24 episodes

Ideas on science, technology, finance and the human condition.

By Lux Capital

"Securities‪"‬ Lux Capital

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 9 Ratings

Ideas on science, technology, finance and the human condition.

By Lux Capital

    Vaporware skepticism

    Vaporware skepticism

    "Where marginal stupidity is about  “how there is a turning point where further information or complexity can befuddle us and simply raise costs without any concomitant value,”  what I am seeing in hard science investing is an outsourcing of thought,  a reliance on the splashy marketing one-pager instead of the agonizingly long technical research with the diligence to match.

    None of this bodes well for many of the new VC entrants who have suddenly become enamored by the capital return potential of science. We have a  view that real advances in science are relatively rare, that they are hard to produce, and they tend to be signaled by clear research evidence years if not decades in advance. Venture capital is not a fit for the needs of academic researchers who require long time horizons of open exploration without commercial considerations. Skillful diligence is critical to making thoughtful investments, and investors must have a  well of resilience to draw upon, since most diligence will come back relatively negative in the hard sciences compared to software.

    We need the right dose of vaporware skepticism. We can’t allow the excitement of science fiction to occlude the challenges of realizing it into science fact. Condensing fact from the vapor of nuance means finding the rare but tangible scientific advancements and propelling them forward on the path to commercialization. Otherwise, you’re investing in steam, and those returns on capital will just evaporate right through your fingers." - Danny Crichton

    Lux Capital's "Securities" newsletter edition: Vaporware skepticism by Danny Crichton
    "Securities" podcast is produced and edited by Chris Gates

    Lux Recommends: 

    The nuclear situation with North Korea has been transformed over the past few months, with changes that will ripple across the Asia-Pacific region and into U.S. foreign policy. Kim Hyung-jin and Kim Tong-hyung in the AP have a great explainer on the latest evolution of nuclear strategy emanating from the DPRK.

    Our scientist-in-residence Sam Arbesman brings us an article from Nature on the Long-Term Evolution Experiment (LTEE), in which scientists have saved tens of thousands of generations of E. coli over 34 years in order to improve our understanding of evolutionary biology. The scientists are retiring and the bacterial cultures are moving homes in order to continue their lengthy evolutionary run.

    Shaq Vayda recommends a podcast and attached transcript between Eric J. Topol of Medicine and the Machine and Demis Hassabis, founder of DeepMind. The two discuss the advancements that deep learning affords medical advancements

    Retired lieutenant colonel Alex Vershinin, writing a commentary for the Royal United Services In

    • 20 min
    Lazy tech analogies

    Lazy tech analogies

    "The world is incredibly complicated, and humans necessarily use heuristics and analogies to process that complexity into simpler forms. These mental shortcuts are never perfect, but they should broadly summarize the complexity they represent while affording their user a sense of their limitations.

    In that vein, I want to call attention to two lazy tech analogies that I’ve seen lately as examples of the kind of impoverished analogical thinking that the industry needs to actively avoid." - Danny Crichton

    Lux Capital's "Securities" newsletter edition: American national security and startups + Lazy tech analogies by Danny Crichton

    "Securities" podcast is produced and edited by Chris Gates

    • 22 min
    Alternate Histories and GPT-3

    Alternate Histories and GPT-3

    "GPT-3 was trained on is so large that the model contains a certain  fraction of the actual complexity of the world. But how much is actually  inside these models, implicitly embedded within these neural networks?

    I  decided to test this and see if I could examine the GPT-3 model of the world through the use of counterfactuals. Specifically, I wanted to see if GPT-3 could productively unspool histories of the world if things were slightly different, such as if the outcome of a war were different or a historical figure hadn’t been born. I wanted to see how well it could write alternate histories." - Samuel Arbesman

    From Cabinet of Wonders newsletter by Samuel Arbesman

    Great tweet thread summarizing his post

    "Securities" podcast is produced and edited by Chris Gates

    • 16 min
    Marginal Stupidity

    Marginal Stupidity

    "One of the most important cognitive tradeoffs we make is how to process information, and perhaps more specifically, the deluge of information that bombards us every day. A study out of UCSD in 2009 estimated that Americans read or hear more than 100,000 words a day —  an increase of nearly 350% over the prior three decades (and that was  before Slack and Substack!) It would seem logical that more information is always better for decision-making,  both for individuals and for societies. Yet, that’s precisely the  tradeoff: humans and civilizations must balance greater and better  information with the limits of their rationalities." - Danny Crichton

    Lux Capital's "Securities" newsletter edition: The marginal returns of information by Danny Crichton

    "Securities" podcast is produced and edited by Chris Gates

    • 12 min
    The ESG Mirage

    The ESG Mirage

    "The activities of an extremely complicated phenomenon like a  multi-national corporation cannot be reduced to five-star ratings,  particularly on a definition as squishy as “Environmental, Social, and  Governance.” Rather than trying to strengthen definitions or improve quantification, the industry needs to come to terms with a more basic reality: the mission is impossible, and its failure began before it even started. With this much moolah at stake, the world deserves better."  - Danny Crichton



    Lux Capital's "Securities" newsletter edition: The ESG Mirage by Danny Crichton



    Produced and edited by Chris Gates

    • 6 min
    Jonathan Haidt on American structural stupidity and the post-Babel world (Part 1)

    Jonathan Haidt on American structural stupidity and the post-Babel world (Part 1)

    Speech and the right to it has become deeply contested across America in the 21st Century. What is free speech, what are its limits, and what norms should apply to both give everyone a chance to speak while also respecting the needs of a democratic society to function? Investigating these and other critical questions has been Jonathan Haidt, professor of social psychology at NYU’s Stern School of Business and the author most recently of “The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure,” which he co-wrote with Greg Lukianoff.He recently wrote an article for The Atlantic headlined “Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid,” and in this first part of a two-part series, Josh Wolfe and Danny Crichton discuss with Haidt his thesis of American “structural stupidity” and why the classical metaphor of the Tower of Babel describes the current political and social environment for Americans.

    • 18 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

Tucsonlistener ,

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

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