UL NO. 434: Can You Articulate Yourself in 50 Words?

NetworkChuck's Fabric Video, Algorithms Replace Degrees, AI Transparency, New Grad Difficulty, Windows Goes Full AI, and more…

SECURITY | AI | MEANING :: Unsupervised Learning is a website, newsletter, and podcast about how to survive and thrive as humans in a post-AI world.



Hey there,

I think one of the most important things for surviving AI is being able to articulate what you do. Or—even better—who you are.

I was at a party with a bunch of muckety-mucks recently and someone asked me what I did. I told them I built AI stuff, and it was quite unsatisfactory—both to me and to the person I gave the answer to.

Here’s how I’ve decided to answer from now on:

I’m basically worried about two problems: people having a lack of meaning in their lives, and what will happen to peoples’ sense of meaning when AI takes their jobs.

So what I do is use AI to build products and services that help people and companies create a version of themselves that will thrive after AI is everywhere.

My new spiel

I like this for a few reasons:

  1. It starts with the problems

  2. It highlights that I’m building stuff

  3. It mentions AI, which is what I’m doing

  4. It puts meaning as the most important piece, above AI

As I’ve said before, I think the most screwed people are those who don’t know themselves. People without a purpose that they’re driving towards. And even people who have a purpose but can’t articulate it.

Know yourself. And be able to articulate it.

Oh, and the create_5_sentence_summary Fabric pattern is super helpful here. Check this out:

I’m in love with using AI to give Accordion Explanations to things. Expand, compress. Expand, compress.

Ok, let’s get to it…


My buddy Network Chuck just released a video on Fabric! It’s easily the best video on the tool, including all the ones I’ve made myself. Go check it out! WATCH THE VIDEO


And Now a Cyber Force
The House Armed Services Committee is preparing to propose a study for a dedicated military Cyber Force, echoing the creation of the Space Force. MORE

China's ORB Networks
Chinese-linked hackers are getting harder to find due to 'ORBs'. These ORB networks, not directly run by the government but by contractors in China, are a maze of compromised devices and virtual servers used for spying. MORE

Fix Problems Instead of Doing Risk Measurement Theater
Andy Ellis suggests fixing tangible security problems might be more productive than obsessing over measuring risk. Love this take. MORE

💡So I guess there would still be cyber within each group, but this would be a dedicated branch. It would be pretty difficult to have all cyber people belong to this group and have them assigned to different branches. I bet it’ll just be a dedicated one separate from cyber within each branch. Cool either way, though.


Secure Email Beyond Just Phishing

There’s more than one way-in to exploit email as an attack vector. Plus even more to target once inside the mailbox.

Material takes a holistic approach to email security that covers the full threat landscape – stopping new flavors of phishing and pretexting attacks in their tracks, while also protecting accounts and data from exploit or exposure.

Visit material.security to learn more about their multi-layered detection and response toolkit for email.

Critical Bug Exposes Major Clouds
A critical vulnerability named "Linguistic Lumberjack" in Fluent Bit was found in a utility with over 3 billion downloads. It creates risks of denial of service, data leaks, and remote code execution on systems including AWS, Microsoft, and Google Cloud. MORE

American Criminal Records Exposed
EquationCorp and USDoD (threat actors), just dumped a 70 million row database of American criminal records. MORE

Space Warfare Escalates
The U.S. accuses Russia of launching a space weapon capable of attacking satellites, which Russia dismisses as "fake news." Despite the denial, the Pentagon asserts the weapon is in the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite, posing a direct threat. MORE


Build Trust and Accelerate Growth with Vanta

Whether you’re starting or scaling your security program, Vanta helps you automate compliance for SOC 2, ISO 27001, and more.

Streamline security reviews by automating questionnaires and demonstrating your security posture with a customer-facing Trust Center.

Over 7,000 companies like Atlassian, Flo Health, and Quora use Vanta to manage risk and prove security in real time.

AI Breaks Into Tech Giant
IBM's X-Force used their new AI hacking platform to breach a major tech manufacturer's network in just 8 hours. This will only get better. I’m doing a video on this soon. MORE

Tesla's High-Tech Keys? Still Hackable.
Despite Tesla's new ultra-wideband keyless tech, a simple radio hack can still steal these cars. MORE

NTSB Preliminary Report on Baltimore Bridge Collapse Released
The NTSB's initial findings on the Baltimore bridge collapse hint at unexpected structural weaknesses. The report suggests that overlooked maintenance issues could have contributed to the sudden failure. MORE

Core WiFi Bug Discovered
Researchers have discovered a new WiFi vulnerability affecting all clients and operating systems, due to the IEEE 802.11 standard's lack of SSID authentication during beaconing. MORE

US Scheme Funds North Korean Nukes
A U.S. woman and four others were charged in a scheme using fake IT jobs to funnel millions to North Korea's nuclear program. The U.S. Justice Department's indictment reveals a sophisticated operation that compromised over 60 U.S. identities and impacted more than 300 companies, generating at least $6.8 million for overseas IT workers. MORE

NYPD's Drone Response Team
NYPD's rolling out drones to respond to 911 calls in five NYC precincts. I love this more than I should. It’s super efficient and sci-fi at the same time. With a background of dystopia. MORE


The EU Passed Its AI Act
The AI Act has been passed and my general opinion is that it’s good content but I worry it will be used to keep the EU sidelined in the race to AI. Here’s a good summary and browser of the actual act. MORE

Main Points:

1. Prohibits certain unacceptable AI practices that are manipulative, exploitative or cause harm.

2. Classifies certain high-risk AI systems that pose risks to health, safety or fundamental rights.

3. Establishes requirements for high-risk AI systems related to risk management, data governance, technical documentation, transparency, human oversight, accuracy and cybersecurity.

4. Sets obligations for providers and deployers of high-risk AI systems.

5. Requires conformity assessments, registration, and post-market monitoring for high-risk AI systems.

6. Mandates transparency obligations for certain AI systems like emotion recognition and biometric categorization.

7. Provides measures to support innovation, especially for SMEs and startups, like regulatory sandboxes.

8. Establishes a governance system at EU and national levels, including a European Artificial Intelligence Board.

9. Allows for fines up to 7% of worldwide turnover for non-compliance with the rules.

10. Aims to facilitate development of codes of conduct for voluntary application of requirements to non-high-risk AI. MORE

When Your AI Sounds Too Much Like Scarlett Johansson
OpenAI pulled the voice that sounds like Scarlett Johanssen, and it’s turned into a giant mess that’s challenging OpenAI’s morality. Specifically, Sam’s. MORE

💡I have opinions on this. Basically they knew they wanted to make it sound like the AI from Her. That’s why Sam tweeted out, “Her.”

So it seems like they basically tried to make that happen two ways: 1) with a separate voice actress who sounds similar, and then by reaching out to Scarlett herself. Scarlett said no. So somebody there tried to pivot and say it wasn’t supposed to sound like the movie.

I don’t think this is nearly as malicious as people are making it out to be. Remember that things get crazy inside companies when there are multiple parties both taking actions and talking to the media. I think it’s more like good intentions and bad execution. But I do think it’s a mess. And a self-inflicted one.

The irony is that this is doing more damage to the appearance of Sam’s morality than the ouster by the board. And again—self-inflicted on OpenAI’s part.

Apple Locks Down 2nm Chips
Apple apparently snagged all of TSMC's 2nm chip production capacity in a fairly private meeting. MORE

Nvidia's AI-Driven Revenue Surge
Nvidia's revenue skyrocketed by 262% due to the AI frenzy, hitting $26.0 billion and surpassing expectations. MORE

US Strikes Lithium Gold
The US just found a massive, untapped lithium source. MORE

Windows Reimagined: AI at the Core
Microsoft is reimagining Windows with a deep dive into AI, introducing Copilot+ PCs that blend cutting-edge AI features directly into the operating system. MORE

💡People are freaking out and saying nobody wants this. Yes. Yes they do. Once everyone has it, it’ll be crazy to imagine a time when they didn’t have it.

This is approaching the ideal form factor of a computer. Like Her, actually. Anything you do on your computer, or in your life, is available to your assistant. And you can ask it anything or have it collaborate with you on work. WATCH A WHOLE VIDEO ON THIS

Anything less is less than complete. The faster we accept this as the future of computing the faster we can move on.

Will there be security and privacy issues? Yes. SO MANY. And they’ll be horrible because it’ll be your whole soul getting compromised. But it’ll be so useful that people will happily enable the functionality anyway. WATCH A WHOLE VIDEO ON THIS

You might not believe me, and you might abstain yourself. But most will jump in head-first as soon as they get a taste of the capabilities.

Mapping AI's Inner Universe: A Peek Inside Claude Sonnet
Anthropic released a brilliant paper that shows how one of its models think. It’s a major step in AI explainability, and if you care about this field at all you should check out this paper. MORE

New Chinese Chatbot: Ask President Xi
China's new chatbot lets citizens ask President Xi how to be better socialists, trained on his philosophies and major internet databases. MORE

AI: The New Astronomer's Assistant
Astronomers are preparing to use AI to tackle 300 petabytes of data annually. Cecilia Garraffo's AstroAI initiative is pioneering the fusion of AI and astronomy to explore deep cosmic questions, already planning dozens of projects with a 50-member interdisciplinary team. MORE

Windows now has AI-powered copy and paste
Windows 11's PowerToys now lets you AI-transform clipboard content into different formats or languages with a simple shortcut. This Advanced Paste feature can do everything from converting code between languages to changing text style, but it hinges on having OpenAI API credits. MORE

Don't Microservice, Do Module
Microservices might be all the rage, but this deep dive suggests we're better off building with modules instead. MORE

No More Public Likes
X is ditching public "likes" to stop people from holding back on liking edgy content due to fear of backlash. MORE

The Pragmatic Programmer
Focusing on fundamentals over frameworks could be the secret sauce for long-lasting tech skills, according to the Lindy effect. MORE

🔧 This guide shows you how to use Ghidra for crafting a GDB script that traces function calls, making vulnerability hunting a bit less of a headache. | by Craig Young | MORE

🌐D3 in Depth guides you through crafting interactive data visualizations on the web using D3.js, Chart.js, Leaflet, and React. This resource not only covers D3.js but also dives into the essentials of HTML, SVG, CSS, and JavaScript for creating compelling data stories and visualizations. By Peter Cook | MORE

🛠️Experts.js simplifies creating multi-agent AI systems with OpenAI's Assistants API, enabling complex tasks through a panel of specialized tools. By Metaskills | MORE

🔧 The "User Persona Generator" Prompt simulates user interviews to create detailed user personas, saving you from conducting dozens of real interviews. | by The Prompt Warrior | MORE


Job Market Paradox
Job seekers are struggling to find work, and employers can't seem to fill positions. This paradox highlights a significant mismatch in the job market, possibly due to skills gaps or unrealistic expectations on both sides. MORE

💡It’s not a mystery: the problem is that hiring managers need people ready to do the job, and they don’t want to train anyone. This is why degrees are mattering less, and why someone with an active tech blog or YouTube channel—who is actually building stuff and doing the thing—can get hired with no credentials over someone with a degree in computer science.

The ability to actually do the thing is all that matters now.

Expect to see AI services soon that look at a person’s social media, blog, YouTube, and then do an interactive interview with them, and they give a score of how likely they are to thrive in a given job.

This type of algorithm will cut through credentials, fluff, and all sorts of other BS and get at the real thing.

The value of traditional education will drastically fall soon as a result. Because degrees won’t significantly raise those scores for most people. And for the people who are likely to have high scores, the degree won’t raise it that much.

Basically it’ll filter for drive, curiosity, obsession, and proof-of-work. Like actual builders and coders. And people who raise insightful questions and are curious.

This means that not only will most candidates fail the test, but over 90% of college graduates will as well. So college will largely become this very long and expensive waste of time.

It’ll spawn a new type of education dedicated to making more curious and capable people.

Tough Times for New Grads
Recent grads are hitting a wall with entry-level hiring projected to drop by 5.8% in 2024, making the job hunt tougher than it's been in years. Software engineer positions on Indeed have plummeted 30% from pre-pandemic levels, signaling a significant shift in the tech job landscape. MORE

💡See above. And of course this isn’t the only factor; I’m sure there are other causes as well.

Is College Overrated?
Nearly 30% of Americans are questioning the value of college, according to a recent Pew poll. MORE

💡See above.

Job Hopping: Not Just Flaky, But Strategic
High performers often job hop not because they're flaky, but because they're in search of a culture that matches their drive. Sticking it out in a toxic work environment can dull a high performer's edge, making them lose their superpowers over time. MORE

💡For truly top performers, it’s not that bad to see them jump every 3-4 years. Hiring managers know they get bored quickly and that they probably solved a bunch of problems and wanted a new challenge.

Sunlight: A Double-Edged Sword?
So now they’re saying avoiding the sun might actually be a risk factor for major causes of death, sending mixed messages on sun exposure advice. MORE

💡I definitely believe this. I think there’s value in this whole “get sun, touch grass” thing. Grounding. That kind of thing. Like a more, um, grounded version of the “get in touch with nature vibe”.

I can tell you it’s true for me anecdotally, and that it seems to be true anecdatally. Would love to see some more real science on it though.

Daily Marijuana Use Outpaces Daily Drinking in the US, a New Study Says
For the first time, daily and near-daily marijuana use in the U.S. has surpassed high-frequency drinking. MORE

Psychedelics as Painkillers?
Psychedelics are being eyed as a potential boon for treating severe chronic pain, including cluster headaches. Research is exploring LSD and psilocybin, not just for their mind-altering effects, but for their ability to significantly reduce debilitating pain. MORE

Amazon's Surprising Stat
One-third of Amazon warehouse workers rely on food stamps or Medicaid, which is quite the eyebrow-raiser. MORE

One File to Rule Them All
Imagine keeping all your knowledge nuggets in one massive, sprawling text file—simple, yet surprisingly effective. This approach turns the digital clutter of countless notes and documents into a singular, searchable, and highly efficient knowledge base. MORE

Breaking Up the Big Show
The US Justice Department is gearing up to dismantle the Live Nation-Ticketmaster giant. So overdue. MORE

California Solar Over 25%
California's solar power has hit a new milestone, now powering over 13.9 million homes and making up more than a quarter of the state's electricity. MORE

Sword Fighting is Not What You Think…
An argument from one expert claiming everything we think we know about historical sword fighting is pretty much wrong. MORE


My Favorite Paul Graham Essay
This is my favorite part of my favorite essay from Paul Graham:

Great work usually entails spending what would seem to most people an unreasonable amount of time on a problem. You can't think of this time as a cost, or it will seem too high. You have to find the work sufficiently engaging as it's happening.

There may be some jobs where you have to work diligently for years at things you hate before you get to the good part, but this is not how great work happens. Great work happens by focusing consistently on something you're genuinely interested in. When you pause to take stock, you're surprised how far you've come.

Paul Graham

This rhymes with a realization I’ve been having lately that the best leaders and founders have something in common: obsession.

It’s not just that they’re disciplined. They might be. And probably are. But they might just be obsessed, which tends to look a lot like discipline because they both produce consistent effort in a direction.

I find myself increasingly looking for people who are obsessed with things. Life. An idea. Whatever. They can’t stop thinking about it, and the million different ideas they have, tend to revolve around that same concept.

Most people think life when they were around 10 was the best. Thanks to Joel Parish for the link.


Become able to articulate who you are and what you’re about in 25-50 words.


Fall seven times, stand up eight.

Japanese Proverb

Thank you for reading.

UL is a personal and strange combination of security, AI, tech, and lots of content about human meaning and flourishing. And because it’s so diverse, it’s harder for it to go as viral as something more niche.

So—if you know someone weird like us—please share the newsletter with them. 🫶 

Happy to be sharing the planet with you,