2023-10-12

So where are we at today? I don’t know really. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a bit of mental prejudice against Thursdays. A long way from the start of the week, but without the excitement of Friday for the weekend.

Perhaps I’m just stuck instead in the same old mental paths. Back when I was in grade 10 Thursday afternoons were back-to-back German (which I was terrible at, and with a teacher I hated) and advanced math (with a teacher I hated). Maybe that grind of a year was enough to have me stuck in rut ever since.

Maybe I’m the same way with languages. Maybe I’m not terrible at languages, it’s just that they came a bit harder to me than the sciences and therefore I’ve written off the entire endeavour for all time as difficult.

Similarly music class but we off doing any music for a long time, until a bunch of friends asked me to punch out a bass line for their band. Suddenly music didn’t seem so bad.

Perhaps that’s the difference. Surrounded by friends, only playing one note or two was still fun. But more than that. I was definitively better at the end of the first hour of practice than I was at the start. A small win and tangible results.

German never had that. I never felt I ever got any better at German.

Just like now. I don’t “feel” like my French is ever getting better. I mean objectively it must be because I can now watch a show on Netflix and get the gist of it. But all I remember is the last time someone in the street asked me for directions or when someone left me a voicemail.

But a friend pointed out to me yesterday that perhaps all of my bitching and moaning about French is really just another form of procrastination. A thing to distract me from the hard decision I don’t want to make.

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2023-10-11

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2023-10-13

What distinguishes you from other developers?

I've built data pipelines across 3 continents at petabyte scales, for over 15 years. But the data doesn't matter if we don't solve the human problems first - an AI solution that nobody uses is worthless.

Are the robots going to kill us all?

Not any time soon. At least not in the way that you've got imagined thanks to the Terminator movies. Sure somebody with a DARPA grant is always going to strap a knife/gun/flamethrower on the side of a robot - but just like in Dr.Who - right now, that robot will struggle to even get out of the room, let alone up some stairs.

But AI is going to steal my job, right?

A year ago, the whole world was convinced that AI was going to steal their job. Now, the reality is that most people are thinking 'I wish this POC at work would go a bit faster to scan these PDFs'.

When am I going to get my self-driving car?

Humans are complicated. If we invented driving today - there's NO WAY IN HELL we'd let humans do it. They get distracted. They text their friends. They drink. They make mistakes. But the reality is, all of our streets, cities (and even legal systems) have been built around these limitations. It would be surprisingly easy to build self-driving cars if there were no humans on the road. But today no one wants to take liability. If a self-driving company kills someone, who's responsible? The manufacturer? The insurance company? The software developer?