A highlight from What You Need to Know This Week (September 21stth)


Hello, and welcome to the Crypto Cafe with Randi Zuckerberg. I'm your host, Randi. And in this cafe, we embrace newcomers and experts alike to all things at the center of tech disruption and innovation and where that meets up with art and creativity. Our recurring theme is what you need to know this week in the world of tech and creativity. And we like to do it all in 10 minutes or less. I'm delighted to be joined by two of my amazing teammates from Hug. Would love if you would check out thehug .xyz to see how we empower artists and provide tools for artists to take their practice into the next level using technology. But first, let's meet our guest contributors. First, we have Tina Lindell, marketing manager at Hug. Hi, Tina. Howdy. Hello. I'm so excited to be here again this week, Randi. I love it. I love having you back on the show. I'm also joined by Michael Liddig, who is a multidisciplinary artist himself and director of creator programming at Hug. Hi, Michael. Howdy, Randi. All right. So we before get into the topics that both of you brought to the table this week, which are fascinating topics in the world of tech and creativity, I just wanted our audience to know that I'm joined by some extreme athletes here from Hug. So Tina, maybe you could talk a little bit about your kind of epic hiking and climbing adventure in Peru. And then Michael, you can talk a little bit about our epic race that we did this weekend. So Tina, talk to me. I'm so impressed by what you did. So my fiancé is Peruvian, so we had it on our list to go to Peru and hike the Incan Trail, which was amazing. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. I was a fool. I didn't train for it. I still survived. And the way you see the world when you're kind of totally remote, there's no Wi -Fi, there's no computers, there's no TV. It's just you out in nature, hiking through different ecosystems, seeing different kinds of plants, trees, and going up so many stairs. There's more stairs than I've wished to climb again in a lifetime. But kind of you walk for four days and at the end of it, you get to the Sun Gate at the Incan Trail and you can see Machu Picchu. And there's so many things that you can do. It was absolutely incredible. Michael, you're the athlete here. You did something crazy recently, if I'm correct. Well, Randy convinced me to do something crazy, which was do a half marathon up a 5 ,000 -foot mountain, which is such a metaphor of living in the unknown, as Randy could talk about more too, which is when you think you're done with this mountain, there are more mountains ahead of you. So it was a wild, wild adventure. It took Randy and I six hours to do, but we literally, literally crawled through mud together and that will be one of my greatest memories of all time. It was, Michael, I think like crawling under barbed wire through a mud pit with you while like 50 people sang you Happy Birthday has got to be just like one of the greatest memories that I will hold on to. It was amazing. But you know what? I feel like these things show us that, you know, if an idea comes to your head, like hiking the Incan Trail or climbing a mountain and an idea comes to you that gives you butterflies in the pit of your stomach, it kind of means you have to do it. Like if something scares you and makes you a little uncomfortable. And I feel like that's at the root of where we all are at HUG also. There's a lot of things in tech and art that make all of us deeply uncomfortable and it just shows that you're on the right path. So let's get into our topics for this week. All right, so our first, dun dun dun, someone got in trouble. Tina, you wanted to talk about how the SEC came for one of the big digital art projects. So let us know what's on your mind. Yes, so someone did get in big trouble. So the SEC has charged the NFT product and web series Stoner Cats for conducting an unregistered offering of crypto asset securities. So Stoner Cats is a, or was, is a six episode series about talking house cats. It was actually founded by Mila Kunis and was set to star a bunch of celebs, including her husband, Ashton Kutcher, Jane Fonda, Seth MacFarlane, and even Gary Vee and the founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin. It was interesting. What the SEC is citing is back in 2021, Stoner Cats raised $8 million through NFT sales and they sold out in only 30 minutes, which is crazy. Now it's not unusual to see NFT projects promote the utility of ownership is the verbiage we're used to seeing. Where they're getting in trouble is their marketing campaign for Stoner Cats explicitly stated that owning their NFT would promise profits from secondary sales. That is not good. That is exactly why they're in hot water. Now what is interesting, and I want to talk to you guys about, is the SEC actually is citing and targeting memes shared from the Stoner Cats Twitter account as a violation. And what I think is funny is when we think of marketing, we think of TV commercials, we think of banner ads. We think of all kinds of memes. And I think that memes are a very powerful way to leverage visual language and common culture to spread a message. And that's exactly why brands and businesses and individuals need to be careful about what kind of memes they share. So what do you guys think? It's so fascinating. And you know what, honestly, I had a lawyer on the show a few months ago who was saying that you can't even use a rocket ship emoji in a press release or anything because even these visual images that we've gotten so used to using can connotate profits and success in business that you can't guarantee. So I think it is wild that we're now having to think about memes and emojis. And is that over promising things in business? But Michael, over to you. I'd love your thoughts. Yeah. I count this to be something of people were really excited about a new technology, which was the use of NFTs that you could sell them on the secondary market. And I remember when this came out, I was so excited that artists could be able to actually raise money on their projects in a more, what I thought was effective way. And so while I agree with what the SEC is doing, and I think it's good to put these guardrails on, I also think it will in some ways give us more opportunity in the future to really determine what does an NFT do, which is it provides utility, that's it, bar none, nothing else. And so it can challenge us to say, what does that utility unlock? Is it simply just art? Or is it something that unlocks something? So yeah, it's a complex thing, right? Yeah, very, very complex. And, you know, in some ways, I think it's a good thing that we're seeing more regulation in the space, because there were a lot of bad players and a lot of what kind of just blatant money grabs that were going on. On the other hand, I'm not sure that it's like the best use of anyone's time to be policing the use of memes and emojis. So hopefully we'll come to a happy medium in between these things. But Tina, thanks for bringing such a fascinating discussion topic to the table. And for our listeners out there, I'd love to hear what you think about the use of marketing materials and memes and emojis that could potentially get a company in trouble. All right, Michael, over to you. You wanted to talk a little bit about AI chatbots and how it's getting harder and harder to actually tell if you are chatting with a human or AI. Tell us more. Yeah, so talking about creativity, you know, an article just came out that AI chatbots on average showcase creativity rivaling most human participants. So that's pretty amazing, right? So we're saying now that the tools and the technology we've created on average is about the same type of creative thinking. Here's the caveat. It did not outperform the top creative thinkers. And so when I think about this, I'm thinking about how technology and tools is enhancing our creative thinking, but not taking it away. I remember like, you know, 20 years ago, when I wanted to go work on an artistic project, and I had to go to the library, wah, wah, wah. And I had to go to this thing called the image library in New York City. And I had to like go in the stacks and find all these images. Cut to five years later, I could literally Google that and Google image and find all those images super, super quick. So I'm seeing that these things become more efficient over time and challenges us to ask better questions to think in broader terms when it comes to our creative thinking. And so I think this is a good thing. Tina, your thoughts? Yeah, this is so exciting to me, because it brings me back to a quote I haven't thought about in a long time. And it's creativity is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. And we're seeing here, whether you're an individual or even an AI, the more you kind of work this creative muscle, the better and, you know, more imaginative it's going to become. So me, I'm a creative, I love to write poetry. So how do I get started writing poetry, I read a lot of poetry. And so this is exactly what these AIs are doing. They're taking in a lot of information and then creating output from that. That's exactly what humans do. So I see it as a challenge that if there's a world where AI is outperforming creativity, that tells me I should really work harder on my creativity. So I can become that top performing human that AI can't beat. Brandy? Yeah. Okay. It's so interesting because I remember, I mean, even back in college, we were studying, you know, like what happens when you are like, it was almost like can computers think that question, you know, posing that question. It's like, if you can't tell if you're having a conversation with a human or computer, does that mean that the computer is thinking? And how do you know? And I feel like now AI is raising all these same fascinating questions about just like what humanity means. And what like thought in conversation and creativity. So sorry, I'm clearly just having an existential crisis over here. I'm not really like answering either of your questions. I'm just spiraling. But it is it's both exciting and terrifying, don't you think? Oh, yeah, I think of like, Yuval No Harari's book Homo Deus, which is this ultimate potential question of are we are we going to merge with machines like this week, this week, Neuralink got permission to do human trials. Can you imagine? So people will now be able to put the Neuralink brain chip into their head. So what does this mean? Are we are we be like you said, Randy, am I having an existential crisis? Are we becoming half robot, half human? I mean, I kind of welcome our robot overlords, you know, like just bring it bring it on in our final moments together, because we have promised our listeners 10 minutes and I could talk to you guys for hours. Michael, tell us a little bit about what you're working on at hug right now and what you're excited about. And then we'll over to you, Tina. Yeah, super excited about a few things. One is a big partnership. You know, I lead education at hug. So I'm always thinking about what kind of insights can we provide artists around selling their work, getting their work out there networking. And we've been working hard as we shop around how we can educate creators around how to use this more effectively and diversify their income. So that's where my brains at a lot these days. What about you, Tina? Well, kind of piggybacking on your comment about this print shop we're launching. So we're inviting guest curators to help us pick the art that will be sold in the print shop. And today we just opened a call to look for spooky, scary, like Halloween art. To sell in October. I'm so excited. I love fall. I love Halloween. I love ghosts and scary things. And we've invited one of my favorite artists, Mumbot, to guest curate for that. She's so much fun. She has these ghost characters in her art. She originally made these characters to share with her children. And so very excited to see what kind of spooky, scary Halloween art comes her way. I am all about the spooky, scary Halloween art. So I'm going to be all over that that print shop and everything else. Thank you both so much. Tina, Michael, always a pleasure to chat with you about everything from the SEC cracking down on memes to A .I. chat bots becoming more human like to all of our extreme athletic adventures together and apart. Wonderful to chat with you both. Definitely encourage everyone to check out Thehug .xyz. Tina, Michael and the rest of the team are doing an extraordinary job bringing opportunity and resources to artists of all kinds out there. Join us next week for a brand new episode of What You Need to Know here in the Crypto Cafe with me, Randy Zuckerberg, and my incredible Hug contributors.

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