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ANDRÉ CRAMER

… my view of where technology innovation will lead us

Month

January 2017

Very noteworthy Keynote on putting AI into perspective: Superintelligence – The Idea That Eats Smart People (Maciej Ceglowski)

A skeptical view on the seductive, apocalyptic beliefs that prevent people in tech from really working to make a difference.

Apocalyptic ideas have traditionally been the province of religion, but nerds have found a way to import them into the world of computer programming. These ideas are a cognitive hazard that preferentially infects smart people, making them useless for more practical work. Like other forms of religious obsession, fantasies of superintelligence prevent us from tackling problems in this life by convincing us to focus on the life to come. This talk is an attempt to vaccinate the next generation of developers against the seductive ideas of existential risk, superintelligence, and the charismatic religious figures who will try to eat their brains…

https://2016.webcampzg.org/talks/view/superintelligence-the-idea-that-eats-smart-people/

Bitcoin Will Never Be a Currency—It’s Something Way Weirder (Cade Metz)

The value of bitcoin surged past $1,000 this week, the first time it has reached such heights since late 2013. But don’t let that big number fool you: this strange and controversial technology is no closer to becoming a mainstream currency. Even Olaf Carlson-Wee, the first employee at Coinbase, the country’s most important bitcoin company, will tell you that bitcoin will never be a substitute for the dollar…

Source: Bitcoin Will Never Be a Currency—It’s Something Way Weirder | WIRED

Beyond Pokemon Go: how AR will create a ‘deep reality’ we can’t escape from (Darran Anderson)

Augmented reality (AR) – at this fledgling stage at least – projects and amplifies that which already exists. At a basic level, it’s a series of glorified apps escaping a hand-held format for a pseudo-holographic one. It will also allow us to alter our surroundings. Yet this technology is about to take over our environments in a much deeper sense.

The effects of AR on our behaviour and identity will be substantial. Saturated with information, we will have more choice than ever, provided we can afford the options on show. Our lives will arguably become far more convoluted. The freeing up of time and energy from menial tasks may be offset by competing interests vying for our attention…

Source: Beyond Pokemon Go: how AR will create a ‘deep reality’ we can’t escape from

Great Comparison of Amazon’s Alexa approach vs. Microsoft, Google, Facebook: Amazon’s Operating System (Ben Thompson)

It was apparent on day one that the Echo was a much more compelling product than the Fire Phone:

  • The physical device (the Echo) was simply a conduit for Alexa, Amazon’s new personal assistant. And critically, Alexa was a cloud service, the development of which Amazon is uniquely suited to in terms of culture, organizational structure, and experience.
  • The Echo created its own market: a voice-based personal assistant in the home. Crucially, the home was the one place in the entire world where smartphones were not necessarily the most convenient device, or touch the easiest input method: more often than not your smartphone is charging, and talking to a device doesn’t carry the social baggage it might elsewhere…

Source: Alexa: Amazon’s Operating System – Stratechery by Ben Thompson

Really great Long-Read on Genetic Engineering: Rewriting the Code of Life (Michael Specter)

Early on an unusually blustery day in June, Kevin Esvelt climbed aboard a ferry at Woods Hole, bound for Nantucket Island. Esvelt, an assistant professor of biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was on his way to present to local health officials a plan for ridding the island of one of its most persistent problems: Lyme disease. He had been up for much of the night working on his slides, and the fatigue showed. He had misaligned the buttons on his gray pin-striped shirt, and the rings around his deep-blue eyes made him look like a sandy-haired raccoon.

Esvelt, who is thirty-four, directs the “sculpting evolution” group at M.I.T., where he and his colleagues are attempting to design molecular tools capable of fundamentally altering the natural world…

Source: Rewriting the Code of Life – The New Yorker

Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earth (Jessica Shankleman)

Solar power is now cheaper than coal in some parts of the world. In less than a decade, it’s likely to be the lowest-cost option almost everywhere.

In 2016, countries from Chile to the United Arab Emirates broke records with deals to generate electricity from sunshine for less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, half the average global cost of coal power. Now, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Mexico are planning auctions and tenders for this year, aiming to drop prices even further…

Source: Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earth – Bloomberg

Where accelerating technological Development will lead us in the next 15-20 years (André Cramer)

I would like to share some of my thoughts on key developments that I believe will determine our lives in the upcoming two decades. Almost all of this is fueled by ever more accelerating technological progress and there are a lot of opportunities in it. As well as significant challenges.

Looking back at the perceived principle of the industrial age, where growth occurred or seemed to occur in a linear function, today we know about Moore’s Law. We have been able to observe it for the last 50 years where over time it became clearer that we have a doubling of computing power roughly every 1,5 years.

Now how does that apply in our everyday life? Where do we actually see that technologies get more and more “disruptive”? To show that this is not about buzzwords, here are a couple of examples for “wow” type of developments: Continue reading “Where accelerating technological Development will lead us in the next 15-20 years (André Cramer)”

Featured post

Very interesting Read on what could be the long-term, evolution-impacting outlook for VR: Is Virtual Reality the Surprising Solution to the Fermi Paradox? (Aaron Frank)

“If the transcension hypothesis is correct, inner space, not outer space, is the final frontier for universal intelligence. Our destiny is density.” – John Smart

Only decades into our “age of cosmology” — the moment when we earned the technological rights to peer deep into our cosmic home — we’ve learned that we live in a mega-palace of a universe. And we’ve also found something odd. We seem to be the only ones home! Where are the aliens? Was it something we said?

Within just a single generation, powerful telescopes, satellites, and space probes have given us tools to explore the structure of our universe. And the more we find; the more we discover how fine-tuned it could be for life…

Source: Is Virtual Reality the Surprising Solution to the Fermi Paradox?

The Sadness and Beauty of Watching Google’s AI Play Go (Cade Metz)

At first, Fan Hui thought the move was rather odd. But then he saw its beauty. “It’s not a human move. I’ve never seen a human play this move,” he says. “So beautiful.”

It’s a word he keeps repeating. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.The move was the 37th in the second game of the historic Go match between Lee Sedol, one of the world’s top players, and AlphaGo, an artificially intelligent computing system built by researchers at Google. Inside the towering Four Seasons hotel in downtown Seoul, the game was approaching the end of its first hour when AlphaGo instructed its human assistant to place a black stone in a largely open area on the right-hand side of the 19-by-19 grid that defines this ancient game. And just about everyone was shocked…

Source: The Sadness and Beauty of Watching Google’s AI Play Go | WIRED

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