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Posts about dgplug (old posts, page 9)

Tim Cook on Computers & AI & the Humanities

Tim Cook’s entire commencement address to the MIT class of 2017 is lovely (with enough fluff), but this is the part that struck a nerve:

Technology is capable of doing great things. But it doesn’t want to do great things. It doesn’t want anything.
That part takes all of us. It takes our values and our commitment to our families and our neighbors and our communities. Our love of beauty and belief that all of our faiths are interconnected. Our decency. Our kindness.

I’m not worried about artificial intelligence giving computers the ability to think like humans.
I’m more concerned about people thinking like computers without values or compassion, without concern for consequences.
That is what we need you to help us guard against.
Because if science is a search in the darkness, then the humanities are a candle that shows us where we’ve been and the danger that lies ahead.

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Happy Women’s Day!

Like I wrote at the other place,

I’ve been hugged and kissed and kicked,
and taught and influenced and befriended
and loved by so many of you!

I would not be me, if it weren’t for you!

It’s only grown truer with time.
Even more love and gratitude!


Trying to Be Perfect Is a Waste of Time

“I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.”
— Charlie Munger

That quote opens Shane’s post on the work required to hold an opinion, which remains one of the mental models I use most often.

Which is why I had my ears and my mind open, when Shane began one of his latest posts with,

“Trying to be perfect is a waste of time.”

I’ve inherited dad’s sense of perfectionism, and I always thought that should be something I ought to aspire to, at every skill I attempted to learn.
And for someone to come and say it isn’t so makes me squirm in my head.

But like Anne Lamott writes in Bird by Bird,

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.
I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die.
The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.

Shane too, using Taleb-ian ideas of optionality and antifragility makes a wonderful case for why good enough trumps perfect.

The post ends with a swift kick in the rear, to go forth and do …

Don’t be afraid of a challenge.
Don’t be afraid of not being the best.
When you routinely put yourself in situations where you aren’t the most skilled, you learn, you grow, and eventually you adapt.
You build your repertoire of traits and talents, so when change hits you have a wide array of skills.
This flexibility can also give you the confidence to seek change.
The mammal could explore and find new opportunities, but that bird was never going to leave the trees.

Read the whole post here. Will you be as convinced as I?

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Reasons to Write #1339

Derek Sivers on journaling daily.

Almost all the thoughts I have on any subject are the result of writing in my diary and journals, then questioning myself and working through alternate ways of thinking about it, and finally returning to the subject days or months later with a clear head and updated thoughts, seeing how they’ve changed or not over time.

Also on how writing helps him do the work required, to have an opinion.

I always write down my initial thought first, but then question it afterwards with slight detachment, and consider different perspectives.

Of course, as per Sivers usual, the whole post is detailed and helpful, and shows you his process. Go, have a look!

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Thank you, Kushal!

Began reading The Warren Buffett Shareholder today.
This is from the preface.

Many contributors to this book remark upon Buffetts’s distinctive teaching style, which tends to instruct people how to think rather than what to think.

And

John Bogle has attended one Meeting, but attests that even one can change your world.

A couple of pages later

Our premise was that Berkshire’s intrinsic value owes a lot to the Meeting and the shareholder community.
Buffett wrote in his 2014 letter …

… This culture grows stronger every year, and it will remain intact long after Charlie and I have left the scene.

Berkshire Hathaway has created a culture of intelligence, inquisitivness, integrity and learning. This culture is part of the “company” in both the corporate meaning of that word and in its sense as a society of people coming together (com) to break bread (pan).

Replace Warren with Kushal, Berkshire with the DGPLUG IRC channel and the shareholder meeting with the Summer Training.
And, nothing changes.

Amidst all the shouting and the craziness, that is the channel generally, it all goes up a hundredfold when the training happens.
Tempers flare. The kids are unruly. Mayhem ensues.

Yet, it all settles down soon enough.
Folks learn earnestly.
Wisdom is shared.
Bonds are made. Friendships built.
Across time and space.

And the Atlas who holds this little world on his shoulders is Kushal.
It is he, who literally, wrote the book on what we learn.
It is he, who pays for and maintains much of the infrastructure we need.
It is he, who conducts quite a few of the topics we learn.
It is he, who bribes, and cajoles old mages to come share their wisdom, with callow, inexperienced youth.
And it is he, who keeps this little corner of the world, warm and cozy and friendly, year after year after year.

The number of folks who owe their careers to him are many.
And the folks who have their lives changed by the training, many more still.
I don’t remember if I ever said this to him, but he has given more to humanity in ten years, what others haven’t in their entire lives.
And somewhere in the middle of the chapter, I found what succintly summarises the way I feel about the Summer Training.

And amid their decades of lessons, they get to the core message of all shareholders at the Berkshire Annual Meeting: if you’ve never been, go; if you always go, keep going.

And for everything you do, thank you Kushal!