Already in December! The year almost finished without really noticing. Holidays are getting closer and closer (crossing fingers for the new Covid variant…). Lots of cool stuff this week: more crypto nonsense, interesting moves on Twitter, math curiosities and an impressive example of facial animation. Let’s start.
Goodbye and thanks for all the fish
This year we have seen many CEOs leaving the companies they founded. Some of them seemed to be bored of running a company, which to me feels quite reasonable. After all, developing software or hardware is quite different to just running the business side of any enterprise. This week we saw the news about Jack Dosery leaving Twitter to ‘focus’ on his crypto company.
However, I have a different take on some of these events. Most of the biggest companies in the tech world (Amazon, Twitter, Google, Facebook, etc.) created their business by developing new technologies: Amazon reinvented online shopping, Google created its empire on running adds through their search motor, Facebook and Twitter developed new ways for people to connect and interact. Of course, every time you create something new, it will have many effects over time. During the last years we have seen many negative consequences of these services. Amazon is exploiting people using algorithms and they have destroyed a huge number of traditional shops. Google has collected so much information about everyone on Earth that nowadays, privacy is a word with little to no meaning. We have seen how Twitter and Facebook were used to spread misinformation and even manipulate elections.
I understand that coding a search engine or a way for people to share their pictures is much more fun than making sure your company respects human rights or taxation laws all around the globe. My point here is that the CEOs of these companies, instead of trying to solve the problems they created, are just disappearing with the money, and letting others try to overcome their pitfalls. Even worse, most of them seem to go for novel endeavours that will probably end creating even bigger problems in the near future. Why bother moderating fake news if you can go play with your Oculus on the metaverse? Why spend your time making sure you respect labor rights if you can just go to space? Let’s destroy the environment mining bitcoin!
Who would have told me 10-15 years ago that I would favour Bill Gates over any other CEO around?
Dorsey’s Twitter Departure Hints at Tech Moguls’ Restlessness, on the New York Times
Another crazy week on the cryptoverse
A couple news that made me smile. The first one is another example on how volatile the crypto markets have become. People are creating tokens at higher and higher speeds, in a gold rush with a pace thats really hard to follow. What happens when you create a token with the name of the last covid variant? Apparently, that you scam a lot of people into buying and then the value plummets a 900% over the course of a week. I really recommend the post on Bloomberg, which covers some other interesting news.
The second link is funny and sad at the same time. Funny because some people will pay 1500USD to get a white pixel. Sad because now some cryptodudes will own a Banksy (and one that I really like, btw). I really cannot stand how, in an age where everyone could enjoy basically any piece of culture, where we can replicate without loss any song, book, or movie, humans insist on limiting accessibility and wasting money and energy on artificially imposing cultural scarcity.
Omicron Crypto Is a Bet on Attention, on Bloomberg
Cutting a Banksy Into 10,000 (Digital) Pieces, on the New York Times
A little bit of fun math
I remember when I was at high school and we tried to solve these kind of problems for days. It was such a cool way to learn math and get used to its formalism, which later helped me a lot during my studies. Here are some cool problems that orbit around the e number, which appears time and time again when you work with natural events. It reminded me of this other cool video about how some of our sensing capacities behave like logarithms.
Why e, the Transcendental Math Constant, Is Just the Best, on quantamagazine
We left the Uncanny Valley way behind
Incredible results from Ziva. Their real time render already looks amazing (see video below), but the post-processed results with the help of their IA algorithms is just from outside this world. I can’t wait to see what the movies and videogames are going to look in the very near future.
And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!