Shannon Lecture by Friend

There was a Shannon Luminary Lecture by Stephen Friend at the Nokia Bell Lab at Murray Hill. I thought it was going to be mostly on genetics and data science, but it was (pleasantly) much more. There were many thought-provoking points:

  • “endangered experiences”: pausing to have a deep dialogue with yourself.
  • “we may have knowledge of the past but cannot control it; we may control the future but have no knowledge of it (Shannon)”: what about the present?
  • Books: “Sapiens” and “Homo Deus” and “Inevitable”
  • “nature vs. nurture”: This is a useful framework, but too oversimplified.
  • agency and free will: Presenting assessment is not sufficient. I agree that most students would not step up to studying more/better, even when presented with very low quiz/exam scores. We also need to appeal to the subconscious mind (not just rational consciousness), in order to motivate.
  • Thinking upside-down: Study the resilience, in addition to the disease.
  • Binary vs. spectrum.
  • many more…

It is a privilege to live/work so close to this place with rich history of innovation.

Movie Arrival

I finally watched the movie Arrival (2016) with some students today. The original story by Ted Chiang is cleverer and more thought-provoking. Nevertheless, it was fun to see the scientists in the movie working with Mathematica and Matlab. In his blog, Stephen Wolfram wrote about his involvement with this movie.

Coincidentally, there was an neuroscience news today about how language might shape our perception of time. Thanks to JP for these links.