Best Articles I Wrote (2023 Edition)

Best Articles I Wrote (2023 Edition)
Photo by Philipp Katzenberger on Unsplash

It’s been a busy year, with 42 issues of my newsletter “Securities” by Lux Capital in the bag alongside 22 podcast episodes. But the most exciting part of the year was my new editorial focus on “riskgaming,” a new form of wargame scenarios that I have been developing with colleagues over the past year. Three scenarios have nearly reached production, two written by me and one from a contributor. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite finish all the layout designs by the end of 2023, so while all the work took place this year, unless you were one of the hundred people who got to experience them live, you’ll have to wait until 2024 to see them published.

The biggest theme this year was obviously artificial intelligence, where there was just an overwhelming flood of news, progress, debate and theory about the field’s implications for the future of engineering, scientific discovery, creativity and society writ large. I remain deeply bullish on AI’s opportunity to transform the economy, but I’d say my skepticism is starting to grow on some of the most extreme perspectives, particularly in regards to the timeline for AI’s ready deployment. A much more automated world is coming, and coming soon, but nearly as soon as some commentators seem to think.

Another major theme was international relations and the return of hard power. I think 2022 shocked many people given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine early last year, and that shock has only expanded with Israel/Palestine and a whole slew of active and brewing conflicts in all regions of the world. Economic and ecological stresses have a way of inducing conflagration, and I see nothing abating in 2024 (and in most cases, only intensifying).

A third and final theme — and one near and dear to my heart — is the continued search for meaning among technologists as more and more of the world is controlled by code. AI’s rapid entrance into the conversation (ChatGPT is barely a year old at this point) has forced many engineers and tech leaders to confront a world in which even sophisticated cognitive work is likely to be done by a computer faster and better than nearly any human. What’s the meaning of human life when even the creative work will one day be done by machine?

All in all then, here are my five favorite columns from the past year, copied from my year-end issue of “Securities” (which also includes my favorite podcasts of the year):

  • "Existential Engineer" — my favorite piece of the year departs from the blind optimism of most of the tech industry to pursue a more deliberate path toward an existentialism of engineering and why building things matter to us not just materially, but spiritually as well.
  • "Garrulous Guerrilla" — the essential thesis on AI. I argue that the small fraction of creatives who do truly original work will survive generative AI, but that very few creatives are equipped to do original work. The implication is that millions of people will eventually lose their jobs in the years ahead.
  • Professional Prerogatives” — the jobs that will be protected from AI are those professions that hold the power to stop it cold. First up on that list will be doctors, who have already rebranded artificial intelligence as “augmented intelligence” in their pursuit of human autonomy. They will succeed, but other professions with weaker organizing skills will likely lose.
  • Brainwash Departures” — governments around the world are putting in place more and more restrictions on workers with expertise, essentially arguing that the thoughts of some workers are so important, that they are a national resource that must be secured. It’s a chilling new pattern, and one that should be aggressive fought against.
  • Striking Employment” — the superstar effect is decently studied in economics, but its effects have expanded to many more labor markets and even to many industries as well. The best are taking a greater share of the returns, and that’s transforming the economics for everybody else.

Lots more writing to come in 2024 – stay tuned by signing up for my personal newsletter as well as “Securities” by Lux Capital. Also check out my “best writing” posts from previous years.