Location: Blog Menu ▼

I write about design, technology, and people. Sometimes I photograph places I visit.

Featured posts

Archive – if you're interested in older posts or looking for something specific.

Latest posts

Love what you do (quotes)

From Love what you do, as a call to welcome less interesting parts of your pursuit:

Try to embrace all aspects of your current job and do it the best you can. Fall in love with it, not because it’s a good mantra, but because it’ll make your work outstanding.

In the two and a half years since that post, I have found some more examples of the same idea. Read more

Year in review 2016

A lot has happened in 2016. Many people would say it was the worst year ever. It wasn’t, but it had its challenges: from wars and occupations, migrant crises, unexpected political outcomes, to many artists leaving us forever. Even so, there was one event that made this year one of the happiest for me. Read more

What is fair, what is right?

If you didn’t already notice, machines are deciding what news we see, what “facts” we learn, and what music we listen to next, but also who will be denied credit or who should be detained based on a predicted risk of criminal activity (and they are doing it poorly). As algorithms get more sophisticated and data becomes more plentiful, machines will do even more: deciding on medical procedures, educational opportunities, and how our cars drive.

In other words, machines will direct a substantial part of your life. This presents a problem because you want the decisions to be fair and right, but what does that mean? We all think we know what is right, but it is only our opinion and personal perspective. People are diverse. We live in different cultural, religious, political, and economic spheres, and those shape our worldviews, whether we are aware of it or not.

Morality is constructed by humans. There is nothing in nature that determines what is universally right or wrong; there is no objective measure. Thousands of years of philosophy didn’t bring us any closer to the unified truth, only to constant conflict. However, with the rise of computing, we are forced for the first time to extract the decision-making model from our minds and put it somewhere else. We will have to quantify philosophical musings and the way we do that will define our future.

Two extremes define the range of possible outcomes:

  1. We agree on objective measures of human fairness and incorporate them in algorithms that will run our lives.
  2. We do nothing and let machines pick up our biases in data they analyze.

The extreme outcomes sound either improbable or undesirable. Is there a middle ground that will push the humanity forward and not leave anyone behind?

Good books I read in 2015

I am always asking people and scouring the Internet for good book recommendations. Even though I exchange tips in person, I rarely broadcast what is worthy of your time. Time to change that.

The year 2015 was not as good as some others with regards to drowning in good reads, but there were some golden nuggets I would like to share. Read more

Nobody will do that

Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible. If you put a large switch in a cave somewhere, with a sign saying ‘End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’, the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.”

— Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time

I’ll print out this quote so I can point to it when I’m discussing edge cases and someone tells me “nobody will do that” or “it will never happen.” Famous last words.

These were the latest posts. If you want to read more, please explore the archive.

Back to top ▲