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Ask HN: What’s your favorite talk from 2017?
418 points by dev_256 on Jan 1, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 107 comments

Rich Hickey, Effective Programs - an examination of the essence of what we do as programmers (for many of us, wirting "situated programs"), and a spirited defense of dynamically typed languages: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V1FtfBDsLU

Seconded...good talk!

On The Turing Completeness of PowerPoint https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNjxe8ShM-8

Compiling C to printable x86, to make an executable research paper https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA_DrBwkiJA

HDR Photography in Microsoft Excel?! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkQJdaGGVM8

Zebras All the Way Down https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fE2KDzZaxvE

Solving Layout Problems with CSS Grid and Friends https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XkzpgWoYEI

Console Security - Switch https://media.ccc.de/v/34c3-8941-console_security_-_switch

Let's move SMM out of firmware and into the kernel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GEaw4msq6g

Bringing Linux back to server boot ROMs with NERF and Heads https://media.ccc.de/v/34c3-9056-bringing_linux_back_to_serv...

Sharing the Chisel https://youtu.be/2C8F7GBRluY?t=11m31s (looks like the actual conference video wasn't released)

Not a single talk, but a series: Jordan Peterson’s Psychological Significance of the Bible Stories.

As an atheist I found his explanations extremely interesting. Peterson is a brilliant scholar and draws connections between psychology and brain structures, human evolution, and religion.

I don’t believe in any trascendental being, but listening to these lectures made me understand better the psychological and moral value of these stories, regardless of belief in the supernatural.


I like these ones (and even having attended Catholic high school, it was the first piece of media that made me actually realize how much human wisdom could be embedded in religious texts), but found his 2017 Maps of Meaning lectures more impactful, personally. He uses his archetypal lens on Pinocchio instead of Genesis for the first few lectures. There's a lot of content overlap but if you liked the Biblical series, definitely check out Maps of Meaning.


I have to agree. Peterson's lectures were the most interesting and beneficial things that I listened to this year.

Hands down. I can say I am a very different person from The one I was before listening to him.

Roughly speaking ;)

Agreed. After going through these lectures I was able to read the Old Testament for the first time.

Previous attempts stalled because I couldn't really make sense of it, and because it didn't seem very interesting.

What a coincidence! I just discovered Jordan Peterson on Joe Rogan show few weeks ago and been binge watching his talks since then.

I get a certain feel of skepticism every now and then whether he actually represents any fascist ideas. Not because of his talks, but rather how they are edited out of context, used in "Stupid liberal got owned by Jordan Peterson" videos with these kind of aggressive titles.

That aside, he is really enlightening in these frustrating times.

I might suggest to look at the full videos instead of the edits, especially if they have a clickbait title.

They are usually one-hour long videos or more, I know. But that clears every doubt.

Are there copyedited transcripts or lecture notes somewhere? I'm interested in giving Peterson's ideas a fair shake, but I'm not interested in sitting through hours of him talking on YouTube. I find his style of speech confusing, and the audio quality is often pretty poor on top of that.

I also share that confusion while listening to his talks. I would imagine his ideas spoken in a way like Richard Feynman, would make paradigm shifting effect to current mainstream ideas.

He should maybe adopt a more journey-like story telling, or more analogies. Maybe avoid references to "whatever-isms" etc. Also less tangents and sticking to main topic would improve.

I'd heard a lot of good things about JBP and my first experience of him was his first conversation with Sam Harris[0]. His attempt to redefine the word "truth" was frustrating and consequently I've struggled to work up the energy to listen to anything else.


Oh man, that's unlucky. I've watched or listened to 100+ hours of Sam Harris and JBP, and that conversation was the only one I can think of where I was frustrated and felt it was a waste of time. It's really not representative.

I'd urge you to listen to their 2nd conversation or watch any JBP lecture.

>listening to these lectures made me understand better the psychological and moral value of these stories

You might enjoy the Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell.

I am tangentially familiar with the work of Campbell, but yes. Peterson often talks about the hero myth and outher Jungian archetypes.

A complimentary resource to this series: “What is the Bible?” by Rob Bell - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31706459-what-is-the-bib...

I found him via his Personality and it's Transformations lecture series (I love psychometrics!), I very much enjoy watching his lectures on whatever he does, he is very sincere and honest.

Isn't Jordan Peterson also famous for being a proponent of racial IQ theories?

I'm really skeptical about IQ in general, but anyone popular with the far right really makes me suspicious.

I'll take a look at the link you provided...But man, there are an awful lot of 1488 types that support this guy. It really makes me question where he is coming from.

I usually employ the same rule of thumb (although I don't know who "1488 types" are - my rule of thumb is that if a gamergater is passionately defending an opinion I default to the opposite until I learn more).

But I've made an exception for Peterson. He's not as super left wing as much university staff, sure, but to call him extreme right is very far fetched.

My impression, if this means anything to you, is that his political opinion fits well with that of centrist Christian Democrat parties in Europe (eg Merkel's CDU). That makes him more conservative than me, but because he's also totally brilliant, I don't mind.

I don't know why the alt right likes him, but my guess is that he's a great speaker who presents something like a very moderate version of alt right opinion.

I guess the most extreme thing he did, that he's somewhat infamous for, is refusing to use different singular personal pronouns than "he" and "she". While I think that he was an ass about that, to call someone far right for not wanting to say "ze" in a classroom is a few bridges to far for me.

EDIT: I got 4 downvotes already but really tried to make a balanced argument. Maybe I missed some of his "oeuvre" that would change my mind, maybe I'm outright wrong somewhere? Would appreciate someone pointing it out.

> I guess the most extreme thing he did, that he's somewhat infamous for, is refusing to use different singular personal pronouns than "he" and "she". While I think that he was an ass about that, to call someone far right for not wanting to say "ze" in a classroom is a few bridges to far for me.

I don't think this is a very good representation of Dr Peterson's position. He has said, I believe on The Agenda, that he'd consider using those words depending on the motivation of the person requesting it. If the person making the request is playing an ideological game, he will refuse. I think he also said that in the future, if the words naturally enter common parlance, he will consider using them. (I know you didn't argue this, but I'll add it:) he has also said that he would use the pronouns associated with the gender presented. E.g. for a biological male presenting themselves as female, Peterson would automatically refer to them as "she".

The main thrust of his protest that made him famous in 2016 was against compelled speech, that is, being able to force someone to use the words you choose with the force of the law. He says that his position is informed by decades of study of left and right authoritarian systems.

> I don't know why the alt right likes him, but my guess is that he's a great speaker who presents something like a very moderate version of alt right opinion.

I think it's predominantly because his position on free speech, personal freedom and the academy intersect with some alt-right (itself no longer a useful term, IMO) perspectives on the culture war(s). That deepens a bit further with his work and comments on religion and philosophy. There's a kind of 'the enemy of my enemy' about it. But I think both aspects are easily misunderstood and/or mischaracterised by his superficial support as much as it is by his detractors on the extreme left etc. Meanwhile, I would be surprised if those on the most extreme fringes of the alt-right - ethno-nationalists, white supremacists, neo-reactionaries etc. - ever took to Peterson, based on his espoused views and/or his work on the psychology of tyrannies (notably the Third Reich) and the caution he urges as a consequence of that.

To me, he's fairly precise in talking about what he thinks (which may be right or wrong) and I think that's where it's easy to misunderstand what he's saying, which may have a specific, implicit point (and eventually ends up misinterpreted and misrepresented as something wholly different). Despite that, I've picked up on a tendency to offer views in the realm of civil rights and academia that are more off-the-cuff since gaining public attention. Sometimes these can come across as unusual or even pandering, and I think he's at his best when he's not being wheeled out as some sort of 'conservative' oracle (he's neither). The increasingly combative tone also doesn't seem fitting for someone who rose to prominence on the basis of presenting himself and his views relatively thoughtfully and reasonably.

I think he deliberately tries to appeal to the kind of disillusioned young white men who mostly make up the "alt right", but he tries to steer them away from the identity politics of "white nationalism" and towards personal responsibility and self-improvement.

Check out this video for the best example: https://youtu.be/XbOeO_frzvg

Well, the 1488 types and the alt right are mistaken in their support.

They see a professor making headlines because he's vocal about the problems with the alt left. That's all they know and they're assuming that means he's on their side (the alt left also makes this mistake). But that's absolutely not the case and is clear to anyone that actually watches his lectures.

"alt left" isn't a thing.

I was just using that as short hand. Illiberal Left or Regressive Left are better terms.

(though I should've said SJWs for short since that's what Peterson usually calls them in this context, IIRC)

There is no left anymore. There are only different kinds of reactionary.

He's a psychology professor, formerly at Harvard now at UoT. He knows about IQ, and he's not far right.

You should convert some of that politically biased 'skepticism' into dispassionate inquiry.

Here's some dispassionate inquiry: he leans on IQ far too heavily to explain how the brain works. While there is correlation between jobs and IQ and some research that shows a mild inverse relationship between IQ and crime, it's not the end-all-be-all of psychology, as he claims, "If you don’t buy IQ research, then you might as well throw away all of psychology."

What of all of the other areas of psychology? If IQ was found to be completely spurious, we'd still have other psychological research. IQ is not foundational like he claims.

It's like Peterson has never read the criticisms[1] of the Bell Curve and believes it in its entirely. His lectures and interviews on the subject are really just a rehashing of the same, mostly discredited arguments. Even Charles Murray has stepped back from a single number determinant of a single kind of intelligence[2].

[1]: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~chance/course/topics/curveball.htm...

[2]: https://web.archive.org/web/20050205010706/http://www.skepti...

He does not claim at what you say at all.

I'll try to summarize his position on IQ without doing him a disservice.

* IQ is highly correlated to intelligence (what is called technically g). Highly enough that you can use it as a measure of general intelligence. * IQ is the only test we have that accurately measures intelligence and that is not a self-report test. * IQ has been shown to be the highest predictor for success in life. Highest does not mean only. In fact, its correlation is .35. Conscientiousness is the second best predictor, but amounts to half of IQ. * There is no way to raise IQ, which is genetically determined. But there are many ways to lower it.

It also very important to consider that a) he made a lot of highly cited research on the topic, b) he is very knowledgeable on the literature and c) he says many times that the results of these studies are disheartening and nobody likes them (him included).

He never implied, for example, that there is an inverse relationship between IQ and crime, quite the opposite. IQ is related to the Opennes personality trait.

Crime is caused by low Agreableness, which is another personality trait. He also cites often the work of Martin Daly, which studied how crime is correlated to a too steep inequality, where the social ladder is too hard to climb, which makes people turn to crime as the only alternative.

So I don't know where you got that idea.

Whoa....I never knew one could decrease IQ

He does not use IQ to explain how the brain works, in any way whatsoever.

Can you link to (or synthesize) a criticism of something the man has said himself?

IQ at least replicates. If you get rid of that, why keep anything else?

For anyone who cares, here's a 90 min video interview with Peterson and a prominent intelligence researcher: https://youtu.be/PY4sShDt9to

[First off: JBP supporters who are downvoting the parent, come on, you know better. That's not how you do things.]

> Isn't Jordan Peterson also famous for being a proponent of racial IQ theories?

If he is, it's remarkable that I've been able to miss that over listening to his course lectures since 2015 on top of the more recent bible/other lectures.

My personal location on the political spectrum right now is pretty partisan Democrat, largely out of the opinion that the Republican Party and most of the conservatism in the US is a dumpster fire, and in particular that the GOP is almost completely incapable of doing policy in the public interest. I say this to make it entirely clear that I'm hardly "far right." :)

And I still think taking in Peterson's stuff has been probably the single best thing that's happened to me for sharpening my thinking over the last few years.

I also think there are some reasonable arguments that he's wrong about a number of things, and I think you should be suspicious about how some of his ideas are functioning in certain political conversations. I see lower-resolution versions of his thinking being pressed into service of conventional conservative partisan narratives. But I strongly suspect that the solution, if there is one, is going to be engaging with the political ideas and trying to criticize them as effectively (and intellectually) as he advocates for them. Ad hominem attacks aimed at his status are only going to feed the beast.

And to the extent that you think progressivism or liberalism or centrist technocratism or whatever are based in reason and argument (and I do), it would be a gift if Peterson's thinking became more prominent, even where it might be wrong. You can engage reason and argument with reason and argument. It's pretty hard for me to tell how to engage Trumpism.

And finally -- Peterson is super popular in large part because he's primarily working in the realm of applied personal philosophy. He's done a lot of compelling work to distill the interpretation of religious narratives, philosophical thinking, and psychology into some concrete guidance that's digestible for those of us culturally centered in western modernity. I think it'd be a rare person who can't find some of what he has to say interesting and useful.

> It's pretty hard for me to tell how to engage Trumpism.

How about start with a list of Trump supporters concerns?

Then try and understand why they are concerned.

To force yourself to be honest try and argue in support of some of their key positions.

IQ does negatively correlate with race, that's a fact. The point he (and others) make is that we shouldn't treat low-IQ people as subhumans, just because they lost in the genetic lottery.

There are many other things that correlate with race, both phenotypically and genetically, there advantages and disadvantages to different ethnicities and races. Why is it so radical to say that IQ is different between races? Is it really different from saying that the fastest runners are black?

To be fair though, I have watched pretty much every JP video under the sun and I have never seen him mention IQ related to black people or other races.

The only exception was when he talked about how Ashkenazi Jews have an IQ that is on average higher than normal. Which explains why there are many of them in high positions like doctors and scientist, instead of some idiotic conspiracy theory.

I completely agree that JBP is a strong advocate of the idea that individual dignity and worth is not based in IQ.

I'm having trouble recalling places where he's drawn any correlation between race and IQ, except some rather narrow cases like the Ashkenazi Jews.

And I'm not familiar with any research that conclusively establishes a connection between racial categories (as often constructed in US/western discourse, anyway) and IQ:


To those wondering why alt-right/neo-nazi/1488-type people are flocking to Jordan Peterson: this comment accurately describes both Peterson's views and the alt-right view on race. Many alt-right people claim they acknowledge "factual differences" of race, which is the basis for their ethno-nationalist views.

Here's a discussion on the alt-right following of Peterson on his subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/JordanPeterson/comments/7gb5af/is_j...

You're grievously slandering a man whom it appears you have made no effort to understand. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Prof. Peterson is possibly the furthest thing from a "neo-nazi".

But just calling someone a nazi is so much more efficient than having to come up with actual arguments on why he is supposed to be so evil.

It's called libel when it's written down. Would the furthest thing from a neo-nazi tweet this, which is full of alt-right dog whistles?

> KEK boys. Seek your 4chan. Don't stay in the underworld. Author your future. Code PEPE. Free 4 U 4 1 wk.


Yes, it would. Someone who donates a product for psychological therapy to the "alt-right" may very well be the opposite of a neo-nazi.

Again, you should be ashamed of yourself.

That comment/subdiscussion you're linking to on the subreddit seems like a pretty good examination of the relationship that's developed between him and the alt-right. Or at least part of one.

But I'm puzzled by the statement that the comment you're responding to accurately describes Peterson's views on race. Except maybe in narrow categories that don't match up particularly well with a broad conception like "race" (e.g., Ashkenazi Jews), I can't recall any instances of him asserting a correlation between race and IQ, though it's possible I've missed something, and I'm open to visiting anything you might want to point out.

And I also think that it's a mistake to boil the alt-right relationship down to race issues. I think it starts elsewhere. In addition to the points in that reddit discussion, I think there's a fundamental shared narrative that goes something like this:

"Some (or all!) of the people and institutions that make up society are hostile to people speaking the truth freely. Maybe even more hostile to it than they were in the past. They are hostile to it because they are weak and corrupt and tyrannical. But it's important thing for people to speak up anyway."

Peterson absolutely says this, repeatedly and quite clearly. And it resonates, because most people probably have been in situations where they've faced hostility and even retaliation for saying something that others didn't like.

And I think if you pressed Peterson, he would probably say that this narrative is part of the human condition, and the reason why he frames the problem as people being weak and corrupt and tyrannical is that it's a known failure mode for pretty much all of humanity and it's probably true in some degree inside every single human being. And it's important to speak up anyway not necessarily because you are the sole promethean bearer of The Truth, but because nobody is the lone possessor of the truth and we will likely do better at working things out if we have conversations and negotiate. I think this line of argument has some limits that I'm not sure are sufficiently explored, but it's a pretty compelling one based on my own introspection and observation of humans, though I also find that the degree of "corrupt"ness in the hypothetical human you're dealing with matters a lot, and I also think Peterson may underestimate the downside of using language like "weak and corrupt and tyrannical" because it invites contempt into the understanding of the situation and that usually doesn't make things better.

But for some segments of the right (among other people), I think this narrative often goes farther. It is not a description of part of what it's like to exist as a human among other humans, it is part of repeated liturgy about the problem of being a conservative in a society besieged by malevolent political opposition. It says that conservatives in particular are unjustly singled out for this kind of treatment, and that it's much more often because of bias rather than any flaws in their own position, and that the weak and corrupt and tyrannical people are Marxists who want a totalitarian state, and what you have to say is not only important because the process of dialogue helps with synthesis but it's important because it's the Capital-RT Real Truth whose only flaw is that too many people aren't brave or strong enough to look it in the eye and understand it, and the only hope is that you repeat it often and strongly enough without being seduced.

(And again, the right is hardly the only segment of humanity that starts to think like this, but I don't think there's any credible argument that this narrative isn't deeply embedded in current political conservatism in the US.)

Now, I happen to think that there's an important distinction between the former and the latter formation of this narrative. But no matter how nuanced someone is being, if you lower the resolution at which you're listening to someone present both, you might not be able to tell the difference. One could imagine that someone who can't tell the difference between "IQ matters and has a genetic component" and "you can make sensible generalizations about a person's IQ by race (and we should!)" might have precisely that problem.

And though I think JBP tends to be nuanced and I try to pay attention to that... frankly, there are times when I can't tell the difference between the former and the latter (which seems weird to me considering how widely prevalent and accepted many conservative ideas among my social circle and in the institutions I tend to participate in. But then again, I don't work at a University, and I grew up in a conservative state and am part of a religious subculture, and so most of the time when I'm facing an uphill battle in a discussion it's quite the opposite).

So I think that's where the love-in begins. It probably also helps that JBP defends the value and message of traditional religious stories and focuses quite a bit on personal responsibility (perhaps as contrasted with state measures) and the merits of conscientiousness and bringing order into the world -- all things that are likely to resonate with conservatives.

I think Peterson is a little too intelligent to speak frankly on race, so he speaks in code to his followers that are in the know and allows them to make the logical deductions he leads them to. There's a discussion on his subreddit[1] that examines exactly this.

My main point is that it is not a surprise that he attracts alt-right types when he is tweeting dog whistles[2] while claiming not to be a member of that group.

[1]: https://www.reddit.com/r/JordanPeterson/comments/7hkbzo/is_j... [2]: https://twitter.com/jordanbpeterson/status/85146415170895052...

> IQ does negatively correlate with race, that's a fact

This is not as much of a slam-dunk as one might think. There's a need for more very careful work that attempts to isolate race from culture.

Race is not even a well defined concept, although obviously heredity works, and we understand a lot of the detailed biology behind it (heredity).

If you come from a culture of learning, with centuries of history of scholarship, and many scholarly role-models, it's going to affect how you do on IQ tests. It's not nature OR nurture, but BOTH.

As a programmer and scientific-minded person, I can't overstate how much I can teach my kids about the areas I'm highly trained in, almost independent of their interests or even aptitudes.

There's a reason why children of lawyers become lawyers, why children of doctors become doctors, and why children of athletes become athletes, etc. It's not just genetics, although it can seem that way.

By modeling behaviours in the home you teach so much more than kids learn at school, etc.

So ... be very careful not to conflate race and culture, and if you have any info on how people have systematically tried to isolate the two, I'd be interested in refs. Thanks.

> 1488 types

whats that?

Chalk this up to 'things I wish I didn't know', but it's a neo-nazi slogan/concept of 'fourteen words' (something about 'saving the future for white children', yada yada) and 'heil hitler' - 'H' being the 8th letter of the alphabet. '1488-types' are a reference to the type of folks who buy into that horsepuckey.

Right there with you on the wishing I had never heard of it.

I actually started referring to them this way because of an email from Curtis Yarvin to Milo Y. He was giving Milo advice about dealing with 1488 types in a way that doesn't alienate them as an audience.

Is that exchange public? I would love to read that email as a political scholar.

It's a code nazis use: 14 = the 14 words "we must ensure the existence of our people and a future for white children" 88 = H is the 8th letter, HH = Heil Hitler

Having just gotten back from 34C3 I'm going to post a few of my favorites from there:

Dude, you broke the Future! https://media.ccc.de/v/34c3-9270-dude_you_broke_the_future

Pointing Fingers at 'The Media' https://media.ccc.de/v/34c3-9106-pointing_fingers_at_the_med...

Social Cooling - big data’s unintended side effect https://media.ccc.de/v/34c3-8797-social_cooling_-_big_data_s...

Full list here: https://media.ccc.de/c/34c3

I couple of months ago I found a good TED talk on the same topic as your first link:

We're building a dystopia just to make people click on ads https://www.ted.com/talks/zeynep_tufekci_we_re_building_a_dy...


The Ultimate Apollo Guidance Computer Talk (https://youtu.be/xx7Lfh5SKUQ)

'On storytelling' by Evan Czaplicki:


Whether you like Elm or not, Czaplicki is an highly charismatic conceptual thinker and his talks are very relevant.

Jessica Kerr's "Shaving the Golden Yak" [1] or "If Coco Chanel Reviewed Elm" [2] by Tereza Sokol.

[1]: https://www.infoq.com/presentations/easier-software-developm...

[2]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wiw3YcwGwrU

I'm a big fan of the Chanel talk; it's a neat perspective with a well thought out presentation.

A deep analysis on social bots, fake news, hate speech and filter bubbles on Twitter. This is questions the existence, as well as quality of studies about, the co-called "social bots" (which turned out to either have no influence, or to be real people with "too much" free time):

Michael Kreil: Social Bots, Fake News und Filterblasen


(German talk, but the video contains an audio track with a good English translation.)

For better or worse, I spent more time giving talks than watching talks in 2017.

My favorite talk that I watched in 2017 was Durham Goode's talk at Git Merge 2017, concerning scaling Mercurial at Facebook. It's always good to share knowledge about version control and scar difficulties:


My favorite talk that I gave was at GitHub Universe. I spoke about how Microsoft adopted the Git version control system and - ultimately - open source:


"Making Impossible States Impossible" by Richard Feldman


Really changed how I think about programming.

Matt Might's Codemesh 2017 keynote: "Winning the War on Error: Solving Halting Problem, Curing Cancer" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVkHgKCqAcI

Matt does a great job of explaining some of the concepts around precision medicine. He also talks about the need for computer scientists to study biology, and the effect it has on field progress.

Lisp at the Frontier of Computation, by Robert Smith at Rigetti Computing


About the application of Lisp on quantum hardware.

Ali Rahimi's NIPS 2017 Test of Time award talk.

"Artificial intelligence is not like electricity (quoting Andrew Ng), but alchemy"


Maybe not my favorite, but a fun one I wanted to mention anyway:

New Tech Start-Up Bubble https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7vrCpWbmDw

Just watched it. Hilarious because it's so true.

Has to be this Farnam Street interview with Naval Ravikant about reading, habits, decision-making, mental models, and life. Surprisingly insightful!


+1. Wonderful tips for optimizing self. Definitely stretches your intellect, with great book references.

Devoxx Poland 2016 - Ted Neward - Why Functional Programming Matters - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hOM5PPzMC8

An amazing introductory video to Functional programming from a hardcore Java developer.

One of my favourite talks I watched was "Low Cost Non-Invasive Biomedical Imaging - An Open Electrical Impedance Tomography Project"


As it presented an interesting technique I'd never heard of before, along with an implementation.

Also I thought the 'Breaking the x86 Instruction Set' talk was extremely clever - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrksBdWcZgQ

I'll watch and read this,thanks, but in the meantime my money is on democracy ending with the automation of military, police, and security operations.

My money is on it ending with the automation of propaganda and con artistry at scale.

A small group of people could use AI and social media to virtually sit down with every single person and convince them of something using a detailed micro targeting profile. It would be like diapatching an individual evangelist to work on each of a billion people in parallel.

We saw very primitive and still largely manual versions of this in 2016. When the real thing arrives it will be the hydrogen bomb of persuasion.

This is also what I think an "AI takeover" would look like. Forget about terminators. A superintelligence would find us trivial to con and manipulate. We will just be convinced to do what the AI wants. Skynet will launch words not bombs, but much like the nukes in the Terminator story we are building the infrastructure of our own destruction ahead of time.

A true super-human AI would take over without humans realizing anything is happening. If that's true, then it might be that AI is already taking over.

Effective Programs - 10 Years of Clojure - Rich Hickey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V1FtfBDsLU

Highly recommended talk - About the convergence of Li-ion batteries, electric vehicles, self-driving cars, and solar energy over the next decade; and the impact it will have on the future of the electric grid, big oil, and the car industry and related industries (auto insurance, gas stations, parking lots, etc.)

Maybe a bit on the optimistic side? But exciting to consider the possibilities!

my favorite were:

- How the reputation economy is creating data-driven conformity https://media.ccc.de/v/34c3-8797-social_cooling_-_big_data_s...

- DEF CON 25 (2017) - Weaponizing Machine Learning https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbRx18VZlYA&t=2121s

- BlackHat 2017: Breaking the x86 Instruction Set https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrksBdWcZgQ

Feross Aboukhadijeh - The Most Annoying Website (aka "The Power of the Web Platform") - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pY9Bfwfj2A

Noam Chomsky on the survival of human civilization. The talk might have actually occurred in 2016.


Bryan Cantrill, Principles of Technology Leadership


Erik Rose's Constructive Code Review from PyCon stands out for me as a talk I remember and come back to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNG1a--SIlk

It's nothing I didn't know intuitively, but it really lays out, with great examples, how to provide feedback accurately while not forgetting about being kind and humble. This is in stark contrast to an attitude I see often that confuses being direct and critical with being hostile or rude. It really deconstructs some of those dynamics in a way I hadn't paid attention to before. Also, it has a great summary of a simplified version of "getting things done" that made it appealing to me.

How to Create and Start Successful Revolutions | Ben Horowitz

Saw this in-person and really recommend it. Detailed historical example of revolution and key takeaways for establishing a great culture at your company.



Thought Andrew Ng's The State of AI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKpuX_yzdYs) was a good primer on: data assets, the positive feedback loop, and their value; hallmarks of an "AI company"

Nerd Wrangling 101 - a talk on neurodiversity and how tech folks work together: https://m.youtube.com/watch?t=728s&v=k-2d5Ggo4i4

I second "Making humans a multiplanetary species". Watching Elon Musk give this talk is really interesting. It is painful in delivery but penetrating in content. He also has a knack for the gotcha surprise.

A fun intro to Church Numerals by a charasmatic speaker:

LAMBDA Functions: Powerful And Elegant Abstractions - https://youtu.be/OLH3L285EiY

It is not my favourite talk, but it is the one I almost happy about discovering:

Andy Wingo's talk "Channels, Concurrency, and Cores: A new Concurrent ML implementation" https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7IcI6sl5oBc

Because it made me discover that concurrent programming can actually be nice.

* To Serve The People: Public Interest Technologists. Matt Mitchell is a hacker, security researcher, operational security trainer, and data journalist who founded & leads CryptoHarlem, impromptu workshops teaching basic cryptography tools to the predominately African American community in upper Manhattan.


* Stop Rate Limiting! Capacity Management Done Right. Jon Moore is the Chief Software Architect at Comcast Cable, where he focuses on delivering a core set of scalable, performant, robust software components for the company's varied software product development groups.


* Keeping Time in Real Systems. This talk will tour the fascinating timekeeping mechanisms used in real systems. We will explore atomic clocks, NTP and GPS through systems that use them, and logical clocks in the context of systems built on logical time.


* Level Up Your Concurrency Skills With Rust. This talk will show you how Rust will catch many concurrency errors at compile time.


* Diablo: A Classic Game Postmortem. Diablo developer David Brevik returns to the GDC stage to give a classic post-mortem on Blizzard's action RPG hit Diablo in this 2016 talk.


* The Flash Games Postmortem. In this 2017 GDC talk, Kongregate's John Cooney attempts to encapsulate the immense history of Flash games and how it has shaped the current game industry by giving game developers their first chance to build and publish their games quickly to the web.


* Siege Battle AI in Total War: Warhammer. In this 2017 GDC session, Creative Assembly's Andre Arsenault shows the approach used in Total War: Warhammer to create the very specialized high-level AI to guide these massive armies in a way that provides a convincing, epic-scale battle.


CHM Oral Histories

Computer History Museum

Hear the stories from the computing legends themselves with video selections from CHM’s oral history collection


All episodes of How I Built This by Guy Raz on NPR and Masters of Scale by Reid Hoffman. Especially Barry Diller Part I and II on Masters of Scale. Happy New Year 2018! May your projects come to fruition and live long and prosper!

Designing a Multi-Language Live Programming Tool With Phoenix and Genstage https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p58sFfgMvdI

Raymond Hettinger, Keynote on Concurrency, PyBay 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zinZmE3Ogk

KotlinConf 2017 - My Life as a Tech Transfer Monad by Erik Meijer https://youtu.be/NKeHrApPWlo

Easily my favorite


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