Tuesday Trends

virtual feet, understanding exponentials, and a Burberry NFT drop

October 12, 2021

Happy Tuesday,

"Whoa, I'm in a room. Where are my feet?!"

I'm jolted out of my deep concentration and look over. My son has my Oculus headset on and he's looking down at his nonexistent VR feet.

I've successfully kept his young eyes away from VR till now, but he found the headset powered on while I was distracted.

I had been deeply concentrating on some line of code or Unity setting on a cornhole game I'm working on for the VR dev boot camp.

As he looks around in wonder, I can't help but laugh and let him have a few minutes of fun.

//unedited video of an unpolished cornhole VR experience, but it works!

"I can see my hands!" he yells as he holds out a hand in front of him and discovered that the Oculus will track his real life hands virtually.

I remember my first moments in VR, it's what got me hooked. The first time in VR is an amazing experience, it's a glimpse of the future.

Why can't we perceive exponential growth?

I was talking a few weeks back with a software engineer about my thoughts on the future of the US and other large nation-states. He couldn't wrap his head around it. I get that the idea is a bit crazy on the face of it, but it's not an unreasonable outcome if you project various exponential trends into the future.

He couldn't see it.

Here's a guy who's whole career has been in an industry of exponential growth, see Moore's Law, but when it came to his normal life changing dramatically he couldn't project exponentially.

To be fair, we all really can't. We all look back upon our own lives and the progress that's been made in it and project into the future linearly. This grossly underestimates the rate of growth for the future.

I can't explain this better than Tim Urban, so here's his amazing article on exponential growth and AI. I'd heavily encourage you to read that article, but one image from it that illustrates perfectly our flawed linear thinking is this one:

exponential vs linear projections

The inability to understand exponential growth is not a harmless quirk of human psychology.

Just a few exponential things: pandemics, climate change, wildfires, compound interest, cancer cells, the advancements of artificial intelligence, uptake of new technologies....

Now you're seeing it.

The ability to project exponentially is to understand what the future looks like compared to today.

The hard to believe scenarios - both optimistic and pessimistic are more likely than the reasonable projections. Anything that sounds reasonable is based on linear projections. The reality is that the future will be very different than today. Hopefully much, much better.

2 crazy things ✌

👚 Fashion getting into NFTs 🎨

Oh NFTs! In another sign that they're heating up, global fashion brands like Louis Vuitton and Burberry are getting in on the NFT hype.
Glossy: How fashion brands are navigating NFTs and what's next for the Metaverse

this is the Burberry NFT. I know, I know - source

If you don't get NFTs yet, don't worry, barely anyone does, but there's always our favorite pseudonymous crypto punk 6529 to the rescue:

6529 NFT twitter screenshot
// link to whole thread in case embed doesn't work for you

🍄 Cancer Killing Fungus

cancer killing fungus

Cancer is one of those exponential things we talked about earlier. It's awful and it's still taking lives. Earlier this year I went to the funeral of a dear family friend who died from brain cancer.
One of these days we will cure cancer and it's going to be amazing. In the meantime we've apparently found a much better cancer drug in the unlikeliest of sources, a weird fungus.
Oxford: Anti-cancer drug derived from fungus shows promise

What's a future technology you just don't believe will happen like everyone's saying?

Is it potentially an exponential? No, something else?
Let me know. Just hit reply, I read and respond to everyone!

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Have an awesome week and see you next Tuesday!


The future is widely misunderstood. Our forebears expected it to be pretty much like their present, which had been pretty much like their past.
Ray Kurzweil in The Singularity Is Near

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