Memia Labs Monthly Digest #7 – August 2017

This month:
//The coming quantum computing revolution
//Ready Player One's OASIS getting nearer
//The world is full of total jerkwads
//The best of times, the worst of times?
//Quantum thought

Celebrated New Zealand film director Peter Jackson and his Wingnut AR studio released a 2-min tabletop augmented reality demo created with Apple’s ARKit and Unreal Engine running on an iPad. The demo will be developed into Wingnut’s first game. Eye opening as to the entertainment opportunities available…

Here’s August’s roundup of what we’ve been reading and thinking this month. Another eclectic gathering! For regular updates follow us on TwitterLinkedIn or Facebook.

And – as always – please get in touch with your thoughts on what you’d like to hear more of next…

Ben Reid
Consulting Director

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The Coming Quantum Computing Revolution
My mind is still trying to absorb the full implications of this @a16z podcast on Quantum Computing.

In particular these lines jumped out at me:
– Nature is inherently quantum mechanical – computation becomes statistical, not boolean
– QUIL (Quantum Universal Instruction Language) solves the problem of how do you interface quantum computers with classical computers? Hybrid computers are needed.
– Evolution of processor units: Central Processing Unit (CPU) -> Graphics (GPU) -> Tensor (TPU) -> Quantum (QPU)
– “For a classical computer its power increases 2 to the power of n (no of transistors), but for a quantum computer it increases 2 to the power of q (no of qubits), which itself is 2 to the n. With the new technologies using silicon qubits, the number of qubits follows Moore’s law…” – Quantum computing power is following a hyper-exponential evolution –in a couple of years quantum computers could outperform any classical computer which has ever existed.

Amazing world we live in now where such world changing future technology insight is so accessible…in previous times this knowledge would have hidden in academic research labs and never seen the light of day…

VR Business
Back to (virtual) reality: VR appears to be hitting its stride in enterprise scenarios. There is a growing body of evidence that VR simulation delivers more effective training results(while also reducing hazards and costing far less) than more traditional methods. Industries as diverse as retail automotive and healthcare are actively deploying VR solutions now within their operations.

AR Entertainment
Celebrated New Zealand film director Peter Jackson’s Wingnut AR studio released a table-top augmented reality demo created with Apple’s ARKit and Unreal Engine and running on an iPad. The demo will be developed into Wingnut’s first game. Eye opening as to the entertainment opportunities – and intriguing platform choice given that PJ has previously been publicly associated with AR hypesters Magic Leap. (Where are they?)

Watch the full 2-min demo here:

Ready Player One?

One of my favourite books ever Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is being made into a movie by Steven Spielberg (release date March 2018). Let’s hope that the film is true to the fun mythology of the book and doesn’t just turn into a procession of dull car chases like the trailer heralds….

There are signs that the imaginary massive multiplayer world of the book, OASIS, is taking its first steps towards reality: Japanese technology giant Softbank recently led a $502M investment round into UK-based startup,makers of SpatialOS and enablers of vast virtual and simulated worlds.

AI Policy
A highly useful resource released last month from Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute AI researcher Miles Brundage on – Guide To Working In AI Policy and Strategy. Apparently there is a worldwide shortage of AI Policy analysts…get in quick. 🙂

AI Safety

AI Impacts surveyed 355 machine learning researchers on how good or bad they expect the results of ‘high-level machine intelligence’ to be for humanity: the results are shown below. The optimists outweigh the pessimists for now…just.

AI leader Andrew Ng thinks we should worry more about jobs than killer robots.

Meanwhile, the new film Supersapiens explores the question: As artificial intelligence rapidly blurs the boundaries between man and machine, are we witnessing the rise of a new human species?

SEC Rules on Cryptocurrencies
For the last few months I’ve been sharing my reading as I’ve ramped up my understanding of Cryptocurrencies. No more need, for Dan Romero from Coinbase has collated a definitive Cryptocurrency Reading List on Medium.

It’s the wild west out there…which has finally attracted the attentions of the SEC, who released guidance that DAO Tokens do count as securities and hence many of the ICOs carried out to date fall under SEC regulation. Andrew Simmonds from Simmonds Stewart lawyers outlines the main implications for anyone attempting an ICO from now on. If you’re a New Zealander, the extradition case of the infamous Kim Dotcom looms large in memory…

Incidentally, the very transparency of the Bitcoin blockchain has caused some regulators to remark somewhat humorously that they see Bitcoin trading as “Prosecution Futures“.

“The world is full of total jerkwads”
Fantastic 30-min interactive tutorial by the omnitalented Nicky Case on The Evolution of Trust – based on the principles of game theory. Absorbing.

Other bits and pieces we came across this month…
Boys and their toys  – General Atomics announced a new 10 Megajoule Railgun System capable of launching self-guiding projectiles at launch accelerations over 30,000 Gees.

True Random Number Generator Using Carbon Nanotubes – Hardware-based “true” random number generators are therefore considered the gold standard for security – researchers have built one from Carbon nanotubes, solving a problem for printed and flexible electronics.

100x Faster Blockchain – Microsoft’s new Coco blockchain framework can handle 1600 transactions per second with low hundreds of millisecond latency – they claim this is about 100 times better than other non-Coco protocols

Income Inequality continues to rise
This graph from the NY Times says it all. Meanwhile HBR reported earlier this year that income Inequality is rising between companies, not just individuals.

…But Is The World Really Better Than Ever?
Wonderful long essay from the Guardian exploring the world view of the New Optimists – arguably, by many factual measures, we are actually living in the best of times…and things keep getting better.

Measuring Gravitational Waves
Two very accessible videos from the NY Times and LIGO  explaining how the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) has successfully managed to record the gravitational waves released by two distant black holes colliding trillions of years ago.

Quantum Thought
Finally…last month we linked to a recent Tim Ferriss podcast with Cryptocurrency visionary / polymath Nick Szabo. During the conversation (about 1hr 49min in) the term “Quantum Thought” comes up – this was a concept originally raised as a footnote on Nick’s incredible blog Unenumerated in 2012:

” Not only should you disagree with others, but you should disagree with yourself. …quantum thought, as I call it … demands that we simultaneously consider often mutually contradictory possibilities. Thinking about and presenting only one side’s arguments gives one’s thought and prose a false patina of consistency: a fallacy of thought and communications similar to false precision, but much more common and important. … In quantum reality, by contrast, I can be both for and against a proposition because I am entertaining at least two significantly possible but inconsistent hypotheses, or because I favor some parts of a set of ideas and not others. If you are unable or unwilling to think in such a quantum … manner, it is much less likely that your thoughts are worthy of others’ consideration. “

Beautifully put.

More again next month – Comments, feedback, suggestions? Email