Ideas on science, technology, finance and the human condition.
By Lux Capital
Navigating the Crossroads: Technology, Democracy, and National Security with Miles Taylor
Welcome to this enlightening episode of "Securities” Podcast with host Danny Crichton, where we navigate the intricate crossroads of technology, national security, and democracy. Our guest today is Miles Taylor, the author of "Blowback: A Warning to Save Democracy from the Next Trump."
In this episode, we delve deep into the challenges and complexities of modern governance, the shifting landscape of national security threats, and the role of technology in shaping our society. We explore the impact of generative AI on the creative class and ponder the future of democracy in an increasingly digital world.
Join us for a thought-provoking discussion that will leave you questioning the trajectory of the United States, its people, and where things are headed in this age of rapid technological advancement.
Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan on rebuilding trust between Silicon Valley and the Pentagon
As the birthplace of semiconductors and computers, Silicon Valley has historically been a major center of the defense industry. That changed with the Vietnam War, when antiwar protesters burned down computing centers at multiple universities to oppose the effort in Southeast Asia, as well as the rise of countercultural entrepreneurs who largely determined the direction of the internet age.
Today, there are once again growing ties between tech companies and the Pentagon as the need for more sophisticated AI tools for defense becomes paramount. But as controversies like Google’s launch of Project Maven attest, there remains a wide chasm of distrust between many software engineers and the Pentagon’s goals for a robust defense of the American homeland.
In this episode of “Securities”, host Danny Crichton and Lux founder and managing partner Josh Wolfe sit down with retired lieutenant general Jack Shanahan to talk about rebuilding the trust needed between these two sides. Before retirement, Shanahan was the inaugural director of the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, a hub for connecting frontier AI tech into all aspects of the Defense Department’s operations.
We talk about the case of Project Maven and its longer-term implications, the ethical issues that lie at the heart of AI technologies in war and defense, as well as some of the lessons learned from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine the past year.
Simulating Evolution: Playing God or the Next Frontier?
Artificial life, aka “A-life”, is an intellectually vital field simulating life within computational systems. By allowing simulations to run uninterrupted for extended periods, researchers can observe emergent behaviors, patterns, and even evolutionary trajectories. What's particularly intriguing is that these artificial systems often exhibit behaviors and patterns reminiscent of natural life, reinforcing that certain principles of life and evolution might be universal, whether in a biological context or a digital one.
In this episode of "Securities," host Danny Crichton is joined by Lux scientist-in-residence Sam Arbesman and special guest Olaf Witkowski, who is the director of research at Cross Labs and the current president of the International Society for Artificial Life.
Among many topics, the three of them discuss cellular automata, the origins of evolution, and the open-endedness of A-life.
How many creators will survive generative AI?
Think AI can't touch the creative world? Think again. Writers,
directors, illustrators - none are safe. AI models, despite their
glaring flaws, are on the verge of rendering the vast majority of
'creative' work obsolete. The digital age has already flooded the market
with so-called 'creatives', and now AI threatens to wash the least
original of them away. We're about to witness the dismantling of
creative pathways and the death of apprenticeships. So, where does that
leave the next generation of creatives?
Video based on an essay by Danny Crichton
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Music composed by George Ko
Video shot, edited and produced by Chris Gates:
Thumb image photography by MJP
We need to go deeper with the inception of deep geothermal energy
Historians survey the past and the Twitterati (X-erati?) process the events of the present day. But what does it mean to search the future for clues of what’s to come — and how much longer will we have to wait for it?
In this episode of “Securities”, Danny Crichton welcomes Lawrence Lundy-Bryan, research partner at Lunar Ventures and the publisher of “State of the Future”, a Deep Tech Tracker whose distinguishing feature is its extraordinarily wide remit to investigate the interstices of science and technology and find the morsels of innovative goodness that will power the planet in the years ahead. Also joining is Lux Capital’s own scientist-in-residence Sam Arbesman, who is certainly no stranger to the crazy ideas straddling science fiction and science fact.
Lawrence shares his unique approach to identifying and evaluating emerging technologies such as deep geothermal energy. We then pivot to exploring Lawrence’s approach of finding the future through the methodology of “horizontal scanning.” What’s to come? Listen and find out.
The Science of Survival: Adapting Human Life for Other Planets
Welcome to "Securities," a podcast and newsletter devoted to science, technology, finance, and the human condition. In this episode, Josh Wolfe and Danny Crichton bring science fiction into science fact with our guest, Christopher Mason, a geneticist and computational biologist who has been a principal investigator of 11 NASA missions and projects.
Mason, a professor of genomics, physiology and biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine, discusses his book, "The Next 500 Years: Engineering Life to Reach New Worlds." The book explores the concept of protecting humanity from inevitable extinction by venturing to other planets. While most focus on the technologies to deliver us to these places, Mason takes a different angle, focusing on the biological adaptations necessary for humans to survive in space.
Mason discusses the need for both physical engineering and biological engineering in space travel. He highlights the importance of understanding and potentially engineering our microbiome for space travel, given its significant role in our health and digestion. He also discusses the potential of gene editing, using the example of the vitamin C gene, which we could potentially reactivate to allow humans to auto-synthesize vitamin C.
The conversation also covers the physical changes experienced by astronaut Scott Kelly during his time on the International Space Station and the implications of these changes for future space travel. Mason discusses the potential of engineering the perfect space specimen, considering factors such as gravity, radiation, and circadian rhythms.
Silicon Valley's Dependence on American Foreign Policy
Enjoyed the depth and extent ofthe knowledge displayed by both the host, Danny and his guest. They provided an excellent historical context of the growth of the tech industry in USA and compared to other countries. Gave me new insight into the Geopolitical impact that tech could have if worked in cooperation with our government as other countries do. Very interesting, new facts, new perspective and new ideas