Thoughts in Between
TiB 145: 2020 in review - the best of Thoughts in Between
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2020 through the lens of Thoughts in Between
As is now traditional, Thoughts in Between takes a two-week break after today and will return in the New Year. For the last edition of 2020, I've trawled through each issue to pick out the most clicked-on articles, most-clicked on Tweets and my personal favourite pieces of the year. Enjoy!
My favourite pieces of 2020
TiB is always made up of three short segments followed by five "quick links". Here, in chronological order, are my favourite segments from TiB in 2020:
1: GPT-2, chess and the limits of explainable AI (TiB 97, section 2): Before there was GPT-3, there was GPT-2 and it was already raising questions about how we think about human intelligence
3: The troubling epistemology of coronavirus (TiB 108, section 2): Why did the establishment get coronavirus wrong for so long?
4: How do we "disrupt government"? (TiB 111, section 1): Discussion of Marc Andreessen's "It's Time to Build" and ways to improve the quality of public administration
5: Lessons from coronavirus: is Singapore *too* efficient? (TiB 112, section 1) Looking at the efficiency vs resilience trade off through the lens of coronavirus (including one of my all-time favourite anecdotes)
6: TikTok, China and ideological conflict (TiB 124, section 2) The geopolitics of technology was frequently in the news this year - and TikTok became one of the most prominent flashpoints
8: Can venture capital work outside startups? (TiB 127, section 2) VC has lots of benefits in "extreme risk, extreme reward" domains; we discuss why it's been hard to make work in philanthropy and science
9: Why the best ideas don't always win: AI edition (TiB 133, section 1) A discussion of Sara Hooker's fascinating paper on "the hardware lottery" and why science and technology can get stuck in dead ends
10: The rise and rise of technological sovereignty (TiB 134, section 1) We review one of the big themes of the next decades - why nations increasingly want independent capabilities in emerging technologies
Top articles of 2020
These were the articles that you, discerning TiB readers, clicked on most in 2020, in order of popularity:
9 - Slate Star Codex and Silicon Valley's War Against the Media (TiB 123) - The most balanced, thoughtful discussion of the simmering conflict between tech and the media
Top tweets of 2020
I link to a lot of tweets in TiB. Here are the ten you clicked on most:
My personal favourite thread of 2020 just missed the cut.
And this one by Jennifer Shelton surely turned out to be the most important tweet of 2019...
Thoughts in Between is a weekend project that I started mainly for the discipline of writing weekly, so it's very gratifying that so many of you read it and enjoy it. We more than doubled the readership in 2020, which was unexpected and nice.
So thank you for reading, sharing, forwarding, tweeting and replying - I hugely appreciate it.