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What will make or break AI research? And more on the near future

Byiwano@_84

Sep 21, 2020 , ,

I’m Azeem Azhar. I convene Exponential View to help us understand how our societies and political economy will change under the force of rapidly accelerating technologies.

Here on Linkedin, I will bring you a brief look into the near future every week. And be sure to follow me on LinkedIn for more regular updates during the week.

Today’s look into the near future…

💯 A brilliant essay on the “hardware lottery”, the ergodicity of software and how tools make or break research. Super relevant for the future of AI. If you are going to read one piece this weekend, make it this one. Brief commentary and summaries hereand here.

📦 AI is ushering us into the Generative Age. 

What we’ll probably see first are virtual people that are indistinguishable from real people – at least for short conversations. The technology is almost there, and for some people, it is there. People are getting real emotional support from chatbots, and they’ll be a lot more appealing when talking to them is indistinguishable from doing a video call with a friend (or with Abraham Lincoln or Professor Dumbledore).

Follow up with this essay looking into the implications of the shift to digital therapy in China. Once overwhelmingly taboo, mental health services are now booming. 

🧟 The growth of ‘Zoom towns’. In normal times, these places would be vacation destinations, but as remote work takes off they’re now flourishing off-season too. At the same time cities are starting to come to terms with the ‘lasting exodus’ from offices. See also, my conversation with World Bank’s Sameh Wahba about rebuilding cities post-Covid. 

➡️ “The real computer revolution hasn’t happened yet,” bets Airtable’s boss Howie Liu. Howie and I spoke earlier this year about his mission to democratize the software industry.

Chart of the week

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Downers are up. Uppers are down. Meth remains resilient. 

That’s it for today. For further analysis and discussions on the future of technology and society, join me on Exponential View.

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Azeem Azhar

Azeem Azhar

Exponential View (signup at exponentialview.co)

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