Discover more from The Uncertainty Mindset (soon to become tbd)
Meaning-making makes us human (for now).
Recent developments in AI/ML show that machines still can't create meaning and that human-ness is (and should be) a moving target; plus some announcements.
Announcements first! Links to some new (and not-so-new) writing after.
I’m running a monthly discussion series about not-knowing. It starts tomorrow (Thu, 19 Jan 2023, 2000-2200h CET) and runs every third Thursday for 14 sessions. This is a series of discussions, not a series of lectures. I have a point of view about not-knowing but I’m still thinking through what not-knowing is, who it is relevant to, and what can be done about it. I want my ideas challenged! If you’re thinking about this stuff too — as an engineer, an artist, a policymaker, a leader, a student, an entrepreneur, an investor, or whatever — please think about joining us.
I’m planning some changes to this newsletter:
Format: Changing from one long essay to a list of links to my writing (a mix of long- and short-form) and other work (audio, images) — as I’ve done below;
Location: Changing from a Substack subdomain to a subdomain I own;
Frequency: Changing from weekly (I try) to biweekly or monthly;
Name: Changing to something not topic-specific and weirder. I have some ideas; send suggestions!
Recent (and not-so-recent) writing
What makes us human (for now)? Lots of people are getting very excited that we are on the cusp of achieving human-level intelligence in machines, because Large Language Models can now produce output that convincingly imitates what a human could do. Viewing the ability to imitate another human as the indicator of human-ness in intelligence is both kinda silly and disturbing. Human-ness changes (and should change) over time. What humans can do right now which machines cannot, is make and confer meaning. When machines become sophisticated enough to make meaning too, we’ll have to rethink human-ness. (18 Jan 2023)
Noma’s imminent closure, and what it shows us about the dilemmas of continual innovation. The food world was briefly excited by Noma’s announcement that it would close as an innovation-focused restaurant to work solely on culinary innovation and new product development. This transformation makes sense (el Bulli did it over a decade ago): Restaurants need consistency and efficiency to survive, and continual innovation is the enemy of consistency and efficiency. (13 Jan 2023)
Learning from leaving the city. Being in a place where nothing much happens and there are almost no people makes it easier to notice small, otherwise imperceptible things about yourself and the environment you are in. (15 Mar 2022)
See you next time,
Thanks for reading The Uncertainty Mindset! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.