We've been financing good writing with bad advertising -- and "attention monsters" (to quote Craig Mod) for way too long. So what happens when the technology for creators finally falls into place? We're finally starting to see shift in power away from publications as the sole gatekeepers of talent, towards individual writers. Especially when the best possible predictor of the value of a piece of writing is, well, the writer . The publication's brand is no longer the guarantee of quality, or the only entity we should be paying and be loyal to, when a new ecosystem is forming around the direct relationship between consumers, content creators, and the tools and business models to facilitate all this. So where do readers come in... how do they find signal in the noisy world of drive-by billboard advertising, "attention-monster" feeds, and the death of Google Reader? Particularly as machine learning-based translation, summarization, and other mediums beyond text increasingly enter our information diets, for better and for worse? This episode of the a16z Podcast features Robert Cottrell, formerly of The Economist and Financial Times and now editor of
What's Next for the Internet?
How can we evolve the web for a better future? Has the web become a mature platform — or are we still in the early days of knowing what it can do and what role it might have in our lives? Just as “social/local/mobile” once did, what are the new trends — like crypto and blockchain networks and commerce everywhere — that might converge into new products and experiences? Chris Dixon (general partner at a16z and co-lead of the a16z crypto fund) discusses all things internet with Jonah Peretti (founder and CEO of BuzzFeed). Their conversation ranges from the early days of the web to the way innovation happens (what Chris calls “outside-in vs inside-out”) to the promise of a community-owned and operated internet, and more. Together they explore the possibilities that could co-evolve and converge are we enter into the next era of the web, and they share how we might not be quite as far removed from the “wild west days” of the internet as we imagined.
AI can do a lot of specific tasks as well as, or even better than, humans can — for example, it can more accurately classify images, more efficiently process mail, and more logically manipulate a Go board. While we have made a lot of advances in task-specific AI, how far are we from artificial general intelligence (AGI), that is AI that matches general human intelligence and capabilities? In this podcast, a16z operating partner Frank Chen interviews Stuart Russell, the Founder of the Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence (CHAI) at UC Berkeley. They outline the conceptual breakthroughs, like natural language understanding, still required for AGI. But more importantly, they explain how and why we should design AI systems to ensure that we can control AI, and eventually AGI, when it’s smarter than we are. The conversation starts by explaining what Hollywood's Skynet gets wrong and ends with why AI is better as "the perfect Butler, than the genie in the lamp."
Food, Drugs, and Tech—100 Years of Public Health
The federal agency known as the FDA, or the Food and Drug Administration, was born over 100 years ago—at the turn of the industrial revolution, in a time of enormous upheaval and change, and rapidly emerging technology. The same could be said to be just as true today. From CRISPR to synthetic biology to using artificial intelligence in medicine, our healthcare system is undergoing massive amounts of innovation and change. Covering everything from gene-editing your dog to tracking the next foodborne outbreak, this wide-ranging conversation between Principal Commissioner of the FDA Amy Abernethy and Vijay Pande, GP on the Bio Fund at a16z, discusses how the agency is evolving to keep pace with the scientific breakthroughs coming, while staying true to its core mission of assessing safety and effectiveness for consumers in the world of food and medicine. Highlights: What the FDA looks like today and the key steps of the FDA process to getting a drug/product to market [ ]
The a16z Podcast discusses tech and culture trends, news, and the future -- especially as ‘software eats the world’. It features industry experts, business leaders, and other interesting thinkers and voices from around the world. This podcast is produced by Andreessen Horowitz (aka “a16z”), a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm. Multiple episodes are released every week; visit a16z.com for more details and to sign up for our newsletters and other content as well!
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