This post took a long time in the making (so some of the links may be stale already!)
- Ross Andersen & Humanity’s Deep Future
Is AI the most risk to the future of humanity? Here’s an argument that it is. Of course, it’s quite difficult to prevent human progression into AI development…
‘The basic problem is that the strong realisation of most motivations is incompatible with human existence,’ Dewey told me. ‘An AI might want to do certain things with matter in order to achieve a goal, things like building giant computers, or other large-scale engineering projects. Those things might involve intermediary steps, like tearing apart the Earth to make huge solar panels. A superintelligence might not take our interests into consideration in those situations, just like we don’t take root systems or ant colonies into account when we go to construct a building.’
- The Touch-Screen Generation
The iPad/tablet is the TV of our parents generation. Is it healthy for kids to be occupied with an iPad instead of a TV? This article takes a look at it.
I fell into conversation with a woman who had helped develop Montessori Letter Sounds, an app that teaches preschoolers the Montessori methods of spelling.
She was a former Montessori teacher and a mother of four. I myself have three children who are all fans of the touch screen. What games did her kids like to play?, I asked, hoping for suggestions I could take home.
“They don’t play all that much.”
Really? Why not?
“Because I don’t allow it. We have a rule of no screen time during the week,” unless it’s clearly educational.
No screen time? None at all? That seems at the outer edge of restrictive, even by the standards of my overcontrolling parenting set.
“On the weekends, they can play. I give them a limit of half an hour and then stop. Enough. It can be too addictive, too stimulating for the brain.”
- Why Redfin, Zillow, and Trulia haven’t killed of Real Estate Brokers
The internet hasn’t really transformed the Real Estate industry at all, broker fees are still just as expensive. Here’s a look at why.
Economists have long been perplexed by the resilience of the real estate agent. Theory suggests that the relationship between agent and buyer or seller is far from optimal, and that conflict is often borne out in practice. At the root of the difficulty is what economists call the Principal-Agent Problem, which describes the diverging, often conflicting, interests of the principal (the customer) and the agent representing him or her. (Since agents bear much of the costs of selling a house, in the time they spend hosting open houses and touring with clients and the money they spend advertising property, they’re rewarded for pressuring clients into selling quickly and accepting suboptimal offers, or, in the case of a buyer’s agent, for allowing the client to pay too much.)
- The Mind of a Con Man
Another con man article, but this one is about a scientific researcher in psychology who decided to just fabricate his results. He fooled everyone for a long time, even becoming dean.
At the end of November, the universities unveiled their final report at a joint news conference: Stapel had committed fraud in at least 55 of his papers, as well as in 10 Ph.D. dissertations written by his students. The students were not culpable, even though their work was now tarnished. The field of psychology was indicted, too, with a finding that Stapel’s fraud went undetected for so long because of “a general culture of careless, selective and uncritical handling of research and data.” If Stapel was solely to blame for making stuff up, the report stated, his peers, journal editors and reviewers of the field’s top journals were to blame for letting him get away with it. The committees identified several practices as “sloppy science” — misuse of statistics, ignoring of data that do not conform to a desired hypothesis and the pursuit of a compelling story no matter how scientifically unsupported it may be.
Apparently the price of a pound of lobster has fallen from $6 in 2005 to $2.20. With a cost of only 30% the value in 2005, why aren’t restaurant prices for lobster any cheaper?
Studies dating back to the nineteen-forties show that when people can’t objectively evaluate a product before they buy it (as is the case with a meal) they often assume a correlation between price and quality. Since most customers don’t know what’s been happening to the wholesale price of lobster, cutting the price could send the wrong signal: people might think your lobster is inferior to that of your competitors.