All good things must … eventually return
Per The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 42 is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, and it also just happens to be the number of “Securities” issues we’ve published this year. Your humble writer is departing for a few weeks to Asia, where I will be assessing the geopolitics of China’s 20th National Congress by … consuming enormous quantities of sushi, ramen, tonkatsu and sake while riding rides at Super Nintendo World.
“Securities” – both the newsletter and podcast – will be on hiatus until mid-November. In the meantime, we’ll be rolling out a bunch of new products, and as they say, the best is yet to come.
Lux Leaders Summit 2022
One of Lux’s highest priority goals for 2022 was getting our community out of the collective, Covid-induced malaise of Zoom squares into a more convivial environment. And that’s exactly what we did last week with the Lux Leaders Summit, a two-day urban “retreat” for a Dunbar’s number (150) of our founders and senior executives from industry to connect and collaborate.
Our founders strategy retreat on Thursday was followed on Friday by the Lux team opening the markets at the NYSE, hundreds of one-to-one executive briefings, and capped with a keynote conversation with Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of Lux portfolio company FTX, talking with The Atlantic’s staff writer Derek Thompson on the future of American capitalism as well as SBF’s thoughts on pandemic prevention, AI safety, and the crisis in media.
Here are a few select photos from the event. All photos by Mandee Johnson unless otherwise marked.
“I have three girls; the second one is bionic”
Technology’s prime and still growing role in society has led to a crescendo of criticism that it has exacerbated inequality. Critics say that the economic models and algorithms underpinning out apps and platforms are tearing apart our social fabric, fracturing the economy, casualizing labor, and increasing hostility between nations.
But for all the negativity around technology, there is a parallel positive story of how technology can empower people to achieve their best lives. Whether it’s dynamically adjusting insulin pumps that allow diabetics greater freedom to pursue their dreams, or reliable algorithms that can reduce human bias in everything from hiring to dating, technology has also added tremendous value to society.
That’s the theme of “The Equality Machine: Harnessing Digital Technology for a Brighter, More Inclusive Future,” a new book by Orly Lobel, the Warren Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Employment and Labor Policy at the University of San Diego.
In this “Securities” podcast episode, Lobel talks about how her daughter became bionic, why alarmist titles of recent critical tech books belie the comparative advantage of algorithms, the actual black box of human minds, feedback loops in doctor’s offices and the medical professions, and finally … sex robots. Because they have feelings (and algorithms) too.
- Our scientist-in-residence Sam Arbesman touches on the importance of bringing people together with this recommendation of Matt Clancy’s research review of remote scientific collaboration. His conclusion? “…for most of the twentieth century, the conventional wisdom about the importance of being together in the middle of a vibrant scientific/technological environment in order to do cutting edge work seems to have been correct.” New tech though is changing that conclusion, albeit slowly.
- Grace Isford recommends this astonishing look at the future of cloud computing demands in the metaverse age from Protocol’s Max A. Cherney. “But even today’s most complex metaverse-like video games require a tiny fraction of the processing and networking performance we would need to achieve the vision of a persistent world accessed by billions of people, all at once, across multiple devices, screen formats and in virtual or augmented reality.”
- Sam recommends a gorgeously illustrated explanation of sound from Bartosz Ciechanowski, who must have spent eons creating dozens of animations and pictures to show how sound waves work at the molecular level.
- Sam also recommends a landmark report from Michael Nielsen and Kanjun Qiu on “A Vision of Metascience,” describing steps to improving the systems and organization of scientific discovery.
- Peter Hébert offers this animation of the demise of the British pound.
- Finally, Sam recommends Erik Hoel’s essay “Exit the supersensorium” connecting our abundance of cultural artifacts with dreaming and deep learning. "Dreaming, then, isn’t about integrating the day’s events, or replaying old memories; in fact, the less like the repetitive day’s events, the better. At minimum, a good dream is some interesting variation from an organism’s normal experience. And so we have our answer: the banality and self-sameness of an animal’s days led to the evolution of an inner fabulist. Here originates our need for novelty, and, in some, our need for novels.”
That’s it, folks. Have questions, comments, or ideas? This newsletter is sent from my email, so you can just click reply.