Outsized Impacts

The uniqueness of The Far Middle shines in episode 103. In under 30 minutes, Nick covers topics spanning World Donkey Day to sports and from World War II to artificial intelligence.

After kicking things off with a little “donkey talk,” Nick dedicates the episode to his Mount Rushmore of the most iconic sports photos, as well as offers a few honorable mentions. The superfecta of legendary pictures includes Ray Lussier’s photograph of Bobby Orr’s overtime goal in game four of the 1970 Stanley Cup finals, which took place 52 years ago today.

Next, Nick talks historical versus modern-day geopolitical irony, highlighting that Japan was the most anti-communist nation during World War II. However, it was their aggression into China that gave rise to the Chinese Communist Party, leading to the CCP prowling the planet today. “Let’s hope that the mistakes and the ironies of World War II don’t lead to a World War III,” says Nick.

Staying in present day, Nick examines outsized impacts in the capital markets. He points out that the market cap weights of Apple and Microsoft, which are in the S&P 500, are double the weights of the entire energy and materials sectors in the S&P 500 combined, “and that’s amazing.” Nick says this defies logic, and it’s “a blaring, flashing warning light that something is very wrong with the capital markets and key indices like the S&P.”

Continuing on the topic of the energy transition, Nick homes in on the OECD, who’s “starting to figure out there are a plethora of massively large challenges facing the unimaginable scale up its envisioned for wind and solar and electric vehicles across the planet.” He highlights six truths on the energy transition, several of which should be familiar to constant listeners.

Nick then pivots to the topic of artificial intelligence, asking several thought-provoking questions, and categorizing his views into three areas: AI’s opportunities, risks, and the threat of government intervention in the field.

Connecting artificial intelligence to genuine intelligence, Nick notes the quote by Freddie Mercury: “We are in the golden age of music. There will be a time when technology becomes so advanced that we’ll rely on them to make music rather than raw talent. Music will lose its soul.” Nick examines who “them” are, and how that word is defined will again have outsized impacts on the future of society.

Nick closes with a unique connection from Freddie Mercury to the “Piano Man,” welcoming Mr. Billy Joel to the stage (who coincidentally celebrated his 74th birthday yesterday). If it’s been a while, give a listen to Joel’s 52nd Street—what are Nick’s two favorite tracks from the album? Press play on this episode!