Newsletter #61

Hey everyone,


I hope everyone who’s in school did well on their finals.

The first week of TraceCamp, the coding bootcamp headed by @Bekk here at Clemson, kicks off tomorrow, so let’s all wish him good luck!

Movies of the Week


Because of finals I have yet to see “Into the Spiderverse” lol


Triple Frontier by J.C. Chandor: @Daniel and I are huge fans of the director, who made great movies such as “Margin Call”, “All Is Lost”, and “A Most Violent Year”. His scripts invite great performances by really talented actors and actresses, and are brilliantly rendered at a visual level as well. Super pumped for this one.

Music Video of the Week

Satisfied by Reneé Elise Goldsberry : Thanks to @Bekk, I was able to go see Hamilton earlier this week. I agree with @MrCook’s assessment that “I don’t gush over it, but it is the most successful work of musical theater in a generation”.

Paper of the Week

How to Organize your Deep Reinforcement Learning Agents: The Importance of Communication Topology [paper]: Nathan shared this one with me and I love this type of research even though the finding is fairly obvious lol it brings together two of my big passions: network science and reinforcement learning.

Weekly Shoutout

@Bekk for giving me his ticket to go see Hamilton. Thanks again bro!


The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe is Tomorrow’s Mainstream by Amy Webb: this book is about how to be an effective forecasted of tech trends, so the topic hits close to home. On top of that, the author is a former high school and college debater!

Superminds by Thomas W. Malone: the author of the book is the head of the MIT Lab for Collective Intelligence, so the book is filled with really nice research the lab has conducted over the past decade. Unlike “Wisdom of the Crowd”, this book delves deeply into the role technology can play into harnessing collective intelligence, as well as collective intelligence for human-AI teams.

Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen: it’s sort of an autobiographical novel written by the head of investors relations for both Steve Jobs at Pixar as well as Elon Musk at Tesla. I was interested in this book initially because I’m a big fan of “The Devil Wears Prada”, and I think this type of female-oriented storyline is underrated in the movie business. I’d love to adapt this novel into movie some day.

Food for Thought

Harvard buys Vineyard and The Water Underneath It [article]: I understand that after decades of controversy, it may be hard for some to trust scientists on the climate change debate. This however is an investment from one of the best endowments in the world clearly attempting at profiting from what they perceive to be a real trend. It reminds me of the ending of the Big Short when they say that Michale Burry, one of the hedge fund mangers that profited most by the financial crisis when no one believed him, is investing in water….

John Oliver on Debt Buyers : this accompanies Bloomberg’s Piece “Confession Judgement” on the predatory lending machine that NY’s court system is becoming. This type of predatory financial behavior is truly fucked up and undermines the ability for Americans to get a fresh start. However, the upside is that organizations like RIP Medical Debt have been able to buy huge medical debts for pennies on the dollar to restore the financial health of so many people. If you are wondering who to donate to during the holidays, consider RIP Medical Debt.

Andrew Lo on Using Financial Engineering to Sustain Cancer Research : Even @Bekk is a fan of Andrew Lo altering reading his book “Adaptive Markets”, and one of my favorite ideas from the book is his thoughts on using financial engineering to disperse the risk of cancer research among investors.

Crowd Pleasers

4 Mentorship Archetypes [article]: mentorship is something we have all benefitted from, and as we get older and more experienced the opportunities open up to pay it forward.

The Rapid Growth of the Chinese Internet — and where it’s headed : a great overview of the the unique opportunities China presents for technologies because of its culture and size.

Tony Fadell on Fixing Invisible Problems : Tony Fadell is one of my favorite designers because he has a sharp sense of how to innovate problem solving. His talk is a wonderful example of his different approach to user experience and product design. @Caroline you should check him out.


Yuri Milner explains StarChip : as the head of DST, Yuri Milner is one of the most successful tech investors in the world, who, unlike most VCs in the Valley, has been investing globally for over a decade. His pet obsession is the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, and this presentation shows how his background as a physicist, entrepreneur and investor positions him to be extremely innovative in the space. @Casey check this one out.

AlphaFold at Casp13: What Just Happened [article]: this article goes through one scientists’ perspective on the paper I shared last week about DeepMind’s AI crushing all the alternatives when it came to predicting protein folding. This is important because it speaks to how ML is going to change science. This quote summarizes the article well: “I don’t think we would do ourselves a service by not recognizing that what just happened presents a serious indictment of academic science. There are dozens of academic groups, with researchers likely numbering in the (low) hundreds, working on protein structure prediction. We have been working on this problem for decades, with vast expertise built up on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific, and not insignificant computational resources when measured collectively. For DeepMind’s group of ~10 researchers, with primarily (but certainly not exclusively) ML expertise, to so thoroughly route everyone surely demonstrates the structural inefficiency of academic science. This is not Go, which had a handful of researchers working on the problem, and which had no direct applications beyond the core problem itself. Protein folding is a central problem of biochemistry, with profound implications for the biological and chemical sciences. How can a problem of such vital importance be so badly neglected?” AND “What is worse than academic groups getting scooped by DeepMind? The fact that the collective powers of Novartis, Merck, Pfizer, etc, with their hundreds of thousands (~million?) of employees, let an industrial lab that is a complete outsider to the field, with virtually no prior molecular sciences experience, come in and thoroughly beat them on a problem that is, quite frankly, of far greater importance to pharmaceuticals than it is to Alphabet. It is an indictment of the laughable “basic research” groups of these companies, which pay lip service to fundamental science but focus myopically on target-driven research that they managed to so badly embarrass themselves in this episode.” @Rashed and @Orrod you will probably find this interesting.

Spitznagel on Safe Havens [13m]: For those who may not remember, he is the head of Universa, where Taleb works, and the pioneer of tail-risk hedging as an investment strategy. He managed in less than 15m to go over all of the different safe havens we grown accustomed to showing how they are not at all as safe as we might expect. It reminds me of the Thiel quote “in a rapidly changing world, not taking risk is the surest way to make a mistake”. @Grant you’ll find this interesting.

Have a great weekend!

Check out the collection of all of the past newsletters

read original article at——artificial_intelligence-5