Wisereads Vol. 25 — Devon Eriksen’s Theft of Fire, the Apple Vision Pro, and more
Last week, we shared a chapter of Perspective Agents, a guide to “The Autonomous Age” by Chris Perry. This week, we’re sharing a preview of Theft of Fire, Devon Eriksen’s breakout science fiction novel.
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Most highlighted Articles of the week
Can This A.I.-Powered Search Engine Replace Google? It Has for Me.
Kevin Roose ditched Google in an NYT experiment, turning to Perplexity AI for his everyday searches. When seeking water heater help: “A Google search yielded a bunch of less-than-helpful links to D.I.Y. tutorials, some of which were thinly veiled ads for plumbing companies… Perplexity found the video I needed for my exact model of water heater, extracted the relevant information from the video and turned it into step-by-step instructions.”
Everyone’s a sellout now
Vox examines the tension between creating art and the marketing it demands, concluding that self-promotion is a crucial, albeit unwelcome, part of artist livelihood. “The nagging feeling that what you are really doing with your time is marketing, not art. Under the tyranny of algorithmic media distribution, artists, authors — anyone whose work concerns itself with what it means to be human — now have to be entrepreneurs, too.”
Why Tim Cook Is Going All In on the Apple Vision Pro
Nick Bilton gives an insider account of the Apple Vision Pro's development straight from CEO Tim Cook, envisioning a future where AR and VR blend seamlessly into daily life. “During that first demo I went to the iconic Mount Hood stratovolcano in Oregon, and I could hear and see a million raindrops falling into Mirror Lake, so much so that I felt like I was there, and the only thing missing was the earthy scent of rain-soaked soil…I didn’t feel closed off or claustrophobic. I was there. I was everywhere, all at once.”
Most highlighted YouTube Video of the week
How to Turn ChatGPT into an Unstoppable Virtual Employee Army
Riley Brown experiments with Chat-GPT's new '@' feature, using Zapier and Clickup to automate tasks like research, writing, and posting. “If you're envisioning [GPTs] as virtual employees, the instructions are the job description, the files (which I'm pretty sure they rebranded as knowledge) are like the virtual employees skills or context… and then there's also actions.”
Most highlighted Twitter Thread of the week
A "cognitive bias" is a systematic error in thinking
@Feynmanism distills wisdom from physicist Richard Feynman, highlighting cognitive biases like Parkinson's Law: “When we have more time, we tend to procrastinate and become inefficient” and Hofstadter's Law: “Projects always take longer and cost more than you expect... Double the time, triple the cost—despite your best calculations.”
Most highlighted PDF of the week
In Praise of Shadows
Junichiro Tanizaki’s 1933 essay explores the contrast between the shadowy elegance of traditional Japanese interiors and the stark brightness of Western design. “Westerners attempt to expose every speck of grime and eradicate it, while we Orientals carefully preserve and even idealize it… Living in these old houses among these old objects is in some mysterious way a source of peace and repose.”
Hand-picked book of the week
Theft of Fire
Devon Eriksen, software engineer turned author, presents the first installment of the Orbital Space series: Theft of Fire. Outside of science fiction, you might encountered Eriksen through one of his spicy takedowns of socialism on Twitter.
Theft of Fire weaves a narrative filled with AI, alien artifacts, genetic advancements, and interplanetary warfare, paying homage to sci-fi giants and reintroducing hope to the genre.
“For thousands of years since humanity learned to rub the sticks together and make fire, we’ve looked up at the little lights in the night sky and wondered if we were alone. “Fermi’s Paradox,” they called it, which is a fancy name for a real simple question... ‘Where the fuck is everybody?’ ... For decades, wild-eyed enthusiasts with small government paychecks and really huge radio telescopes listened to the static hiss of the universe, straining to catch some stray signal that cried out ‘Hey! We’re over here!’”
If you’re hooked by the first three chapters of Theft of Fire, the full book is already available to purchase both in traditional formats and as an EPUB compatible with Reader.
Handpicked RSS feed of the week
Engineer and Sales.co co-founder Jakob Greenfield blogs candid firsthand learnings from his entrepreneurial journey. From Emergent vs. Transactional Conversations: “When there are little to no emergent conversations in a relationship it’s in serious trouble. This is true for romantic relationships, for friendships, and business relationships… When you want to improve a relationship, make more room for emergent conversations and facilitate them in whatever way you can.”