Quote of the week
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. ~Marcus Aurelius
Things I learned this week
People get machine learning incredibly wrong
It’s not that machines will take over our jobs. Machine learning is a way for computers to make use of (un)structured data. Imagine a piece of paper, which you photograph with a digi cam. You see a number, but a computer sees pixels, each containing a black and white value. A machine learning algorithm is able to process those pixels in a way to recognize this as a number.
Now, make this analogy one more level abstract: imagine any amount of data points (soccer player stats, public health data,…). Arrange them in the same way as you did with the image pixels. Given a test set of eg. past performances, the computer can now predict future performance or health. This is what machine learning is. It’s powerful indeed and it might make your job easier (eg. providing guidance), but it won‘t be able to „connect the dots“ like a human can.
- Ben Evans – Ways to think about machine learning (BlogPost)
- Andrew Ng – The state of machine learning (Youtube)
The Newspaper business is absolutely weird
The newspaper business in the age of digital transformation is a absolutely weird thing, full of conflict of interest. On the one hand, as journalism is one of the pillars of a stable democracy, therefore it’s crucial to maintain a certain level of quality. On the other hand, in the age of the internet it’s about clicks, clicks and clicks (if you don’t have a strategy). I wrote about this also in my post about the elections from last year in Austria.
„The competition is fierce to get the viewer’s attention. There’s an increased urgency to give the viewer what the viewer wants. If you do what you’ve always done, you probably don’t survive.“
Sports (and probably arts) are important facilitators in immigrant acceptance
I read a story about Romelu Lukaku the other day, that I think is deeply moving. I found myself in deep admiration of this dedication, this drive and this will to become the best. And in deep admiration of his identity as a Belgian striker with Congolese roots.
I think, examples like Lukaku show how sports can play a facilitator role in society, although people get so afraid of immigration. Such role models play an immensely important role in giving the foreigns a face and a voice. I think, this is how people lose their anxiety and start accepting “them” as “us”.
Interesting thing of the week
Pole vault is one of the most technical fields in track and field athletics. It requires a lot of special equipment, great technique and athleticism. Current world record holders are Renauld Lavillenie (Men, 6.16m) and Yelena Isinbayeva (Women, 5.06m).
As pole vault is a very technical kind of sports, it is far less prone to doping. Seems like there is no substance yet, which can enhance brain to muscle coordination.
Here is a crazy one from Renauld Lavillenie from last week:
— Renaud LAVILLENIE® (@airlavillenie) July 6, 2018