Peak AI?

I was on the bus talking shop with a friend who works as a tech investor. We eventually reached our stop, got off and started walking away when the bus driver called to us. At first I thought we had left something on the bus when the driver clarified they wanted an "AI stock pick". We gave a recommendation and continued on our way.


Spider Pedantry

From Rory Sutherland's Alchemy:

...there is no reason for Brits to be afraid of spiders, since there are no poisonous spiders in the UK – but it’s still there, just in case.

Google has many results, e.g., which say that in fact, the UK has multiple poisonous spiders. However it would be correct to say that there're no deadly poisonous spiders; perhaps what Sutherland meant.

OpenAI gets this one right:


Athletes vs Programmers

Keith Rabois gave a talk in YC's startup class. Among many interesting things, I'll focus on his idea that since athletes do fine with salary transparency, maybe it could be more successful in tech too. However for three reasons I don't think the example of athletes generally translates to programmers[0].

Athletes have agents to negotiate on their behalf, but programmers negotiate themselves[1]. Therefore perceived discrepancies feel more personal.

Feedback Cycles
If an athlete improves you can see it quickly, as soon as the next game. Meanwhile, if you get better as a programmer it will take a long time, maybe years, before the impact is fully realized.

Telling the extreme performers for both are relatively clear. But in contrast to programmers, it's much easier to differentiate those in the middle of the distribution. Two reasons: first, every game is entirely recorded, from multiple angles even, and presumably teams also record their practices. In contrast, only an infinitesimal number of programmers do this[2]. Moreover, there're dozens of people at sports organizations who analyze all footage, whereas for programmers it can be hard, for good reasons, for even your manager to know exactly what you've been doing

[0] Like Rabois, I am not saying whether companies should or shouldn't have transparency
[1] There's a startup called FreeAgency trying to do this. (I'm not affiliated.)
[2] One example would be malisper


Urgent indeed

And whereas it must, of course, be the task of the historian, archaeologist, and prehistorian to show that the myths are as facts untrue -- that there is no one Chosen People of God in this multiracial world, no Found Truth to which we all must bow, no One and Only True Church -- it will be more and more, and with increasing urgency, the task of the psychologist and comparative mythologist not only to identify, analyze, and interpret the symbolized "facts of the mind," but also to evolve techniques for retaining these in health and, as the old traditions of the fading past dissolve, assist mankind to a knowledge and appreciation of our own inward, as well as the world's outward, orders of fact.

From Joseph Cambell's 1972 Myths to Live By. (Bolding mine)

How to underpromise, overdeliver, Napoleon style

"he knew better than to allow his countrymen to be stoked up after his departure from Paris [to the Italian theatre]. Angry that the newspapers there were claiming he had predicted he would capture Milan within a month, he wrote on May 19, ‘That is not in my character. Very often I do not say what I know: but never do I say what will happen.’ 12 He ordered that ‘a jocular note’ to that effect be inserted in the [state-controlled newspaper] Moniteur. In fact, he was indeed in Milan within a month of leaving Paris."

From Andrew Robert's Napoleon