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Random Talkers

Adam Walker

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Random Talkers
Random Talkers

Random Talkers

Adam Walker

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About Us

Avid readers Matt and Adam discuss how technology is shaping our future, for better and worse. Check out our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/RandomTalkers. To support the show, consider buying your hosts a coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/randomtalkers. Most importantly, thank you for listening!

Latest Episodes

E26: Nassim Taleb's Skin In The Game

This week we review Skin In The Game: Hidden Asymmetries In Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Taleb may hate (professional) book reviewers, but we both really enjoyed this book: the man is never dull! Timestamps below: 0:08 - Taleb is angry on Twitter... 0:59 ...but calm and collected here Part 1: Intellectuals vs Risk-Takers 3:11 - The Intellectual Yet Idiot 6:43 - Taleb on education 11:22 - Why duels are good 12:44 - Trump’s appeal Part 2: The Power of Intransigent Minorities 15:06 - Why lemonade is kosher 17:40 - NIMBYs, regulation, and early adopters Part 3: Taleb Is A Conservative 20:21 - The precautionary principle 21:37 - Are GMOs dangerous? 26:18 - How religion helps us survive Part 4: Academics Need Skin In The Game 32:34 - Equality and hypocrisy 35:08 - Why Thomas Picketty is wrong 38:00 - Taleb hates economists 44:26 - Final thoughts Check out Random Talkers on YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/RandomTalkers Consider buying us a coffee (all donations go to better mics): www....

49 MIN2018 MAY 11
Comments
E26: Nassim Taleb's Skin In The Game

E25: Blockchain Basics: Mechanics, Flaws, And Applications

This week we review "Blockchain Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction in 25 Steps" by Daniel Drescher. Blockchain hype may have waned, but we're still aboard the blocktrain destined for untold crypto riches. Look below for timestamps: Part 1: How The Blockchain Works 1:55 - The blockchain is a plain old transaction ledger... 2:34 - ...but with no central authority 5:00 - To write to it you must solve math problems 6:58 - Transactions are verified using cryptography 8:17 - Distributed consensus enables consistency Part 2: Blockchain Flaws and Exploits 11:40 - 51 Percent Attacks 13:58 - Excessive power consumption 15:40 - Dependence on private keys 16:50 - Transactions can't be reversed 17:45 - The blockchain is so slooooooooow Part 3: Blockchain Applications 19:50 - Money transfers 20:57 - Disintermediation and eliminating middle-men 22:28 - Smart contracts 25:24 - Corporations and the private, permissioned blockchain 27:30 - Blockchain and the shipping industry 29:08 - Tokens and inc...

35 MIN2018 APR 27
Comments
E25: Blockchain Basics: Mechanics, Flaws, And Applications

E24: Cathy O'Neil's Weapons Of Math Destruction Reviewed

This week we review "Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy" by Cathy O'Neil. From terrible teacher evaluations to dodgy credit decisions, algorithms make plenty of mistakes - but are they really worse than the alternative? Timestamps: 0:23 - Three traits of a bad model 1:48 - Terrible teacher evaluations 6:50 - Personality tests and hiring 11:50 - Bad algorithms disproportionately hurt the poor 15:45 - Clopening and schedule optimization 18:19 - Life before algorithms: redlining 25:11 - Limits to model accuracy 26:21 - The rigor of sports analytics is not a panacea 28:07 - Predictions vs. privacy 32:37 - The stop and frisk analogy 35:35 - China's social credit system and research ethics Check out Random Talkers on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/RandomTalkers Consider buying us a coffee (all donations go to better mics): https://www.buymeacoffee.com/randomtalkers

38 MIN2018 APR 10
Comments
E24: Cathy O'Neil's Weapons Of Math Destruction Reviewed

E23: The Singularity Is Near(ish)

This week your Random Talkers Matt and Adam review Ray Kurzweil's epic 2004 treatise, “The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology.” This book has everything, from nanobot-fueled virtual reality to the enticing possibility of life and no death. Timestamps below: 1:47 - Exponential growth fuels Kurzweil's bold predictions 5:43 - Always look for S-curves 7:41 - Do we really need to reverse engineer the brain? 10:12 - Genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics are key 16:54 - The Singularity and living forever 19:22 - Will you be “you” after the Singularity? 26:58 - What happens if and when everything goes horribly wrong 29:26 - Asymmetric risk tolerance, self-driving cars, and the conundrum of regulation 35:20 - Final thoughts If you'd like to support the show, consider buying us a coffee atwww.buymeacoffee.com/randomtalkers You can check out this episode and more on the Random Talkers YouTube channel:www.youtube.com/c/RandomTalkers. Peruse our old segments, leave an Intern...

42 MIN2018 MAR 28
Comments
E23: The Singularity Is Near(ish)

E22: Can Universal Basic Income Ever Work?

This week we delve into the universal basic income debate. As machine learning and artificial intelligence disrupt entire industries and automate jobs away, will a no strings attached guaranteed income be the only solution? We analyze UBI's effect on incentives, social cohesion, inflation, and more. If you'd like to support the show, consider buying us a coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/randomtalkers You can check out this episode and more on the Random Talkers YouTube channel:www.youtube.com/c/RandomTalkers. Peruse our old segments, leave an Internet comment, and admire Adam’s somewhat competent video editing skills.

28 MIN2018 MAR 17
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E22: Can Universal Basic Income Ever Work?

E21: The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos Reviewed

This week Matt and Adam review THE MASTER ALGORITHM by Pedro Domingos, a book about a universal algorithm capable of extracting ALL KNOWLEDGE from data. Seems useful, right? Your hosts are not convinced... If you'd like to support the show, consider buying us a coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/randomtalkers. You can check out this episode and more on the Random Talkers YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/c/RandomTalkers. Peruse our old segments, leave an Internet comment, or maybe just admire Matt’s amazingly consistent outfit choices.

18 MIN2018 MAR 5
Comments
E21: The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos Reviewed

E20: China’s Social Credit System, “The Gray Rhino” Reviewed

This week’s episode is focused on China. First, we discuss China’s burgeoning social credit system, whereby citizens can be rated on their ability to pay bills, their college degrees, and even their choice in friends. While social credit might seem like a dystopian nightmare a la Black Mirror, Matt thinks the system could be rather useful! Next (13:45), we review Michele Wucker’s THE GRAY RHINO. A favorite of Chinese government leadership, this book tells us not to ignore obvious dangers hiding in plain sight… Check out this episode and more on the Random Talkers YouTube channel:www.youtube.com/c/RandomTalkers. Peruse our old segments, leave an Internet comment, or maybe just admire Matt’s amazingly consistent outfit choices. Thank you for your support!

26 MIN2018 FEB 22
Comments
E20: China’s Social Credit System, “The Gray Rhino” Reviewed

E19: Blockchain Applications, “American Kingpin” Reviewed

It’s a crypto special! With our BTC holdings crashing, your hosts instead turn to the blockchain. Are there many practical applications for this new technology, and might it even return us to the decentralized idealism of the early Internet? Next (8:17), we review “American Kingpin” by Nick Bilton, which recounts the rise and fall of Ross Ulbricht and the Silk Road. For the uninitiated, the Silk Road was an anonymous online marketplace primarily used to buy and sell drugs…while also being one of the first uses for Bitcoin. We breakdown how Ross’s unusual background empowered him to found the site, and how some early mistakes would lead to his eventual downfall. Check out this episode and more on the Random Talkers YouTube channel:https://www.youtube.com/c/RandomTalkers. Peruse our old segments, leave an Internet comment, or maybe just admire Matt’s amazingly consistent outfit choices. Thank you for your support!

22 MIN2018 FEB 7
Comments
E19: Blockchain Applications, “American Kingpin” Reviewed

E18: The Innovator’s Solution

This week we breakdown "The Innovator's Solution," the 2003 follow-up to Clayton Christensen's business classic “The Innovator's Dilemma." Fifteen years on, do Christensen’s theories on growth and disruption still hold true? Adam is a believer. Matt?…not so much Check out this episode and more on the Random Talkers YouTube channel:www.youtube.com/channel/UCXnne2uminGtDqMzFZb_U5g. Peruse our old segments, leave an Internet comment, or maybe just admire Matt’s amazingly consistent outfit choices. Thank you for your support! Coming up next week: the future of the (disruptive?!) blockchain

14 MIN2018 JAN 24
Comments
E18: The Innovator’s Solution

E17: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

The show has returned! This week we review “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz. Ben is a founding partner at Andreessen Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s most renowned venture capital firms. But this book isn’t about glamorous VC success stories. No, it’s about Ben’s CEO career before a16z, when everything usually seemed to be going wrong. Check out this episode and more on the Random Talkers YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/channel/UCXnne2uminGtDqMzFZb_U5g. Peruse our old segments, leave an Internet comment, or maybe just admire Matt’s amazingly consistent outfit choices. Thank you for your support! Coming up next time: We review “The Innovator’s Solution” by Clayton Christensen.

14 MIN2018 JAN 10
Comments
E17: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Latest Episodes

E26: Nassim Taleb's Skin In The Game

This week we review Skin In The Game: Hidden Asymmetries In Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Taleb may hate (professional) book reviewers, but we both really enjoyed this book: the man is never dull! Timestamps below: 0:08 - Taleb is angry on Twitter... 0:59 ...but calm and collected here Part 1: Intellectuals vs Risk-Takers 3:11 - The Intellectual Yet Idiot 6:43 - Taleb on education 11:22 - Why duels are good 12:44 - Trump’s appeal Part 2: The Power of Intransigent Minorities 15:06 - Why lemonade is kosher 17:40 - NIMBYs, regulation, and early adopters Part 3: Taleb Is A Conservative 20:21 - The precautionary principle 21:37 - Are GMOs dangerous? 26:18 - How religion helps us survive Part 4: Academics Need Skin In The Game 32:34 - Equality and hypocrisy 35:08 - Why Thomas Picketty is wrong 38:00 - Taleb hates economists 44:26 - Final thoughts Check out Random Talkers on YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/RandomTalkers Consider buying us a coffee (all donations go to better mics): www....

49 MIN2018 MAY 11
Comments
E26: Nassim Taleb's Skin In The Game

E25: Blockchain Basics: Mechanics, Flaws, And Applications

This week we review "Blockchain Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction in 25 Steps" by Daniel Drescher. Blockchain hype may have waned, but we're still aboard the blocktrain destined for untold crypto riches. Look below for timestamps: Part 1: How The Blockchain Works 1:55 - The blockchain is a plain old transaction ledger... 2:34 - ...but with no central authority 5:00 - To write to it you must solve math problems 6:58 - Transactions are verified using cryptography 8:17 - Distributed consensus enables consistency Part 2: Blockchain Flaws and Exploits 11:40 - 51 Percent Attacks 13:58 - Excessive power consumption 15:40 - Dependence on private keys 16:50 - Transactions can't be reversed 17:45 - The blockchain is so slooooooooow Part 3: Blockchain Applications 19:50 - Money transfers 20:57 - Disintermediation and eliminating middle-men 22:28 - Smart contracts 25:24 - Corporations and the private, permissioned blockchain 27:30 - Blockchain and the shipping industry 29:08 - Tokens and inc...

35 MIN2018 APR 27
Comments
E25: Blockchain Basics: Mechanics, Flaws, And Applications

E24: Cathy O'Neil's Weapons Of Math Destruction Reviewed

This week we review "Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy" by Cathy O'Neil. From terrible teacher evaluations to dodgy credit decisions, algorithms make plenty of mistakes - but are they really worse than the alternative? Timestamps: 0:23 - Three traits of a bad model 1:48 - Terrible teacher evaluations 6:50 - Personality tests and hiring 11:50 - Bad algorithms disproportionately hurt the poor 15:45 - Clopening and schedule optimization 18:19 - Life before algorithms: redlining 25:11 - Limits to model accuracy 26:21 - The rigor of sports analytics is not a panacea 28:07 - Predictions vs. privacy 32:37 - The stop and frisk analogy 35:35 - China's social credit system and research ethics Check out Random Talkers on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/RandomTalkers Consider buying us a coffee (all donations go to better mics): https://www.buymeacoffee.com/randomtalkers

38 MIN2018 APR 10
Comments
E24: Cathy O'Neil's Weapons Of Math Destruction Reviewed

E23: The Singularity Is Near(ish)

This week your Random Talkers Matt and Adam review Ray Kurzweil's epic 2004 treatise, “The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology.” This book has everything, from nanobot-fueled virtual reality to the enticing possibility of life and no death. Timestamps below: 1:47 - Exponential growth fuels Kurzweil's bold predictions 5:43 - Always look for S-curves 7:41 - Do we really need to reverse engineer the brain? 10:12 - Genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics are key 16:54 - The Singularity and living forever 19:22 - Will you be “you” after the Singularity? 26:58 - What happens if and when everything goes horribly wrong 29:26 - Asymmetric risk tolerance, self-driving cars, and the conundrum of regulation 35:20 - Final thoughts If you'd like to support the show, consider buying us a coffee atwww.buymeacoffee.com/randomtalkers You can check out this episode and more on the Random Talkers YouTube channel:www.youtube.com/c/RandomTalkers. Peruse our old segments, leave an Intern...

42 MIN2018 MAR 28
Comments
E23: The Singularity Is Near(ish)

E22: Can Universal Basic Income Ever Work?

This week we delve into the universal basic income debate. As machine learning and artificial intelligence disrupt entire industries and automate jobs away, will a no strings attached guaranteed income be the only solution? We analyze UBI's effect on incentives, social cohesion, inflation, and more. If you'd like to support the show, consider buying us a coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/randomtalkers You can check out this episode and more on the Random Talkers YouTube channel:www.youtube.com/c/RandomTalkers. Peruse our old segments, leave an Internet comment, and admire Adam’s somewhat competent video editing skills.

28 MIN2018 MAR 17
Comments
E22: Can Universal Basic Income Ever Work?

E21: The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos Reviewed

This week Matt and Adam review THE MASTER ALGORITHM by Pedro Domingos, a book about a universal algorithm capable of extracting ALL KNOWLEDGE from data. Seems useful, right? Your hosts are not convinced... If you'd like to support the show, consider buying us a coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/randomtalkers. You can check out this episode and more on the Random Talkers YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/c/RandomTalkers. Peruse our old segments, leave an Internet comment, or maybe just admire Matt’s amazingly consistent outfit choices.

18 MIN2018 MAR 5
Comments
E21: The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos Reviewed

E20: China’s Social Credit System, “The Gray Rhino” Reviewed

This week’s episode is focused on China. First, we discuss China’s burgeoning social credit system, whereby citizens can be rated on their ability to pay bills, their college degrees, and even their choice in friends. While social credit might seem like a dystopian nightmare a la Black Mirror, Matt thinks the system could be rather useful! Next (13:45), we review Michele Wucker’s THE GRAY RHINO. A favorite of Chinese government leadership, this book tells us not to ignore obvious dangers hiding in plain sight… Check out this episode and more on the Random Talkers YouTube channel:www.youtube.com/c/RandomTalkers. Peruse our old segments, leave an Internet comment, or maybe just admire Matt’s amazingly consistent outfit choices. Thank you for your support!

26 MIN2018 FEB 22
Comments
E20: China’s Social Credit System, “The Gray Rhino” Reviewed

E19: Blockchain Applications, “American Kingpin” Reviewed

It’s a crypto special! With our BTC holdings crashing, your hosts instead turn to the blockchain. Are there many practical applications for this new technology, and might it even return us to the decentralized idealism of the early Internet? Next (8:17), we review “American Kingpin” by Nick Bilton, which recounts the rise and fall of Ross Ulbricht and the Silk Road. For the uninitiated, the Silk Road was an anonymous online marketplace primarily used to buy and sell drugs…while also being one of the first uses for Bitcoin. We breakdown how Ross’s unusual background empowered him to found the site, and how some early mistakes would lead to his eventual downfall. Check out this episode and more on the Random Talkers YouTube channel:https://www.youtube.com/c/RandomTalkers. Peruse our old segments, leave an Internet comment, or maybe just admire Matt’s amazingly consistent outfit choices. Thank you for your support!

22 MIN2018 FEB 7
Comments
E19: Blockchain Applications, “American Kingpin” Reviewed

E18: The Innovator’s Solution

This week we breakdown "The Innovator's Solution," the 2003 follow-up to Clayton Christensen's business classic “The Innovator's Dilemma." Fifteen years on, do Christensen’s theories on growth and disruption still hold true? Adam is a believer. Matt?…not so much Check out this episode and more on the Random Talkers YouTube channel:www.youtube.com/channel/UCXnne2uminGtDqMzFZb_U5g. Peruse our old segments, leave an Internet comment, or maybe just admire Matt’s amazingly consistent outfit choices. Thank you for your support! Coming up next week: the future of the (disruptive?!) blockchain

14 MIN2018 JAN 24
Comments
E18: The Innovator’s Solution

E17: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

The show has returned! This week we review “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz. Ben is a founding partner at Andreessen Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s most renowned venture capital firms. But this book isn’t about glamorous VC success stories. No, it’s about Ben’s CEO career before a16z, when everything usually seemed to be going wrong. Check out this episode and more on the Random Talkers YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/channel/UCXnne2uminGtDqMzFZb_U5g. Peruse our old segments, leave an Internet comment, or maybe just admire Matt’s amazingly consistent outfit choices. Thank you for your support! Coming up next time: We review “The Innovator’s Solution” by Clayton Christensen.

14 MIN2018 JAN 10
Comments
E17: The Hard Thing About Hard Things