Breakfast Notes #69 (Meritocracy, Art, AI)

Breakfast Notes #69 (Meritocracy, Art, AI)
Photo by Axel Ruffini / Unsplash

Hello friends,

Here is the 69th serving of the Breakfast Notes.

  • 15 Lessons from George Yeo. George Yeo is a Singaporean statesman, diplomat, and businessman who is best known for his tenure as our Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2004 to 2011. George Yeo's second book is a field guide on the messy world of international relations. Here are the top 15 lessons I learnt from him when I was working on the book with him.
  • Inattentional Blindness In Action. This video is a classic whodunnit, advertisement and awareness test rolled into one. Inattentional blindness is when you're so focused on one thing that you don't notice something else that's right in front of you. Your brain has limited attention, and if you use it to focus on one thing (i.e. solving for the murderer), you might not notice the twenty-one moving things in the scene. So next time you are really focused on something, take a moment to step back, look around and ensure you're not missing anything important.
  • Updating Meritocracy. Many outsiders assume that our political climate is suffocating. In some quarters, some have argued that the political elites now worship at the altar of meritocracy and see it as inerrant. However, this 2016 op-ed by Tiana Desker showed two things. First, meritocracy is no an unalloyed good. It must be tempered with "broader social values such as compassion, humility, and regard for the poor." Second, challenging your 'first assumptions' (assumptions you assume to be first principles) is fundamental to renewal. Just as meritocracy working was key to Singapore's survival, failing to deconstruct and refresh it could cause our downfall.
  • Art is Dangerous. Jonathan Majors is Hollywood's hottest act now. One of the things that I love about Majors is his uncanny ability to convey his character's inner turmoil with subtle gestures. You can feel the conflict his character feels.  How did he get that good? He says, 'Art has to feel dangerous. You need a point of view.' It reminds me of Arno Rafael Minkkinen’s Helsinki Bus Station Theory, where one has to uncover your authentic voice and take on real risk by resisting the urge to chase the hottest trend.

Visualization Of The Week

The Visual Capitalist

Tech hype cycles are nothing new - remember blockchain, NFTs, and the Metaverse?

But, for the first time in two years, tech titans are seriously caring about the power of generative A.I.

Google—which became the poster child of AI years ago, was supposed to be at the forefront of this movement, but they saw Bing (of all search engines) steal their spot.

Reading this recent post published by Google CEO Sundar Pichai gives you a sense of the weight on his shoulders.

May the sun shine upon your face,


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