Aurimas Račas

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Aurimas Račas

5 days ago

Should the world follow the American model — extreme capitalism, no public investment, cruelty as a way of life, the perversion of everyday virtue — then these new social pathologies will follow, too. They are new diseases of the body social that have emerged from the diet of junk food — junk media, junk science, junk culture, junk punditry, junk economics, people treating one another and their society like junk — that America has fed upon for too long.

Why We’re Underestimating American Collapse

eand.co

Aurimas Račas

5 days ago

Don’t try to resolve fundamental conflicts with your spouse or roommates. The only people who win marital arguments about bedrock values are divorce lawyers.
I mean, you wouldn’t say “I have a free hour; I bet I could solve the Israel/Palestinian conflict and still have time for a spot of tennis!” So why do you try to use the same hour to convince your spouse that potato salad should have pickles in it?

After 45 Birthdays, Here Are '12 Rules for Life'

bloomberg.com

Aurimas Račas

5 days ago

Nobody wants to produce boring presentations that waste everybody’s time, but they do; nobody wants to train machine learning algorithms that produce misleading predictions, but they will.

Is “Murder by Machine Learning” the New “Death by PowerPoint”?

hbr.org

Aurimas Račas

5 days ago

Software doesn’t always end up being the productivity panacea that it promises to be. As its victims know all too well, “death by PowerPoint,” the poor use of the presentation software, sucks the life and energy out of far too many meetings. And audit after enterprise audit reveals spreadsheets rife with errors and macro miscalculations. Email and chat facilitate similar dysfunction; inbox overload demonstrably hurts managerial performance and morale. No surprises here — this is sadly a global reality that we’re all too familiar with.

Is “Murder by Machine Learning” the New “Death by PowerPoint”?

hbr.org

Aurimas Račas

5 days ago

The narrative was written by historians,” she says, “but I see it alive before me.”

Lithuania hopes the next century is quieter than the last

economist.com

Aurimas Račas

9 days ago

At a cloud computing event in D.C. several years ago, I sat at dinner with a French diplomat. Part of the EU parliament, he was in charge of data privacy. “Do you know why the French hate traffic cameras?” he asked me. “Because we can overlook a smudge of lipstick or a whiff of cologne on our partners’ shirts. But we can’t ignore a photograph of them in a car with a lover.”

Indeed, the French amended the laws regarding traffic camera evidence, only sending a photo when a dispute occurs. As he pointed out, “French society functions in the gray areas of legality. Data is too black and white.”

Different continents, different data science

oreilly.com

Aurimas Račas

11 days ago

Indeed, the DOJ’s case against Microsoft may have been one of the most market-oxygenating acts in business history, one that unleashed trillions of dollars in shareholder value. The concentration of power achieved by the Four has created a market desperate for oxygen. I’ve sat in dozens of VC pitches by small firms. The narrative has become universal and static: “We don’t compete directly with the Four but would be great acquisition candidates.” Companies thread this needle or are denied the requisite oxygen (capital) to survive infancy. IPOs and the number of VC-funded firms have been in steady decline over the past few years.

Silicon Valley’s Tax-Avoiding, Job-Killing, Soul-Sucking Machine

esquire.com

Aurimas Račas

11 days ago

A Dell computer may be powerful and fast, but it doesn’t indicate membership in the innovation class as a MacBook Air does. Likewise, the iPhone is something more than a phone, or even a smartphone. Consumers aren’t paying $1,000 for an iPhone X because they’re passionate about facial recognition. They’re signaling they make a good living, appreciate the arts, and have disposable income. It’s a sign to others: If you mate with me, your kids are more likely to survive than if you mate with someone carrying an Android phone. After all, iPhone users on average earn 40 percent more than Android users. Mating with someone who is on the iOS platform is a shorter path to a better life.

Silicon Valley’s Tax-Avoiding, Job-Killing, Soul-Sucking Machine

esquire.com

Aurimas Račas

11 days ago

Those of us who are not white have considerably more trouble not only finding representation of ourselves in mass media and other arenas of public life, but also finding representation that indicates that our humanity is multi­faceted. Relating to characters onscreen is necessary not merely for us to feel seen and understood, but also for others who need to see and understand us. When it doesn’t happen, we are all the poorer for it.

Behind the Revolutionary Power of Black Panther

time.com

Aurimas Račas

11 days ago

North Korea’s arsenal is thought to include smallpox, yellow fever, anthrax, hemorrhagic fever, and even plague

Here’s what war with North Korea would look like

vox.com

Aurimas Račas

12 days ago

Rather than deconstructing individual AI errors, Weinberger suggests focusing on what an algorithm is and is not optimized to do. This approach, he argues, takes the discussion out of a case-by-case realm—in reality, the system will never be perfect—and allows us to look at how an entire AI system works to produce the results we want. Is a self-driving car optimized for speed or safety? Should it save one life at the cost of two? These are problems that can be regulated and decided without expert knowledge of the internal workings of a deep neural network. Once societal expectations are set for a new technology, either through regulation or public influence, companies can optimize for those outcomes.

The case against understanding why AI makes decisions

qz.com

Aurimas Račas

19 days ago

Unpacking my life back in America has been difficult. Caught between multiple cultures, the culmination of working in Switzerland showed me first-hand that cultures tackle and optimise for various social and economic facets and that this active research on what the collective human effort can provide for its citizens benefits humanity as a whole. While I missed the Bay Area for its undying friendliness and creativity, some of its blemishes have become apparent only from gaining distance. Even while undergoing my reintegration to America, my mind still lingers in Switzerland.

Forging a Swiss Lens: 3 Ways Zurich Changed My View of Silicon Valley

nextrends.swissnexsanfrancisco.org

Aurimas Račas

19 days ago

A similar trend might be occurring for adults: My co-authors and I previously found that adults over age 30 were less happy than they were 15 years ago, and that adults were having sex less frequently. There may be many reasons for these trends, but adults are also spending more time with screens than they used to. That might mean less face-to-face time with other people, including with their sexual partners. The result: less sex and less happiness.

Most unhappy people are unhappy for the exact same reason

qz.com

Aurimas Račas

25 days ago

Solar and wind energy have developed steadily over the last forty years and are now poised for a global, exponential expansion propelled by a nearly unstoppable Moore’s-ish Law (increased production driving down prices, which expands markets and sparks innovation for the next round). Yet it turns out the workhorse that has delivered 31 times the impact of renewables for the last several decades is, in analyst-speak, “reduced energy intensity.” About two-thirds of that is due to efficiency, with the rest the result of compositional change, e.g. cuts in steel production mean less energy needed to make steel.

Less is More, More, More: The Cascading, Collective, Compounding, Sheer Utter Coolness of Efficiency

wtfeconomy.com

Aurimas Račas

25 days ago

It should be noted that no ethically-trained software engineer would ever consent to write a DestroyBaghdad procedure. Basic professional ethics would instead require him to write a DestroyCity procedure, to which Baghdad could be given as a parameter.

To Serve Man, with Software

blog.codinghorror.com

Aurimas Račas

25 days ago

It should be noted that no ethically-trained software engineer would ever consent to write a DestroyBaghdad procedure. Basic professional ethics would instead require him to write a DestroyCity procedure, to which Baghdad could be given as a parameter.

To Serve Man, with Software

blog.codinghorror.com

Aurimas Račas

37 days ago

Abe Gong, CEO of Superconductive Health, discusses a criminal recidivism algorithm used in U.S. courtrooms that included data about whether a person’s parents separated and if their father had ever been arrested. To be clear, this means that people’s prisons sentences were longer or shorter depending on things their parents had done. Even if this increased the accuracy of the model, it is unethical to include this information, as it is completely beyond the control of the defendants. This is an example of why data scientists shouldn’t just unthinkingly optimize for a simple metric, but that we must also think about what type of society we want to live in.

When Data Science Destabilizes Democracy and Facilitates Genocide · fast.ai

fast.ai

Aurimas Račas

37 days ago

Without a clear and agreed-upon goal, you run the risk of rewriting history as the data comes in. Take HotelTonight’s Favorites Feature that allows users to 'favorite' hotels they want to call up first during searches. “Is that for our power users? Is it for new people who may not like the serendipity of HotelTonight and want to follow a specific hotel? Is it for people planning a trip who want a watchlist feature?” says Richardson. “Those are all possibilities. But what's the key metric that's going to determine success? Without that clarity, you end up with a situation where one person is saying, ‘This was great for our most popular users, who favorite an average of 12 hotels’ and another is saying ‘But this was intended for new users.’ And you’re thinking, ‘Was it?’”

The key to effectively consuming data is to clearly stipulate what you’re trying to accomplish and how you’ll define success. But that’s easier said than done. “Everyone agrees at 60,000 feet. But once you take it into the details — 'What are we going to high-five over in 30 days?' — people are not clear.”

The Four Cringe-Worthy Mistakes Too Many Startups Make with Data

firstround.com

Aurimas Račas

39 days ago

The part about the Catholic Church’s line of thinking that had so crippled me emotionally, driving me both to think I was better off without my friends and family and holding me deep underwater in bouts of depression — was the belief that I was incapable of romantic love. I have often been told that I am more than just my sexuality. Catholic priests have to be celibate, why should I be so different? And it is true that there is so much more to a person than their desires for sex. But that’s exactly the point. To fall in love. To build a life together. To challenge each other — and if you are believers — to bring each other closer to God. To raise children in security and affection. To feel the peace of knowing that you will try to be there for each other through everything, no matter what. These are not small things

I Thought Gay Celibacy Was My Only Option — I Was Wrong

medium.com

Aurimas Račas

39 days ago

Can you guess which city has the most widely varying bedtimes over the week?

It’s Boston — probably because it’s a huge college town, with a huge population of young people.

Can you guess which one has the least variation in bedtimes?

It’s Las Vegas. “People who live and work in Las Vegas — if they’re in the industry of nightclubs and casinos, their schedule is going to be much less weekend-dominated,” Heneghan says.

Wake-up times also vary. This time, Seattle is the winner, with the least variation across the week. The losers here are New Yorkers, whose wake-up times swing an average of 73 minutes over the week. (Well, it is the city that never sleeps.)

Exclusive: What Fitbit's 6 billion nights of sleep data reveals about us

finance.yahoo.com

Aurimas Račas

39 days ago

Sherman construes things differently. Her subjects, she believes, are reluctant to categorize themselves as affluent because of what the label implies. “These New Yorkers are trying to see themselves as ‘good people,’ ” she writes. “Good people work hard. They live prudently, within their means. . . . They don’t brag or show off.” At another point, she observes that she was “surprised” at how often her subjects expressed conflicted emotions about spending. “Over time, I came to see that these were often moral conflicts about having privilege in general.”

The Psychology of Inequality

newyorker.com

Aurimas Račas

41 days ago

I’ve Studied the Trump-Fox Feedback Loop for Months. It’s Crazier Than You Think.

politico.com

Aurimas Račas

47 days ago

Xi deftly flattered his guest. Upon Trump’s arrival, they took a sunset tour of the Forbidden City. They drank tea, watched an opera performance at the Pavilion of Pleasant Sounds, and admired an antique gold urn. The next morning, at the Great Hall of the People, Trump was greeted by an even more lavish ceremony, with Chinese military bands, the firing of cannons, and throngs of schoolchildren, who waved colored pompoms and yelled, in Chinese, “Uncle Trump!” Government censors struck down critical comments about Trump on social media.

Making China Great Again

newyorker.com

Aurimas Račas

47 days ago

Inequality is one of the main drivers of social tension. We show striking similarities between patterns of inequality between species abundances in nature and wealth in society. We demonstrate that in the absence of equalizing forces, such large inequality will arise from chance alone. While natural enemies have an equalizing effect in nature, inequality in societies can be suppressed by wealth-equalizing institutions. However, over the past millennium, such institutions have been weakened during periods of societal upscaling. Our analysis suggests that due to the very same mathematical principle that rules natural communities (indeed, a “law of nature”) extreme wealth inequality is inevitable in a globalizing world unless effective wealth-equalizing institutions are installed on a global scale.

Inequality in nature and society

m.pnas.org

Aurimas Račas

47 days ago

An excellent analysis of "what is Bitcoin" and it's implications by A. Damodaran.

The Bitcoin Boom: Asset, Currency, Commodity or Collectible?

aswathdamodaran.blogspot.com

Aurimas Račas

47 days ago

Beneath the skull lies the next frontier.

Using thought to control machines

economist.com

Aurimas Račas

47 days ago

Switzerland- 4th worst country for working women in OECD.

The best and worst places to be a working woman

economist.com

Aurimas Račas

52 days ago

We already have a digital tertiary layer in a sense, in that you have your computer or your phone or your applications. You can ask a question via Google and get an answer instantly. You can access any book or any music. With a spreadsheet, you can do incredible calculations. If you had an Empire State building filled with people—even if they had calculators, let alone if they had to do it with a pencil and paper—one person with a laptop could outdo the Empire State Building filled with people with calculators. You can video chat with someone in freaking Timbuktu for free. This would’ve gotten you burnt for witchcraft in the old days. You can record as much video with sound as you want, take a zillion pictures, have them tagged with who they are and when it took place. You can broadcast communications through social media to millions of people simultaneously for free. These are incredible superpowers that the President of the United States didn’t have twenty years ago.

The thing that people, I think, don’t appreciate right now is that they are already a cyborg. You’re already a different creature than you would have been twenty years ago, or even ten years ago. You’re already a different creature. You can see this when they do surveys of like, “how long do you want to be away from your phone?” and—particularly if you’re a teenager or in your 20s—even a day hurts. If you leave your phone behind, it’s like missing limb syndrome. I think people—they’re already kind of merged with their phone and their laptop and their applications and everything.

Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future

waitbutwhy.com

Aurimas Račas

52 days ago

That‘s Gutenberg’s thing? A bunch of stamps? I feel like I could have come up with that pretty easily. Not really clear why it took humanity 5,000 years to go from figuring out how to write to creating a bunch of manual stamps. I guess it’s not that I’m unimpressed with Gutenberg—I’m neutral on Gutenberg, he’s fine—it’s that I’m unimpressed with everyone else.

Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future

waitbutwhy.com

Aurimas Račas

52 days ago

What’s at stake isn’t just how kids experience adolescence. The constant presence of smartphones is likely to affect them well into adulthood. Among people who suffer an episode of depression, at least half become depressed again later in life. Adolescence is a key time for developing social skills; as teens spend less time with their friends face-to-face, they have fewer opportunities to practice them. In the next decade, we may see more adults who know just the right emoji for a situation, but not the right facial expression.

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

theatlantic.com

Aurimas Račas

53 days ago

Every round-trip ticket on flights from New York to London, keep in mind, costs the Arctic three more square meters of ice.

When Will The Planet Be Too Hot For Humans? Much, Much Sooner Than You Imagine.

nymag.com

Aurimas Račas

53 days ago

You don’t worry much about dengue or malaria if you are living in Maine or France. But as the tropics creep northward and mosquitoes migrate with them, you will. You didn’t much worry about Zika a couple of years ago, either.

When Will The Planet Be Too Hot For Humans? Much, Much Sooner Than You Imagine.

nymag.com

Aurimas Račas

53 days ago

Nakamoto wrote about his vision for the currency. At first it would start “in a narrow niche like reward points, donation tokens, currency for a game or micropayments for adult sites,” he wrote. “Once it gets bootstrapped, there are so many applications if you could effortlessly pay a few cents to a website as easily as dropping coins in a vending machine.” Instead, it got Wall Streeted.

Bitcoin is none of the things it was supposed to be

theoutline.com

Aurimas Račas

53 days ago

We all know the benefits of a solid routine — it helps us to work smarter, look after our health, plan the trajectory of our days, achieve goals, and so on. That has all been discussed a million times and doubtless will be discussed a million more. But how often do we think about how our days are actually broken up, about how we choose (or are forced) to segment them? If you consider yourself a maker, do you succeed in structuring your day around long blocks of focused work, or does it get chopped up into little slices that other people can grab? If you regard yourself as a manager, are you available for the people who need your time? Are those meetings serving a purpose and getting high-leverage work done, or are you just trying to fill up an appointment book? If you do both types of work, how do you draw a line between them and communicate that boundary to others?

Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You

fs.blog

Aurimas Račas

53 days ago

When we look at countries around the world, a year of education appears to raise an individual’s income by 8 to 11 percent. By contrast, increasing education across a country’s population by an average of one year per person raises the national income by only 1 to 3 percent. In other words, education enriches individuals much more than it enriches nations.

The World Might Be Better Off Without College for Everyone

theatlantic.com

Aurimas Račas

53 days ago

The most powerful use cases for AI aren’t one-size-fits-all. Machine learning software typically is trained to solve a very specific problem. “If I need to figure out how much rust is on my industrial boiler, a cat and dog recognizer is not going to help,” says Chris Nicholson, CEO and cofounder of Skymind, which sells machine-learning tools and has helped organizations including the Department of Homeland Security use them in machine learning projects. Nicholson says that by creating consulting services, Amazon and Google “basically showed the Achilles heel of their business model.”

Google, Amazon Find Not Everyone Is Ready for Artificial Intelligence

wired.com

Aurimas Račas

53 days ago

Top 10 AI technology trends for 2018

usblogs.pwc.com

Aurimas Račas

58 days ago

Evaluating potential procurement synergies during mergers and acquisitions requires looking at hundreds of millions of lines of non-standardized accounts payable and receivable data. Reconciling all this data is a nightmare that used to involve manually building spreadsheets and pivot tables. And it took so much time and effort that no one dared to do it until after a deal with completed. Today, intelligent classification engines quickly compile the information in AI systems that learn. At Deloitte, what once took four to five months to complete is now done in a week , which means the analysis can be done during deal evaluation. Muraskin said, “It opens up all sorts of opportunities to bring greater value to the client. It opens up new business opportunities.”

EY, Deloitte And PwC Embrace Artificial Intelligence For Tax And Accounting

forbes.com

Aurimas Račas

60 days ago

America’s social support system is just fucked up.

Generation Screwed

highline.huffingtonpost.com

Aurimas Račas

60 days ago

The real x factor here is not the vagaries of climate science, but the complexity of human psychology. At what point will we take dramatic action to cut CO2 pollution? Will we spend billions on adaptive infrastructure to prepare cities for rising waters—or will we do nothing until it is too late? Will we welcome people who flee submerged coastlines and sinking islands—or will we imprison them?

The year is 2037. This is what happens when the hurricane hits Miami

theguardian.com

Aurimas Račas

60 days ago

As headlines have exposed the troubling inner workings of company after company, startup culture no longer feels like fodder for gentle parodies about ping pong and hoodies. It feels ugly and rotten. Facebook, the greatest startup success story of this era, isn’t a merry band of hackers building cutesy tools that allow you to digitally Poke your friends. It’s a powerful and potentially sinister collector of personal data, a propaganda partner to government censors, and an enabler of discriminatory advertising.

The Other Tech Bubble

wired.com

Aurimas Račas

62 days ago

In the ’80s and ’90s, some analysts tried to track the departure and landing schedules of corporate planes in the hope that they would hint at a merger or deal. In the 1950s, Sam Walton flew over Walmart parking lots in a helicopter so he could count cars and assess his real estate investments.

Data Rich

story.californiasunday.com

Aurimas Račas

82 days ago

The I.P.C.C. considered more than a thousand possible scenarios. Of these, only a hundred and sixteen limit warming to below two degrees, and of these a hundred and eight involve negative emissions. In many below-two-degree scenarios, the quantity of negative emissions called for reaches the same order of magnitude as the “positive” emissions being produced today.

Can Carbon-Dioxide Removal Save the World?

newyorker.com

Aurimas Račas

82 days ago

The way Lackner sees things, the key to avoiding “deep trouble” is thinking differently. “We need to change the paradigm,” he told me. Carbon dioxide should be regarded the same way we view other waste products, like sewage or garbage. We don’t expect people to stop producing waste. (“Rewarding people for going to the bathroom less would be nonsensical,” Lackner has observed.) At the same time, we don’t let them shit on the sidewalk or toss their empty yogurt containers into the street.

Can Carbon-Dioxide Removal Save the World?

newyorker.com

Aurimas Račas

82 days ago

One evening in the early nineties, Lackner was having a beer with a friend, Christopher Wendt, also a physicist. The two got to wondering why, as Lackner put it to me, “nobody’s doing these really crazy, big things anymore.” This led to more questions and more conversations (and possibly more beers).

Can Carbon-Dioxide Removal Save the World?

newyorker.com

Aurimas Račas

98 days ago

The PayPal Mafia of Self-Driving Cars Has Been at It a Decade

bloomberg.com

Aurimas Račas

109 days ago

In 1960, 5 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats objected to the idea of their children marrying across political lines. In 2010, those numbers jumped to 46 percent and 33 percent respectively.

20 of America's top political scientists gathered to discuss our democracy. They're scared.

vox.com

Aurimas Račas

111 days ago

The first people in T.’s apartment building to disappear, he said, were those who had traveled abroad and returned, particularly to Muslim countries, from Malaysia to Egypt. Then, in June, he says the police began to conduct random checks of pedestrians’ mobile phones at street corners, bus stops, and petrol stations, sometimes downloading their contents to handheld devices.

The police would dispense warnings to anyone whose phone carried banned apps like WhatsApp and Facebook. Sometimes, he said, police would come to some people’s homes and businesses to check their computers for banned software and content.

This Is What A 21st-Century Police State Really Looks Like

buzzfeed.com

Aurimas Račas

111 days ago

One of the most telling statistics I’ve come across in regards to the automation discussion is how almost everyone in the US knows we’ve lost manufacturing jobs over the past three decades. 81% know that very real fact according to a poll of over 4,000 adults by Pew Research. What few people know however is that at the same time the total number of jobs has decreased, total manufacturing output has increased. The US is manufacturing more now than it ever has, and only 35% of the country knows that’s true.

The Real Story of Automation Beginning with One Simple Chart

medium.com

Aurimas Račas

112 days ago

When I read all that social science stuff and the computer stuff, I said, ‘Is there a way of reducing it to something that’s manageable?’” said Justice Breyer, who is nevertheless expected to vote with the court’s liberal bloc.

It’s easy to imagine a situation where the answer for this and many other cases is, simply, “No.” The world is a complicated place.

The Supreme Court Is Allergic To Math

fivethirtyeight.com

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