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Sara_Mednick

Sara_Mednick

1 year ago

Since I'm a scientist, I oppose biohacking

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Katrina Paulson

Katrina Paulson

1 year ago

Dehumanization Against Anthropomorphization

We've fought for humanity's sake. We need equilibrium.

Photo by Bekah Russom on Unsplash

We live in a world of opposites (black/white, up/down, love/hate), thus life is a game of achieving equilibrium. We have a universe of paradoxes within ourselves, not just in physics.

Individually, you balance your intellect and heart, but as a species, we're full of polarities. They might be gentle and compassionate, then ruthless and unsympathetic.

We desire for connection so much that we personify non-human beings and objects while turning to violence and hatred toward others. These contrasts baffle me. Will we find balance?

Anthropomorphization

Assigning human-like features or bonding with objects is common throughout childhood. Cartoons often give non-humans human traits. Adults still anthropomorphize this trait. Researchers agree we start doing it as infants and continue throughout life.

Humans of all ages are good at humanizing stuff. We build emotional attachments to weather events, inanimate objects, animals, plants, and locales. Gods, goddesses, and fictitious figures are anthropomorphized.

Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks, features anthropization. Hanks is left on an island, where he builds an emotional bond with a volleyball he calls Wilson.

We became emotionally invested in Wilson, including myself.

Why do we do it, though?

Our instincts and traits helped us survive and thrive. Our brain is alert to other people's thoughts, feelings, and intentions to assist us to determine who is safe or hazardous. We can think about others and our own mental states, or about thinking. This is the Theory of Mind.

Neurologically, specialists believe the Theory of Mind has to do with our mirror neurons, which exhibit the same activity while executing or witnessing an action.

Mirror neurons may contribute to anthropization, but they're not the only ones. In 2021, Harvard Medical School researchers at MGH and MIT colleagues published a study on the brain's notion of mind.

“Our study provides evidence to support theory of mind by individual neurons. Until now, it wasn’t clear whether or how neurons were able to perform these social cognitive computations.”

Neurons have particular functions, researchers found. Others encode information that differentiates one person's beliefs from another's. Some neurons reflect tale pieces, whereas others aren't directly involved in social reasoning but may multitask contributing factors.

Combining neuronal data gives a precise portrait of another's beliefs and comprehension. The theory of mind describes how we judge and understand each other in our species, and it likely led to anthropomorphism. Neuroscience indicates identical brain regions react to human or non-human behavior, like mirror neurons.

Some academics believe we're wired for connection, which explains why we anthropomorphize. When we're alone, we may anthropomorphize non-humans.

Humanizing non-human entities may make them deserving of moral care, according to another theory. Animamorphizing something makes it responsible for its actions and deserves punishments or rewards. This mental shift is typically apparent in our connections with pets and leads to deanthropomorphization.

Dehumanization

Dehumanizing involves denying someone or anything ethical regard, the opposite of anthropomorphizing.

Dehumanization occurs throughout history. We do it to everything in nature, including ourselves. We experiment on and torture animals. We enslave, hate, and harm other groups of people.

Race, immigrant status, dress choices, sexual orientation, social class, religion, gender, politics, need I go on? Our degrading behavior is promoting fascism and division everywhere.

Dehumanizing someone or anything reduces their agency and value. Many assume they're immune to this feature, but tests disagree.

It's inevitable. Humans are wired to have knee-jerk reactions to differences. We are programmed to dehumanize others, and it's easier than we'd like to admit.

Why do we do it, though?

Dehumanizing others is simpler than humanizing things for several reasons. First, we consider everything unusual as harmful, which has helped our species survive for hundreds of millions of years. Our propensity to be distrustful of others, like our fear of the unknown, promotes an us-vs.-them mentality.

Since WWII, various studies have been done to explain how or why the holocaust happened. How did so many individuals become radicalized to commit such awful actions and feel morally justified? Researchers quickly showed how easily the mind can turn gloomy.

Stanley Milgram's 1960s electroshock experiment highlighted how quickly people bow to authority to injure others. Philip Zimbardo's 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment revealed how power may be abused.

The us-versus-them attitude is natural and even young toddlers act on it. Without a relationship, empathy is more difficult.

It's terrifying how quickly dehumanizing behavior becomes commonplace. The current pandemic is an example. Most countries no longer count deaths. Long Covid is a major issue, with predictions of a handicapped tsunami in the future years. Mostly, we shrug.

In 2020, we panicked. Remember everyone's caution? Now Long Covid is ruining more lives, threatening to disable an insane amount of our population for months or their entire lives.

There's little research. Experts can't even classify or cure it. The people should be outraged, but most have ceased caring. They're over covid.

We're encouraged to find a method to live with a terrible pandemic that will cause years of damage. People aren't worried about infection anymore. They shrug and say, "We'll all get it eventually," then hope they're not one of the 30% who develops Long Covid.

We can correct course before further damage. Because we can recognize our urges and biases, we're not captives to them. We can think critically about our thoughts and behaviors, then attempt to improve. We can recognize our deficiencies and work to attain balance.

Changing perspectives

We're currently attempting to find equilibrium between opposites. It's superficial to defend extremes by stating we're only human or wired this way because both imply we have no control.

Being human involves having self-awareness, and by being careful of our thoughts and acts, we can find balance and recognize opposites' purpose.

Extreme anthropomorphizing and dehumanizing isolate and imperil us. We anthropomorphize because we desire connection and dehumanize because we're terrified, frequently of the connection we crave. Will we find balance?

Katrina Paulson ponders humanity, unanswered questions, and discoveries. Please check out her newsletters, Curious Adventure and Curious Life.

Will Lockett

Will Lockett

1 year ago

The Unlocking Of The Ultimate Clean Energy

Terrestrial space-solar terminals could look like radio telescopes — Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

The company seeking 24/7 ultra-powerful solar electricity.

We're rushing to adopt low-carbon energy to prevent a self-made doomsday. We're using solar, wind, and wave energy. These low-carbon sources aren't perfect. They consume large areas of land, causing habitat loss. They don't produce power reliably, necessitating large grid-level batteries, an environmental nightmare. We can and must do better than fossil fuels. Longi, one of the world's top solar panel producers, is creating a low-carbon energy source. Solar-powered spacecraft. But how does it work? Why is it so environmentally harmonious? And how can Longi unlock it?

Space-based solar makes sense. Satellites above Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) enjoy 24/7 daylight. Outer space has no atmosphere or ozone layer to block the Sun's high-energy UV radiation. Solar panels can create more energy in space than on Earth due to these two factors. Solar panels in orbit can create 40 times more power than those on Earth, according to estimates.

How can we utilize this immense power? Launch a geostationary satellite with solar panels, then beam power to Earth. Such a technology could be our most eco-friendly energy source. (Better than fusion power!) How?

Solar panels create more energy in space, as I've said. Solar panel manufacture and grid batteries emit the most carbon. This indicates that a space-solar farm's carbon footprint (which doesn't need a battery because it's a constant power source) might be over 40 times smaller than a terrestrial one. Combine that with carbon-neutral launch vehicles like Starship, and you have a low-carbon power source. Solar power has one of the lowest emissions per kWh at 6g/kWh, so space-based solar could approach net-zero emissions.

Space solar is versatile because it doesn't require enormous infrastructure. A space-solar farm could power New York and Dallas with the same efficiency, without cables. The satellite will transmit power to a nearby terminal. This allows an energy system to evolve and adapt as the society it powers changes. Building and maintaining infrastructure can be carbon-intensive, thus less infrastructure means less emissions.

Space-based solar doesn't destroy habitats, either. Solar and wind power can be engineered to reduce habitat loss, but they still harm ecosystems, which must be restored. Space solar requires almost no land, therefore it's easier on Mother Nature.

Space solar power could be the ultimate energy source. So why haven’t we done it yet?

Well, for two reasons: the cost of launch and the efficiency of wireless energy transmission.

Advances in rocket construction and reusable rocket technology have lowered orbital launch costs. In the early 2000s, the Space Shuttle cost $60,000 per kg launched into LEO, but a SpaceX Falcon 9 costs only $3,205. 95% drop! Even at these low prices, launching a space-based solar farm is commercially questionable.

Energy transmission efficiency is half of its commercial viability. Space-based solar farms must be in geostationary orbit to get 24/7 daylight, 22,300 miles above Earth's surface. It's a long way to wirelessly transmit energy. Most laser and microwave systems are below 20% efficient.

Space-based solar power is uneconomical due to low efficiency and high deployment costs.

Longi wants to create this ultimate power. But how?

They'll send solar panels into space to develop space-based solar power that can be beamed to Earth. This mission will help them design solar panels tough enough for space while remaining efficient.

Longi is a Chinese company, and China's space program and universities are developing space-based solar power and seeking commercial partners. Xidian University has built a 98%-efficient microwave-based wireless energy transmission system for space-based solar power. The Long March 5B is China's super-cheap (but not carbon-offset) launch vehicle.

Longi fills the gap. They have the commercial know-how and ability to build solar satellites and terrestrial terminals at scale. Universities and the Chinese government have transmission technology and low-cost launch vehicles to launch this technology.

It may take a decade to develop and refine this energy solution. This could spark a clean energy revolution. Once operational, Longi and the Chinese government could offer the world a flexible, environmentally friendly, rapidly deployable energy source.

Should the world adopt this technology and let China control its energy? I'm not very political, so you decide. This seems to be the beginning of tapping into this planet-saving energy source. Forget fusion reactors. Carbon-neutral energy is coming soon.

Katherine Kornei

Katherine Kornei

2 years ago

The InSight lander from NASA has recorded the greatest tremor ever felt on Mars.

The magnitude 5 earthquake was responsible for the discharge of energy that was 10 times greater than the previous record holder.

Any Martians who happen to be reading this should quickly learn how to duck and cover.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, reported that on May 4, the planet Mars was shaken by an earthquake of around magnitude 5, making it the greatest Marsquake ever detected to this point. The shaking persisted for more than six hours and unleashed more than ten times as much energy as the earthquake that had previously held the record for strongest.

The event was captured on record by the InSight lander, which is operated by the United States Space Agency and has been researching the innards of Mars ever since it touched down on the planet in 2018 (SN: 11/26/18). The epicenter of the earthquake was probably located in the vicinity of Cerberus Fossae, which is located more than 1,000 kilometers away from the lander.

The surface of Cerberus Fossae is notorious for being broken up and experiencing periodic rockfalls. According to geophysicist Philippe Lognonné, who is the lead investigator of the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, the seismometer that is onboard the InSight lander, it is reasonable to assume that the ground is moving in that area. "This is an old crater from a volcanic eruption."

Marsquakes, which are similar to earthquakes in that they give information about the interior structure of our planet, can be utilized to investigate what lies beneath the surface of Mars (SN: 7/22/21). And according to Lognonné, who works at the Institut de Physique du Globe in Paris, there is a great deal that can be gleaned from analyzing this massive earthquake. Because the quality of the signal is so high, we will be able to focus on the specifics.

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Jano le Roux

Jano le Roux

1 year ago

Apple Quietly Introduces A Revolutionary Savings Account That Kills Banks

Would you abandon your bank for Apple?

Apple

Banks are struggling.

  • not as a result of inflation

  • not due to the economic downturn.

  • not due to the conflict in Ukraine.

But because they’re underestimating Apple.

Slowly but surely, Apple is looking more like a bank.

An easy new savings account like Apple

Apple

Apple has a new savings account.

Apple says Apple Card users may set up and manage savings straight in Wallet.

  • No more charges

  • Colorfully high yields

  • With no minimum balance

  • No minimal down payments

Most consumer-facing banks will have to match Apple's offer or suffer disruption.

Users may set it up from their iPhones without traveling to a bank or filling out paperwork.

It’s built into the iPhone in your pocket.

So now more waiting for slow approval processes.

Once the savings account is set up, Apple will automatically transfer all future Daily Cash into it. Users may also add these cash to an Apple Cash card in their Apple Wallet app and adjust where Daily Cash is paid at any time.

Apple

Apple Pay and Apple Wallet VP Jennifer Bailey:

Savings enables Apple Card users to grow their Daily Cash rewards over time, while also saving for the future.

Bailey says Savings adds value to Apple Card's Daily Cash benefit and offers another easy-to-use tool to help people lead healthier financial lives.

Transfer money from a linked bank account or Apple Cash to a Savings account. Users can withdraw monies to a connected bank account or Apple Cash card without costs.

Once set up, Apple Card customers can track their earnings via Wallet's Savings dashboard. This dashboard shows their account balance and interest.

This product targets younger people as the easiest way to start a savings account on the iPhone.

Why would a Gen Z account holder travel to the bank if their iPhone could be their bank?

Using this concept, Apple will transform the way we think about banking by 2030.

Two other nightmares keep bankers awake at night

Apple revealed two new features in early 2022 that banks and payment gateways hated.

  • Tap to Pay with Apple

  • Late Apple Pay

They startled the industry.

Tap To Pay converts iPhones into mobile POS card readers. Apple Pay Later is pushing the BNPL business in a consumer-friendly direction, hopefully ending dodgy lending practices.

Tap to Pay with Apple

iPhone POS

Apple

Millions of US merchants, from tiny shops to huge establishments, will be able to accept Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets with a tap.

No hardware or payment terminal is needed.

Revolutionary!

Stripe has previously launched this feature.

Tap to Pay on iPhone will provide companies with a secure, private, and quick option to take contactless payments and unleash new checkout experiences, said Bailey.

Apple's solution is ingenious. Brilliant!

Bailey says that payment platforms, app developers, and payment networks are making it easier than ever for businesses of all sizes to accept contactless payments and thrive.

I admire that Apple is offering this up to third-party services instead of closing off other functionalities.

Slow POS terminals, farewell.

Late Apple Pay

Pay Apple later.

Apple

Apple Pay Later enables US consumers split Apple Pay purchases into four equal payments over six weeks with no interest or fees.

The Apple ecosystem integration makes this BNPL scheme unique. Nonstick. No dumb forms.

Frictionless.

Just double-tap the button.

Apple Pay Later was designed with users' financial well-being in mind. Apple makes it easy to use, track, and pay back Apple Pay Later from Wallet.

Apple Pay Later can be signed up in Wallet or when using Apple Pay. Apple Pay Later can be used online or in an app that takes Apple Pay and leverages the Mastercard network.

Apple Pay Order Tracking helps consumers access detailed receipts and order tracking in Wallet for Apple Pay purchases at participating stores.

Bad BNPL suppliers, goodbye.

Most bankers will be caught in Apple's eye playing mini golf in high-rise offices.

The big problem:

  • Banks still think about features and big numbers just like other smartphone makers did not too long ago.

  • Apple thinks about effortlessnessseamlessness, and frictionlessness that just work through integrated hardware and software.

Let me know what you think Apple’s next power moves in the banking industry could be.

Rita McGrath

Rita McGrath

1 year ago

Flywheels and Funnels

Traditional sales organizations used the concept of a sales “funnel” to describe the process through which potential customers move, ending up with sales at the end. Winners today have abandoned that way of thinking in favor of building flywheels — business models in which every element reinforces every other.

Ah, the marketing funnel…

Prospective clients go through a predictable set of experiences, students learn in business school marketing classes. It looks like this:

Martech Zone.

Understanding the funnel helps evaluate sales success indicators. Gail Goodwin, former CEO of small business direct mail provider Constant Contact, said managing the pipeline was key to escaping the sluggish SaaS ramp of death.

Like the funnel concept. To predict how well your business will do, measure how many potential clients are aware of it (awareness) and how many take the next step. If 1,000 people heard about your offering and 10% showed interest, you'd have 100 at that point. If 50% of these people made buyer-like noises, you'd know how many were, etc. It helped model buying trends.

TV, magazine, and radio advertising are pricey for B2C enterprises. Traditional B2B marketing involved armies of sales reps, which was expensive and a barrier to entry.

Cracks in the funnel model

Digital has exposed the funnel's limitations. Hubspot was born at a time when buyers and sellers had huge knowledge asymmetries, according to co-founder Brian Halligan. Those selling a product could use the buyer's lack of information to become a trusted partner.

As the world went digital, getting information and comparing offerings became faster, easier, and cheaper. Buyers didn't need a seller to move through a funnel. Interactions replaced transactions, and the relationship didn't end with a sale.

Instead, buyers and sellers interacted in a constant flow. In many modern models, the sale is midway through the process (particularly true with subscription and software-as-a-service models). Example:

Customer journey with touchpoints

You're creating a winding journey with many touch points, not a funnel (and lots of opportunities for customers to get lost).

From winding journey to flywheel

Beyond this revised view of an interactive customer journey, a company can create what Jim Collins famously called a flywheel. Imagine rolling a heavy disc on its axis. The first few times you roll it, you put in a lot of effort for a small response. The same effort yields faster turns as it gains speed. Over time, the flywheel gains momentum and turns without your help.

Modern digital organizations have created flywheel business models, in which any additional force multiplies throughout the business. The flywheel becomes a force multiplier, according to Collins.

Amazon is a famous flywheel example. Collins explained the concept to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at a corporate retreat in 2001. In The Everything Store, Brad Stone describes in his book The Everything Store how he immediately understood Amazon's levers.

The result (drawn on a napkin):

Low prices and a large selection of products attracted customers, while a focus on customer service kept them coming back, increasing traffic. Third-party sellers then increased selection. Low-cost structure supports low-price commitment. It's brilliant! Every wheel turn creates acceleration.

Where from here?

Flywheel over sales funnel! Consider these business terms.

SAHIL SAPRU

SAHIL SAPRU

1 year ago

How I grew my business to a $5 million annual recurring revenue

Scaling your startup requires answering customer demands, not growth tricks.

I cofounded Freedo Rentals in 2019. I reached 50 lakh+ ARR in 6 months before quitting owing to the epidemic.

Freedo aimed to solve 2 customer pain points:

  • Users lacked a reliable last-mile transportation option.

  • The amount that Auto walas charge for unmetered services

Solution?

Effectively simple.

Build ports at high-demand spots (colleges, residential societies, metros). Electric ride-sharing can meet demand.

We had many problems scaling. I'll explain using the AARRR model.

  • Brand unfamiliarity or a novel product offering were the problems with awareness. Nobody knew what Freedo was or what it did.

  • Problem with awareness: Content and advertisements did a poor job of communicating the task at hand. The advertisements clashed with the white-collar part because they were too cheesy.

  • Retention Issue: We encountered issues, indicating that the product was insufficient. Problems with keyless entry, creating bills, stealing helmets, etc.

  • Retention/Revenue Issue: Costly compared to established rivals. Shared cars were 1/3 of our cost.

  • Referral Issue: Missing the opportunity to seize the AHA moment. After the ride, nobody remembered us.

Once you know where you're struggling with AARRR, iterative solutions are usually best.

Once you have nailed the AARRR model, most startups use paid channels to scale. This dependence, on paid channels, increases with scale unless you crack your organic/inbound game.

Over-index growth loops. Growth loops increase inflow and customers as you scale.

When considering growth, ask yourself:

  • Who is the solution's ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)? (To whom are you selling)

  • What are the most important messages I should convey to customers? (This is an A/B test.)

  • Which marketing channels ought I prioritize? (Conduct analysis based on the startup's maturity/stage.)

  • Choose the important metrics to monitor for your AARRR funnel (not all metrics are equal)

  • Identify the Flywheel effect's growth loops (inertia matters)

My biggest mistakes:

  • not paying attention to consumer comments or satisfaction. It is the main cause of problems with referrals, retention, and acquisition for startups. Beyond your NPS, you should consider second-order consequences.

  • The tasks at hand should be quite clear.

Here's my scaling equation:

Growth = A x B x C

A = Funnel top (Traffic)

B = Product Valuation (Solving a real pain point)

C = Aha! (Emotional response)

Freedo's A, B, and C created a unique offering.

Freedo’s ABC:

A — Working or Studying population in NCR

B — Electric Vehicles provide last-mile mobility as a clean and affordable solution

C — One click booking with a no-noise scooter

Final outcome:

FWe scaled Freedo to Rs. 50 lakh MRR and were growing 60% month on month till the pandemic ceased our growth story.

How we did it?

We tried ambassadors and coupons. WhatsApp was our most successful A/B test.

We grew widespread adoption through college and society WhatsApp groups. We requested users for referrals in community groups.

What worked for us won't work for others. This scale underwent many revisions.

Every firm is different, thus you must know your customers. Needs to determine which channel to prioritize and when.

Users desired a safe, time-bound means to get there.

This (not mine) growth framework helped me a lot. You should follow suit.