“Silicon Valley tech firm building products that let people collaborate over any distance. Must relocate to San Francisco.” Read this post for a great analysis of remote work and distributed teams. | learn more
“[L]egendary Silicon Valley investor and Sun Microsystems founder Vinod Khosla said on Wednesday that he believes ‘any radiologist who plans to practice in 10 years will be killing patients every day,’ because machine-powered solutions will have advanced to such a point that they’ll be far more effective than professional human practitioners.” | learn more
Author: Kai-Fu Lee
I read this book mostly on the basis of the authors pedigree. Kai-Fu Lee is a tech rock star. He’s an O.G. of AI research, a tech exec who built Google China, and founder of the VC firm Sinovation Ventures.
What I hoped to learn from this book was not about AI necessarily, but rather about the view on why China would be relevant to the AI economy in the coming years. Lee delivered on the promise by telling a story that tied together China’s strengths and the current state of AI development. Despite China’s shortcomings, the argument that they have what it takes to make meaningful advances with AI technology is a strong one.
The point centers around the fact that we’re not relying on fundamental breakthroughs in AI research for progress. Instead, the breakthroughs already exist and now we’re in the “application” phase where execution is needed. And China has the skills to pay the bills when it comes to applying this tech because of the massive amounts of engineering manpower and a data-rich environment driven by culture and scale. Watch out!
Lee spends a good part of the book painting a picture of what the world might look like after the AI job losses start occurring. His message is that we will be wise to reposition the manpower that’s been replaced by computers to do tasks that are innately human – social work, care giving, etc. I’m not sure I buy into this thinking as much as the message on China, but it’s a conversation that I think will pick up steam over the coming years.
Read this book if you’re curious to learn more about AI and the “race” among countries to implement it. Otherwise, maybe find a summary online.
With the recent failure of Silicon Valley startup Munchery, and the less-recent failure of Sprig, SF Chronical offers an interesting post-mortem of the on-demand food business model. It’s interesting to read some of the quotes from former Sprig employees about the lack of concern for quality as they scaled. I remember noticing this as a customer in Chicago – food quality went steadily downhill over the course of the first 3 months until I gave up on them. Thankfully I was introduced to Factor 75 shortly after! | learn more
“Architect Malika Junaid gives a tour of her $10 million home, which was designed with her family’s science-fiction interests in mind. It’s full of automations, an elevator and what she calls an abstract Starship Enterprise.” | learn more
They are one of the few Silicon Valley VCs that have been super active in Chicago, so this is especially sad. “…August Capital held its annual holiday dinner on Thursday, December 6. The mood was festive, not only because of the season, but also because August had recently held a first close on its eighth fund after an unusually arduous process. Four days later, the firm effectively imploded.” | learn more
Someone updated Maslow’s hierarchy, and it’s pretty great. I seem to have accidentally skipped the base of the pyramid. | learn more
Chamath Palihapitiya is the founder of the uber-successful investment firm Social Capital, which has recently been in the news for some serious drama (google it if you’re curious). Chamath is interviewed here by Jason Calacanis and shares his controversial views on the inherent problem with the Silicon Valley fund model. Skip to 22nd minute if crunched for time. | learn more
This Washington Post article is a great read. “Silicon Valley startups boast about disrupting everything. Coinbase did the opposite — and is now the go-to exchange for bitcoin.” | learn more
“In January 2018, Swarm [Technologies] launched the first satellites into space unauthorized by any government. People familiar with the business of launching satellites into space consider the situation odd, troubling and even dangerous: Access to space is supposed to be expensive, difficult and tightly guarded by nations under international treaty obligations.” | learn more