Jimi Smoot Entrepreneur / Software Engineer

Robot Butler

Robot Butlers ASMR and Crypto

This week was a bit hectic. I’m back in LA looking at apartments, having meetings, and working in person with the SFOX team.

Coming back in LA is a bit of a shock to be honest. It’s mostly the cars. For the last few months I spent most of my time at the house in Truckee and when I did go out there wasnt much traffic in the town of 17000 people. So seeing more cars on the road in LA then the number of people in the town of Truckee is somehow surprising.

I do love the energy in LA though. I can’t wait to get back here.

Here is a quick roundup of the week.

Thoughts sparked from conversations

ASMR And Deep Learning

ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response) is something that popped up on my radar after the Super Bowl commercial featuring Zoe Kravitz. It’s hard to explain what ASMR exactly is. The best description I can come up with: its content designed to create the feeling you probably got when your mom played with your hair while watching a movie or something when you where a little kid. This content is huge on YouTube right now.

It’s fascinating to think about how ASMR videos work…But I have some questions.

  • What does it say about humanity that we can get a sense of intimacy from a video or some sounds?
  • Is this just further atomizing the human experience?
  • What will happen when (not if) someone develops an AI that can play the sounds and optimize them to create a state of euphoria?

All questions I plan to explore in future posts so make sure you subscribe.

Robot Butlers

We’ve been staying in the Residence Inn by LAX (which I highly recommend) and they have one of those robot butlers that deliver food to your room. Watching my daughter interact with the robot when he (or should I say it) brought some Ben and Jerry’s to the room last night was interesting.

One question asked after: “do you think the robot is a boy or a girl”?

It’s fascinating to think how quickly we want to anthropomorphize technology and even more fascinating to think about what the future may hold for a generation that could think of machines as humans. Will robots have civil rights? At what point should they? Will my kids develop too much trust in the robots?

My brain is still chewing on this all.

Discoveries

This week I had a happy hour meeting with a friend at Elephante in Santa Monica. The bartender said the spot has apparently been “open for 8 months” yet I never heard of it. Not sure what that says about my social life.

Its a scene but the place is beautiful and overlooks the Santa Monica Bay from the rooftop of the old theater on 2nd street. Cocktails are good, food (I’ve heard) is amazing. I recommend you check it out when you are in town but get there early because apparently its such a cool spot that they will turn you away for capacity reasons if you get there during the rush.

Interesting reads:

Modern Alternatives to PGP

PGP is a public/private encryption standard that dates back to the early 90’s. Many argue that PGP has its flaws but its still widely used today because it works. This post by George Tankersley walks us through some more modern tools that can be used to replace some of PGP’s functionality. Its interesting but I wont be giving up my keys anytime soon. See the Lindy Effect.

You Don’t Need to Quit Your Job to Make

Toptal team member Steph Smith talks about how she is able to find extra time to work on side businesses while she works full-time for Toptal. My first company was a side business and I know first hand that the moonlighting strategy can work and help minimize risk for many people. This strategy does have a time and a place though. For example, I don’t think it would work well for me now that I have kids. So if your commitments are different then the typical single 20 something you probably will need to employ another strategy. This post is still a good read.

Why I Quit a $500K job at Amazon to Work for Myself

Former Amazoner Daniel Vassallo talks about what motivated him from leaving a high paying engineering position to work on his own projects. This is an amazing example of the hedonistic treadmill in action and a good lesson to anyone who runs teams. Money will only motivate someone so long and its a bar that you need to keep moving. TLDR; Find other ways to motivate your people besides money.

Tags: roundup, ai, robotics, and asmr