Q&A with Peter Barrett about Robotics
I think the first two questions are fantastic and on the nose. Peter Barrett is a Palo Alto Venture Capital investor.
TC: What was the biggest robotics story of 2022?
PB: The Great Autonomous Vehicle Capitulation. Ford and VW abandoning robotaxis are another indication that autonomous vehicles are decades from ubiquity. Autonomous vehicles may be inevitable, but they are certainly not imminent despite lots of very clever people and eye-watering amounts of capital pouring into the domain.
We have had autonomous vehicles driven by neural networks since the ’80s. I think we are about halfway there.
The good news is that in the interim, we do have a mature technology that improves traffic 30% and reduces fatalities at intersections by 90%. It is called a roundabout.
What are your biggest robotics predictions for 2023?
The biggest trend in 2023 will be the realization that robots are best used to amplify people rather than replacing them. Robots as collaborators that work for people in human environments is the best way of exploiting the unique capabilities of both.
A very interesting simple secure way of messaging or sending files, requiring no special software for recipient
A ‘Portable Secret’ is simply an HTML file that also contains:
- An encrypted payload
Any (reasonably modern) web browser can open the file, even without an internet connection! If you know the password, you can recover the secret within.
So I sat down to try and compile a list of the TV shows I've watched this year. Doing this really put into perspective how much TV I consumed this year and I'm not sure I'm okay with it. But that's for me to figure out.
Where relevant, I split them into "New" shows and "Returning" shows. I use 'returning' that this year wasn't the show's first season.
Eager For Next Season, Will Absolutely Watch
These are shows I loved. I regard them as must watch and will likely watch them episode by episode as released.
- Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Paramount+) - I loved this series and cannot wait for the next series. My new favorite Star Trek series ever.
- The Bear (FX / Hulu) - Loved this show. I expected to, as I loved Jeremy Allen White in Shameless.
- Rings of Power (Amazon) - I love Middle Earth and can't wait to see next season.
- Welcome to Wrexham (Hulu) - Soccer reality show? I'm in.
- Andor (Disney+) - Probably my favorite overall show of the year, it revitalized my love for Star Wars a lot.
- Ted Lasso (Apple TV) - He's so gosh darned charming, how can I not?
- Survivor (CBS / Paramount+) - I've watched so many seasons of this show and they keep me coming back.
- What We Do In The Shadows (Hulu) - God I love this show, my favorite comedy on TV.
- Reservation Dogs (Hulu) - I'm actually behind on this show, and once I finish my current catch up on Industry, I'll be turning my focus to this.
- Ghosts (CBS / Paramount+) - Surprised at how well this comedy has carried on but definitely will continue watching it.
Will Watch Next Season Eventually
One thing that is notable here is that the streaming reality where binging the show is feasible, and in many ways a lower level of commitment. This means a number of these shows are ones I'd probably bounce off of, but they survive to get more viewership because of the model.
- Severance (Apple+) - It's good TV, but it also isn't must-watch for me.
- The Sandman (Netflix) - It was entertaining, but it also fills a niche that is already well covered for me, so I'm not starved for it.
- She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (Disney+) - Entertained but also, not something I must watch
- House of the Dragon (HBO Max) - I have a love/hate relationship with Game of Thrones. I will watch it, but I don't regard it as must-see.
- Wheel of Time (Amazon) - I haven't read the series, so I went into it with a fresh perspective. I enjoyed it overall but the pacing definitely felt uneven.
- Reacher (Amazon) - Not much to say here, I don't think the show is amazing, but it scratched an itch for me in the procedural mystery sort of genre.
- Winning Time (HBO Max) - I didn't expect to love this show as much as I did! But John C. Reilly and the whole cast just did fantastic.
- Industry (HBO Max) - As mentioned above, I'm in the midst of binging season 2 of this show now.
- Yellowstone (It's... complicated) - Katie turned me onto the show and now I'm hooked.
- Star Trek: The Lower Decks (Paramount+) - Animated comedy Star Trek, it isn't perfect but overall I enjoy it.
- For All Mankind (Apple TV) - I loved the first season but faded for the following seasons. I'm still not done with the series. I will eventually, just not yet.
Probably Off This Show
Not planning to watch anymore. I might, but I don't expect it.
- Our Flag Means Death (HBO Max) - It's a good show, but the humor just isn't for me. No hate from me.
- The Peripheral (Amazon) - Anything based on work by Gibson gets a shot from me. I watched the entire first season and found it very formulaic and underwhelming.
- Cobra Kai (Netflix) - The first season or two were great and since then it's been going downhill for me. I tried the most recent season and dropped off.
- The Flight Attendant (HBO Max) - Finally delved into this show this year and binged the two seasons. It was popcorn quality content but I don't have a strong drive to dive into it again.
Liked but Ended
Liked the shows but they've ended their run.
- Better Call Saul (AMC) - Truly fantastic television, I'm sorry the series is over.
- The Offer (Paramount+) - Really enjoyed this dramatization behind the Godfather. Same with the League of Their Own below, where it wasn't canceled so much as it was made to be a single season project.
- A League of Their Own (Amazon Prime) - A remake of the concept based on the movie, it adapted and revealed a more queer and POC based story. Also, unfair to say it was canceled, more that it was a single-season project.
Liked but Canceled
RIP. I wanted to split these out since their future has been decided.
- Minx (HBO Max) - I quite enjoyed this show, but sadly they killed it while they were filming season 2.
Canceled and Okay With It
No tears were shed.
- The Man Who Fell to Earth (Showtime) - I expected to love the series but it fell flat for me.
Edit: I've added 'Ted Lasso' and 'Winning Time' to the rankings.
Edit 2: Added 'The Flight Attendant' and 'Better Call Saul,' also forced me to split "Liked but Canceled" from "Liked but Ended."
Me as an Anime hero
I gave in and ran myself through the TikTok anime filter. I heard it killed beards so I was curious to see.
- Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik [Fantasy, historical fiction] - Audiobook that is the 2nd in the series of historical fiction about a British sailor and his pet dragon.
- Winter's Orbit by Everina Maxwell [Sci-fi, mystery, LGBTQ+] A story involving politics and personal romance between two men. I quite enjoyed it.
- The Hail Mary Project by Andy Weir [Sci-fi] - I absolutely loved this book by Weir, have been recommending it to anyone who would listen.
- The Storyteller by Dave Grohl [Autobiography, music] - I really enjoyed this autobiography, and I think the audiobook made it even better.
- Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel [Sci-fi] - A sci-fi audiobook about Earth discovering significant alien technology on the planet and how it changes the world.
- The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek [Business, self help] - I like the clips of Sinek speaking, but I fell out of the book about a quarter of the way through.
I bounced off a number of books without committing to any of them as I focused more heavily on various projects and other things this month.
- Good to Great by Jim Collins [Business] - An interesting business novel looking at cases where companies raise to the next level.
- How to be Perfect by Michael Schur [Philosophy] - A philosophy book written by the guy behind The Good Place, inspired by and derived from the work he did learning philosophy and studying it in preparation of that show. It's good, I didn't finish it, but I did enjoy it.
- There are Places in the World Where Rules are Less Important than Kindness by Carlo Rovelli [Essays, non-fiction] - Overall it was fine, I ended up dropping the audiobook after the fifth essay or so I think.
- Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell [Philosophy] - I was curious to check it out as I have only read excerpts of his writing. Unfortunately I found his writing long winded and bloviating, as well as out of date socially. Unquestionably brilliant, but I decided I had better ways to spend my time.
- Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Curreyy [Nonfiction] - Short pieces about the various daily habits of various artists.
- Sleeper Agent: The Atomic Spy in America Who Got Away [Nonfiction, history, Cold War] by Ann Hagedorn - I really enjoyed this book as an interesting look at US history.
- August Kitko and the Mechas from Space by Alex White [Sci-fi, space opera, LGBTQ+] - Alex is a friend of mine and I loved diving into their book. It was like reading neon pink colors mixed with giant mech robots. All for it and can't wait for their next book.
- The City & The City by China Mieville [Fiction, mystery] - I like it, but I think it's an example where I want to read this one in paper and I have it as an ebook.
- The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson [Sci-fi, near future, climate change] - It was a hard book to get into, but I'm very glad I stuck with it and finished it as I found it a very rewarding and enjoyable book once I got into it.
- Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid [Fiction, music] - A quick read, written like a transcript from a documentary about musicians and their story.
- Slouching Towards Utopia by J. Bradford Delong [Nonfiction, economics, sociology] - I'm still reading this one, but I found the preface / intro very interesting and compelling for how it frames the Industrial Revolution in the history of the world.
- The Decline of Magic by Michael Hunter [history] - Just started this last night, it's interesting so far. Curious to get further into it.
Edit: Added August Kitko by Alex White, which I missed in my initial review of the year.
Wisdom from Cicero relevant to those of us today
I fell in love with Cicero as a historical character when I was taking Latin in high school. I loved learning about praeteritio, which isn't part of the linked article, but is something we're all aware of from modern politics. "And there's of course PROBLEM X, but we're not here to discuss that." - To bring something up while saying it can't be discussed.
Here is the core of Cicero's oratory model, the blogger I link to then goes on to apply this to a modern day grant application.
Cicero’s model oration has five parts: the exordium, or introduction; the narratio, or background; the confirmatio, or supporting case; the refutatio, or anticipated objections, and the peroratio, or summing up.
The exordium is the introduction, where the speaker introduces themself and lays out exactly what proposition they hope to persuade the audience of. The speaker should give some information about their background and qualifications.
The narratio is background, it sets the stage for the presentation. It should say how the question arose, and describe different opinions about it. It should say why the question is important and what the consequences of resolving it will be.
This is where the speaker (or writer) puts forward the case in support of the proposition. This is the most important part of the speech and will typically be divided into several sections.
Here the speaker anticipates objections and refutes them. For example, one might object that no one has tried this before and the refutation is, there’s always a first time.
This is the final part or summing up. The speaker may chose to simply summarize what they’ve already said – the peroration is not the place to bring up new topics.
Zelenskyy has arrived in DC
He addresses Congress tonight at 4:30pm Pacific / 7:30pm Eastern.
Trump tax returns released
CNBC's highlights of the tax reports:
- On their 2015 federal return, Trump and his wife declared negative income of $31.7 million, with taxable income of $0. The couple paid federal income taxes of $641,931.
- The 2016 return declared negative income of $31.2 million, with zero dollars of taxable income. The Trumps paid $750 in taxes.
- The 2017 return declared negative income $12.8 million, with $0 in taxable income. The couple paid $750 in taxes.
- The 2018 return declared total income of $24.4 million, with taxable income of $22.9 million. The Trumps paid $999,466 in federal income taxes.
- In 2019, the Trumps declared $4.44 million in total income, and $2.97 million in taxable income. They paid $133,445 in taxes.
- The 2020 return shows negative income of $4.69 million, with zero dollars in taxable income. The tax paid by the Trumps was $0 and they claimed a refund of $5.47 million.
"Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About 'Ghostwriter'"
Ghostwriter occupied a fascinating middle space for me as a kid. In some ways I was the perfect target for it, but also, in truth, I was on the upper range of their target age, and also at that time I had access to a computer at home and was already well versed in it, so the main hooks of the show were just slightly off target for me.
That said, I found this background absolutely fascinating. To hear that it was originally supposed to be about being a show which followed Sesame Street in reaching children, and how it was a show designed to show text - from that central concept the rest of the show was developed.
And, above all, the realization that Ghostwriter's lore is that they were a ghost of an escaped slave, is mind blowing and makes me want to delve back into the show.
Mastodon Favs for December, 21st 2022
📧 Daily Newsletter
Get an email with the day's links and posts delivered to your inbox! Sign up here.