The Local Maximum

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Join Max Sklar and guests in this podcast about AI, technology, and society. Email for questions and feedback. Show notes page on the website:

Max Sklar

    • Nov 28, 2023 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekly NEW EPISODES
    • 47m AVG DURATION
    • 307 EPISODES

    4.8 from 49 ratings Listeners of The Local Maximum that love the show mention: max, world, topics, great.

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    Latest episodes from The Local Maximum

    Ep. 305 - Fragmented: Health Care and Data with Ilana Yurkiewicz

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 28, 2023 36:38

    Today's guest is Ilana Yurkiewicz, author of Fragmented: A Doctor's Quest to Piece Together American Health Care. The conversation starts with our health data, but goes into practical advice for patients and doctors.

    Ep. 304 - OpenAI Fails to Align

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 21, 2023 30:13

    Max covers the dramatic conflict between the board of directors of OpenAI, and former CEO Sam Altman who they voted to remove over the weekend. Is this about AI Alignment? Personality clashes? Or oddball Corporate governance?

    Ep. 303 - Pharaohs and the Exodus with Alexander Hool

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 7, 2023 61:17

    Max talks to Alexander Hool, author of Pharaoh: Biblical History, Egypt, and the Missing Millennium about alternative theories on the chronology of ancient Egypt as it relates to the Exodus and other biblical narratives. Max also talks about his further dives into ancient Egypt and what he's learned.

    Ep. 302 - Sturbridge Village Retreat

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 31, 2023 60:16

    Max and Aaron talk about this year's retreat at Sturbridge Village, MA. They go over the best and worst of their predictions from previous retreats, and what predictions they make for the future.

    Ep. 301 - Cultural Contradictions: War, Academia, and Entertainment

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 24, 2023 35:15

    Max and Aaron continue their conversation last week, this time covering the reaction to world events in Universities and cultural institutions; as well as the contradictions around calls for free speech. Max also reviews the movie "Dumb Money" which covers the Game Stop short squeeze and is an early narrative builder on the handling of the Covid pandemic.

    Ep. 300 - War in the Middle East, Part I

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 17, 2023 51:07

    Max and Aaron react to the terror attack in Israel earlier this month, and discuss both its geopolitical significance and dealing with the shock and grief.

    Ep. 299 - Sam Kamani with an Intro to Web 3

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2023 38:10

    Max talks to investor, founder, and podcaster Sam Kamani about Web 3.0, Crypto, AI, and Podcasting.

    Ep. 298 - Veto Powers, Programming Languages, and Terminals

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 3, 2023 47:32

    Max and Aaron discuss recent works at Local Maximum Labs, including feedback on the new Great Compromise constitution, and the programming language for

    Ep. 297 - Stephan Kinsella: The Fallacy of Intellectual Property

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2023 51:47

    Max talks to Stephan Kinsella, a libertarian intellectual property lawyer who ardently challenges the very foundations of IP. Kinsella delves deep into the core arguments underpinning intellectual property and the inherent fallacies. They also discuss the impact of generative AI on the copyright landscape.

    Ep. 296 - Government vs Google and Amazon Anti-Trust

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 19, 2023 32:47

    Todays guest is Adam Kovacevich of Chamber of Progress who brings us the latest in the suits that federal government agencies are bringing against Google and Amazon. Who is behind this, what is being alleged, why now, and what might be the consequences?

    Ep. 295 - Rewriting the Constitution: Did the Founders Screw up the Senate

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 12, 2023 63:43

    Max and Aaron talk about Max's newly-released research paper, Toward a New Great Compromise, which includes a refresh of the US Constitutional structure. Max shares what he learned about the founders of the country and why some of our institutions have been failing as of late.

    Ep. 294 - State Chains and Copyright Claims

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2023 31:57

    Max describes "state chain" technology, which he believes could solve some of the problems associated with the previous crypto collapse. He also gives an update on the court cases around copyright infringement and whether you can copyright an AI-generated work that are currently make their way through the American judicial system.

    Ep. 293 - Twitter Rants: Jon Stewart, Scrum, and Just Plain Numbers

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 29, 2023 40:03

    Max and Aaron have a little fun in a late night record, and examine Twitter rants about the rise of late night snark comedy, and scrum. They talk about the nature of corporate fads, and end on going down a rabbit hole of continued fractions.

    Ep. 292 - Copyright Clashes, Literary Science, and Rational Distributions

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 21, 2023 44:32

    Max and Aaron do an August news update with discussion about the closure of Prosecraft, a small site dedicated to literary analysis which was shut down due to copyright and ownership concerns. Will these types of internet mobs and legal actions bring a chilling effect on innovation? Probability Distribution of the Week: Max's First Idea on Rational Distributions

    Ep. 291 - Publishers vs Librarians, Artificial Digital Scarcity, and Revisiting Bertrand

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 16, 2023 36:03

    Max discusses the legal troubles of the Internet Archive as it get pummeled by publishers and copyright lawyers. A new paper on Bertrand's Paradox claims to resolve it.

    Ep. 290 - Generational Turnings versus Technological Change

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 9, 2023 44:44

    Max talks about how Strauss-Howe generational theory and the turnings interact with technology as he reviews the book "The First Turning: A Vision of America and a World at Peace" by Carol Engler. Distribution of the Week: The Wishart Distribution

    Ep. 289 - Revamping Dental Tech with Melissa Luvisi

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 1, 2023 33:20

    Max interviews Melissa Luvisi from tab32 as they dissect the intersection of dentistry and technology. They explore the software deficits plaguing the medical field, how dentistry is lagging, and how it can take a quantum leap forward. Luvisi shares her insights on harnessing health data, addressing security and privacy issues, and the promising future of dental tech.

    Ep. 288 - Is Artificial Intelligence a Threat to Humanity?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 25, 2023 59:50

    Max and Aaron discuss the arguments put forth by Eliezer Yudkowsky and some AI researchers about "existential threats" posed by the technology. They end with some predictions on the subject.

    Ep. 287 - The Rise and Fall of ESG with Peter Earle

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 18, 2023 38:57

    Today's guest is Peter C. Earle, economist at AIER. The topic is ESG: Environment, Social, and Governance regulations, and the theory behind it that says corporations should be run for the benefit of interests outside the shareholders. They explore the rise of ESG criteria in a low interest rate environment, and ask whether ESG on its way out.

    Ep. 286 - Consciousness Bets, Reverse Turing Tests, and Display Tech

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 12, 2023 31:40

    Max talks about a bet that two academics made 25 years ago about the nature of consciousness that has recently been settled. He also talk about the idea of a "reverse Turing Test". We also get an update on the latest display tech, with reviews on foldable phones and color e-ink making a comeback.

    Ep. 285 - Max Changes the Constitution, Part III

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 4, 2023 43:07

    Max and Aaron complete their discussion on Max's constitutional proposals, now focusing on the representative-ness of the house and electoral college as a counterbalance to the senate and executive council.

    Ep. 284 - Max Changes the Constitution, Part II

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 27, 2023 38:58

    Max and Aaron continue their discussion on Max's constitutional proposals, this time focusing on the function of the senate and the possibility of an executive council.

    Ep. 283 - Max Changes the Constitution, Part I

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 20, 2023 35:00

    Max woke up one day and decided to do a rewrite of the US constitution with a long amendment. Aaron discusses this with him over drinks outdoors in the dead of night.

    Ep. 282 - Meganets with David Auerbach

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 12, 2023 38:08

    Max talks to author and software engineer David Auerbach about his new book Meganets: How Digital Forces Beyond Our Control Commandeer Our Daily Lives and Inner Realities.

    david auerbach
    Ep. 281 - The Mixed Reality Moment

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 6, 2023 46:23

    Max and Aaron discuss Apple's announcement of the Vision Pro at WWDC, and what it means for mixed reality, the metaverse, and emerging technology. Probability Distribution of the Week: Student's T-Distribution

    Ep. 280 - How to Attack Truth Seeking

    Play Episode Listen Later May 31, 2023 33:44

    Max responds to a recent account of high school debate judges and how the process of truth seeking is under attack. Probability Distribution of the Week: Cauchy Distribution

    Ep. 279 - Covid and Civil Liberties

    Play Episode Listen Later May 23, 2023 58:43

    Max and Aaron discuss Neil Gorsuch's statement in a supreme court decision that emergency measures during Covid may have been the greatest peacetime intrusion on American civil liberties in history. Probability Distribution of the Week: Von Mises-Fisher Distribution and Circular Distributions in General

    Ep. 278 - Proof of Stake, Map Powers, and Google answer OpenAI

    Play Episode Listen Later May 17, 2023 38:16

    Max talks about Ethereum's move to proof of stake and what tradeoffs it brings to the crypto markets. He also discusses Google's plan to upgrade maps at their IO conference, and their new product Bard in relation to chatGPT.

    Ep. 277 - Open Source Sagas with Max Howell

    Play Episode Listen Later May 9, 2023 41:04

    Max talks to Homebrew creator Max Howell about open source software, package managers, and his new project

    Ep. 276 - The Dictator of Easton at 21

    Play Episode Listen Later May 2, 2023 50:57

    Max and Aaron discuss and provide commentary for their 2002 high school film, The Dictator of Easton.

    Ep. 275 - Connecticut Chronicles, Columbia Conferences & Questioning Bots

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 25, 2023 55:11

    Aaron talks to Max about his move to Connecticut. They review Columbia University's data science day. A touch of Twitter news and a tweet we thought was interesting on rationality. Probability Distribution of the Week: Multivariate Gaussian Distribution (or Normal Distribution)

    Ep. 274 - Quantum Computing with Ian MacCormack

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 18, 2023 57:42

    Today's discussion is all about Quantum Physics and Quantum Computing as Max talks to Ian who has a PhD in Physics and is actually a practitioner when it comes to quantum computing.

    Ep. 273 - Stop Making AI Boring

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 12, 2023 31:26

    Max grumbles about the corporate and dry nature of MLConf and the talks from top companies, even as the world of AI and ML explodes in controversy, breakthroughs and new applications. - Should AI research be Paused for 6 months? - Are "X for Good" talks always evil? - Are engineers afraid to share any perspective slightly outside the mainstream?

    Ep. 272 - Data Science History with Chris Wiggins and Matthew Jones

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 4, 2023 37:27

    Chris Wiggins and Matthew Jones dive into a new book called "How Data Happened: A History from the Age of Reason to the Age of Algorithms" with Max. We learn that we can reach back into data history and find stories that experienced scientists and engineers are will find surprising at present. Chris Wiggins is an associate professor of applied mathematics at Columbia University and the Chief Data Scientist at The New York Times. Matthew is the James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization at Columbia University.

    Ep. 271 - Semiconductors, Lithography, and Moore's Law with Adam Kane of ASML

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 28, 2023 26:54

    Max interview's Adam Kane of ASML about the industrial processes which make hardware innovation possible. They cover extreme UV lithography, the law of accelerating returns, and implications for software engineers.

    Ep. 270 - Exciting and Terrifying: NYT Podcast Trashing, GPT4, and Bank Runs

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 21, 2023 71:53

    Todays news update starts on the lighter side with an article from the New York Times that seeks to denigrate podcasters by branding them as the "podcast bro". Then we get into the release of GPT4 just months after chatGPT shook the world of AI and tech, and the bank runs at Silicon Valley Bank and elsewhere. Probability distribution of the week: Exponential Distribution

    Ep. 269 - Image Recognition Technology for Health with Susan Conover

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 14, 2023 35:11

    Today's guest is Susan Conover, cofounder and CEO of Piction Health, which brings Image Recognition AI technology to the practice of dermatology. This Boston-based company has started to launch their product throughout New England. Susan talks to Max about how the technology could be used to help patience more effectively, and the challenges of bringing change to healthcare and being an entrepreneur.

    ceo health technology new england conover image recognition this boston
    Ep. 268 - Pascal's Mugging, Doomsday Clocks, and the AGI Debate

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 7, 2023 33:53

    Max discovers Pascal's Mugging, the counterpoint to Pascal's Wager. He speculates about the category of errors (and sometimes scams) made by doomsayers in every field including most recently general artificial intellgence. Probability Distribution of the Week: Gamma Distribution

    Ep. 267 - Bernoulli's Fallacy with Aubrey Clayton

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 28, 2023 41:47

    Could the crisis in modern science be a result of fallacious probabilistic thinking? Mathematical researcher and writer Aubrey Clayton joins the Local Maximum to discuss his book Bernoulli's Fallacy: Statistical Illogic and the Crisis of Modern Science.

    Ep. 266 - Simplicity, Complexity, and Text Classification with Joel Grus

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 21, 2023 42:35

    We are joined by Software Engineer, Data Scientist, and Author Joel Grus for a discussion that ranges from the latest NLP techniques to thoughts on how to think about complexity costs.

    Ep. 265 - The Multi-Armed Bandit

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 14, 2023 39:21

    Max talks about the multi-armed bandit - an important concept in the Data Science world. The news of the day is Microsoft's plan to integrate generative text (from open AI) into it's Bing search engine, and whether Google can turn around from negative news stories and compete with this. Probability Distribution of the Week: Dirichlet Distribution

    Ep. 264 - Talking Tik Tok, Privacy, and Propaganda with Adam Kovacevich

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 7, 2023 36:39

    Max talks to Adam Kovacevich, the Founder and CEO of Chamber of Progress in DC, to talk about several issues that have caught to attention of policymakers. We discuss the concerns of the rise of Tik Tok as a potential arm of the Chinese government, and whether similar concerns about domestic services are warranted. Chamber of Progress:

    Ep. 263 - Relative Probability

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 31, 2023 57:30

    Aaron talks to Max about his new pamphlet entitled "Relative Probability on Finite Outcome Spaces". arXiv Link: Probability Distribution of the Week: The Normal Distribution

    Ep. 262 - Category Theory, Google Responds, and Another Covid Retro

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 24, 2023 46:20

    Max describes category theory as a branch of mathematics, and asks whether it will become more important in the age of AI. We then discuss the issues of the day: - looks at John Stossel's Video on how governments responded to Covid, and where their decisions stand three years later - Google's Recent Moves in Response to ChatGPT as well as layoffs Probability Distribution of the Week: Beta Distribution

    Ep. 261 - Generative AI's Grand Entrance

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 18, 2023 38:49

    As Generative AI has captured the imagination, Max thinks about it from many different angles. How does it actually work under the hood? What does it mean for media creators, investors, and job seekers? And what does it mean for humans and their comparative advantage with respect to this new technology? All the big questions of our time!

    Ep. 260 - New Year Predictions: Generative AI, Self Driving Cars, and Web3

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 10, 2023 74:09

    Max and Aaron start off the New Year with a predictions show for the short, medium, and long term outlook for technical advances. Today's episode focuses on generative AI and self driving cars. Probability Distribution of the Week: Continuous Uniform Distribution

    Ep. 259 - New Years Thoughts

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 3, 2023 32:56

    Max looks back at the previous New Year's episode, and was surprised by how right he was on the changes we saw in our channels of information online this year. He reviews the news of the year, particularly the innovations in AI that have come to the forefront, and comments on Clay Shirky's Twitter rant.

    Ep. 258 - Sports and AI: Jason Syversen Changing the Game with SportsVisio

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2022 37:50

    Max interviews SportsVisio CEO Jason Syversen about how artificial intelligence can be applied to sports video, including automated highlights, scoring, and refereeing. Jason also shares details about his startup's innovative product for basketball.

    Ep. 257 - Lessons from the of Debate with Gene Epstein

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 20, 2022 78:32

    Gene Epstein, founder of the Soho Forum monthly debate series, comes on The Local Maximum to discuss and critique Max's recent debate performance on Democracy vs Monarchy. - Also: Max's 9 Things I learned from the Debate, Gene's debate with Binyamin Appelbaum of the New York Times.

    Ep. 256 - The Broken World of Big Tech

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2022 35:33

    Max talks about the breakage in both the crypto industry and the social media landscape in 2022, and the long term ways of thinking about it. Probability Distribution of the Week: Non-Homogeneous Poisson

    Ep. 255 - AI's Got Chat: The Rise of chatGPT

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2022 56:45

    Max and Aaron discuss the launch of the chatGPT product demo taking the internet by storm and the potential applications of this technology. The title of this episode doesn't make sense 100% - but it was generated by chatGPT when asked for an amusing title. Probability distribution of the week: Poisson Distribution

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