I'm keeping you in suspense here, you really have to click, sorry. (#491)

1. The Secrets of Suspense

A week in which I discover a new piece of writing by Kathryn Schulz is always a good week. This essay is about the power of suspense, and why we crave it in fiction, but hate it in life. To spare you the suspense: It's a great essay.

The Secrets of Suspense
We love churning apprehension in fiction; we hate it in life. But understanding the most fundamental technique of storytelling can teach us something about being alive.

If you liked this essay, read Schulz' memoir «Lost & Found». It's one of the most beautiful and profound books I know.

2. The women in AI making a difference

Techcrunch has started a series of interviews with key figures in the field of AI whose work gets little attention: women. Two dozen interviews are already available. You can pick any of them and you'll learn something you haven't heard before.

The women in AI making a difference | TechCrunch
As a part of a multi-part series, TechCrunch is highlighting women innovators -- from academics to policymakers -- in the field of AI.

The idea sounds simple: Predict the future by letting people make bets on it. However, while people buy stocks or place bets on soccer games based on how what they expect to happen, prediction markets never really took off. The one sentence answer: «There is no epistemic free lunch.» For more specifics, read the article.

Why prediction markets aren’t popular - Works in Progress
Prediction markets are legal, contrary to popular belief. But they remain unpopular, because they lack key features that make markets attractive.

4. ​​Why "Her" Reveals How We Really Feel About AI

Eleven years after it was released, everyone is talking about «Her» again – the movie in which a lonely writer falls in love with Scarlett Johansson an artificial intelligence. This hourlong conversation explores what the movie got right and what it missed, and more importantly, how it can be used as a prism to understand our relation to artificial intelligence today.

Why “Her” Reveals How We Really Feel About AI (with Ezra Klein) | Crooked Media

5. Alien life is no joke

«After thousands of years of arguing over opinions about life in the Universe, our collective scientific efforts have taken us to the point where we can finally begin a true scientific study of the question

How UFOs almost killed the search for life in the Universe | Aeon Essays
Not long ago the search for extraterrestrials was considered laughable nonsense. Today, it’s serious and scientific

What else?

Instant-gratification links that make you go wow! or aha! the moment you click.

Books for curious minds: The Art of Explanation

The Art of Explanation by Ros Atkins (2023)

Few people have mastered the art of explaining better than the BBC’s Ros Atkins. Thankfully, he is now sharing what he knows in a book. And to be clear, this is a book for everyone. Atkins defines explanation in very broad terms: Whenever you try to get a message across, you are explaining. Often, we don’t realise we are, and that’s part of the problem. Whether you’re interviewing for a job, giving a presentation, talking to a friend, or simply writing an email. One of the best books I’ve read in recent years.

In every issue, I recommend one book. Some new ones as I read them, some older ones that continue to inform how I look at the world and myself.

A gem from the archive

Good question. It really depends on what you mean by «largest», «possible», «inhabitable» and «world».

What is the largest possible inhabitable world? – Andart II

This is a randomly picked gem from the archive of the Weekly Filet, going back to 2011. You can also search the archive, shuffle for a gem yourself, or browse this collection of some of my all-time favs.

Thanks for reading. I wish you a nice weekend and hope to see you again next Friday!

— David 👋