Home > Uncategorized > Recent talks, useless synopses

Recent talks, useless synopses

June 7, 2016

I am giving in to the urge to be extremely snarky today. If that doesn’t suit your mood, please skip. Just in case it doesn’t come through, I really liked two of these talks.

Last week I introduced Carl Pomerance at the Museum of Math for his delightful talk, What We Still Don’t Know About Addition and Multiplication. His notes are here.

My synopsis: it’s easier to multiply than to factor. Sometimes you can represent numbers as the difference of two squares and factor them pretty fast. And when you can’t do that very quickly, you still can do that relatively quickly if you keep track of things.

Yesterday I spent the day at USI2016. I gave a talk in the afternoon but I also went to three talks. Here are my synopses of those talks.

Don Tapscott: Blockchain is a big deal. It will eventually solve inequality. It’s a paradigm shift. It’s all about getting Dorito customers to make commercials for the Dorito Corporation. Next stop, inequality solved by blockchain.

Andrew McAffee: Look at this graph, consumption is no longer going up for Americans if you measure it in a specific way. That means we’ve entered a new paradigm, especially because I’ve got a name for it. Also, great news, we rich people no longer need to worry about global warming because technology will solve that like it solves everything else.

Monica Lewinsky: I was the first example of cyber bullying. We need more compassion online. When you click on shame-based news articles, you are training the online clickbait algorithm, and you become part of it. Resist clicking, be nice.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. June 7, 2016 at 5:57 am

    You know I appreciate this. Lewinsky won my heart with recent writings of her that I’ve run across (ironically fronted as click-bait). I seem to remember versions of the talks (as you summarize them) by Tapscott from the 1990s, and by McAffee probably already from the 1980s. Perhaps you can combine them in the idea that technology allows the bottom 90% to be happy and free, perpetually flexible servants to the corporations and the top 1-10%, who will smile and generate prosperity for all as long as they feel secure that no one is challenging their position and that an annual automatic extraction of rent on accumulated stores of wealth remains stable.


  2. June 7, 2016 at 9:02 am

    I, for one, loved these synopses. Please do more of them 🙂


  3. June 7, 2016 at 9:54 am

    It’s all about getting Dorito customers to make commercials for the Dorito Corporation.

    You mean a pyramid scheme?


  4. June 7, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    This is just about how much information I usually get out of talks, too; so I also agree that these are a useful contribution.


  5. JSE
    June 8, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    Totally agree with Lewinsky, can’t make sense of the other two.


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