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I don’t read much science fiction, but when Neil Stephenson publishes a new book, I always read it. In “Fall or Dodge in Hell,” Stephenson provides a half technothriller book (like Reamde) and half fantasy rewrite of Paradise Lost. His books are always long, engaging, and make you think. However, unlike his other books, it was only the first part of the story that I found to be engaging.

The first part of the book has some interesting/scary ideas about America’s future. Most of the book is set 20+ years in the future, and there are two Americas: modern, well-run…

Another platform I’ve been experimenting with is Arist, which lets you design and offer delivery courses via a text messaging platform (SMS, WhatsApp, or even Facebook Messenger).

Arist was initially targeted as a service for corporations to use in onboarding new employees. Instead of having two days of employee training, you might have one day, and then over the next 20 days, you would receive a text message each day telling you more about your new employer or job function. …

This year, I’ve decided to go all-in on any service or device that will make me more productive, without worrying if it has some small cost. For the past two months, I have been using, which is a service that will transcribe audio and video files into text. After a simple setup to integrate with Dropbox, I have an excellent system for turning audio and video files into Microsoft Word and PDF files.

I now have an “Otter” folder in Dropbox. When I drag audio and video into this folder, detects the new file and transcribes it. About…

Zoom is the company and verb of 2020 and continues to dominate the video conferencing marketplace in 2021. Considering the scaling and support Zoom had to roll out to accommodate millions of new users, you might think they would have little time to innovate. But Zoom is zooming ahead to lots of new features and ways to use its service.

On innovation is a new platform called On Zoom (, which allows content creators (called hosts) to provide classes, group events, and workshops. …

Newsmakers is an excellent, relatively short book that examines the use of AI in journalism. Artificial intelligence is already writing stories in papers such as The Wall Street Journal and can do much more. This book provides an introduction to AI with a focus on implications for the newsroom. Specifically, Mr. Marconi looks at the ethics of AI journalism and how the Wall Street Journal and other outlets are dealing with the issues raised. He also addresses AI-created problems for journalists, namely, deep fakes and differentiating between real and AI-generated photos, videos, audio, and reporting (Search for “Deep Fakes” on…

Never one to pull his punches, Professor Galloway lays out the problems of democracy, education, and capitalism in this short book that predicts what a post-Corona future holds for humanity. Unlike Fareed Zakaria’s book, Galloway offers lots of opinions about why our systems of capitalism, the government are screwed up and what to do about it.

Galloway examines many different areas of our world, from big tech and retail to elections and higher education. A “class-traitor,” tenured-professor Galloway reserves his harshest criticism for higher education and his profession (still not sure that Mike C. …

Well-written and organized, but not a lot of predictions or insights (in my opinion). This might be a great book if you have not been reading the news for the last couple of years and needed to know what are the big trends that will shape the future in the post-covid world. It is more of a state of the state discussion of where various issues stand and why they will be important in the coming years. Good analysis, but I had expected more insights about the future from Zakaria.

Perhaps the most interesting/clear point that the author makes is…

A new generation of fast-flying low-earth-orbiting (LEO) satellites can offer broadband service to everyone on earth, without concern for oceans, mountains, deserts, or borders.

How the country you live in incentivizes and regulates internet service providers (ISPs) — or if it takes on that role itself — determines the speed and quality of your connection and the degree that your online activities are restricted or surveilled. The Internet is truly a network of country-defined ISPs, each with its distinct capabilities and limitations.

But all that is about to change as several planetary-scale ISPs come online this year. Using a new generation of fast-flying low-earth-orbiting (LEO) satellites, space-based ISPs can offer broadband service to everyone on earth, without concern for oceans, mountains, deserts, or borders.

Just adding an AI to an existing task will not make you an AI Unicorn.

Many new AI applications are formulaic.

Some Everyday Task + AI = AI doing that task being performed as good or better than a human.

Reading medical images, analyzing traffic patterns, or even writing up stories about quarterly earnings reports (Wall street journal uses AI for this). This gives a temporary competitive advantage, but it will not last long.

But the exciting new applications are when AI is combined with other new technologies or bridges between fields.

For example, using blockchain and AI to re-engineer supply chain tracing and payment systems ( Or Use AIs to train neural nets that…

Many people don’t understand how different crypto is and how “same” Apple Pay is.

A reporter recently asked me about how people are “using cashless systems like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and cryptocurrency.” It caused me to remember how many people don’t understand how different crypto is and how “same” Apple Pay is.

Apple pay, google pay, and the like are central systems with central processing, tracking payments, vendors, and customers and require the user to access the banking system to participate. Those who can’t access the banking system can’t use these systems (difficulties arise if you don’t have a permanent address, are poor, or were born in the wrong country (Iran, Syria, etc.))…

J Scott Christianson

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