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Gideon Rosenblatt
Explorer of work and the human experience in an era of machine intelligence.
Explorer of work and the human experience in an era of machine intelligence.


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I often find explanations of machine learning either too complex or overly simplistic. I’ve recently had some luck using a simple frame for explaining it to people in person. Let’s see if I can quickly capture it in this post.

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The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World: A Compilation of Perspectives from Leading Thinkers

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In the event Trump fires Mueller or Rosenstein, get notified about local rallies to join the protest:
Rapid response

If Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller or Rod Rosenstein, our response in the hours following will dictate what happens next. That's why is preparing to hold emergency rallies if they're needed — over 900 of them, in every state of the USA, with 350,000 RSVPs to date!

Find the rally near you and get ready to join it if necessary:
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Jeff Bezos on Having High Standards
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has some interesting insights on setting a culture of high standards. Here's a taste:

Intrinsic or Teachable?
First, there’s a foundational question: are high standards intrinsic or teachable? If you take me on your basketball team, you can teach me many things, but you can’t teach me to be taller. Do we first and foremost need to select for “high standards” people? If so, this letter would need to be mostly about hiring practices, but I don’t think so. I believe high standards are teachable. In fact, people are pretty good at learning high standards simply through exposure. High standards are contagious. Bring a new person onto a high standards team, and they’ll quickly adapt. The opposite is also true. If low standards prevail, those too will quickly spread. And though exposure works well to teach high standards, I believe you can accelerate that rate of learning by articulating a few core principles of high standards, which I hope to share in this letter.

Universal or Domain Specific?
Another important question is whether high standards are universal or domain specific. In other words, if you have high standards in one area, do you automatically have high standards elsewhere? I believe high standards
are domain specific, and that you have to learn high standards separately in every arena of interest. When I started Amazon, I had high standards on inventing, on customer care, and (thankfully) on hiring. But I didn’t have high standards on operational process: how to keep fixed problems fixed, how to eliminate defects at the root, how to inspect processes, and much more. I had to learn and develop high standards on all of that (my colleagues were my tutors).

Understanding this point is important because it keeps you humble. You can consider yourself a person of high standards in general and still have debilitating blind spots. There can be whole arenas of endeavor where you
may not even know that your standards are low or non-existent, and certainly not world class. It’s critical to be open to that likelihood.

Recognition and Scope
What do you need to achieve high standards in a particular domain area? First, you have to be able to recognize what good looks like in that domain. Second, you must have realistic expectations for how hard it should be (how much work it will take) to achieve that result – the scope. Let me give you two examples. One is a sort of toy illustration but it makes the point clearly, and another is a real one that comes up at Amazon all the time.

Perfect Handstands
A close friend recently decided to learn to do a perfect free-standing handstand. No leaning against a wall. Not for just a few seconds. Instagram good. She decided to start her journey by taking a handstand workshop at her yoga studio. She then practiced for a while but wasn’t getting the results she wanted. So, she hired a handstand coach. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, but evidently this is an actual thing that exists. In the very first lesson, the coach gave her some wonderful advice. “Most people,” he said, “think that if they work hard, they should be able to master a handstand in about two weeks. The reality is that it takes about six months of daily practice. If you think you should be able to do it in two weeks, you’re just going to end up quitting.” Unrealistic beliefs on scope – often hidden and undiscussed – kill high standards. To achieve high standards yourself or as part of a team, you need to form and proactively communicate realistic beliefs about how hard something is going to be – something this coach understood well.

The full letter here:

(I don't really have the right Collection to place this, and so I am placing it in my "Business as a Force for Good" collection in the full recognition that Amazon does lots of stuff that disqualifies them for that category, but that it's important to recognize laudable behavior when we see it: and I think having a culture of high standards maps to that.)
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Progress on quantum computing. This article helped me to untangle some of my confusion on the topic.

But honestly, I'm still scratching my head a bit...

HT +John Verdon
To create individual qubits, the researchers trapped 20 calcium ions in an electrostatic trap. One electric field forces these ions into a single line. Another, lateral electric field pushes them together, so that they occupy positions 5 microns apart.

These calcium ions have an outer valence electron whose spin can occupy two states, up or down. These are the two quantum states, 0 or 1, of the qubit. But a qubit can also occupy a state where both values are in superposition.

When two qubits in superposition are also entangled, they together can store all the possible combinations of the quantum states of the qubits, resulting in four values. Adding another qubit to the entangled pair will double the number of combinations and thus the values that can be stored, and so on. After 20 such doublings, 20 entangled qubits can store 220, or 1,048,576 values.
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Interview with Pedro Domingo on the potential for #AI to shift geopolitical power and much more.

"Computers are like the ultimate bureaucrats. They can keep tabs on everybody and are incorruptible, but in the hands of a despot extremely corruptible."
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Two Job Opportunities at the Cutting Edge of Social Change

The Mobilisation Lab is constantly experimenting with new ideas for effecting social change. They are now searching for two positions:

* Digital Organizer
* Content Curator

More details here:
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The new research was spurred by the discovery in 2016 of the first bacterium that had naturally evolved to eat plastic, at a waste dump in Japan. Scientists have now revealed the detailed structure of the crucial enzyme produced by the bug.

The mutant enzyme takes a few days to start breaking down the plastic – far faster than the centuries it takes in the oceans. But the researchers are optimistic this can be speeded up even further and become a viable large-scale process.

HT +John Verdon
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Machine Vision to Stop Human Trafficking

Another exciting application of machine learning, in this case, using Amazon's facial recognition software to identify victims of human trafficking. Very innovative and inspiring.

Thanks, +Wasim Muklashy. Good catch.
AI Tool Helps Law Enforcement Find Victims of Human Trafficking

"Emily Kennedy was a rather sheltered teenager when she first learned about sex trafficking. She was 16 on a trip to Macedonia, and she couldn’t quite understand the desperation with which children were cleaning the car she was in when they had stopped at a stoplight. “My friend said the kids were trafficked by the Russian mob, and if they don’t bring home enough money each day, they will be punished,” Kennedy said on stage Friday at the Women in the World event, an annual live journalism event held in New York City.

She kept chewing on the problem studying humanities at Carnegie Mellon University. She thought she might go to law school. But then, as she was working on her senior thesis (Kennedy graduated in 2012), she connected with a few machine learning experts and engineers at the university who had designed technology to solve a number of other complex issues, such as “epidemic detection and food safety,” Kennedy tells me.
It was the right recipe for a collaboration that could change how victims of human trafficking were found..."

#future = #REALnews #robots #tech #innovation #science #design #singularity #engineering #automation #AI #artificialintelligence #economy #finance #universalbasicincome #basicincome #money #UBI #humantrafficking #philanthropy
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A new book of poetry about what you might describe as the heart of nature and the nature of the heart, from +Ragini Michaels.

I was honored to write the forward for this book. If you like poetry, I highly recommend it. :)
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