Monday Miscellany 29 April 19

  1. What AI is not

Given my research interests on the use of AI in customer interfaces, I have been reading several definitions of what AI is and what it can do. So, it was somehow refreshing to read this definition of what AI is not and can’t do. It is from the book The Inevitable, authored by Kevin Kelly, former editor of The Wired:

We have preconceptions about how an intelligent robot should look and act, and these can blind us to what is already happening around us. To demand that artificial intelligence be humanlike is the same flawed logic as demanding that artificial flying be birdlike, with flapping winds” (page 51).


  1. Mourning on Facebook

There are many things that I do not like about Facebook. The company’s blatant disrespect for its users’ data, and the superficiality and triviality of most of the content that we share there (me, included). Though, lately, I have come to know another part of Facebook that I was not familiar with, and which I must admit has surprised me in a positive manner. Facebook as a vehicle for mourning and for honouring someone’s memory.


A young woman died, and her friends and family created a group where those that knew her have been sharing their thoughts and feelings about her unexpected death. People have also been sharing their memories of her – texts, photos, videos, songs, poems… Yes, it is a sad space. But it is also a beautiful celebration of this young person’s life, and how much she meant to so many people. I hope that her parents and close friends are also finding some solace in the many memories being shared, and in learning how much her daughter / friend was loved.


Facebook is a very poor replacement for living, for relaxing, for learning about the world, for communicating… But I am surprised at the way it is helping those that loved this wonderful young woman mourn her death and celebrate her life.



  1. What I am listening to

As 2019 is my year of Intention, I thought that I would refresh my podcast subscriptions. I unsubscribed from a small number of podcasts that I no longer found enjoyable or particularly informative (if I am consistently giving up listening to episodes from the same podcast, it is a clue!). I have also subscribed to a couple of new podcasts, including this one, from the HBR network.


After Hours is a weekly podcast, where three professors from Harvard Business School discuss two current topics (not just business, but also politics and international events). Each episode is about 30 minutes long. I think that there is a really good energy between the three hosts: the conversation flows quickly, they seem to enjoy each other’s company, and they have similar interests but different views which makes for interesting discussions and, sometimes, unexpected (for me) perspectives on the issues discussed.


If you are looking for a new podcast for your commute, and are interested in current affairs and business, you may want to give this one a try. More information here.



Other than that, I am still marking, still writing and still house hunting. Fortunately, the kids are back at school.

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