Weekly Learnings Week 44

Quote of the week

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: „I have to go to work – as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I‘m going to do what I was born for – the things  I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?“ – But it‘s nicer here… – So you were born to feel „nice“? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? […] – Marcus Aurelius

Weekly thoughts

Last week I didn‘t post any notes as I was preparing for my first 1-month visit to Chicago. Exiting times, but I‘m back with the stuff I learned last (2) week(s).

On Self-Confidence

Last Saturday, I was playing beach volleyball indoors with some friends. I usually so immerssed in the game, that I don‘t pay attention to the standing. At some point someone said: „Bene, don‘t get nervous on the match point“. And immediately, I noticed some pressure building up inside of me.

This lead me to an interesting observation: I probably did around 70 services that day and I probably missed around 10% of them. I know, that if I focus the right way and stick to my routine I will hit that service. So, why in the world does exactly this service on the final point makes us nervous?

Here is a thought experiment:

Imagine that you stand on top of Burj Khalifa or some other immensly high building. There is a steel rod that sticks out and you have to make a single step. If you are a little afraid of heights (like me) your hand palms will get sweaty if you even think about it. But if you would take the same step on the normal ground, you would probably not even think about that step.

I think we are often far more capable than we think we are. Framing our actions the right way sets us up for the right thing to do. Sometimes we get afraid because of the context of the situtation we are in. We get hooked up on our emotions.

What I learned this week

AI is changing how hits are made

As a musician that‘s a pretty scary concept – or is it? The idea is definitely cool: Define a genre, some instruments, a mood. Press a button. Out comes your personally composed music, that exactly matches your taste.

So for what would we need musicians then?

What is often forgotten is, that AI systems need to be trained on loads and loads of existing data. It will find patterns, detect rythmns and chord progressions. However, it can only learn from the data it is provided with. In other words: it will only generate music that it learns from the data it is fed.

So if you want to generate music, that is mimicing hits, it‘s probably no big deal to do it with AI. But generating music that follows a generic theme is not a new thing at all: Listen to the top charts of the last few years: There is hardly any innovation going on, neither on the music side nor on the lyrics side. No one really cares.

However, there is still a long way ahead that AI is able to compose Bach, James Brown or Led Zeppelin. Now, you might say: „Let the AI learn from an Bach anthology and it will produce Bach“. 

Yes, but that‘s not the point: The true art is about composing music that is ahead of it‘s time. Music that is truly touching because of the emotions the composer put into it. Music unheard of before.

I guess one of the major points is to distinguish between music as a marketing product and music as pieces of art.

This will be the most interesting way AI will influence music: Just as human + AI beat both chess computers and human chess players individually, AI might help humans to produce art that also was unheard of before.


Neuroenhancers influence our acetylcholine system

Nicotine and Piracetam substances are so called neuroenhancers. What‘s meant by that is, that they activate the acetylcoline system, which controls the altertness of nervous cells.

Substances that influence the acetylcholine system can be used for several different use cases: doctors treating muscular diseases by enhancing the system, the ultra deadly poison of exotic frogs leads to paralysis by blocking actelycholine receptors, botox prevents the ACL to be produced,…

When substances that enhance focus and attention are used, there are still many open questions, mainly if our brain’s learning mechanisms are influenced in a bad way. Who knows what happens when your focus and „learning rate“ is that much changed? Maybe we are „overfitting“ information, as the natural „forgetting“ mechanisms are prevented.

There are trends in the silicon valley, like microdosing LSD or doctoring around with several other cognition altering drugs. The issue is, that we hardly know of the exact effects on our brains. Our DNA is incredibly complex and we hardly know of our genetic predispositions.


Cool thing of the week

People in my office are probably already annoyed by all my talking about Siri Shortcuts. I‘m sorry to all the Android guys in the room, but I have to say it‘s incredibly handy tool and help me a lot in organizing my reading notes.

I want to share my top 3 Siri shortcuts with you. I hope those serve you as well as they do with me:

Download Youtube Videos


You can hit „Share“ on every Youtube video and call this shortcut in the sharing options. Will save the YT video to your iPhoto library.

Share WIFI via QR code


Enter your WiFi password into the shortcut. It will then generate a QR tag that let‘s you friends scan that tag and immediately log into your WIFI. Incredibly useful, as QR scanners are already embedded in both Android and iOS camera apps.

Push Article to Notes


I use this one to archive all the interesting articles I read over the week to the notes app, including text contents. Plus, you can enter your personal notes.

More: https://www.macstories.net/stories/ios-12-the-macstories-review

Published by Benedict

Product @Dynatrace, Ex-COO & VP @Mindbreeze, Ex-Product @Runtastic, addicted to #sports, #music, #tech and #economics (and #coffee)

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