Instagram, Data-less AI, Jacinda Ardern, Unicorns & Platinum: The Week’s Most Interesting

Original article was published by Dushyant Panda on Artificial Intelligence on Medium


The only thing that doesn’t change in the world is that people start their articles by writing about how fast the world is changing. So, I don’t want to change the trend. The world is changing, but the beauty of it is you don’t see it happening.

The changing world is very similar to your changing weight. The infinitesimally small changes of everyday are not visible till you see the old photo on Facebook in 10 year challenges and that is why change is so hard to prepare for or understand

So today we focus on the change that drives the world and some stories about the ones who are driving it. We start with a person who probably changed the way the world interacts with social media, phones and each other. He has a unique story and one told fewer times than it should be. We move on to a momentous change in AI that you wouldn’t have heard of because it is still in science journals, but one that can change our understanding of machines. We move on to my favorite political leader of recent times simply because of her beliefs and how she has managed to change her country. Our penultimate article talks about how startups need to change their approach and also an important lesson for how to prepare for change in our lives.My last article about the very small changes talks about platinum and how everyday it moves a little bit more towards irrelevance.

So here we go !

1. The story of the growth of Instagram, the pivot from the check-in app, the features that fast-tracked acquisition have been very well documented in the past, so this article was one of the rare ones which took us into the history of the founder, Kevin Systrom. This after a long time is my profile of the week and also is a beautiful story of how he did a bunch of things, which were different from the “Silicon Valley Founder” norms. It reminded me quite a bit about the small write up I had done on Jan Koum and the accompanying article. There is a certain groundedness in all the ideas he talks about and that is an extremely endearing quality about the man and his creation.

The Man who made you take photos

2. There are moments in science when you convince a world that what was impossible might actually be possible. While I am far away from experiencing this, I just wonder what a moment like that would be. The final consumer never knows about this moment in science because that moment is usually what the science journals cover. But that is precisely why this article from MIT is here. If you can harness the power of AI without using data then you are staring at a very different world from what we knew of. And it is a beautiful and new perspective on the future of AI.

AI will not learn like a machine, but like a baby

3. The grass in other countries and other hemispheres is always greener, but I genuinely am in complete awe of Jacinda Ardern. As she led her party to the most emphatic win in elections since 1951, she simply said that the results are strong. From the handling of Coronavirus and ending it in New Zealand to the way that she has spread the message of unity across New Zealand, it for me is a beautiful story. The strange thing about the second term of popular leaders is that, that is when the chinks in the armor and the failures start to show. Time will show us how one of the last leaders of optimism in the world performs, but till then, let’s celebrate the efficiency and positiveness of a wonderful leader.

The Last Optimistic Leader

4. The problem with the startup model is the same faced by the quintessential school student brought up on a steady diet of good ranks and fairy tales. Both the segments assume that the stakes would always be in their favor and the world would always move in the right direction. But the world never moves up in that acute angle and that is the problem. Therefore, you always prepare for the downturn, you prepare for things to go wrong and you prepare for a disaster. This article is one of the most comprehensive ones on how startups should plan, but it is here because I think it is also comprehensive on how to approach life. A tad philosophical but heck, what are Sunday evenings for.

Camels, Not Unicorns

5. The last two decades have been supremely beneficial for all kinds of jewellery materials. Between the timeless diamond and the ever strong gold, somehow platinum made inroads into multiple markets. With a fascinating marketing campaign it also made inroads into India, where jewellery is not just an ornament but even more an investment from the wealthiest to the poorest. In my lifetime there have been companies falling, economies failing, but I never before have seen the pending demise of an entire metal or luxury item. Which is why this story fascinates me so much. Do give it a read, no one pays attention when stuff starts failing, but those are the places where you get to learn the most. Also if you do own some platinum, please sell it off.

The Impending Demise of White Gold

Have fun reading !!