A bright mind has passed away this week. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of the rare figures who was able to cut across generational and political divides, which is something very much needed in a time like this.
Last week I shared some of my thoughts on The Social Dilemma. If you're interested in reading more about the weaknesses of the film, I recommend this article. We like to have to have "cartoon supervillains" to blame our problems on, and social networks with their mysterious algorithms are an easy scapegoat.
But we tend to forget that other parts of the Internet are just as important. Propaganda, bullying and misinformation happens on private spaces like Whatsapp, 4chan or 8chan with no algorithmic interferences. This Twitter thread also explains why it's wrong to use an addiction narrative for social media.
Also, apparently people DID get upset when bicycles showed up.
Ideas of this week:
- How AI will do for video production what the Internet did for distribution (AKA: we're approaching realistic, real time computer-generated movies)
- How to think better: principles, frameworks and tools for better thinking
- What is a post creative strategist, and why it might become an essential role at advertising agencies.
- Jack Conte's creative process for increasing productivity, creative work from Reporter Magazine and WHOOP, a roundtable between Sacha Baron Cohen, Jim Carrey, Don Cheadle & more.
🧠 Brain Food
This is one of the most interesting pieces I've read in a long time. It argues we are not far away from generating high definition video + audio in real time. This will probably mark the start of a new medium, and what's cool (or scary) is that we'll be able to inhabit it.
5 minute read | Arrem Sabeti
AI can already create photorealistic faces, objects, and landscapes. Video isn’t far behind. We can already recreate any voice. GPT-3 can already write dialogue and movie plots almost indistinguishable from ones written by humans. Even generated music is making fast progress.
It’s only a matter of time until we’re generating entire movies and shows. It’s startling to realize that Hollywood movies that cost $300M to produce today might be generated for a few cents within our lifetimes.
There will still be a place for passive entertainment, but the same software will be able to create both. You'll not only be able to change anything about what you’re watching, but also insert yourself into the story.
Combine photorealism with convincing virtual people and endless personalized stories and worlds to explore and it’s hard to imagine a more entertaining form of entertainment. We’d have the kind of simulated reality that philosophers have long built thought experiments around.
This will be addictive. Thousands of people were depressed after watching Avatar because their real lives weren’t as appealing. It’s simultaneously exciting and worrying to imagine what would happen if people could live inside the movie.
It’ll be especially addictive if we use AI to discover what we want. By watching us interact with content, it could learn what we want better than we understand it ourselves.
Yeah, this is scary. We are building our own Matrix, without the need for machines to overthrow us.
Once we'll have compelling simulated realities tailored to our dreams, what will happen to the real one?
When Google tried using AI to develop the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, the solution it converged on was to make the cookie out of solid chocolate.
What will reality look like when it’s made out of solid chocolate? We might find out.
9 minute read | Ness Labs
A great article by Anne-Laure Le Cunff about how to be a better thinker.
- Principles: they rely on creating healthy thinking habits that encourage us to always question our initial intuitions, to avoid shortcuts, and to consider the second-order consequences of our decisions.
- Frameworks: models that can be used to make better decisions. “The more you learn, the more you have a framework that the knowledge fits into.”
- Tools for thought: they help consolidate your mental models and serve as a platform for self-education and self-reflection.
9 minute read | Gary Vee
Gary Vee proposes an interesting prediction about the role of the creative strategist.
If you look at how strategists run at creative agencies, specifically the advertising industry, these are individuals that do the work prior to the content going out to a client. A client gives you a budget and says, “Hey, we would like to win with, say, Black men in Atlanta; we’d like them to buy more of our soap. And we want to win with moms in California.” Cool.
What ends up happening is, a strategist does research. She’ll conduct focus groups, go on the internet, look at data, come up with a hypothesis, and hand that hypothesis to a creative.
Then, the strategist shares her research with the creatives, and the creatives make their interpretation of her hypothesis. Finally, the client has to make a subjective decision to post it.
He argues that this is a broken process due to its long time (usually around 9 months). This is a risk, because it all depends on one piece of content working out.
A post creative strategist would disrupt this process through volume:
Meaning, they’re not going into a lab for a month and doing research, coming out and saying Ta Da and handing that research to the creative team. Instead, they’re living and breathing the research everyday just like the customer. Going with our earlier soap example, they might put out soap content for 15-20 different demographics and then see what people are saying & determine what works from there. It’s testing and learning.
It really is on the creative to create. But the creative needs to be the “match" and the post creative strategist needs to create the “dry leaves and sticks” — it supports the creative to make the content happen.
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🎁 Box Of Random
In this 10 minute video, Jack Conte explains the difference between finishing and publishing, how the world's most successful artists master publishing, and how the realization everything is a funnel can change your entire life (via Josh Spector):
A great new campaign from Reporter magazine about how reading can change perspectives (via Collater.al):
How is it that we know all there is to know about culture, politics, news, Carole Baskin memes, and WAP lyrics, and yet, know so little about ourselves? Droga5's mind-blowing ad for WHOOP turns the focus inward (via Shots.net)
Diving in the Upside Down:
I loved this incredibly insightful conversation between Sacha Baron Cohen, Jim Carrey, Henry Winkler, Don Cheadle, Timothy Simons and Ted Danson:
Eye candy: Cody Klintworth's stunning Instagram page.
And if you come across anything interesting this week, send it my way. If there's something I like more than beer, it's finding new things to read through members of this newsletter.