The Certainty of Uncertainty

I had the pleasure of being invited to dinner the other day by friends we have known for almost 20 years. Among their guests was a person with whom I had real difficulty communicating. The chief difficulty was that he seemed so certain of all his opinions, that there seemed to be little room for discussion. The situation was perhaps more difficult because we disagree on many important issues.

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Why AI Now?

Artificial intelligence is not new. Programmers and scientists have been working on building smart systems for more than fifty years, and have been thinking about it for much longer than that. But something has changed – I think perhaps two things – that are leading to much, much better and smarter systems.
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General Ignorance

Ignorance is always with us. There was a time when an educated person in Europe could pretty much know everything that was considered important (by Europeans). Part of this education was the “Grand Tour” – an extended journey around Europe and the Mediterranean to see ancient sites, visit libraries and galleries, and revisit the classic Greek and Roman texts. Continue reading

Bearing the Truth

It’s easier to be ordinary. But in truth, none of us are. Every one of us is different, more different than perhaps we even know. So much of living in an organized society pushes us to conform, to comply, to disappear. Continue reading

Whither the Workplace?

Silicon Valley and San Francisco combine to make the most vibrant technology center in the world. Both startup and established companies recognize they are taken more seriously when they have a Silicon Valley presence, and increasingly companies that peripherally rely on technology are adding think tanks and research centers in Silicon Valley as a way to stay on top of the head-spinningly fast rate of technological change. Continue reading