Weekly reads 2016–10–03

An article stating “Reduce or eliminate traditional forms of communication (PowerPoint, email, static BI reports)” cannot be bad. In The End of Tech Companies Rob Thomas ponders on how the epithet tech about companies makes no sense, any company without tech would be no company at all in quite short time.

“If you aren’t genuinely pained by the risk involved in your strategic choices, it’s not much of a strategy.” — Reed Hastings

Developers in SF chasing “the dream” just to find themselves trying to survive in one of the most expensive cities in the world and sharing two rooms with another 12 people in Hacker house blues: My life with 12 programmers, 2 rooms and one 21st-century dream.

Take for example the programmer who lived in my closet: Every night he’d come home around 9 p.m. He’d sit on the couch, pour himself a bowl of cereal and eat in silence. Then he would grab his laptop and head directly into the closet — a so-called “private room” listed on Airbnb for $1,400 a month. It was the only time I’d ever see him. The only way I could tell he was home was by the glow of his laptop seeping out from under the closet door. Hours later, deep into the night, the light would go out, and I would know he had to gone to sleep. By the time I arrived, he had been living there for 16 months, in a windowless closet with a thin mattress placed right on the floor. During the day he codes for Pinterest. Yeah . . . that Pinterest.

Lately there have been a lot of articles talking about the “black boxes” that control our life.

“The great question of the 21st century is going to be ‘Whose black box do you trust?’"

Zombie Moore’s Law shows hardware is eating software and a lot of things we used to coding now fall directly into the hardware hands, blurring even more the frontier between hardware and software.

The cheap and easy gains of the last fifty years of Moore’s Law gave birth to a global technology industry. The next little while — somewhere between twenty and fifty years out — will be dominated by a transition from software into hardware, a confusion of the two so complete it will literally become impossible to know where the boundary between the two lies.

Recursion! In How to Steal an AI some researchers found a technique to reverse engineer machine learning software… using machine learning software ;)

The researchers’ technique works by essentially using machine learning itself to reverse engineer machine learning software.

It’s always nice to buy a new smartphone, but This is where your smartphone battery begins

But Mayamba, 35, knew nothing about his role in this sprawling global supply chain. He grabbed his metal shovel and broken-headed hammer from a corner of the room he shares with his wife and child. He pulled on a dust-stained jacket. A proud man, he likes to wear a button-down shirt even to mine. And he planned to mine by hand all day and through the night. He would nap in the underground tunnels. No industrial tools. Not even a hard hat. The risk of a cave-in is constant.