Reasoning through Moravec’s paradox.

Humans have unconscious skillsEncoded in the large, highly evolved sensory and motor portions of the human brain is a billion years of experience about the nature of the world and how to survive in it. The deliberate process we call reasoning is, I believe, the thinnest veneer of human thought, effective only because it is supported by this much older and much more powerful, though usually unconscious, sensorimotor knowledge. We are all prodigious olympians in perceptual and motor areas, so good that we make the difficult look easy. Abstract thought, though, is a new trick, perhaps less than 100 thousand years old. We have not yet mastered it. It is not all that intrinsically difficult; it just seems so when we do it.

10 breakthrough technologies, according to Bill Gates.

  • Robot dexterity (“to help Grandma out of bed”)
  • New-wave nuclear power (so anyone can trigger Judgement Day)
  • Predicting premature births (and worry about falling birth rates another time)
  • Gut probes in a pill (for those who cannot stomach Anesthesia)
  • Custom cancer vaccines (though you still need to go through a biopsy)
  • The cow-free burger (which will make Bill richer than he needs to be)
  • Carbon dioxide catcher (so we can all make our own sugary soda drinks at home)
  • An ECG on your wrist (puts the Swiss watch industry on life support)
  • Sanitation without sewers (which can fit in a backpack next to the nuclear power bank)
  • Smooth-talking AI assistants (whose eyes are like angels but the heart is cold)

MIT Technology Review: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2019, curated by Bill Gates

A dead man talking…

I was an idiot who made the same stupid decision, day-after-day, multiple times per day. I was a smoker and even though I knew it may eventually kill me, I chose to deny the truth to myself. The pain and suffering I caused my family was not worth the perceived “satisfaction” that really did nothing more than waste money, separate me from my family, and eventually destroyed my body. I did many good things, helped lots of people, and even made a decent living. At 66 years old, I lived a decent life, but there are so many events and milestones I will not be able to share with my loved ones. The moral of this story – don’t be an idiot. If you’re a smoker – quit – now – your life depends on it and those that you love depend upon your life.

It exists – foobar2000 for the Mac.

That foobar2000 for Mac is incomplete should be no surprise

The only software I truly missed from the Windows world was foobar2k. I was absolutely shocked (in a happy way) to see someone has attempted to port it to the Mac.

I am not shocked (in a low-key way) to see that it’s nowhere near close to being a finished article. ReplayGain, DSP, and connecting to an FTP server seem to work. But otherwise, there’s no scrobbling, no folder views, no album art displays, etc. It doesn’t fit my needs yet but it is definitely coming together in a good way.

Oh, you can use foobar2000 on Ubuntu in a snap. If your music is on a server or a network drive like me, you need to configure Wine a little bit.

On programming bootcamps and software crisis…

Edsger W. Dijkstra on software engineering nearly 20 years agoThe required techniques of effective reasoning are pretty formal, but as long as programming is done by people that don’t master them, the software crisis will remain with us and will be considered an incurable disease. And you know what incurable diseases do: they invite the quacks and charlatans in, who in this case take the form of Software Engineering gurus.

Some signs of an economic bubble.

From Scott Galloway‘s Every Seven Years (which is almost two years old now).