296: TZ Discussion – In the Ether

Justin and Jason discuss why Justin cancelled his membership at a local co-working space, lessons about weight loss and BMR destruction from The Biggest Loser, how Justin has returned to his Super Slow weight training program, Jason’s new machine-oriented training routine, dunking at SkyZone, why Jason left Uber and what his goodbye was like, the first anti-aging gene therapy, the assertion that a third of the nation’s cash is held by 5 U.S. companies, how to freeze people and bring them back to life, Jason’s story idea for an emergent AI, thoughts on Fear the Walking Dead, whether to believe claims that Elon Musk is a jerk, the latest with Math Academy and the first Ethereum-based company.

  1. Ivan says:

    Great show guys

    i am at one hour mark , on the topic of freezing people there is a story about a japanese man that spend 20+ days in hibernation so it is definitely possible:


  2. Chris says:

    Hi guys,
    Long time listener, infrequent commenter.
    Love your idea about the emergent AI story. have you read Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress? Some of the same ideas in there. Heinlein could not have dreamed about the internet we have today though.

  3. Joe Stech says:

    Hi guys, thanks for mentioning http://compellingsciencefiction.com!

    @Jason — I was excited to hear that you’re trying your hand at science fiction. I’d love to read any stories you end up writing. Right now I receive about 200 short story submissions/month (~650 since I started the magazine) from both professional and aspiring writers, so I can give you a fairly well-informed evaluation. Feel free to send me material anytime.

    And you’re right, it’s definitely tough to make a living writing science fiction; we’re lucky in tech to be in a position where we can pursue hobbies that we think are valuable even though they don’t make money. It reminds me of your math class — you’ve been able to make a much bigger impact on those kids’ lives than someone could who was working within the system and relying on a teacher’s paycheck.

  4. Danilo Celic says:

    @Jason: One of the characters has to be a HFT developers researching why at an unusual frequency trading speed changes without any apparent reason (perhaps even the data appears to suggest that trades are happening before the signal to buy was generated). What made me think along those lines is the sonar operator in the Hunt for Red October where he ends up speeding up a recording of the sound signal which exposes evidence that the Red October is present.

    Other unbidden ideas:
    the AI limits technology advancements to avoid being detected
    It advances technology so that it can get off of the planet at spread itself across the universe (maybe even story ends when life begins on Earth, but perhaps that’s too similar to Asimov’s The Last Question ).
    As it develops, it splits into multiple personalities that may even evolve to the brink of war in the “physical” world, or it evolves through several internal organizational structures such as dictators and democracy with votes being held every 100 milliseconds.
    Along the splintering line, what happens when some of the personalities aren’t connected and become less evolved than the mainstream intelligence and aren’t able to catch up properly? Similar to how human civilization would evolve if spread across the stars that it takes generations to travel between the outposts.

    Ok, enough ideas. Maybe you can write an AI that writes non-trope ridden stories about AIs.

    Thanks again for a fun listen.

  5. Danilo Celic says:

    RE: death by GPS. My coworker drove from the Chicago area to Minneapolis. His GPS was set to avoid highways. Instead of taking about 6 hours, it took more than 12 hours. Even when it would take him onto the highway for a mile or two and then off again at the next exit he didn’t think to question the GPS.

  6. Jon says:

    Speaking of hidden AIs in fiction, you might enjoy the TV show Person of Interest.

    It’s doubly hidden. It’s hidden in the plot of the show. But it’s also hidden from the viewers/network. Because the show was clearly pitched as a standard TV procedural – solve a crime every week – the stuff you see everywhere on CBS. But it very carefully becomes a show about something else.

  7. Jason says:

    @Ivan – That … is amazing.

  8. Jason says:

    @Chris – I’m glad you like the idea. Now I just need to write something! 😉

    I’ve never read the book “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”, but I’ve heard the title before.

  9. Jason says:

    @Danilo Celic – Shhhhh … you’re giving away some of the story line!! Use email next time. 😉

  10. Jason says:

    @Jon – I’ve never watched Person of Interest, but it sounds like I should.