The most popular piece in TiB in 2021 was actually “How did the world get so weird?
”, which I wrote for TiB 150, but that’s not really in the spirit of curation… so here are the ten (external) articles that you, discerning readers, clicked on most in 2021, in order of popularity:
(3) Play dumb, get rich
). Five obviously “stupid” investment ideas… that generated exceptional returns in 2021. Great illustration of the internet as a variance amplifying institution.
(4) China, Taiwan and semiconductors
) Jon Stokes on why a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, aside from the obvious human tragedy, would be an economic disaster for China and the world. (Spoiler: the global economy relies on a fully functioning TSMC
(5) Fighting like the Taliban
) Tanner Greer’s prescient essay, two weeks before the fall of Kabul, on why the Taliban might advance and win much quicker than most people thought at the time.
(6) Gimme the Loot
) On NFTs, community-led design and emergent creativity. Loot seems to have fizzled, but I still think this is one of the best pieces to understand why NFTs (see TiB 156
) might be exciting.
(7) The Beginning of Tech History
) Ben Thompson published this on 12 January and it might still be the best tech essay of the year. What does the next chapter of the internet’s history look like?
(8) The State of AI 2021
) Ian Hogarth and Nathan Benaich’s annual deep dive into the technology, politics and economics of artificial intelligence was their best one yet.
(9) The New Age of American Power
) Adam Tooze on America’s big strategic bet: that it can use its technological dominance (and control of the semiconductor supply chain) to maintain geopolitical supremacy even as its share of global GDP declines.