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I write about design, technology, and people. Sometimes I take photos of places I visit.

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Setting goals and systems

I’ve written and talked about goals and goal setting a few times before. However, the success of reaching a goal doesn’t only rest in setting the goal, but also in deciding which path to take towards it. This video describes two different approaches, and why one is superior to the other.

Bias and discrimination in machine learning

Imagine a group of government officials who take and process passport applications. The application consists of filling in a form and handing over one photo of the applicant’s face. All officials try to do good work except one. That official is racist and rejects every application from a person who looks different. The people in the government notice the discrimination. They decide to introduce a machine that will learn from all applications processed by good officials. The machine is consistent; it equalizes criteria for all applications, so current and future discrimination is gone. But is it? Read more

Consistency

The best performers are not consistently great, but they’re great at being consistent.

It’s from Peak Performance and something I’ve noticed too. People around me who deliver great work have good days and bad days, but they strive to make it a good day every day.

Human stories

I don’t remember when I, a shy kid in love with computers, became interested in human stories. The more I think about it, the more this transition blurs. But there it is—I love hearing stories. It turns out that most people do.

I tune into The Moth Radio Hour for a weekly dose of storytelling. Even though many stories are witty and fun, there are those that explore the darker side of life: poverty, crime, broken marriages, battling with diseases, a death of a child. Those stories are from ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, and they help me look beyond my bubble and learn something new about the world. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry.

Last year I wrote about stereotyping and jumping to conclusions, and about an exercise anyone can do to reduce bias. Hearing a lot of different stories makes the exercise easier.

I highly recommend subscribing to The Moth podcast. Other similar formats I’ve heard about, but haven’t tried out yet: StoryCorps (TED talk) and Humans of New York.

If you want to read more, check out the archive.

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