2024-03-31

It’s Sunday night and I sit on the boy’s bedroom floor to write this evening. It’s a long weekend thanks to Easter so it’s day three with the family and the cracks are well and truly starting to show. And that’s before we get through Monday with no school or daycare.

I’m going to learn from today though. Whilst the day didn’t start out so bad, I’ve been pretty miserable for most of the day. Which is odd. Well odd isn’t the word. As I sit here now, it’s mostly frustration.

Today I woke up early and spent a bit of time baking. It’s odd how every now and then there’s a cultural touchstone that just hits a part of your brain and then suddenly you’re fixated on a thing. This week it has been hot cross buns. We even went to a bakery yesterday in the Catholic part of the city and they looked at me like I was stupid. Clearly hot cross buns are a very British thing and not a generic European easter thing.

Yesterday too, on paper had all the makings of a good family day out. We went to a sugar shake outside the city, had a tractor ride around the orchid, ate some fresh maple syrup poured over ice, and spent a good amount of time on playgrounds.

Friday similarly, involved a nice trip out to Atwater market, buying some goodies for the family and then our first walk of the year along the canal in the sun. Friday night, we even had a babysitter and went out for the night, which involved smashing things in a rage room, before a lovely dinner.

As a highlight reel, it looks like it was a great night out.

But just as with social media, the cropped, and contrast adjusted version of things versus the reality were quite different.

The trip to the market was a struggle. The walk along the canal involved coughing fits to the point of vomiting and then a refusal to walk - meaning I got to carry a 15 kilo sack of potatoes two and a half km. The entire second half accompanied to the hysterical crying of a toddler not wanting to face into the wind.

The night out was with another couple, that in real time, you could watch descend into an argument. Nothing serious, just another round of the greatest hits. The high maintenance partner being annoyed that not enough effort was made for the birthday - even though a lot of effort had been made. It just wasn’t the right effort.

As you can imagine, the dinner got more and more awkward as the night went on. The food itself was surprisingly poor, despite being a very expensive restaurant, and yet somehow I still managed to over-eat to the point of it being painful when I stood up to leave the table.

The sugar shack, involved the same couple from the night before, who’s argument had evolved to a full on cold war by the next day. The only thing colder than the looks between them was on my own wife, or perhaps the frigid Artic wind that added a completely unreasonable windchill to the whole afternoon.

Today, the baking was an attempt to somewhat eat my feelings - despite me currently having a record breaking self-loathing for my body weight having crept up AGAIN.

Unfortunately the hot cross buns came out almost inedible.

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2024-03-23

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?