Odds and Ends #19: What do environmental activists actually want?
Plus the single most stressful YouTube video I’ve ever seen
Hello! Good news and bad news!
First, the bad: I’m afraid that I’m going to have to delay this week’s seasonal main post by a few days. No spoilers, but I’ve been writing code and crunching data in order to make it happen – and it turns out when you’re a terrible coder like I am, this can take longer than anticipated. But once it lands, I promise it will be fun.
Now, the good news: Instead, you’ve got an Odds and Ends newsletter early this week. And I’m going to start by highlighting a couple of things I’ve put together for other places, which I think that you’ll like.
Talking climate with Zion Lights (What’s Happening Now)
Zion Lights is one of the smartest people to follow on climate matters. She’s a former spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion and a few years ago she famously quit the group and instead crossed over to the dark side – and became a pro-nuclear advocate.
Today she regularly writes extremely excellent and sensible takes arguing in favour of nuclear abundance, and runs the activist group Emergency Reactor.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was delighted to speak to her with my friend Sam Hampson for our podcast, What’s Happening Now. We discuss Britain’s climate progress, how to actually mitigate climate change – and the weird politics of groups like XR. So go have a listen!
Though ideologically I’d quite like to be a right-on open-source bro, I’m fully immersed into Apple’s ecosystem, with an iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV and AirPods. I even use the objectively very stupid Apple Magic Mouse.
In other words, Apple’s marketing department would absolutely love me if I wasn’t an overweight, rapidly balding man who likes trains. I suspect this is not quite what its brand is going for.
Anyway, perhaps my Apple affinity should be unsurprising. Since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, the company has spent the last decade and a half slowly building a moat around its position as the most powerful of the big tech titans, to make it harder for its rivals to compete. It’s no wonder the iPhone is often cited as the most successful consumer product of all time.
However, that moat may not remain impenetrable forever.
The rise of generative AI we’ve witnessed over the last year, led by OpenAI’s GPT model, is the first time since the iPhone’s inception that Apple’s dominance has been challenged. To the point where we can squint and imagine a future where, just maybe, Apple isn’t the most important company in our digital lives.
Over at TechFinitive, I’ve been writing about Apple, and why despite the technological headwinds I still think the company is going to be successful in an era where everything we do involves Large Language Models and AI.
It’s very much written in a similar style to the writing I do on here, so if you like my writing, you’ll probably like this too.