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Weekend Briefing No. 473
A Saturday morning briefing on innovation and society.
Welcome to the weekend.
This week’s topic for discussion is about breakthrough technologies. Join the conversation by clicking “Leave a Comment” below the first story.
Also, enjoy my March playlist. Cheers!
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2,000,000,000,000—Ineffective communication costs U.S. businesses $2 trillion each year.
18—The traditional base is a square with 15-inch sides, and the new base is now 18 inches, which not only means more base to grab but also means that the distance between the bases is slightly less.
88.318—Two Boeing engineers broke the record for farthest flight by a paper aircraft, sending a sheet of paper 88.318 meters, or almost 290 feet.
MIT Technology Review just launched their annual list of breakthrough technologies. The whole list is amazing and evidence of the creative potential of humanity, but here are some of the most interesting parts: 1) CRISPR for high cholesterol. 2) Mass market military drones. 3) Organs on demand. 4) Battery recycling. MIT Technology Review (20 minutes)
Which breakthrough technologies are you most excited about and why?
Artificial Intelligence will transform education in the following ways: 1) Getting one-on-one support for services like tutoring, coaching, mentorship and even therapy was once only available to the well-off. AI will help democratize these services for wider audiences. 2) AI will help personalize everything, from learning modalities and needs (e.g., visual versus text versus audio) to content types (e.g., easily bring in a kid or adult’s favorite character or favorite hobby / genre) to curriculum. 3) Assessment and credentialing will need to evolve. Many educators argue that ChatGPT is a technology that should be integrated with learning and teaching, and that leveraging AI will be a crucial career skill in the future. To realize this, we’ll need to make a series of adjustments in the classroom and in how we assess classroom achievement—and make adjustments, just like we did when Wikipedia, calculators, the internet, personal laptops, and more came onto the scene and eventually became pivotal classroom technologies. a16z (9 minutes)
For too many, the distinctly American promise of equal opportunity remains out of reach. In “How to make good on the American promise for all, not just some,” Aimée Eubanks Davis, CEO of Braven (and DRK Foundation portfolio organization), states the simple truth: While systemic change is needed, "a college degree is still the surest path to economic mobility in this country.” Learn why this is still true and how everyone can play a role in equipping first-generation college students with critical career preparation that is proven to help them land a strong first job and deliver on the promise of economic opportunity for all. DRK Foundation (Sponsored)
A recent McKinsey study revealed that, in many categories, there is a clear and material link between ESG-related claims and consumer spending. The following four overarching insights are important for consumer companies and retailers that build portfolios of environmentally and socially responsible products as part of their overall ESG strategies and impact commitments. 1) Consumers are shifting their spending toward products with ESG-related claims. 2) Brands of different sizes making ESG-related claims achieved differentiated growth. The smallest brands saw the highest impact. 3) No one ESG-related product claim outperformed all others, but less-common claims tended to be associated with larger effects. 4) Combining claims may convey more authenticity. McKinsey (12 minutes)
Although about 40% of Americans are “cashless” in their weekly spending habits, according to the Pew Research Center, more than $2 trillion of U.S. currency is in circulation. And while many people may never give a second thought to how the crumpled dollar bills in their pockets actually got made, this behind-the-scenes multimedia story gives us a peek into the painstaking process of printing money. It also highlights the important role that the U.S. dollar continues to play in the world. New York Times (12 minutes)
How to Stop Overthinking
Deliberation is an admirable and essential leadership quality that undoubtedly produces better outcomes. But there comes a point in decision making where helpful contemplation turns into overthinking. To stop the cycle of thinking too much and drive toward better, faster decisions, you can put aside perfectionism, right-size the problem, leverage the underestimated power of intuition, limit the drain of decision fatigue and construct creative constraints. Harvard Business Review (6 minutes)
On an exercise treadmill, you can increase the speed all you want. However, you will stay in the same place. In life, you can work as hard as you want. You can accumulate all the riches, fruit trees and concubines you want. But you can’t get ahead. Why? You can’t change your “natural and usual state of tranquility.” The riches you accumulate will just raise your expectations and leave you no better off than you were before. Yet, without realizing the futility of our efforts, we continue to strive, all the while doing things that help us win at the game of life. Always wanting more than we have, we run and run and run like hamsters on a wheel. This phenomenon is called the hedonic treadmill. Here are two tips to get off the treadmill: 1) Instead of the “I’ll be happy when I…” say to yourself “I’m happy with…” 2) Instead of starting with “what” start with “why.” Hackernoon (6 minutes)
Should We Work Together?
Hi! I’m Kyle. This newsletter is my passion project. When I’m not writing, I run a law firm that helps startups move fast without breaking things. Most founders want a trusted legal partner, but they hate surprise legal bills. At Westaway, we take care of your startup’s legal needs for a flat, monthly fee so you can control your costs and focus on scaling your business. If you’re interested, let’s jump on a call to see if you’re a good fit for the firm. Click here to schedule a one-on-one call with me.
A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being. -James E. Faust