Electric Dreams 2.0


Hello my electric dreamers,

Some things that have happened in the last 12 weeks:

  1. I transitioned to a new job

  2. I moved to a new city

  3. I started a business

As much as it fills me with love and joy and satisfaction, I’ve been reminded that I should consider the possibility that I cannot “have it all”. So... compromises.

This is your notification that I’m extending Electric Dreams from the little window nook in my brain that’s occupied by generative AI to the full house (Castle? Palace? Memory palace?). Links, thoughts, things I’ve been thinking about. Some of it may still be AI-focused but my main goal is not to inform. It’s to think and digest. Some of my rooms include: tech, China (economics, tech, society, ...), fitness, literature, cooking,

No posting schedule. I named this newsletter Electric Dreams because 1) who doesn’t love the occasional sci-fi reference, and 2) I spend a lot of time on the internet. A lot. Ideas are digested as we sleep. Given my inputs are so electric (digital, virtual and exciting, thrilling), maybe the output will give you a little spark too.

Note the unsubscribe button is here and at the bottom.

  1. What I’ve been reading. I’ve lived in six different cities in the last 8 years (Antwerp, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Dusseldorf, and now Barcelona). Geography is never my constant, but literature is. Grazie Sophia Christie wrote a beautiful essay on female envy here.

    I was recently in Ljubljana and loved Tim Marshall’s Shadowplay - the inside story of Europe’s last war. Yugoslavia’s breakup in the early ‘90s, +100k deaths. Very interesting and wildly “ignored” by most of Europe. Tim writes as a journalist who was on the frontlines: adventurous/honest, refreshingly frank and with a clear perspective.

    “When a NATO drone plane or spy satellite is over a tank, it can sense the heat coming from a tank engine and calculate when it was last switched on. To counter this, the Yugoslavs built heat-generating equipment and fitted it into the decoy tanks. They also put together planes, which from the air looked like the real thing. One of the Zemun technicians was on the project from the first day of the war: ‘We made dozens of false planes, it took a team a day’s work to make just one, but we didn’t estimate the cost, we just built them. About thirty were hit so we did our job and I think it was worthwhile because the decoys saved lives.’”

  2. AI OR NOT. The magic of ChatGPT is such that it was able to help me (tech-incliced, but non-technical) make this quiz in html/java. Minor editing was necessary. Key takeaway from the process is that ChatGPT is extremely good at teaching + executing. I can ask it for a line by line explanation of what the code means, and that helps me learn (by doing). Takeaway from the +1000 submissions on the quiz:

    1. Priming people to think about AI makes people think real photos are fake

    2. Less than 1% scored 10/10 > the distinction between AI or not is not clear

  1. Feedly. I don’t talk about feedly enough. It’s how I organize my life, my being, my inputs. It’s a beautiful RSS feed that lets you track websites. I go over this every day / two days and follow approx 150 websites. It’s just great. And free.

  2. Whats happening in China AI? via Dan Wang
    “ Start with the most thrilling new development of the past year: on generative AI, there’s not much we can use from Chinese firms. The starting point of any discussion of AI in China must be that domestic firms have failed to broadly release their reply to ChatGPT half a year since Americans have started to play with it. Yes, Chinese tech companies are developing their own generative AI tools, often scoring impressively on technical benchmarks. But they have released them in controlled settings, not to the general public.

    I think the reason they haven’t given everyone access to AI chatbots is straightforward: regulators in Beijing would rather not let them run in the wild. Chinese tech companies may be hobbled by lack of access to the most advanced chips; and they’re probably hurt by the lack of training data, since most of the trainable texts are in English rather than Chinese. But Chinese companies rarely hesitate to release substandard products into the market in order to claim early-mover advantages, so a greater force must be holding them back.”

  3. Please stop eating bad food. Food it’s possibly the best and most cost-effective way to immediately improve your quality of life. Imagine always eating 10/10 meals. You can! If you learn how to cook. Videos help. Start with chicken https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDUcQhOzO1Q

Stay hydrated, eat vegetables.


PS- I may transition this to a blog instead of a newsletter or such. Thoughts?