I swear to god it saddens me so damn much how negative most people are about the state of the world and where things are headed. I'm bursting with optimism over here because I'm constantly reading about technology and how powerful of a driver it is for human prosperity. The future has never been brighter. It's so damn amazing to be alive and be witness all the amazing things being built. I believe to my bones every single problem can be solved. We just need to keep building. Infinite clean energy, food cost that approaches zero, cancer GONE, amazing housing, interstellar travel, this is all RIGHT THERE. Of course our kids have mental health issues. EVERYONE is feeding them DOOM. They have nothing to live for they are told. Their ambition is evil. Earth is burning alive. Blah blah blah. Enough. We will solve every single problem. It's just a matter of stepping up and being optimistic and real about how we are going to get there. We need to cheer on the builders and not constantly dunk on them. We need to be hopeful. We need to double down on capitalism, a literal flywheel of human prosperity. We need to double down on technological progress. We need to be positive. Go set the world aflame. See you in space.
Here's what I read and watched this week with some thoughts sprinkled in:
Elon Musk on Advertisers, Trust and the “Wild Storm” in His Mind. This interview is awesome. Elon is untouchable. Deep respect for a man who speaks his mind. Long builders.
Ireland bans memes, looks to restrict freedom of speech. God bless America.
Charlie Munger, who was Warren Buffett's right-hand man at Berkshire, dies at 99. Another man that speaks his mind. So few of these people exist in positions of power that when you see it, it completely shatters your mental model of what it means to be in a powerful position. Berkshire's press release announcing his death is a work of art.
Vitalik Buterin, creator of Ethereum, on Marc Andreessen's Techno Optimist post. I haven't read the whole post yet, and I'm a huge fan of Vitalik and Ethereum, but my issue with this "well actually technology can be bad" just doesn't do much. So many across media and powerful institutions view technology as evil that we can only fight it by being unabashedly pro technology or the doomers and degrowthers will destroy us. And I mean that quite literally.
A new kind of geothermal plant will feed the power grid that serves two Google data centers in Nevada. Geothermal in my opinion is wildly underrated. We can leverage oil and gas know how and kit to access abundant cheap energy.
No increase in post-tax/post-transfers income inequality in the US over the last 60 years. "Income inequality" discussions have always just been thinly veiled communism coupled with anti technology and anti growth. Turns out it doesn't exist in the US. Keep building, as you were.
People are realizing the arsenal of democracy is gone. Great piece by Noah Smith on US military manufacturing falling off a cliff. China eating our lunch.
92% of grades in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies classes at Yale are A or A-, vs 55% in Mathematics. The math majors must just not be as smart. The humanities continue to be a complete and utter joke.
US largest producer of crude oil in the world. Graph below.
NY MTA does 10x as many trips as next biggest metro, which is LA. Graph below.
Startup defence company Anduril launches: Roadrunner, a compact VTOL drone powered by twin thrust-vectored turbojet engines with extraordinary speed, range, and payload capacity. And Roadrunner-M, a radical new low-cost weapon that allows for unprecedented tactics against powerful threats.
Immigration is America's superpower. CEOs from India: Google, Microsoft, Starbucks, YouTube, Adobe, World Bank, IBM, Albertsons, NetApp, Novartis.
India, the second-largest sender of students to the United States, is fast catching up to China.
IDme a technology company worth ~$2B with 116M American users. 7 states have publicly credited w/stopping at least $270B of pandemic fraud.
Sunday after Thanksgiving was the largest plane travel day in US history. We are so back.
US 3rd Quarter real GDP growth just got revised up from 4.9% to 5.2% annualized. US economy continues to be unstoppable.
"Let me be clear to any corporation that hasn’t brought their prices back down even as inflation has come down: It’s time to stop the price gouging. Give American consumers a break." -Joe Biden. This got dunked on 6 ways to Sunday. Completely wild messaging from office of the president. Just not how inflation works, here is the community note on it: "As long as the inflation rate is positive, prices are increasing. The fact that inflation has come down to 3.2% in October means that prices are still going up, albeit at a slower rate than before." But the economy is ripping so all is good.
"The greatest lie told to the public is that people make apps to sell data. Data has no value—you can buy a complete data set on the entire US population for under $10,000." - Nikita Bier
Google supporting RISC-V in Android, perhaps a credible threat to ARM's dominance?
Google Cloud TPU ran the world’s largest distributed training job for LLMs across 50,000+ TPU v5e chips
AI tool GNoME finds 2.2 million new crystals, including 380,000 stable materials that could power future technologies. Technology continues to be awesome. Thanks for sharing Dales.
Why Apple is working hard to break into its own iPhones- "Unlike with software, where even significant security holes can be fixed relatively simply with a security update, hardware is out of Apple’s hands once a customer buys it."
"I believe the next few years, tastemakers—curators of good, art directors who can articulate what they want, and those with a rich knowledge of art & design history, will dominate the creative landscape. In the age of generative art, it’s less who or how, but why." - Chris Do, I think the opposite. Technology is a continuous story of destroying ivory towers. The power of "tastemakers" is moot in a world with ubiquitous and easy to use creation tools coupled with infinite free distribution.
"The very same day American business leaders were in San Francisco “delivering China a propaganda coup” as stated in the WJS editorial, “U.S. CEOs on the Chinese menu,” there was an event on the other coast, in our nation’s capital, attended by the largest gathering of venture capitalists in Washington’s history rallying for continued American exceptionalism – particularly within our defense industrial base." - Mike Slagh
"Extinction by technology is countered NOT by centralisation or regulation, but by decentralisation. Decentralisation and the maximisation of individual creative utility is the very definition of alignment. We must work toward decentralisation." -Jaron Lanier
"Indeed, a fairly standard criticism of AI Doomers is that they have a simplistic, naive view of how the world really works, thinking that one simple piece of software and a few engineers can destroy humanity. This can feel like a dystopian mirror image of ‘tech solutionism’ - the idea that the world is easy to transform with software. In this case, one could suggest that these particular doomers did indeed have a poor understanding of the complexity of the real world - they did not understand that holding the office did not mean that they held the power....The bigger irony, though, is that all of this drama came from trying to slow down AI, and instead it will accelerate it. The now-former board wanted to slow down OpenAI’s research and flow down the diffusion of its technology in app, ‘GPTs’ and agents. Instead the accelerationists are firmly in charge of OpenAI, at least for now, and the rest of the industry has just had a huge kick in the backside to proliferate and accelerate all of this as much as possible. A half-baked coup by three people might be more consequential than all the government AI forums of the last six months combined. Failed coups often do that." -Benedict Evans
"I thought Elon Musk's interview with Andrew Sorkin was one of the great interviews ever. Musk is a free speech absolutist which I respect. I think he is entirely correct that he and X are treated unfairly and inconsistently by advertisers." - Bill Ackman
A new survey suggests TikTok is a meaningful driver of a surge in antisemitism.
Don't listen to Freud! Suppressing your fears or negative thoughts is actually a good idea! Training people (120 participants from different countries) to suppress their fears had positive effects.
Candy Crush makes more than Activision and Blizzard
Leaked internal audio shows China-based ByteDance employees (and, by extension, the CCP) are still using TikTok to spy on Americans — despite claims to the contrary
This is how most people were living in Manhattan in 1920. The past isn’t what you think. The present and future are bright:
And so what "boring" modern architecture replaced wasn't Baroque palaces, Art Nouveau salons, and Gothic cathedrals. What those concrete highrises replaced was this sort of thing in 1920s Vienna: disease, squalor, and untold material misery.
TikTok should be banned.