Thought Experiment That Has Made Me Start Questioning Everything I Do And Spend Money On

Disclaimer: I know nothing about medicine, but the very smart person who recently brought this up to me is a doctor. So, therefore, I will blindly assume that this could happen.

It’s possible that over the next few decades, we’ll figure out how to extend the healthy human lifespan to, say, 200 years. If that’s true, then the first humans to live to 200 are alive today.

There are also humans alive today who will just barely miss the window.

And making that window could mean far more than just celebrating 100 extra birthdays. The people who live to 200 buy themselves time for research to get even further and extend life to, say, 500 years. Then to 1,000. Then, forever.

So, if you stay alive long enough to hit the 200-year window, it’s possible that you’ll end up living far longer, or never dying.

Unfortunately, brand new medical treatments are usually expensive at first. So, even if you stay alive long enough to hit the 200-year window, you’ll have to get together some large stacks to pay the bill.

It follows, then, that people should:

  • Live as healthy a life as possible so they don’t die before the window
  • Save that cash

This has scared me into moderately improving my spending and lifestyle habits. Unfortunately, it hasn’t scared me enough to not eat three small-plate-sized cookies yesterday or cancel the $14 per month I spend for YouTube Red solely for the ability to play videos in the background instead of auto-pausing.

Young people, be warned: those Tide Pods could cost you your shot at immortality.

Documentary That Is Somewhat Sensationalist, But Is Worth Watching If For No Other Reason Than To Make Sure You’re Not Blindsided By Technological Change

Left : Otto Lilienthal with his flying machine in 1891. Humans would break the sound barrier less than six decades later.

Left: Otto Lilienthal with his flying machine in 1891. Humans would break the sound barrier less than six decades later.

We tried for centuries to flap our wings and fly like birds. Now, we fly far faster and further than birds without flying “like” them.

The design of the submarine was also inspired by biology. But, does a submarine “swim”?

When we ask if computers will ever be able to think, it might be useful to take a cue from history and realize the question might be incomplete. It won’t matter if computers “think” like we do, it will matter if they can produce the same (or superior) output far faster and cheaper than us.

It's not hard for most of us to admit that computers have better memory and arithmetic skills than we do, but I don’t think most people realize (myself included) just how many more of our uniquely human skills won’t be uniquely human for long.

The recent progress in artificial intelligence is explored in Do You Trust This Computer?  The entire documentary can be streamed for free for the next 24 hours here. It will blow your mind. The next 20 years are going to be nuts.

Haters will blow this off and watch Big Bang Theory instead.

Career Update That Seems Worth Sharing If For No Other Reason Than Assuring You I’m Spending Less Time Aimlessly Pacing Around My Apartment

Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder) has been funding an artificial intelligence research lab (AI2) since 2014. Recently, AI2 spun off a few pretty successful startups and decided it’d be nice to do that more often. So, they formed a startup incubator with the sole purpose of launching startups in the AI space. Thankfully, machines haven’t learned how to start their own startups yet, so they need humans to do that.

I just joined them as a CTO-in-residence and will be helping them explore startup ideas and co-founding a company when we land on something promising. Feel free to reach out if you’re working or interested in the AI space yourself. I have an enormous amount to learn and always find it helpful to get as many perspectives as possible.

Quote That Gets Me Juiced

We've come to expect technology products to have great design, but that's a relatively new phenomenon. People used to get away with building crap like most Blackberry phones or most PC's. I'd argue this shift towards great design is largely (mostly?) thanks to Apple.

Apple believed, and still believes, that computers shouldn't just help us be more productive, they should help capture and express human emotion and creativity. 

When a reporter asked Steve Jobs why he felt this was important, his response was simple and powerful:

"There are a lot of forces in life that tend to funnel us down into this institutionalized path where people sometimes forget that they’re very unique and that they have very unique feelings and perspectives."

Amen. The next time somebody tries to get you excited about a new Excel feature, remind yourself there's often a difference between what's helpful and what's inspiring. We are not fucking robots.

Here's the rest of his answer (links to relevant part of video).