article

Cadran Cowansage — Y Combinator

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INSIDE THE HUNT FOR RUSSIA’S MOST NOTORIOUS HACKER


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A very detailed investigative report. A must read! Recommended by Suman.

IN 2015, THE State Department put a $3 million bounty on Bogachev’s head, the highest reward the US has ever posted for a cyber­criminal. But he remains at large. According to US intelligence sources, the government does not, in fact, suspect that Bogachev took part in the Russian campaign to influence the US election. Rather, the Obama administration included him in the sanctions to put pressure on the Russian government. The hope is that the Russians might be willing to hand over Bogachev as a sign of good faith, since the botnet that made him so useful to them is defunct. Or maybe, with the added attention, someone will decide they want the $3 million reward and tip off the FBI.

The complete article

Garrett M. Graff — Wired

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What Comes After Tinder?


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These days things move fast, real fast. People are already feeling fatigue from swipe-centric dating apps and are looking at other possibilities.

Eliza predicts that the best clues to the future of online dating can actually be found in the past: “Honestly, I think we’ll swing the other way. Not even back to how our parents met, but before that — mixers and dances and shit.” Many of the women I spoke to seemed to be interested in something similar to that — a tech setup for meeting people in a bar or at a party, basically. It would take some alchemy for those larger meetups (Eliza offered that one template might be “field day, but for grown-ups”) to seem cool instead of desperate.

The complete article

Priscilla Pine — The Cut

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Is It Uncool to Flirt on LinkedIn?


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We use Linkedin for ‘professional’ purposes. Is it fine if we flirt on Linkedin?

So, yes. You are right. And you’ve taught me a lot—you and Jeff Weiner both. I can see clearly now how we’ve all tied ourselves into a knot of careerism and affection and equity and sex, and maybe that’s just the way it has to be. I’m remembering now what happened when Jerry Maguire—the real Jerry Maguire—showed up in that living room, shivering, trying to win back his wife, who also happened to be his business partner at their new sports-agenting startup, how he told her, “You … you complete me.” But, more important, there was the line he slipped her right before that famous line. Suddenly, in the middle of his monologue, he was compelled to say, like a man giving a keynote at a conference, “We live in a cynical world, a cynical world, and we work in a business of tough competitors.”

Why? Why include that? What could Jerry Maguire possibly have meant? I think he meant: The internet is full of sinister strangers. It’s a hostile place in which to offer up your soul. But here I am. Look at me. View my profile. I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn.

The complete article

Jon Mooallem — Wired

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