Guest AuthorPavan Soni

Inflexion Point, July 2022

By | Dr Pavan Soni | IIM-B Innovation Evangelist

Welcome back to another edition of Inflexion Point. In this edition, we explore if Elon Musk has a strategy, why Google’s AI chatbot seems sentient, whether morning routines kill creativity, how meditation can make you more creative, and the right age to launch a venture. 
Hope you find these curated pieces insightful.
Many wonder if Musk, one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the recent times, has a plan for his approach or is he just going about his fantasies. As it turns out, he has a method to madness. There are three themes that emerge from the analysis of Musk’s companies – Tesla, SpaceX, Hyperloop, OpenAI, The Boring Company, and NeuraLink. Musk seeks problems that require navigating scale and overcoming complexity. He builds organizations on the logic of vertical integration and closed technology and has a tremendous ability to marshal resources as he owns personal stake in his ventures.  (Source: HBR)
Blake Lemoine and his colleagues have been working for months on the Google’s LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) and based on some of the dialogues with the machines Lemoine declared that the software program is sentient. This has reignited the debate about how to define consciousness, and if machines can have it? The phenomenon is another instance of human tendency toward animism: attributing a soul to the objects around us, especially those we are most fond of or that have a minimal ability to interact with the world around them. However, that may not mean that LaMDA is either sentient or conscious. And even if it were, isn’t that what all the attempts in AI are towards? (Source: Scientific American)
Research is comprehensive in concluding that imaginative insights are most likely to come to us when we’re groggy and unfocused. Early morning rituals can suppress the ‘more diffuse attentional focus’ that often results in serendipitous connections leading to greater creativity. Further, the morning stress heightens cortisol thereby harming myelin, the fatty substance that coats our brain cells and this can slow down the speed with which signals are transmitted between neurons. Also, reading the newspaper in the morning may not be a great idea, as negative news can dampen both your emotions and creativity. (Source: Time)
A recent study indicates that meditation can have a long-lasting influence on human cognition, including how we conceive new ideas. Further, you don’t need to be an experienced meditator to profit more from meditation. However, not all types of meditations have similar effects. For instance, Open Monitoring meditation, where you are receptive to every thought and sensation, results in better divergent thinking, whereas Focused Attention meditation, where you focus on a particular thought or object, improves convergent thinking, such as problem solving. (Source: Science Daily)
While the dominant belief is that 20s is the best age to start off, the research suggests that there are two peaks – 20s and 50s. While younger startup founders tend to be more tech savvy and less risk-averse, older startup founders benefit from greater experience, business skill, connections, and access to capital. The midlife often makes you risk averse and busy. Also, older female entrepreneurs tend to be significantly more successful at launching a company than younger ones. The grit may be a more defining feature than sheer intelligence. (Source: Inc.)
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