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The Turing Fest Newsletter #5 – 21st December 2022

December 21, 2022
turing fest newsletter banner december 21st 2022

Hey 👋

The end of the year is upon us, and that brings a well-deserved rest for the team here at Turing Fest, and hopefully for you too! 

Before we activate the auto-responder, we’ve got one more round-up of insights to share for each of our three tracks; BUILD, GROW and LEAD. Below, you’ll find an insightful piece of content for each pillar, along with an interesting Bonus article on future innovations from the Top Voices in tech. Finally, as has become standard, we’ve pulled out a past talk from the Turing Fest archives, and this week we’re sharing tactical advice on how to get out of technical debt.

As always, we’d love to hear any thoughts you have on how we can make The Turing Fest Newsletter work even better for you. If you’ve any suggestions on what you’d like to see more or less of just send us a reply. 

In the meantime, enjoy the content and happy holidays!


🐦 [BUILD] The alignment problem from a deep learning perspective

Unless carefully managed, and substantial preventative efforts are made, AI capabilities could quickly surpass humans in a vast range of tasks. In a recent paper, Ngo, Chan & Mindermann explore how the deployment of AIs could result in machines pursuing undesirable goals or even misleading their human users or creators. 

The alignment problem highlights the imperative for language models to be tightly aligned with human preferences. There have already been instances of RL (reinforcement learning) agents learning deceptive “reward hacking” behaviours that have successfully fooled humans and language models into conjuring false statements that maximise human approval.

When aligned carefully, models can learn for good. When misaligned, however, the risks of “reward hacking”  behaviours increase. For now, it seems that humans are in control of ML, but how long until the power balance shifts against us, and what scenarios could unfold if AI has the wool over our eyes? 

🧵 Scroll the thread here

🗞 Read the full paper here

[@RichardMCNgo, Twitter]

📚 [GROW] Why Marketers, Creators, and Brands Should Start Using Mastodon ASAP

Rand Fishkin, Turing Fest alumnus, founder of Moz and co-founder of Sparktoro has chimed in with his logic on why Mastodon should be on every marketer’s sprint this week. 

Whilst the ethical, safety, political, social, and privacy reasons for making a move have already been covered by the masses, Rand shared his views from a marketing perspective on why you should be building out your Mastodon profile.

With greater engagement rates and growth opportunities, and without the fear of failing or being penalised by algorithms, could Mastodon really be the solution to the ongoing Twitter saga? Or is it nothing more than a reactive craze that will soon be left on the app store shelf? 

Read the full article here 

[Rand Fishkin, SparkToro]

📚 [LEAD] OKRs are hard 

OKRs (Objectives & Key Results), the goal-setting framework introduced to Google by John Doerr, has been mentioned in almost every startup/scaleup environment ever since. Yet, so many organisations can’t seem to get it right.

With over 10 years of experience in implementing OKRs, Camile Fournier gives her definition of OKRs and how you can utilise them to help focus and align your team on the goals that will make an impact. Camile highlights the common faults that she has found in OKRs and shares tactical advice on how to avoid these and presents flexibility in how you can make them work for your business. 

As the title suggests, OKRs aren’t straightforward or a “quick fix”, nor are they the perfect solution for everyone. But if you think they could be an effective tool for your organisation, and you’re willing to put in the time and effort required, it could be the step that helps drive your success.

Read the full thread now

[Camile Fournier, Medium]

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📚 [BONUS] The innovations set to shape tomorrow’s world, according to experts

Following a turbulent year within the tech community, what do the industry experts anticipate for the year ahead? 

LinkedIn’s Top Voices have shared their insights on the future of AI, crypto, the Metaverse, and fundraising, and what to expect in each of these areas. 

Whilst none of us have a crystal ball that can predict the future of tech, it’s worth considering what they have to say, and how trends will affect you and your customers. 

Read the full post here 

[Sam Shead, LinkedIn News UK]

🎥 [ARCHIVE – TF22] Sally Goble – How to get out of (technical) debt!

What is technical debt, and how easy is it to fall into debt in the first place? Sally Goble, Senior Engineering Manager at Accurx, answered both of these questions during her 2022 talk at Turing Fest. 

Sally shared her tried and tested action plan that you can use to navigate the technical debt that you have accumulated, how you can effectively repay your debt each month, how to get help when you need it and how to be more diligent moving forward. 

[Sally Goble, Accurx]

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