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Diary, December 2018

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Solve for Happy

This morning, I finished reading the book Solve for Happy: Engineer your Path to Joy by Mo Gawdat, which I started reading on August 14, the day I bought it. I did not read the whole book, because I skipped some parts that I did not find interesting. I am not very impressed by this book that is not much different from other self-help, think-positive books. I was disappointed by the chapter in which the author defends intelligent design and reveals that an important foundation of his hapiness is the idea that everything that happens has a meaning. He defends intelligent design on probability reasoning, but I am not convinced that his graps of statistics is sufficient. Also, in one of the earlier chapters he argues that there is no absolute knowledge. In one place he talks about how reality comes into existence through living observers, based on an incorrect understanding of the observer concept in quantum mechanics, while at another place he argues that everything is controlled by a designer. To me this seems to contradict each other. For someone like me, who believes that there is probably no designer and that everything happens just by chance, there is not much to get from this book.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Humans in the backseat?

At the end of the afternoon, I went to Lightbulb chat: AI: Humans in the backseat? event at the DesignLab of University of Twente. There were two introductions followed by an open discussion. The first introduction was by Ringo Ossewaarde. (What follows is based on notes that I made during the talk and might be an incorrect representation of what was being said.) He discussed artificial intelligence from a view point of social science. He remarked that AI is already quite old and that only recently it has gained some development. It is part of what is called the fourth technological revolution. He want to address matters of concern rather than matters of fact. There are four issues of concern he wants to address. AI will change the job landscape, both for lower and high-tech jobs.

The second introduction was by Khiet Truong. The showed the Google Duplex 2018 video. Should we make systems as human like as possible? Would we really want this? She showed video from Japan where there is much research done about the application of AI in the care for the elderly, epsecially with demantia. She also mentioned the Chinese room argument: The issue of weak and strong AI.

It was followed by a very wide discusion, where too many (often conflicting) issues and view points were mentioned to be summarized. The discussion was rather shallow and did not touch on some of the most important issues, I think.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Music at the neighbours

Today, there is the Muziek bij de buren (music at the neighbours) event in many cities in the Netherlands. In Enschede there are 37 places, mostly living rooms, where you can go and listen to some music performances. At 13:00, I listened to a performance of Heliophile. (I saw them before on September 16, 2017.) I bought a T-shirt and their EP Downhill from here. I also was offered a cup of veganistic pea soup. While biking to the next location, I came accross WSH and listend a bit. I wanted to see an exhibition at XPO, but it was closed (although on the door it said that it should be open). I went to the cee spot and saw the last part of the performance of Times Like These, a cover band. I stayed and worked on my notebook until the start of the next performance and left to see the second performance of She's On Mars. This happened to be at the place of some acquaintances that I have known for about thirthy years. I stayed some time after the performance to talk with them.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Thin layer of snow

Yesterday, there was a lot of attention in the news that it was going to snow this night during a transition from cold to warmer weather. There was some warning for heavy snow fall. In the morning, there was a thin (broken) layer of snow outside. It was like this in a large part of the country. There was only one out of 240 weather stations that reported 5 cm of snow. There were some large areas with 2 or 3 cm of snow. It was not snow that was causing problems, but fog. By the end of the day, all of the snow had melted away.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Extraterritorial Realm

At the end of the afternoon, I watched the exhibition Extraterritorial Realm - The second texture by Chen Yu-Jung at the University. His stay in Enschede is supported by Artist Residencies Enschede. I also saw, in the smaller exhibition room, work by Lisa Maartens as part of AKI takes over.

Thursday, December 27, 2018


I played my first game of Go in almost a year. It was the first time, I played against my opponent. I won playing black with 74 points against 37.5. The difference could have been much smaller. My opponent cut a long chain of stones, but when I played a move giving my opponent the choice between letting me reconnect the stones or letting me create a single eye in the chain, my opponent decided to prevent the eye and thus allowing me to reconnect the stones.

This months interesting links

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