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  • Sunday Signal: Autonomous agents, Steve Jobs' design revolution and memento mori

Sunday Signal: Autonomous agents, Steve Jobs' design revolution and memento mori

Hey friends 👋 Happy Sunday.

Here’s your weekly dose of AI and introspection.

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AI Highlights

Canva launches Magic Studio, a one-stop AI-powered design studio for individuals and teams. It helps remove the need to toggle between different platforms by offering a suite of AI tools. This includes ‘Magic Switch’ for platform reformatting, turning your decks to different kinds of docs, and ‘Magic Media’, a text-to-video tool powered by Runway.

Alex’s take: We’re seeing the bundling of AI tools emerge, especially with Meta also rolling out AI tools for advertisers. This comes off the back of Jasper, an AI-powered writing tool for marketers and darling of the gen-AI boom slashing its $1.5B valuation by 20% (+ the CEO’s exit) amid slowing growth. OpenAI went from product enabler to product competitor upon its release of ChatGPT. How long before the big boys gobble up these tools at the edge?

LinkedIn has introduced tools in the HR and learning domains. This includes the pilot of ‘Recruiter 2024’, a new AI-assisted recruiting tool designed to enhance talent acquisition. It draws insights from 950M professionals and 65M companies. Early tests have indicated it saves 74% of recruiters time.

Alex’s take: AI courses saw a 65% uptick in learners last year. There’s an abundant demand to learn how to leverage AI, especially inside HR roles as LinkedIn Learning’s AI-powered coaching experience is beginning to demonstrate.

Induced AI has recently secured $2.3M from the likes of Sam Altman and Daniel Gross and Nat Friedman’s AI grant. The platform enables you to automate browser workflows by inputting instructions in plain English. Induced offers capabilities like two-factor authentication and file downloads that other autonomous agents (AI that performs tasks on behalf of the user) cannot.

Alex’s take: Autonomous agents are the future. As we ascend the robotic process automation (RPA) ladder, additional AI agents like MultiOn and HyperWrite are appearing. Seeing end-to-end tasks (like booking a flight) being completed excites me for the future of what’s to come in this domain.

1 Article I Enjoyed

In 1977, Apple’s first marketing brochure declared, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Steve Jobs, shaped by his practice of Japanese Zen Buddhism, deeply integrated this ethos of simplicity into his design philosophy. His creations, from the iMac to the iPhone, weren’t just encasements for technology—they were a deliberate narrative: a story about the product, its creation, and its potential.

Jobs’ unwavering belief was that design should be at the forefront, not merely a surface-level consideration. This allowed Apple to stand out in a sea of technological conformity.

Through Apple’s lens, simplicity emerged not as the absence of complexity, but as a deep, empathetic understanding of it, delivering designs that were not only easy to use but a delight to interact with.

1 Idea I Learned

Memento mori.

Memento mori is a Latin phrase meaning 'remember you must die'.

The Stoics used Memento Mori not to promote fear but to inspire and treat life as a gift.

What should you do about it?

The answer is to live. Don’t waste your time on aimless activity. Live each moment with purpose and passion.

1 Quote to Share

Martial artist and actor Bruce Lee once said:

“I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times.”

There is beauty to be found in consistent, focused practice. Mastery and depth are far more fearsome than being a jack of all trades.

1 Question to Ponder

“What needs to be removed so that I can speed up?”

We often self-impose constraints that need not exist. Zoom out, understand where you’re limiting yourself, and make the necessary adjustments.

💡 If you enjoyed this issue, share it with a friend:

See you next week,

Alex Banks