Unsupervised Learning Newsletter NO. 381

Nurturing High-Performers, AI Business Takeover, Cyber Threats, and Diversifying Production 🌐🤖📱

Unsupervised Learning is a Security, AI, and Meaning-focused podcast that looks at how best to thrive as humans in a post-AI world. It combines original ideas, analysis, and mental models to bring not just the news, but why it matters and how to respond.

Hey there,

Back from the dead. Was only down for around 5 days this time. Definitely going to have to re-think my conference strategy going forward, though.

Hope you have a great week!

In this episode:

🧠 The Right Amount of Trauma: Nurturing high-performers
🏢 Universal Business Components: AI's business takeover
🦈 North Korean ReconShark: New global cyber threat
📱 Apple's Brazil production: Diversifying from China
🚗 NYPD's AirTag advice: Protect your car
💵 US dollar losing reserve currency status
🤖 IBM's hiring pause: AI and automation's impact
🌐 World Economic Forum: Job disruption predictions
📺 YouTube views: Half on TV
📞 GenZ's dumbphone trend: Reducing distractions
🌿 A Post AI Future for Humans: Local community model
💡 The Self-checkout Tipping Anti-Pattern: Dark pattern or generosity?


The Right Amount of Trauma
My look at how trauma seems prevalent in high-performers, and how we're supposed to nurture something similar in our children without becoming monsters. MORE

Universal Business Components (UBC)
The first step in AI's takeover of the business world is turning every aspect of a job into a digestable component. MORE


North Korean threat actor Kimsuky has been found using a new reconnaissance tool called ReconShark in a global campaign. The tool is delivered through spear-phishing emails, OneDrive links, and malicious macros. ReconShark gathers system information for precision attacks. MORE

Verified Twitter accounts spread misinformation about an imminent nuclear strike. Two drones struck the Kremlin and a number of Twitter accounts started saying that Russia was fueling up for a nuclear strike. This is why blue checks mattered in the past. Hopefully not many blue checks would have done this when they were for validated people with some sort of reputation, as opposed to now where it means you paid a fee. MORE

Apple has started assembling iPhones in Brazil to continue diversifying production out of China. China tipped its hand too quickly and people are pulling out as quickly as possible. Now it's a race to see if they can capitalize on their advantages before the world ostracizes them. Or at least the countries that are able to. MORE

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The NYPD says you should buy AirTags to protect your car from thieves. They even handed 500 of them out to New Yorkers. Sad times when crime is so bad that prevention isn't an option, so the messaging basically becomes 'use something so you can find your car after it's stolen'. MORE

The US dollar is rapidly losing its status as the world's reserve currency. Multiple governments have moved off of the dollar recently, and the percentage of reserves now sits at 58% vs. 73% in 2001. MORE


IBM plans to pause hiring for positions that could be replaced by AI and automation in the next five years. Krishna, the CEO, said he could easily see 30% of back office / non-customer-facing roles getting replaced in that timeframe. MORE

The World Economic Forum says nearly 25% of jobs will be disrupted in the next five years. REPORT

Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, says the remote working experiment has failed, and that if you want make new products you need to be in the office. He said the tech just isn't there yet to do remote in an immersive way. I think he's right, but I don't like it. MORE

Nearly half of all YouTube views in the US are done on a TV. MORE

Discord is migrating usernames to a Twitter-like format. No more number prefixes; now it'll be an @ symbol and your unique username. You'll get a full-screen prompt when it goes live for you. MORE


California keeps wasting its annual runoff water by refusing to build a capture mechanism. Meanwhile it keeps pulling from the Colorado River. MORE

The James Webb Space Telescope detected water vapor around a distant rocky exoplanet, GJ 486 b, which could indicate the presence of an atmosphere. However, the water vapor might also be coming from the host star, so scientists are working to confirm it. MORE

GenZ are buying dumbphones to reduce distractions. But only as a second phone. MORE


Local Models Are Where It's At
If you're dabbling in AI to any degree, you should be thinking about local models as well. OpenAI and Hugging Face are about to be two players on a vast field. Local models have some serious advantages, including a lack of resource limits imposed by a company, and the ability to create stuff that centralized companies might disallow. If you want to write the latest erotic romance novel for example, you're going to have trouble doing that with OpenAI or any other commercial offering. Or maybe you want to make content that's embarrassing, and you don't want it associated with your account. For businesses the case is even stronger, as once they start implementing SPQA for their own data they'll want to have the freedom to do it their way, on their own machines. Some will still use cloud/outsourced options, but some will demand to do it internally. Expect some of the main competitors for OpenAI and Google and Meta to be open-source in addition to big companies. WE HAVE NO MOAT MEMO

A Post-AI, SolarPunk Future for Humans
I get asked a lot these days what I see as an ideal outcome for humanity. Especially given the rise of AI and automation. Robotics will make it even worse. The question I get is what could a possible good future even look like? I think there are multiple options, each with varying levels of likelihood and distance in the future. But the one I think is most healthy, and most ideal, assuming we don't modify ourselves to have completely different wants and needs, is something like a local community model. It's super high-tech, but the tech is largely INVISIBLE. It's tech designed to serve human communities, not the other way around. I asked on Twitter and finally found the best example I've ever seen of this. It's wonderful. In unrelated news I really want a yogurt. MORE

The Self-checkout Tipping Anti-Pattern
Something nefarious is going on with tipping. Specifically, the kind where you're made to look like an asshole if you decline to while paying for a coffee on an automated terminal. The scenario is that you're being observed by a young cashier, and you're presented with tipping options. At the bottom of the screen there's a "click here to declare you're a horrible human being" button. And she's watching you. So yeah, I regularly end up paying like $9 for a boba tea. I'm of two minds here. 1) this is a dark pattern of manipulation, and I should resist. 2) shut the fuck up, you make a lot of money and she doesn't, so pay the tip. I've thus far sided with #2. How about you? MORE


I have my web app up and running for my AI services platform. Super exciting.

Really enjoying this week's UL book club book, Chip War. Invaluable education on the current situation with TSMC, China, etc.

Looking forward to this month's mid-month meetup on AI. See you all there!

I finished Picard Season 3 while I was sick. One of the most emotional times I've ever had watching a TV show. STTNG hits me in the soul. I grew up on it. The version of the world it represents has shaped me as a person, and Picard himself shaped me as a leader and as a person. Seeing the crew back together, and the way they executed the season, it was just amazing. Like 'arms in the air cheering' level. Loved it. If you like STTNG and you haven't seen this, here's what you do. Watch it with a friend who also loves STTNG. Use SharePlay, or do it in person. Trust me, it's worth it.


HackAPrompt — A CTF based on hacking large language models. MORE

Cloudflare Radar — A worldwide pew-pew map thingy, but for networking health. MORE

Pandas AI — A Python library that adds AI to Pandas. MORE

Vim Keybindings Everywhere — A massive list of the various places you can use Vim keybindings. MORE

Building a Red Team infrastructure in 2023. MORE

CodeThreat AI Assistant — A static analysis tool that uses OpenAI to provide fix suggestions, taint flow explanations, and possible attack scenarios. MORE

Yuval Harari says AI could create new religions that control humans. I'd love to read more about it but I'm not subscribing to the Times. The concept alone is worth the inclusion, though. MORE

Open Llama — An open-source reproduction of Meta's LLaMA LLM. MORE

Implementing LangChain in 100 lines of code. MORE


Remember that there are possible good worlds on the other side of AI taking most jobs. Many of them. But one of the best ones is the idea of returning to local farms, local communities, and local life. Cities would still be fun, but life would be mostly about people. Not the climb. Not the status. But people. And we'd spend our time working on things. Getting our hands dirty. Striving. Creating art. Cultivating land. Growing food. Exchanging it for other things of value. I'm not saying this is likely, and it certainly isn't any time soon. But it's possible. And if it appeals to you then that's what you should be pushing for in all this. That is a better life than working at a MANGA company so you can hopefully afford a house when you're 43. Tech can reduce our humanity, or we can use it to magnify it. Let's do the latter.


"Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master."

Christian Lous Lange

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