Free College Won’t Be Enough To Prepare Americans For The Future Of Work

from Brookings As the Democratic presidential candidates gather in Westerville, Ohio for the fourth primary debate on Tuesday, they would do well to acknowledge the growing public concern about the “future of work.” As a Midwestern swing state that has an intimate history with displacement and its consequences, Ohio is a fitting place for candidates to offer more robust solutions to issues such as automation and artificial intelligence, which will likely have disproportionate impacts on certain American communities and populations, including places like Westerville. The candidates have not been completely silent on these issues. Andrew Yang and Pete Buttigieg have […]

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Overlooked No More: Robert Johnson, Bluesman Whose Life Was a Riddle

from NYTs Little about the life Robert Leroy Johnson lived in his brief 27 years, from approximately May 1911 until he died mysteriously in 1938, was documented. A birth certificate, if he had one, has never been found. What is known can be summarized on a postcard: He is thought to have been born out of wedlock in May 1911 in Mississippi and raised there. School and census records indicated he lived for stretches in Tennessee and Arkansas. He took up guitar at a young age and became a traveling musician, eventually glimpsing the bustle of New York City. But […]

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Fearing 2020 ‘Deepfakes,’ Facebook Will Launch Industry AI ‘Challenge’

from Fast Company Facebook wants to be ready for a deepfake outbreak on its social network. So the company has started an industry group to foster the development of new detection tools to spot the fraudulent videos. A deepfake video presents a realistic AI-generated image of a real person saying or doing fictional things. Perhaps the most famous such video to date portrayed Barack Obama calling Donald Trump a “dipshit.” Facebook is creating a “Deepfake Detection Challenge,” which will offer grants and awards in excess of $10 million to people developing promising detection tools. The social network is teaming up with Microsoft and […]

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Leadership Tips: Empathy Is Key

from Forbes For everything that goes into products and marketing and every other aspect of your company, running a business is very much a proposition about people. Facing outward, it’s about convincing people to buy your product, partner with you, invest in you; internally, it’s about the work done by the people you bring in and the relationships that enable everyone to work together. Any leader or manager can be said to be as much a manager of people as tasks and responsibilities, and part of effective management is being able to understand and connect with co-workers and employees, often […]

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What Do You Own?

from Seth’s Blog Small business is a resilient backbone of the modern world. Choosing to not simply be the day laborer or the gig worker, but someone who actually owns something. You might own a permission asset–the right people, offering you their attention and trust. You might own a lease or a patent or some other form of property. And you might own a reputation, one that earns you better projects and a bigger say in what happens next. More here.

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Why You Need a Password Manager. Yes, You.

from NYTs You probably know that it’s not a good idea to use “password” as a password, or your pet’s name, or your birthday. But the worst thing you can do with your passwords — and something that more than 50 percent of people are doing, according to a recent Virginia Tech study — is to reuse the same ones across multiple sites. If even one of those accounts is compromised in a data breach, it doesn’t matter how strong your password is — hackers can easily use it to get into your other accounts. But even though I should […]

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How To Be An Expert

from Forbes What is the value of an expert? In an age where information is free and available (without even typing—thank you Alexa), logic would seem to indicate a reduction in value. If information is free, how does the “expert” survive? And yet, in this unique moment in history, we see an overall rise of interest in “experts” and “gurus.” It turns out that we need to update our definition of an expert. Here’s why this matters: in the age of infinite information availability, it’s more vital than ever to realize that expertise is a reflection of your standing within […]

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A Seat At The Table

from Seth’s Blog Short-term profits are a lousy way to build a sustainable community. There’s always a shortcut, a rule to be bent, a way to make some more money now at the expense of the people around us. The counterbalance to selfish Ayn-Randian greed is cultural belonging. “No,” the community says, “we’re not proud of what you did, and you’re not welcome here.” People like us do things like this. More here.

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The Ecstatic Beauty of Baseball

from The New Yorker It’s right around the corner. That magical time of year when grown men put on their ball caps, pull up their socks, and take to the field. What is it about this sport that has captured our imaginations for more than two hundred years? It’s really just a simple game played on a large lawn, with forty-six players to a side, two bags of ham, and a pistol with live ammunition. For those not familiar with the rules, once the “eyeman” is blindfolded and the snakes have been released, the “turtle slinger” is called. He then […]

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Turing Award Won by 3 Pioneers in Artificial Intelligence

from NYTs In 2004, Geoffrey Hinton doubled down on his pursuit of a technological idea called a neural network. It was a way for machines to see the world around them, recognize sounds and even understand natural language. But scientists had spent more than 50 years working on the concept of neural networks, and machines couldn’t really do any of that. Backed by the Canadian government, Dr. Hinton, a computer science professor at the University of Toronto, organized a new research community with several academics who also tackled the concept. They included Yann LeCun, a professor at New York University, […]

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How to Do a Data ‘Cleanse’

from NYTs If we need a checkup on our health, our finances or our cars, we can find doctors, accountants or mechanics. But who checks up on our digital lives? There’s no such thing as 10,000-mile scheduled maintenance for your hard drive or an oil change for your smartphone. You’re on your own. Some people go years without giving their data much thought. As we start a new year, here’s one more item to wedge onto your New Year New You list: a comprehensive checkup on your own data. Following these four steps takes some time and attention, but it’s […]

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‘Move Fast And Break Things’ Isn’t A Worthy Slogan

from Seth’s Blog …because ‘breaking things’ isn’t the point of your work. How about, “Move fast and make things better,” or “Move fast and create possibility”? The reason we hesitate to move fast is that we’re worried about what that implies. Move fast and learn something. Move fast and take responsibility. Move fast and then do it again because now you’re smarter. The alternative is to move slow. To move slow and to hide. Which means that those you sought to connect, to help and to offer something to will suffer as they wait. Don’t hoard your work. Own it […]

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Where Did The Moon Come From? A New Theory

from TED The Earth and Moon are like identical twins, made up of the exact same materials — which is really strange, since no other celestial bodies we know of share this kind of chemical relationship. What’s responsible for this special connection? Looking for an answer, planetary scientist and MacArthur “Genius” Sarah T. Stewart discovered a new kind of astronomical object — a synestia — and a new way to solve the mystery of the Moon’s origin. More here.

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Stamps Featuring Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci

from kottke The Royal Mail in the UK have released a set of stamps that feature drawings done by Leonardo da Vinci. The Royal Collection holds the greatest collection of Leonardo’s drawings in existence, housed in the Print Room at Windsor Castle. Because they have been protected from light, fire and flood, they are in almost pristine condition and allow us to see exactly what Leonardo intended — and to observe his hand and mind at work, after a span of five centuries. These drawings are among the greatest artistic treasures of the United Kingdom. More here.

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No, Data Is Not The New Oil

from Wired “Data is the new oil” is one of those deceptively simple mantras for the modern world. Whether in The New York Times, The Economist, or WIRED, the wildcatting nature of oil exploration, plus the extractive exploitation of a trapped asset, seems like an apt metaphor for the boom in monetized data. The metaphor has even assumed political implications. Newly installed California governor Gavin Newsom recently proposed an ambitious “data dividend” plan, whereby companies like Facebook or Google would pay their users a fraction of the revenue derived from the users’ data. Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes laid out a […]

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On Feeling Incompetent

from Seth’s Blog At some point, grown ups get tired of the feeling that accompanies growth and learning. We start calling that feeling, “incompetence.” We’re not good at the new software, we resist a brainstorming session for a new way to solve a problem, we never did bother to learn to juggle… Not because we don’t want the outcomes, but because the journey promises to be difficult. Difficult in the sense that we’ll feel incompetent. More here.

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Mapping the Odyssey Isn’t Easy

from kottke We’ve looked before at maps of Odysseus’s travels in The Odyssey (as Jason wrote in 2018, “that dude was LOST”). But it turns out — and maybe this shouldn’t be surprising — that it’s not easy to figure out exactly where Odysseus was in the Mediterranean Sea for all that time. Scholars have pored over the text for clues for centuries, argued about their findings, and tried to interpret ambiguous language. We don’t even know for certain where Odysseus’s home island of Ithaca was. Ithaca is one of a group of four islands, with smaller islands nearby, but […]

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The Battle For Silicon Valley’s Soul

from The New Republic Last year, as Big Tech drew comparisons to Big Tobacco, and the industry’s CEOs were hauled before Congress to explain why government propaganda and harassment had been allowed to continue unchecked on their platforms, Silicon Valley searched its conscience. At Google, employees urged the company to stop facilitating Chinese censorship and providing artificial intelligence for drone warfare. At Amazon and Salesforce, they tried to prevent ICE and Customs and Border Protection from usingtheir software. And across the field, workers called for safer workplaces, freedom from harassment, and better working conditions for the contractors, janitors, and food service employees who keep business […]

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Digital Peer Pressure

From Seth’s Blog “You’re using it wrong.” That’s how culture develops, of course. That’s why no one uses ALL CAPS IN THEIR EMAIL ANY MORE. Culture develops online at the speed of light. Every interaction tool comes with peers to interact with, and quickly, those tools establish the norms of interaction. As a result, there are a ton of rules and more arriving every day. Culture forms around us, then changes and then forms again. Often, the peer pressure pushes people to fit in, to go along, to become a bystander. But the digital peer pressure that pushes us to […]

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