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  • Sunday Signal: The iPhone for AI, Feynman’s first principle, and Wu Wei, the art of effortless action

Sunday Signal: The iPhone for AI, Feynman’s first principle, and Wu Wei, the art of effortless action

Hey friends 👋 Happy Sunday.

I recently resurfaced a favourite quote of mine, “Evolve or die,” from none other than the great investor Ray Dalio’s book, “Principles.” It couldn’t be more fitting to capture the evolution of this newsletter.

I’m merging my personal reflections with the world of AI. My intention? Cut through the noise and curate the highest signal ideas you’ll find online. Here’s your weekly dose of AI and introspection.

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AI Highlights

ChatGPT introduces voice and image capabilities, offering a more interactive interface. Rolling out to Plus and Enterprise users, you can now snap a picture and show ChatGPT what you’re talking about. They’ve also re-introduced internet browsing.

Alex’s take: We’re seeing the domains of AI cross-pollinate with visual and auditory senses more than ever before, especially with the release of Meta’s smart glasses in collaboration with Ray-Ban. If only I had this when I was a kid—snap a photo of my homework, ChatGPT understands the problem set, and receive ‘hints’ on demand.

OpenAI, Jony Ive, and SoftBank discuss a $1bn venture to create a novel consumer AI device. The aim is to enhance AI interaction and reduce screen dependency by offering a “more natural and intuitive user experience”.

Alex’s take: Whilst no final deal has been announced yet, I can’t help but feel this will be a reality over the next few years. It makes me think of what the end game could look like in many years’ time; eventually, there will be no device we pick up or put back into our pockets. Instead, a brain-computer interface (e.g., Neuralink) will operate seamlessly at the speed of thought.

The 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) tall humanoid is powered by the same vision-based computer system Tesla uses in its full self-driving Autopilot system. Optimus is now capable of self-calibrating its arms and legs. It can even perform yoga.

Alex’s take: I am insanely bullish on the future of humanoids. Whilst a product demo is very different from full production, the size of the opportunity is immense: human labour accounts for 50% of global GDP. As my friend Brett Adcock said recently in an interview, “It’ll take 10 years to truly penetrate the commercial labour market.”

1 Article I Enjoyed

In both philosophy and science, changing your mind is often seen as a weakness, while holding course to your beliefs is celebrated as a strength.

But this idea is fundamentally flawed.

We must remember Feynman’s first principle: “You must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

The deeper you establish yourself in a belief, the harder it becomes to change your mind when confronted with contradicting evidence.

“A fixed mindset believes it's always right; a flexible one changes the world.

Your ability to change your mind when presented with new information is the greatest sign of intelligence.”

1 Idea I Learned

Wu Wei, the art of effortless action.

The ancient Chinese philosophy of Wu Wei translates to non-doing or “doing nothing”. It’s easy to mistake this as an excuse to be lazy. Yet, according to the philosophy of Daoism, Wu Wei represents the pinnacle of action: to act without forced effort.

To embody the Dao, or The Way, isn't about inaction; it's about seamless, effortless action. We see examples of Wu Wei in many areas of life:

  • Rodger Federer’s balletic dance on the tennis court

  • Elon Musk’s rocket designs

  • Picasso’s brushwork

People in Wu wei feel as if they’re doing nothing, while at the same time are doing something brilliant. This is what it means to be in your ‘flow state’.

Profound concentration in an unselfconscious state of mind. A perfect harmony of activity and effectiveness.

1 Quote to Share

World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck wrote:

“The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”

Your willingness to continue learning and growing is the most robust characteristic you can have as a human. Evolve or die.

1 Question to Ponder

How long are you going to wait before you demand the best from yourself? - Epictetus

In a world of uncertainty, we must put nothing off.

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See you next week,

Alex Banks