Four short links: 31 May 2018

Internet Trends, Deep Learning, Governing Commons, and Invisible Asymptotes

By Nat Torkington
May 31, 2018
  1. Mary Meeker Internet Trends Report 2018 — growth of number of internet-connected devices and users has slowed, but usage is still growing. And check out that exponential growth in the number of Wi-Fi networks globally. Her preso has got a whole lot less focused as she’s scrambling for things that may still indicate that the tech boom isn’t over.
  2. Deep Learning’s Value (Hacker News) — If you think Deep (Reinforcement) Learning is going to solve AGI, you are out of luck. If you however think it’s useless and won’t bring us anywhere, you are guaranteed to be wrong. Frankly, if you are daily working with Deep Learning, you are probably not seeing the big picture (i.e. how horrible methods used in real-life are and how you can easily get very economical 5% benefit of just plugging in Deep Learning somewhere in the pipeline; this might seem little but managers would kill for 5% of extra profit).
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  4. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Amazon) — Dr Ostrom uses institutional analysis to explore different ways – both successful and unsuccessful – of governing the commons. In contrast to the proposition of the ‘tragedy of the commons’ argument, common pool problems sometimes are solved by voluntary organizations rather than by a coercive state. Among the cases considered are communal tenure in meadows and forests, irrigation communities and other water rights, and fisheries.
  5. Invisible Asymptotes — interesting stories from inside Amazon, then the idea of invisible asymptotes: the things that will stop your growth but you don’t know what they are (the “shoulders in the S-curve”). People hate paying for shipping. They despise it. It may sound banal, even self-evident, but understanding that was, I’m convinced, so critical to much of how we unlocked growth at Amazon over the years. People don’t just hate paying for shipping, they hate it to literally an irrational degree.
Post topics: Four Short Links