Unsupervised Learning Newsletter NO. 358
NEWS, ANALYSIS & DISCOVERY
🦃 We're doing our second-ever discount on UL Membership starting the day after Thanksgiving. But that's a Friday, so I'm going to enable the discount link earlier. How early, and how much of a discount? You'll have to find out. If the link works before the date, then it's live. BLACK FRIDAY MEMBERSHIP DISCOUNT LINK
🚨There's a newish scam going around called Pig Butchering, which combines a romance scam with an investment scam. It starts with a fake profile that contacts the victim and builds up a relationship over time. Then they start dropping hints about an investment opportunity, and if the victim invests they might actually pay them out some to gain even more trust. Then eventually they ask for the big one—often up to hundreds of thousands of dollars—which they then steal before disappearing. Talk to your loved ones about this type of attack, especially if they're lonely and/or gullible. MICHIGAN'S WRITE-UP | PROPUBLICA'S ANALYSIS
The director of the FBI says he's extremely concerned about China's ability to weaponize TikTok. He specifically cited misuse of the data collected on Americans and China controlling the recommendation algorithm. MORE
Thousands of apps in Apple's app store, including the CDC app, have software in them from a company that was pretending to be American but was actually Russian. MORE
A China-based threat actor has been using 42,000 look-alike domains to run phishing campaigns since at least 2019. MORE
Researchers at Mitiga found hundreds of Amazon RDS instances exposed to the internet, resulting in the leakage of PII. MORE
Google has identified 34 cracked versions of Cobalt Strike being used in the wild. MORE
Riot and Ubisoft are teaming up to use AI to detect toxic behavior in chats. “The objective of the project is to initiate cross-industry alliances to accelerate research on harm detection.” MORE
Musk evidently sends emails with slightly different spacing and punctuation so as to identify leakers. And this thread that talks about it claims other companies do this as well. MORE
There are multiple high-severity vulnerabilities in F5's BIG-IP and BIG-IQ devices that can lead to full system takeover. MORE
Top AWS Security Misconfigurations and How to Fix Them
Migrating to a cloud provider like AWS offers numerous benefits to its customers, but setup must be done correctly to prevent potential security breaches.
Check out Snyk's top 7 AWS security misconfigurations to be aware of to prevent potential security gaps in your infrastructure, and discover remediations including:
Use of AWS SCP in AWS Organizations to define safety guardrails
Limit RDS access to known IPs for AWS RDS instances
TSMC is going to produce 3nm chips in Arizona. The plant's currently under construction and they plan on starting production in 2024. MORE
Amazon appears to be gutting the Alexa division. I get that it hasn't taken off in corporations the way they thought it would but it seems very short-sighted to give up a significant lead in consumer voice assistants. MORE
Thousands of songs have been released by Tencent in China that used AI to mimic human singing, and one of them has been streamed over 100 million times. MORE
It looks like Tesla owners might soon have an Apple Music app. A version was seen running on an internal vehicle. MORE
A new paper supports previous work showing that walking does make you more creative, but it additionally showed that 1) it continued working when people returned to sitting, and 2) it continued if people walked again. MORE
Elizabeth Holmes has been sentenced to over 11 years in prison for defrauding Theranos investors. MORE
Nearly 1 in 5 Americans listen to a podcast every day. MORE
FTX and other crypto explosions are getting people to look at Proof of Reserves as a solution. MORE
IDEAS & ANALYSIS
💡AI is About to Feel Like AGI, and You Need to Get Ready READ THE ESSAY
There's a link in Discovery this week about bad coffee and how the writer is all into it right now, despite being a coffee snob. I'm super into coffee as well, but lately I've been exploring the idea of Hedonic Baselining, which is my own bastardization of a lot of real research in this area. It's basically the idea that if you expose yourself consistently to peaks of experience, for anything, you basically screw yourself because regression to the mean results in a letdown. A few examples: Food: eating raw foods with very few additives will reset you so that 1) that food now tastes remarkable, and 2) any hint of salt or fat in something will be spectacular. Sex: avoid sex or sexual media, and within a few days you'll become aroused by basic clothing or the smell of decent soap. Inputs: if you stop watching one Game of Thrones after another, and instead get into quieter and more subtle art forms, you'll notice and enjoy the slightest ripples in the art. Think GoT -> Anna Karenina, 50 Cent -> Kendrick Lamar, Watching TikTok -> Reading Moby Dick. I'm playing with doing the same for coffee by having fast/meh coffee most of the time and doing my favorite Clover technique with the best coffee as a treat. So I enjoy it more.
Is Social Media More Positive Than We Think?
Fascinating new analysis from Pew indicates that social media might be more mixed and/or positive for teens than recent narratives have suggested. It paints a picture of overall positivity and connection with extremes at the ends of positive and negative. I can see this both ways: 1) we're in a moral panic around social media and it's nowhere near as bad as they say, and 2) the people responding to the poll are unaware of it's negative effects so they list it as more positive than it is. When have we known teenagers to be good judges of their reasons for being happy or sad? Or the effects of various things in their life on their happiness? I think we should definitely take their input as data, but not assume it's telling us what it seems to. And I can definitely see both of these happening at the same time. MORE
Testosterone and Winning
There's been a ton of study and talk recently about how men have far lower testosterone than men used to have, like back in the 70's, 80's, and 90's (depending on the study). There's also a ton of talk about how men are falling behind in education, in the workplace, etc., compared to women, and how this is damaging men's ability to attract a mate. Well, ever since learning that testosterone is not a violence hormone (like I grew up believing), and that it's actually a hormone for winning and striving, that brought me to a super (overly?) simple question and model. What if men have lower testosterone because they're both striving and winning less today? In other words, if men aren't as goal-oriented, don't have as clear of goals, aren't pursuiing those goals, and therefore aren't achieving them, wouldn't that massively reduce testosterone levels? In other words, maybe testosterone is so comparatively low today because men in the 70's, 80's, and 90's had a better of idea of what to do, and were doing it. And today's men are lost.
Companies as Alaskan Fishing Boats
What if companies are supposed to be like Alaskan fishing boats? You know, the kind of The Deadliest Catch. So you have this tiny crew of total badasses. Everyone is a superhero at their particular role because the crew needs to stay extremely small to protect profits. The captain is a dictator. The mission is clear. And bad performances from anyone is immediately noticeable and immediately dealt with. You hurt your back? Sorry, you're a great crew member, but you're not going out on this trip. You want to spent more time with your brother who's visiting? Cool, you're off the ship. This crew is for hardcore people only. Remind you of anything? Reminds me of how Elon runs things at his companies, and now Twitter. Being someone who likes people, and who wants to see them happy and thriving, I'm disgusted by this approach to managing people. But thinking about the actual economics of it, and thinking about what a fishing boat or a social media company is actually there to do, and I'm not sure it's the wrong approach. In fact, I think it might be the only approach that doesn't lead to a constant pendulum of hiring thousands of people with multiple levels of management, which creates a structure and culture of mediocrity, who then have to be laid off on every down cycle. So here's the question: is it possible to run a company like an Alaskan Fishing Boat without being an asshole? To do so with empathy and camaraderie, and kinship? I think so. I think it's just harder, and that there are multiple forces working against anyone who tries to do so. Not the least of which is the fact that people now join companies thinking they're getting a second home, not an Alaskan Fishing Boat. I also like this analogy for another reason. It makes it clear that it's a job and not your identity. You are not a crew member. You are not IBM employee number 3329087. You're a human. So sure, you can serve on the boat, and be paid, but don't let that captain tell you your value. Your value is in yourself, not what you do working on a fishing run. I think this way of thinking about work brings clarity to multiple phenomena we're currently witnessing. WSJ ANALYSIS ON THE DECLINE OF WORK | ELON'S PUSH TO "HARDCORE"
I've been flirting with new terminal and shell applications, namely Warp (terminal) and Starship (shell). It's early days, and Warp doesn't support Vim mappings, so I am not sure how long I can go without those. But these things are gorgeous. Especially Warp. It makes other terminal apps look like a DOS prompt from the 1730's. And they're both written in Rust, which gives me a placebo effect of Maverick speed. CHECK OUT WARP | CHECK OUT STARSHIP
My new nootropic experimentation is going extraordinarily well. Although I'm also working out more so the benefits are definitely multi-variate. I'm starting to think of things like working out and walking as nootropics. It helps somehow. Like everyone wants the Limitless pill, and I already enjoy working out and walking, so I like to think of the latter as the former.
I cannot wait to get started on my new mobile app based around wellness. You'll be hearing more about it soon, but it won't be until the January to February timeframe. One reason that I acutely need the app myself is for mood capture. I had one of my highest moods ever earlier today, and what the app is going to do is be able to associate that with my having done certain activities recently that do or don't align with my identity and my goals. That's the teaser. I cannot wait.
⚒️ s3crets scanner — Find secrets in data uploaded to public S3 buckets using Trufflehog. TOOL | by EILOHN
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A Case for Bad Coffee MORE
The Quest for My Perfect Watch MORE
Brown Noise (lower pitch than white noise) is helping people with ADHD. MORE
Superforecaster Predictions for 2023 MORE
Almost Twice as Many Republicans Have Died From COVID Than Democrats MORE
The Decline of Work MORE
The Truffle Industry is a Big Scam MORE
How Friendships Change in Adulthood MORE
I record myself on audio 24/7 and use AI to process the information. Is this the future? MORE
RECOMMENDATION OF THE WEEK
I believe there will be, within 1-3 years, companies that come into your job and find all the different human work that can be automated using new AI models. Answering the phone, customer service, creating reports, sending emails, doing performance analysis, data analytics, threat detection, business planning, contract review, vendor analysis, the list is endless. Get ready for this. This won't result in some giant layoff. It'll look more like normal attrition and change within a company combined with simply not hiring people back. Starting in—I'm guessing here—2-5 years, and accelerating from there. Be thinking about what business you want to start, or how you can avoid working at all. And here's the good news. It's going to be a lot easier to be a one-person business because AI will be able to do so much of the work that used to require staff. Get ready for this world of lots more very small businesses with like 1-5 people in them, and a world of a whole lot of knowledge workers (most) who can't do anything better than an AI.
APHORISM OF THE WEEK
"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door."