Summary of “How Tiny Red Dots Took Over Your Life”

The prototypical modern dot – stop-sign red, with numbers, round, maddening – was popularized with Mac OS X, the first version of which was released nearly 20 years ago.
It wasn’t until the launch of the iPhone, in 2007, that dots transformed from a simple utility into a way of life – from a solution into a cause unto themselves.
It showed three dots, ringed in white: 1 unread text; 5 calls or voice mail messages; 1 email.
Jobs set about showing off the apps, opening them, eliminating the dots.
Eventually, when the iPhone was opened to outside developers, badge use accelerated.
As touch-screen phones careered toward ubiquity, and as desktop interfaces and website design and mobile operating systems huddled together around a crude and adapting set of visual metaphors, the badge was ascendant.
On social media, in apps and on websites, badge design was more creative, appearing as little speech bubbles or as rectangles.
They make appearances on Facebook and across Google products, perhaps most notoriously on the ill-fated Google Plus social network, where blocky badges were filled with inexplicably, desperately high numbers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How To Beat Procrastination”

Procrastination has been around since the start of modern civilization.
Historical figures like Herodotus, Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Benjamin Franklin, Eleanor Roosevelt, and hundreds of others have talked about how procrastination is the enemy of results.
The funny thing about procrastination is that we all know that it’s harmful.
Researchers even compare procrastination to alcohol and drug abuse.
Procrastination is a habit that just sneaks into your system.
“The present evidence suggests that procrastinators enjoy themselves rather than working at assigned tasks, until the rising pressure of imminent deadlines forces them to get to work. In this view, procrastination may derive from a lack of self-regulation and hence a dependency on externally imposed forces to motivate work.”
The truth is: Procrastination has nothing to do with what you’re trying to do – small or big, it can wait until later.
Are you an auditory learner? Listen to my latest podcast episode, in which I share more tips about overcoming procrastination.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Persuasion as a Skill and Habit”

“The reality is that visionaries like Steve Jobs haven’t been successful because they thought of something amazing and original out of thin air. Rather, they were gifted at constantly persuading many people to follow them on their journey to something amazing and original.” To succeed, startup founders need to cultivate persuasion as a skill and habit he says.
Coherence”People want everything to always be the same. We want smart people to be smart. We want good people to be good,” says Odean.
“A lot of people know this one, but it hits this point home: Let’s says I describe to you a woman who loves folk music and was active in the nuclear protest movement in college. Then I ask you whether she’s more likely to be a bank teller or a feminist bank teller? Most people answer, ‘feminist bank teller’ because it seems most in line with the rest of the story. But there are no feminist bank tellers who are not also bank tellers. By definition, ‘feminist bank teller’ is a narrower category – which makes it less likely that’s the right answer.”
“People desperately want to seem normal and do what seems normal, so the more you can mainstream an outlandish or unseen product or idea, the better,” says Odean.
The onus of action is on the people who want to object or push back and you just made it cognitively more difficult for them.
“People hate losses much more than they like gains,” says Odean.
“Too many people believe they have to be there in person whenever anyone looks at their deck. They have a vision that their skill and rhetoric will be so overwhelmingly awesome that it will change minds on its own – which, if it were true, would probably be disadvantageous. Whatever you managed to push them into believing wouldn’t stick with them the way you need it to – the way it sticks is when they willingly buy in and make the decision to believe you.”
“Basically, you want everything to be as prominent as it is important for people to remember. Increase or decrease prominence using repetition, simple and vivid statements. Prominence and importance must match.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “On Simple Productivity Systems and Complex Plans”

Last month, I wrote a post about the popular bullet journal personal productivity system.
BuJoPro appealed to me because it promised to unite my disparate and admittedly ad hoc systems into one elegant notebook.
I’ve since abandoned BuJoPro and returned to my old creaky productivity system that consists of Black n’ Red notebooks for daily plans, printouts of plain text files for weekly plans, and a collection of emails sent to myself describing temporary plans and experimental heuristics.
I learned an important lesson from this experience: there’s a difference between simplifying the complexity of your productivity systems and simplifying the complexity of your plans.
As I first argued way back in Straight-A, overly-complex systems create too much friction – leading you to eventually give up the system altogether.
The weekly plans I type up in plain text files require, on average, 3 – 5 single-spaced and chaotically formatted pages.
Don’t even get me started on the temporary plans and heuristics lurking in my inbox.
Try to keep your systems simple, but make peace with the reality that what these systems contain might be too wild to capture on a few elegantly-formatted pages.

The orginal article.

Summary of “China’s Surveillance State Should Scare Everyone”

Justifying controls in the name of national security and social stability, China originally planned to develop what it called a “Golden Shield” surveillance system allowing easy access to local, national, and regional records on each citizen.
The new social credit system under development will consolidate reams of records from private companies and government bureaucracies into a single “Citizen score” for each Chinese citizen.
The planned “Citizen credit” score will likely weigh far more data than the Western FICO score, which helps lenders make fast and reliable decisions on whether to extend financial credit.
A state-run, party-inspired, data-driven monitoring system poses profound questions for the West about the role of private companies in government surveillance.
Is it ethical for private companies to assist in massive surveillance and turn over their data to the government? Alibaba and Tencent possess sweeping data on each Chinese citizen that the government would have to mine to calculate scores.
While private companies like credit scoring bureaus have always used data to measure consumers’ creditworthiness, in any decent society there must be a clear distinction between private-sector and public-sector scoring mechanisms that could determine access to citizen rights and privileges, without recourse.
The government already constantly monitors the cell phones and social media of human-rights activists in the name of “Stability maintenance.” A video surveillance system would enable further pervasive and repressive surveillance.
China’s experiments with digital surveillance pose a grave new threat to freedom of expression on the internet and other human rights in China.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Job One for Quantum Computers: Boost Artificial Intelligence”

In one demonstration last year, Alejandro Perdomo-Ortiz, a researcher at NASA’s Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab, and his team exposed a D-Wave system to images of handwritten digits.
“State preparation – putting classical data into a quantum state – is completely shunned, and I think this is one of the most important parts,” said Maria Schuld, a researcher at the quantum-computing startup Xanadu and one of the first people to receive a doctorate in quantum machine learning.
Lloyd and his colleagues have proposed a quantum RAM that uses photons, but no one has an analogous contraption for superconducting qubits or trapped ions, the technologies found in the leading quantum computers.
Finally, how do you get your data out? That means measuring the quantum state of the machine, and not only does a measurement return only a single number at a time, drawn at random, it collapses the whole state, wiping out the rest of the data before you even have a chance to retrieve it.
“Given a big enough and fast enough quantum computer, we could revolutionize many areas of machine learning.” And in the course of using the systems, computer scientists might solve the theoretical puzzle of whether they are inherently faster, and for what.
“This is why I started to work the other way around and think: If have this quantum computer already – these small-scale ones – what machine-learning model actually can it generally implement? Maybe it is a model that has not been invented yet.” If physicists want to impress machine-learning experts, they’ll need to do more than just make quantum versions of existing models.
Quantum machine learning is similarly embodied – but in a richer world than ours.
It is not obvious that quantum physics could ever be harnessed for computation, since the distinctive effects of quantum physics are so well hidden from us.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Move slow and break nothing”

What’s going on is that we have greatly increased the magnitude of complexity of our society’s systems, even as we couple them more tightly together.
It’s an oxymoronic term for a very intelligent observation: that what we think of as “Accidents” or crashes or bugs are really quite common and indeed, inevitable, given the design of systems that we rely on.
Complex systems are ones in which changes, even small ones, can have disproportionate effects on the outcome of a system.
On top of complexity, tight coupling means that various independent parts of a system are designed to work closely together.
Everything about our modern world has increased complexity and how tightly coupled our systems are.
The clearly designed APIs and libraries of the host operating system have been replaced by a ghastly and constantly evolving collection of libraries and web frameworks, a palimpsest of code and hope.
We are all responsible for these outcomes, and we all need to take the opportunity to reduce complexity and increase reliability for any system we are a part of, whether software or not.
Can we do sensitivity analysis on each component of the system to ask what would happen if one system – or a combination of systems – would fail? Can we run simulations to prepare everyone from software engineers to CEOs how to handle a data breach, or a database failure, or a power outage? Can we build up more resilience by ensuring that there are carefully-designed redundancies in our most critical systems?

The orginal article.

Summary of “Artificial intelligence is going to supercharge surveillance”

We usually think of surveillance cameras as digital eyes, watching over us or watching out for us, depending on your view.
Artificial intelligence is giving surveillance cameras digital brains to match their eyes, letting them analyze live video with no humans necessary.
“[It] works well on a one-camera system – just [like] a nanny cam or dog cam – all the way up to enterprise, with a matrix of thousands of cameras,” says Sailor.
While IC Realtime offers cloud-based analytics that can upgrade existing, dumb cameras, other companies are building artificial intelligence directly into their hardware.
“If I’m looking at the end of a parking lot with one camera, I’m lucky if I can tell if someone opened a car door. If you’re right in front of a [camera] and playing a guitar, it can track you down to the individual fingers.”
In Moscow, a similar infrastructure is being assembled, with facial recognition software plugged into a centralized system of more than 100,000 high-resolution cameras which cover more than 90 percent of the city’s apartment entrances.
If we train AI surveillance system using old footage, like from CCTV or police body cameras, then biases that exist in society are likely to be perpetuated.
If a human can make such an error, what chance does a computer have? And if surveillance systems become even partially automated, will such errors become more or less common? “If the technology is out there, there will be some police forces out there looking at it,” says Stanley.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Science of Feelings”

I have long been interested in human affect-the world of emotions and feelings-and have spent many years investigating it: why and how we emote, feel, use feelings to construct ourselves; how feelings assist or undermine our best intentions; why and how brains interact with the body to support such functions.
As for the idea, it is very simple: feelings have not been given the credit they deserve as motives, monitors, negotiators of human cultural endeavors.
To understand the origin and construction of feelings, and appreciate the contribution they make to the human mind, we need to set them in the panorama of homeostasis.
The alignment of pleasant and unpleasant feelings with, respectively, positive and negative ranges of homeostasis is a verified fact.
It is often difficult to ignore the mental perturbation caused by emotional feelings, especially in regard to the negative variety, but even the positive feelings of peaceful, harmonious existence prefer not to be ignored.
Once nervous systems entered the scene, the path for feelings was open.
Feelings influence the mental process from within and are compelling because of their obligate positivity or negativity, their origin in actions that are conducive to health or death, and their ability to grip and jolt the owner of the feeling and force attention on the situation.
Feelings are for life regulation, providers of information concerning basic homeostasis or the social conditions of our lives.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Evolution of Pleasure and Pain”

The nervous systems are in constant interaction and cooperation with the rest of the organism.
The reason why nervous systems exist in the first place is to assist the rest of the organism.
Organisms with nervous systems can image these states.
It’s important to understand that nervous systems serve the organism and not the other way around.
Once organisms got to the point of being so complex that they had an endocrine system, immune system, circulation, and central metabolism, they needed a device to coordinate all that activity.
Now, in the process of doing that, over millions of years, we have developed nervous systems that do plenty of other things that do not necessarily result in coordination of the organism’s interior, but happen to be very good at coordinating the internal world in relation to the outside world.
You do not invent a moral system or a government system alone or for yourself alone.
When the natural systems do not succeed at improved regulation, guess what? They are weeded out by evolution because they promote illness.

The orginal article.