Google fires protestors, NPR chaos, Humane's AI Pin, Startup tax crisis, sports betting scandal

Google fires protestors, NPR chaos, Humane's AI Pin, Startup tax crisis, sports betting scandal

Bestie Intros: Chamath recaps the Breakthrough Prize Ceremony, "High IQ foods" (00:00:00)

  • The Breakthrough Prize ceremony in Los Angeles honored individuals for their contributions in physics, math, and life sciences.
  • Attendees included prominent figures like Vin Diesel and Toby Emmerich.
  • A 16-year-old from India, a previous Breakthrough Prize winner and MIT graduate, received the youth award.
  • Musician Charlie Puth, known for creating songs from random noises, performed at the ceremony.
  • The hosts discussed a recent event and bantered, mentioning an upcoming poker night with octopus on the menu.
  • They debated the ethics of eating octopus due to their intelligence.
  • One host shared his experience trying various barbecue dishes, including beef ribs, brisket, and bison ribs, in Austin.
  • The hosts expressed excitement for the upcoming episode and gratitude to the audience.

All-In Summit update, Poker styles of Andrew Robl, Jason Koon, and Phil Hellmuth (00:09:49)

  • Applications for the upcoming summit are still open and will be processed in the order received. Alumni registration is automatic. Scholarship details will be announced in a couple of weeks.
  • Episode 175 of the All-in podcast discusses poker players and their playing styles: Robel has the most dynamic range, [__ __] is the most precise and unexploitable, and Phil Helmuth is capable of surprising folds based on soul reads.
  • Google dismisses employees who participated in a protest against the company's AI ethics.
  • NPR is experiencing internal conflicts and allegations of misconduct.
  • Humane, an AI company, has created a pin that can detect human emotions.
  • Startups are facing a tax crisis due to changes in tax laws.
  • A sports betting scandal involves several high-profile athletes.

Google fires protestors (00:14:38)

  • Google fired 28 employees who protested against the company's involvement in Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion cloud contract with Israel's government.
  • The protest was organized by No Tech for Apartheid and took place at Google's offices in Sunnyvale and New York City.
  • The protesters disrupted business operations by occupying the CEO of Google Cloud's office.
  • Google's decision to fire the employees sparked a debate about the right to protest in a democracy and the potential disruption to public life.
  • The protesters' actions were seen as naive and misguided, as they did not understand their employment status as "at-will" employees.
  • The protest may have been an attempt to create newsworthiness and draw attention to their cause, but it is unlikely to significantly contribute to the movement against Project Nimbus.

Chaos and culture wars at NPR (00:35:08)

  • NPR's new CEO, Katherine Mah, has been criticized for her far-left views, which some believe have caused NPR to lose its objectivity and alienate a significant portion of its audience.
  • Mah's critics point to her past tweets and statements, such as her assertion that "truth is a bit of a distraction" and her description of Trump as a "racist."
  • In response to the criticism, Mah called her critics' actions "profoundly disrespectful, hurtful, and demeaning."
  • NPR editor Erie Berliner was suspended for five days without pay after sharing old tweets from Mah that highlighted her far-left views.
  • Berliner subsequently resigned from NPR, citing the organization's divisive atmosphere and the fact that Mah's views confirmed the problems he had outlined in his essay for Bari Weiss's Free Press.
  • The controversy has sparked a broader discussion about the role of government funding in public broadcasting, with some arguing that NPR should no longer receive government support given its perceived left-wing bias.

Humane's AI Pin: Marques Brownlee's review, the Ex-Apple issue, polarizing reactions (00:40:43)

  • YouTuber Marques Brownlee criticized the Humane AI Pin, an AI wearable computer, calling it the "worst product" he's reviewed due to its high price, slow performance, and limited functionality compared to smartphones.
  • The discussion highlighted the challenges of deep tech investing in hardware startups, where significant upfront capital is required with uncertain outcomes.
  • Google fired employees who protested the company's AI ethics, while NPR faced chaos due to the president's resignation and allegations of a toxic work environment.
  • Startups in the tech industry face challenges in balancing innovation with customer satisfaction, as negative reviews from influential tech reviewers like Marques Brownlee can significantly impact a product's success.
  • Humane's AI Pin, despite its innovative features, received negative reviews for its slow response time, inaccurate results, short battery life, overheating, and high price.
  • The increasing reliance on devices raises concerns about anxiety, reduced social interaction, and privacy implications, especially with the development of devices that constantly record conversations and videos.
  • The potential benefits of brain-computer interfaces are acknowledged, but concerns are raised about decreased social acceptability and privacy issues.
  • Phone lockers in schools have a positive impact by reducing device usage and promoting focus during school hours.
  • Social media addiction, particularly to TikTok, can be detrimental and requires conscious effort to overcome.
  • Recommended reading materials for parents include "Nexus" by Ramez Naam and "Bad Therapy" by Abigail Shrier.

Startup tax crisis: How a recent provision upended R&D deductions (01:02:28)

  • The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act requires startups to amortize R&D expenses over five years, leading to increased tax liability and financial difficulties.
  • The delay in repealing this provision is due to disagreements between Democrats and Republicans over the extension of the child tax credit.
  • The unclear definition of R&D and the requirement to amortize R&D expenses outside the US over 50 years disincentivizes investment in innovation.
  • The combination of tax issues and the lack of a clear framework for mergers and acquisitions is hindering the growth of startups in the US.
  • Google fired employees who protested against Project Maven, an AI program used for military purposes.

Sports betting scandal: NBA player Jontay Porter banned for life, explosion of sports betting in the US (01:12:39)

  • The NBA banned Jonte Porter for life after an investigation revealed his involvement in insider betting.
  • Porter placed bets on his own unders for points and rebounds during games, using friends' accounts to avoid detection.
  • DraftKings identified Porter as the biggest money maker and canceled an $80,000 bet on him.
  • The NBA and sports betting platforms have agreements to report unusual betting patterns to maintain integrity.
  • Sports betting is becoming increasingly popular, generating massive revenue for states and leagues.
  • The gamification of sports betting, with well-designed apps and the thrill of winning, leads to addiction, especially among young men.
  • The integration of sports betting into sports commentary and endorsement deals with players solidifies the industry's position.
  • Societally, sports betting is comparable to cannabis, where responsible adult engagement is allowed but may have negative consequences due to potential addiction and problem gambling.

How to get better at chess, childhood Bestie schemes (01:23:33)

  • Google dismissed employees who protested the company's AI ethics.
  • NPR is experiencing internal conflicts and departures, leading to chaos within the organization.
  • Humane's AI Pin is a new voice-controlled device for smart home management.
  • Many startups are facing difficulties in paying taxes, resulting in a looming startup tax crisis.
  • A sports betting scandal involving a former NBA referee has been uncovered.
  • The speaker engaged in various scams as a child, including buying undervalued electronics from the Recycler newspaper and reselling them for profit.
  • They also sold illegally recorded VHS copies of "The Empire Strikes Back" to classmates and their math teacher.
  • The speaker created and sold fake IDs using Harvard Graphics software and Polaroids, employing plausible deniability techniques.
  • They stole floppy discs and sold pirated copies of Chessmaster for profit.
  • The speaker also created and sold counterfeit parking permits in Manhattan, allowing people to park illegally without getting tickets.

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