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Big Revolution - We can't know

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Welcome to Friday's Big Revolution, and there's lots on the plate to get your teeth into... – Martin
 
August 17 · Issue #173 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Friday’s Big Revolution, and there’s lots on the plate to get your teeth into…
Martin

Big things you need to know today
  • Elon Musk has admitted he did not have “funding secured” when he tweeted about taking Tesla private last week. In a confessional interview with the New York Times, he discusses his physical and mental exhaustion, exasperation with short-sellers, and proclivity to take sleep drug Ambien, which worries his friends.
  • Google has updated the description of its Location History feature. It had been confusing users into thinking switching the feature off stopped Google from tracking a user’s location at all.
  • A teenage Apple fan from Melbourne has appeared in court, accused of hacking the company. “The Children’s Court heard on Thursday that he had downloaded 90GB of secure files and accessed customer accounts,” reports The Age. However, Apple has made clear no customer data was breached.
  • Google is reported to be launching a Google Home device with a screen later this year. It would compete with both Amazon’s Echo Show, and devices from companies like Lenovo that use Google’s own Smart Display platform.
The big thought
We can’t know
A poll on Twitter has got me mulling our arrogance about the future.
Entrepreneur Marshall Kirkpatrick tweeted: “Do you agree with people who say that empathy, problem solving, communication skills etc will be the key workplace skills in a more automated future?” I instinctively selected the answer ‘Yes, that sounds right.’ Because it does, doesn’t it? If robots and software are the ones 'doing’ things, humans will have to earn money 'feeling’ things.
But I quickly thought how arrogant that made me, when a much more rational option was on offer: 'We can’t know.’
Now, it wouldn’t be much fun or very useful to say 'we can’t know’ whenever asks you to predict the future. But at the same time, I think we can often get too caught up in specific visions of how the future will look that we forget that nothing is certain.
In the early 1970s, many assumed that our trips to the Moon would quickly be followed by humans colonising Mars. Nearly 50 years on, that dream is not even close, even if it’s currently enjoying a renaissance.
Just a few short years ago, many were utterly convinced that the rise of social media would make the world fairer and more open. Instead, we’ve seen the rise of populism and authoritarianism around the world, and even democratic governments are learning they can get away with keeping more secrets in a world of shortened attention spans.
A widespread view today is that human drivers will be a thing of the past within 20 years, but self-driving car technology’s continued progress is far from assured.
So maybe we’ll outsource our emotions to computers, too. Or maybe workplace automation will prove unsatisfactory to many employers, and its widely assumed march to ubiquity will be stopped in its tracks.
It’s fun to make predictions, and entrepreneurs don’t build the future without strong convictions about the way the world will develop. But it’s always worth remembering that when it comes to the future, the truth is we can’t know.
One big read
Why Facebook is losing the war on hate speech in Myanmar Why Facebook is losing the war on hate speech in Myanmar
A look at how Facebook is still being used to fuel an epidemic of hate speech in Myanmar, despite efforts by the company to stamp it out.
“Reuters found more than 1,000 examples of posts, comments and pornographic images attacking the Rohingya and other Muslims on Facebook. A secretive operation set up by the social media giant to combat the hate speech is failing to end the problem.”
One big tweet
Click through for good thread on (not) raising loads of VC investment…
Dave Ambrose
a founder in a very competitive, VC-backed marekt stopped by today to give an update on her business. she’s been building the co. for a few years.

her update stressed a few themes that I keep thinking about about the oddities of venture capital, so sharing them in this thread.
7:10 PM - 16 Aug 2018
That’s all for today...
See you tomorrow for a weekend edition of Big Revolution. Don’t forget; you can help this newsletter grow by sharing it with others who might like it. Just send them this link and encourage them to subscribe.
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