Notes from ‘Nonzero: the logic of human destiny’

I make notes of books that really impact my thinking. Earlier, I made notes from The Elephant in the Brain and Skin in the Game. This time I make notes from a book that traces the arc of human history. My notes are not verbatim (unless quoted). It’s mostly what I found illuminating.

1/ Here are my notes from ‘s book – Nonzero: the logic of human destiny. I enjoyed the book very much.

The basic premise of the book is that history has a direction which favors co-operation and non-zero sum games, and that causes an increase in complexity. ...  Read the entire post →

The Reverse Turing Test and proof-of-human currency

Are you a bot? No, seriously how can you prove that you are not. How can you prove that you are not some sort of algorithm crawling YouTube videos trying to make sense of this world? And how can you prove that I am not a bot, that I am not one of those Google’s AI?

This question may seem funny, but I find it one of the most important one facing our generation. Actually, the question is less about whether you are a bot or not, it’s more about how can you prove that you are human.

If you prefer watching a video instead of reading, I’ve narrated the entire essay in the following 8 minute video. ...  Read the entire post →

Why do introverts get depressed easily?

Earlier I’ve written about building mental immunity to prevent depression. Lately, I’ve been very interested in the predictive processing theory of mind, and trying to build has intution about how gets depression takes shape.

I connect a few concepts from evolutionary psychology and predictive processing theory to explore why introverts are more susceptible to depression. Watch the 10-minute video essay below.

In case you prefer text, I tweeted the main ideas from the video as a thread...  Read the entire post →

Simpson’s paradox, or why your intuition about averages is probably wrong

I came across Simpson’s paradox in Judea Pearl’s book The Book of Why. It completely changed the way I thought about average statistics such as mean, standard deviation and correlation.

Inspired by that, I explored Simpson’s paradox in a 10-minute video.

I hope you enjoy the video. Leave your comments on Youtube (or on an email to me) if you have feedback.

Why deep neural networks work so well?

Earlier, I had written about machine learning algorithms and how they struggle to do things that a 5-year-old can master: walking, speaking, and drawing.

This time, I go into much more detail and explore a particular type of machine learning algorithm: deep neural networks (DNNs). These brain-inspired algorithms are effective even on “natural world” tasks: translate between languages, drive cars and recognize cats and dogs.

Why do deep neural networks work so well? Where does their magic come from? I explore these questions + more in my new 16-minute video. ...  Read the entire post →

Logistic maps (and what they tell us about free will)

I’m told that people have started preferring videos over text, and personally, I’m a fan of Youtube creators like 3Blue1Brown. I’ve learned a lot from videos that take a difficult topic and explain it in simple words.

Inspired by this shifting trend, I’m exploring communicating my ideas and thoughts via a narrated video (instead of text). Here’s the first one on an equation called logistic map (and its relation to free will). I hope you enjoy the video.

This is my first video, so I appreciate any feedback you send my way (via Twitter or email, see below). Love it? Hate it? Anything I should consider changing in future videos?  ...  Read the entire post →

Notes on entropy

In my experience, entropy as an idea is generally misunderstood. Like many, I had a gut level understanding of “entropy is disorder”. It’s easy to misapply that intuition and draw wrong conclusions about areas far removed from physics (business, economies, cultures, etc.) Remember: thinking in analogies is dangerous?

So, I decided to dive deeper into entropy and here are my notes on the topic (as a series of easily digestible tweets).

1/ A short thread on ENTROPY, and its misapplications ...  Read the entire post →

Your company’s org chart is more important than you think

Startup founders have many biases. Some are classic cognitive biases that impact decision making, while others are specific biases that impact their product thinking.

There’s yet another founder bias whose impact is not felt for a long time. It occurs when founders assume employees think and act like them. The often repeated advice that “early startup employees wear multiple hats” is an implication of this bias. I remember I assumed that just because I was able to do multiple things (coding, design, marketing, etc.) I expected our sales folks to make their own presentations and engineers to think of new product features.  ...  Read the entire post →

On the inefficiency of machine learning algorithms

Let’s imagine Artificial Intelligence, but in reverse. In such a world, humans are equivalent of machine learning algorithms (like deep learning) and some aliens (or our simulation overlords) feed labeled information from their world into us and ask us to “learn” the mapping between the inputs and the outputs. In all likelihood, their world will be incomprehensible to us (as it would have a very different nature than our world). Hence, whatever data is fed to us will seem random (as, in our world, we’d have never come across it before).  ...  Read the entire post →