The tech industry is the king of marketing

Matt Levine for Bloomberg:

There are two massive areas of job opportunity for data scientists: They can build models that help hedge funds trade stocks and bonds, or they can build models that help internet companies sell advertisements on web pages. Oh or they can build models that help cure cancer or whatever, but compared to financial trading and internet advertising that is a small and unprofitable niche. One of the most incredible feats of marketing of our century is that the internet companies have convinced a lot of people that selling advertisements on web pages is basically the same as curing cancer, while buying stocks and bonds is evil:

“At tech companies, the permeating value is that they’re about trying to make the world a better place, whereas at hedge funds it’s about making more money,” Mr. Epstein said.

As a former scientist, I cannot stop thinking about what would happen if we take all this human computing power and apply it to solve fundamental problems that impact society and the human species.

However, I do not buy the argument that selling advertisement on webpages is not perceived as “bad” so the same should happen with hedge funds. Selling advertisement on webpages has generated enormous value in terms of by-products that are quite tangible, e.g. ML translation. What has gave us hedge funds?

First languages and the memories that they evoke

Wonderful essay on the influence that our mother tongue has in the way we relate to the world and we remember our lifes.

I’ve become aware of the deep sense in which I belong to the Czech language, as well as the extent to which my formative memories are tinged by its “musical key.” For me, the English phrase “pork with cabbage and dumplings” refers to a concept, the national dish of the Czechs. But hearing the Czech phrase vepřo-knedlo-zelo evokes the fragrance of roasting meat, pillowy dumpling loaves being pulled steaming out of a tall pot and sliced with sewing thread, and the clink of the nice china as the table is dressed for Sunday dinner, the fulcrum of every week.

Ode to a Flower

I have studied physics which means that I am a physicist (well, kind of. I am working in getting back to it…) and I always thought that physics spoils completely your brain. Simply, because you are not able to look at nature in the same way anymore. You are constantly wondering how things work, questioning everything, asking yourself which theory could explain that particular phenomena…

Richard Feynman was The Physicist. A true genius. A nobel prize. One of a few great minds of the 20th century. Fraser Davidson crafted this beautiful video with an audio excerpt from one of Feyman’s ‘The Pleasure of Finding Things Out’ sessions that beautifully captures the essence of that feeling…

Look how beautiful it is…

(Via The Verge)