Silicon Valley’s all gas, no breaks

December 8th, 2023

Together with

Party with a cause. The holiday festivities are underway. If you wanna celebrate with innovative folks and give back to the local community, join our friends in Los Angeles for the #LongLA Holiday Party on December 12th. It’s gonna be great. Get your discounted tickets with the code FUTURE before it sells out.

P.S. For more holiday cheer, shout out to our partners Beam for this epic White Chocolate Peppermint Dream — totally delicious with an added best night’s sleep ever.

Top Trends

YouTube → Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Google → Game Awards 2023

Reddit → André 3000

TikTok → “Poison Tree”

Spotify → “First Rodeo”

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Effective accelerationism is winning Silicon Valley

The Future. The philosophy of “effective accelerationism” or “e/acc” (pronounced “E-ack”) is moving like wildfire through Silicon Valley, fueling an innovate-at-all-costs ethos on the premise that all technological growth is inherently good. A majority of Americans may disagree with that, but those who stamp e/acc on their socials may soon become a defining factor in who Big Tech begins to hire.

Nothin’ but moonshots
If you believe that AI development is moving a bit too fast, you may have adherents of e/acc to thank for that.

  • What is e/acc? According to Insider, it’s the belief that “the forces of technology, innovation, and capitalism should be harnessed to drive rapid social change.”

  • What does it look like in practice? Doing whatever it takes to fund, build, and support innovation — such as Google co-founder Larry Page saying it’s better to give money to founders than philanthropic causes.

  • Where are the believers organizing? Silicon Valley C-suites, startups’ Slack channels, and, most publicly, on Twitter, where accounts like @BasedBeffJezos (outed as a former Google quantum computing engineer) have gone viral evangelizing the mission.

In just a couple of years, e/acc has blown up — it was a major part of the Sam Altman fiasco at OpenAI, it powered the controversial manifesto from a16z’s Marc Andreessen (who said "any deceleration of AI will cost lives” and should be considered “murder”), and Y Combinator founder and CEO Garry Tan proudly added the label to his display name on X.

The irony is that the e/acc will obviously make these names unprecedentedly rich… even if it leads to the creation of a new superintelligence that poses a threat to humanity. “That’s just evolution, baby,” they say.

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Wake up your career

Your career isn’t something you want to sleep on. When you’re out there hustlin’ to make your dreams a reality, you know what you could use? Some backup.

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Courtesy of Microsoft

Russia hacks Cameo for celebrity-backed disinformation

The Future. Microsoft’s Threat Analysis Center found that Cameo videos made by a number of celebrities had been co-opted by Moscow to make it look like they were criticizing Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. The incident shows just how prevalent and, frankly, creative Russian-backed disinformation campaigns can be… which may lead celebrities to think twice about monetizing their likeness online too freely.

  • Cameos by celebrities like Elijah Wood, Priscilla Presley, and Dean Norris were repurposed to make it look like they were encouraging President Zelensky to give up his addiction issues and neo-Nazi beliefs — lies perpetuated by Russian media.

  • The videos, addressed to a “Vladimir,” were manipulated to include emojis, links, and logos of media outlets.

  • They were then shared on social media platforms Telegram and VKontakte before being boosted by the media network Tsargrad and eventually finding their way into mainstream Russian sources like RIA Novosti and Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

  • The videos were dubbed in Russian to help boost morale at home for an invasion that’s cost the country hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

Of course, none of the celebrities behind the videos had any knowledge that their Cameos would be used in this way, and Cameo is removing the content where it can and suspending the purchasers’ accounts. No one wants to be cannon fodder.

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Courtesy of Hybe

The Future. Hybe Co. hopes a fresh push of its Weverse app helps it find success in the US and Japan. While Japan is a natural expansion, the goal for American glory may require that the app appeals to fans outside of K-pop (which is skyrocketing in popularity in the US). Hybe’s installment of Scooter Braun as the CEO of its American operations makes him the ambassador for that ambition… which could prove to be a double-edged sword.

Top of the charts
Hybe wants Weverse to be the one-stop shop for stan-engagement worldwide.

  • All of Hybe’s “fan-related services” — including concert live-streaming, digital albums, custom merch, and paid chat services — are being funneled into the app, with ads and paid membership programs rolling out next year.

  • Already having major K-pop artists like BTS and Blackpink on the app, the push for new markets has already led to the signing of Japan’s AKB48 and US boy band Prettymuch… but larger, mainstream artists are still proving elusive.

  • But Hybe’s partnership with Universal Music Group to participate in the creation of global girl group Katseye could give the agency access to higher-profile talent.

Weverse currently has 10.5 million monthly active users. CEO Joon Choi said, “Once we have more diverse genres and reach monthly active users of around 30 to 50 million, we can offer more profit-making models that’d satisfy both fans and artists.”

It’s the classic social media model of scale big and then turn it into a money-making machine — Weverse doesn’t just want to enter the mainstream market, it wants to stay there.

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Extra hands, anyone?

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We ask the hard-hitting questions.

Have you checked out the first episode of our podcast where we spoke about celebrity avatars? What famous posthumous act would you see virtually?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

29.4% of you voted for Local diner in yesterday’s poll: What’s your favorite late-night food?

“The best coffee and whatever you want. A waffle, gravy fries, scrambled eggs.”

“I haven’t been to a diner in a long time, but the nostalgia that it brings me can’t compete with a taco truck, even though there’s always a taco truck outside my apartment every night.”

“Support local.”


The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

In partnership with Rocaberti Writers

  • The five broadcast channels simulcast an in memoriam card for the legendary TV writer and producer Norman Lear after he passed away on Wednesday at the ripe young age of 101. Read More → deadline

  • The Sundance Film Festival unveiled the lineup for its 40th addition, with 40% of programmed feature films being from first-time filmmakers. Read More → thr

  • Dan Lin’s Rideback Rise unveiled the first BIPOC cohort of 16 writers and filmmakers that the nonprofit will financially and creatively support for a year as they work on their projects. Read More → deadline

From our partners: At Rocaberti Writers, they believe that everyone has a story inside of them waiting to be told. Their unique writers’ retreats, held in beautiful medieval castles across Europe, are designed to give you the opportunity to personally meet with renowned mentors Academy Award-winning writers, directors, and major movie producers over a five-day period, who’ll give you feedback on your script, as well as valuable insight into the world of writing and filmmaking. They have a FULL scholarship to one of their upcoming retreats. Apply for free today before the December 10th deadline. Sign me up now.

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • “Peachy Fuzz” is Pantone’s 2024 color of the year, which the company describes as a “velvety gentle peach tone, whose all-embracing spirit enriches mind, body, and soul.” Read More → hypebeast

  • Disney is considering launching a gaming and shopping experience on Disney+ — taking on both Netflix and Amazon. Read More → variety

  • Amazon gives up on accepting Venmo as a payment option after only 14 months. Read More → engadget

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • The White House is putting up $6 billion for the construction of two high-speed rails — one connecting LA to San Francisco and another connecting LA to Las Vegas. Read More → fastcompany

  • Sports Illustrated publisher The Arena Group fired two of its top executives after getting caught red-handed inventing journalists with generative AI and then trying to cover their tracks. Read More → futurism

  • Sony is releasing a customizable game controller for disabled players — a first for the company. Read More → bbc

Creator Economy

  • Lego has built a new game mode inside Fortnite. Read More → bbc

  • Facebook Messenger is getting a full encryption update. Read More → axios

  • Spacestation Investments is connecting creators and athletes with startups so they can become angel investors. Read More → insider

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Today’s email was written by David Vendrell.
Edited by Boye Akolade. Copy edited by Kait Cunniff.
Published by Darline Salazar.

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