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S3T Mar 1, 2024 - Baby Bonds, Accountability Shields, BTC & Inflation, AI Airstrikes, Floppy music, PE & security

S3T Mar 1, 2024 - Baby Bonds, Accountability Shields, BTC & Inflation, AI Airstrikes, Floppy music, PE & security
Rose Lines Digital Mixed Media RCP 2024

🐝 In this edition of S3T:

  • Economic Key Data Points: Consumer confidence is down, Bitcoin is up. The recent cyber attack on a well-known healthcare conglomerate adds a new category of evidence that Private Equity does more harm than good. On the brighter side: Baby Bonds.
  • Emerging Tech: AI can't provide reliable answers to historical or political questions, but the US is using it to decide where to drop bombs. Github Copilot goes mainstream.
  • Fun: Low-quality music on floppy disks is a thing. Yes, here in 2024. Get yours before they corrupt and stop working.
  • Reflection: What Success and Failure have in common, and how to check your thinking about both.
  • Change Leadership: If you're part of a project that is struggling with dependencies and execution speed, this practical guide will help you identify and dismantle common "accountability shields" that degrade organizations' ability to deliver on their goals.

🎧 Listen to this episode on the S3T Podcast - Be sure to follow the S3T podcast so you never miss a show!

Opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not reflect the official positions of companies or organizations those individuals may be affiliated with. Not financial, investment or legal advice. Authors or guests may hold assets discussed.

🪙 Economic Key Data Points

🔓💰 Cybersecurity and PE

The cyber attack on UnitedHealth's Change Healthcare that took critical systems offline and severely disrupted healthcare operations will likely force closer examination of 2 issues:

  • The wisdom of assembling companies via acquisition when those companies manage highly sensitive healthcare data: Change Healthcare is the product of an unusually large number of acquisition deals (full history detailed here). Maintaining a seamless security protections across the orgs and tech stacks of acquired companies is more challenging than most realize.
  • The responsibilities of healthcare companies to make adequate investments in security. The current parent company UnitedHealthcare made $22B in profit in 2023, yet somehow could not make sufficient security investments in its subsidiaries.

There is a difference between the thoughtful blending of complementary capabilities to better serve customers vs packaging up business units for the next bigger sale. Some - not all - deals in the history of Change Healthcare were private equity. Private equity (PE) is called out here due to widespread criticism for forcing one-sided deals where PE firms benefit at the expense of companies and their customers. Further reading for context:

🍼 Bright Spot in the Future Economy: Baby Bonds

Connecticut is embarking on its anticipated Baby Bonds program, funded for the next 12 years. For each baby born the state will invest $3200. When the baby reaches adulthood the funds can be claimed between ages 18-30 and used for education, home purchases or starting an in-state business.

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🌍 Global Economic Dashboard 500+ US & Intl real-time economic indicators organized by nation and release dates. Tap or click any indicator for detailed charts.

🪙 Crypto Market Caps Top 100 Crypto Market Prices and Indicators. Colors indicate 24hr price movement, size of boxes indicate Market Cap.

Emerging Tech

⚠️ US uses AI to select targets for airstrikes

AI capabilities developed by the Pentagon's Project Maven were used to select airstrike targets in the Middle East. The Pentagon stressed that human operators were making final decisions. More context: The Political Declaration on Responsible Military Use of AI attempts to build international consensus on responsible use of military AI.

🗳️ AI tools fail to provide accurate historical and political information

Gemini Image Generator was disabled due to embarrassingly inappropriate imagery. Less publicized but also impactful are findings about AI Tools tendency to provide misleading information about elections.

The Institute for Advanced Studies compared the top 5 AI Tools - Anthropic’s Claude, Google’s Gemini, OpenAI’s GPT-4, Meta’s Llama 2, and Mistral’s Mixtral - on their ability to provide accurate information about voting and elections. On average half of the model's answers were inaccurate.

“Chatbots are not ready for prime time when it comes to giving important nuanced information about electionsSeth Bluestein, Philadelphia commissioner.

As shown below, GPT-4 performed significantly better than its peers. The study findings provide detail on why - appears that GPT-4 was trained on different data (Scroll toward the bottom of the piece for in-depth examples of how the models performed differently with specific kinds of questions).

Rates of Inaccurate answers. Image Courtesy of ProofNews.org

See also: Meta reveals plans to prevent its AI from impacting June elections in Europe.

🛩️ GitHub Copilot

This week GitHub announced "general availability" of Copilot Enterprise, GitHubs AI assistant for developers. The tool completes code and answers developer questions and is now available for $39 per month. As noted in last week's edition of S3T, a recent study suggests AI coding tools have a negative impact on code quality and reuse.

❤️ Developing: Meta and LG cozy up

Multiple outlets are reporting that Meta and LG are in partnership talks to created “Extended Reality” consumer experiences.

💾 Lobit: floppy disk music underground

Do you miss that satisfying "weepwerp" sound when you used to slide a floppy disk into the drive? Well, you'll be happy to know the floppy disk music is alive and well in 2024 - defying the commercialization of music on media known for its short lifespan. Check out Discogs.com for a good scan of what's available.

"Floppy disks are a realm of technical extremities and some of the rarest and most collectible music in the world." - Alexis Ong



tabby cat touching person's palm
Photo by Jonas Vincent / Unsplash

Reflection: 3 ways success and failure are similar

Have you noticed that success and failure have some things in common?

  • Neither of them means you’re done, nor do they mean it’s time to bail out.
  • They're both learning opportunities
  • They’re both perfect times to say “what’s the next step?“
  • We should be careful of how we assign meaning to either one of them.

What do success and failure mean to you?

As we journey through life, it's crucial to remember that the meaning we assign to success and failure is often a reflection of our inner dialogue.

Think about these statements - and how your mind fills in the blanks:

  • If I fail it will mean that I’m ______
  • If I succeed it will mean that I’m _______

Do you harbor a belief that success is a condition for worthiness, or that failure is an affirmation of inadequacy? Most of us do. "I can just be successful, then I’ll be good enough." Truth is, you’re good enough now.

We need to shift our perspective. Your worth is not contingent on the highs and lows of your journey. You are enough, exactly as you are at this moment. Success or failure, neither defines your intrinsic value nor your potential.

When I ____ then I’ll be worthy. No, You have great worth now. Sure you'll learn and improve. But make no mistake, your worth is immense and undiminishing, right at this moment and always. It's not tied to achievements, setbacks, or the opinions of others. You possess inherent value, simply by being you.

So, as you move forward, carry this understanding with you. Let it be the compass that guides you—not towards some elusive destination of conditional self-acceptance, but along a path of recognizing your inherent worth, and continuing your learning journey, regardless of the ups and downs you experience.


Accountability shields degrade your org's performance

If you're part of a project that is struggling with dependencies and execution speed, this practical guide will help you identify and dismantle common "accountability shields" that degrade organizations' ability to deliver on their goals.

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