The Best of 2022

Collecting the best things of 2022 in blogs, games, podcasts, and sometimes more. Previous years: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014.

Great articles and blog posts

Yanis Varoufakis on Crypto & the Left, and Techno-Feudalism
- The disappearance of virtually free money with the rise of interest rates, and the subsequent collapse of the cryptocurrency markets has made this article about the crypto economy much less relevant. Prior to that, though, Varoufakis did a good job of highlighting some of the absurdities of that world and was a prescient preview of how crypto would whether the back half of 2022.

EE380 Talk
- While Varoufakis covers the economic issues with cryptocurrencies, this talk from David Rosenthal looks at the issues though a broader, engineering-centric view. The outlook is similarly pessimistic.

The Six Forces That Fuel Friendship
- Author Julie Beck previously worked on a series called "The Friendship Files" where she interviewed 100 pairs of people about their friendships. This article distills those interviews into a set of six "forces" that she believes describe how friendships form and evolve.

A Gentler, Better Way to Change Minds
- I find participation in conversation over the internet to be exhausting; a battle between two sides, each outraged at how the opposite could think such things. If, instead, each side was offering a gift explaining how their views could improve the lives of the other, would things be a little more bearable?

Why Linux Troubleshooting Advice Sucks
- If you have an issue with a Linux system, online commenters are happy to provide a list of potential solutions, but you'd be pretty lucky if any actually work. These solutions would be much more useful if they came with diagnostics to help determine if the potential solution would be useful before applying it.

AI Homework
- There's a lot of energy around AI these days since the launch of ChatGPT. This is an obviously powerful tool, yet the nature of the system makes it prone to producing believable but completely incorrect results. Are AI language models practically useful, and where could we actually deploy them today? One AI tool that has impressed me is GitHub's Copilot. In 2022 it became an important part of my daily workflow.

In crowd wisdom, the ‘surprisingly popular’ answer can trump ignorance of the masses
- Crowd wisdom is the average answer you might get to a question posed to a large group of people. But the popular answer can often be wrong when the question requires specialized knowledge to answer. This post is from 2017 but is important today when studying AI language models that average the output of a vast amount of human writing.

The Expanding Dark Forest and Generative AI
Gish gallop is a rhetorical technique that eschews facts in favour of producing as many different arguments as possible to overwhelm an opponent. I think there's a real concern that AI content generation makes it even harder to sort out useful information from the noise. - Have you had the sense that Google search results are getting worse? It seems that content producers are better now at winning the search game than they are at producing useful information, and the expansion of AI language models stands to make this condition even worse in the very near future. How do we tell the difference between novel human ideas and turbocharged garbage?

Favourite musicians discovered

Elliott Smith
- Smith has been dead for 20 years by this point, so the chances that we'll hear new music from him is pretty low. But there's a decent collection of his late 90s' singer-songwriter catalog available to checkout now that I apparently missed out on back then.

Favourite games played

- Stray puts you in control of a cat trying to navigate a dystopian, futuristic city. That alone made it one of the more memorable games this year, and the story was interesting enough to keep me engaged until the end.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
- I don't like games that are difficult to the point of frustration, so Fallen Order started out on the wrong foot. Eventually I developed a feel for the game and progressed to the point where the gameplay was rewarding and entertaining enough that I could appreciate the story that they were trying to tell.

A Fake Artist Goes to New York
- Fake Artist is another of Oink Games' compact games that are easy to throw in a pocket and easily offers an hour of entertainment for up to 10 people. It's easy to teach, well-balanced, and compares well to group favourites like Codenames and Dixit.

Favourite podcasts discovered

Ten Percent Happier
- Dan Harris is a retired journalist and former anchor of ABC's Nightline, which gives him access to a quality production team and interview skills that almost no other podcast host can match. I'm sure any program that he put together would be interesting, but Ten Percent Happier is also entertaining and useful.