Who Will Pop the AI Bubble? - The Monday AM Quickie 3/4/24

Curious what a primary protest vote might mean? Or if it's even possible in your state? This guide has you covered. -Jacob


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Should We Fear the Consequences of AI Mania?

If you haven't heard, we're in the middle of a boom in artificial intelligence that has stockholders and venture capitalists salivating. Even as generative AI seems to be little more than a 'roided-up auto-complete, the tech industry can't spend enough on AI startups, data centers, the expensive chips needed to power AI applications, and AI scientists. There is hardly a major company out there that isn't exploring AI applications for replacing customer service reps, streamlining employee workflows, finding hidden inefficiencies, or creating digital girlfriends for the socially inept.

The vigorously beating, cash-rich heart of the AI explosion is Nvidia, a well-established, well-regarded chip company that for years was known as an important maker of video cards and other semiconductor products. However esteemed, Nvidia was far from being one of the biggest companies in the world. Its profile began rising after the company discovered that its GPUs – high-powered graphics chips originally designed for gaming – were coveted by cryptocurrency miners. Then, over the last couple of years, Nvidia's dedicated AI processing chips and the arrival of generative AI turned the company into a giant. Nvidia doesn't have enough of its H100 chips to sell to all the clients who want them. The company's stock is up more than 70 percent this year. Its market cap is more than $2 trillion. By some measurements, it's the third most valuable company in the world – bigger than Saudi Aramco.

The meteoric growth has thrilled investors, but some analysts have called it a bubble and invoked the specter of the 1999 Dotcom boom and bust. AI is a buzzy new technology (although the term encompasses a number of disparate applications), but it remains unclear whether we'll all soon be laboring alongside AI chatbots and complaining to our AI romantic partners. And unlike some other recent digital innovations, AI turns out to require a tremendous amount of water, energy, and physical and technical infrastructure. At some point, that cost is going to become more acute.

In the meantime, we have a tech-fueled stock boom like few we've seen before. There will be a comedown from the AI mania. But until then, we might ask: who really benefits from this frothy market?

Hacked Healthcare Company Costing System Billions

Last month, ransomware hackers broke into the systems of Change Healthcare, a sort of healthcare system clearing house owned by UnitedHealth Group. The hackers encrypted files, making them impossible to access, and demanded a ransom in return. Although Change is obscure, it occupies an essential role for processing insurance payments across the United States. Justice Department lawyers once wrote that the US health care system "would not work without Change Healthcare."

Now the company's computer systems are in shambles, doctors and insurers can't get paid, and some patients are having difficulty getting their medications. The hack is one of many ransomware attacks targeting the healthcare system in recent years, but it's certainly a watershed one. "This is the most significant attack on the health-care system in U.S. history," according to one industry group.


  • Nikki Haley Wins DC Primary Former South Carolina Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley won yesterday's primary in Washington, D.C. It was her first victory against former President Donald Trump, who meanwhile won primaries in Idaho, Missouri, and Michigan. via Washington Post and ABC News.
  • Discord Leaks Suspect to Plead Guilty Jack Teixeira, the member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard charged with leaking classified documents to his racist gamer friends on an obscure Discord server, plans to plead guilty. He faces six counts of willful retention and transmission of national defense information. via Associated Press.
  • Another Worry for Gig Workers: Pollution Delivery workers around the world are being exposed to massive amounts of smog and airborne pollutants. In cities like Dhaka and New Delhi, gig workers report feeling respiratory symptoms from long days biking amidst toxic air. via Rest of World.
  • Texas Governor Details Plans to Further Militarize Border Citing a vague threat of "cartels," Texas Governor Greg Abbott says he plans to use state police officers, national guard soldiers, and razor-wire barriers to stop migrants. "We're going to be barricading every area where people are crossing," he told 60 Minutes. via CBS News.



That's how many meals the US military airdropped into Gaza on Saturday. Although several countries have begun airdropping aid – some of which has ended up in the Mediterranean Sea – it's far less than what's needed for a population where hundreds of thousands of people are potentially facing starvation. Before the latest war, 500 aid trucks were entering Gaza per day. With the IDF firing on civilians trying to get food and right-wing Israeli protesters blocking trucks from entering Gaza, any famine that occurs in Gaza will be a man-made one.


3/4: Happy Monday! Sam and Emma speak with Rashid Khalidi, professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, to discuss his 2020 book The Hundred Years' War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017, and his views on the Israel-Gaza conflict as it stands now.


Real-Life Vampire Stephen Miller Delivers Absolutely Chilling Response at CPAC

In a fascist fever-dream, Miller prophesies mass arrests and deportations of migrants.

The New York Times' Oct 7th Sexual Assault Story Doesn't Hold Up

Emma and Matt Binder break down a bombshell report from The Intercept exposing reckless, sloppy journalism from the New York Times.


“You try working for him and not chasing pills with alcohol.”

-- An anonymous former senior Trump administration official in an interview with Rolling Stone. According to a recent Defense Department inspector general report and Rolling Stone's subsequent reporting, the Trump White House was awash in pharmaceuticals, with uppers and sleeping medication regularly on offer. Overseen by notorious pill-popper Dr. Ronny Jackson, the White House Medical Unit handed out an array of drugs on command, with frequently sloppy record keeping (or sometimes none at all).

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