First Post of 2018

Posted: 3 January 2018

Let’s start off the year by reviewing the books I’ve read in 2017 and taking note of all the important lessons I’ve learnt from them. I won’t be repeating anything in this post; if that’s what you’re expecting, I’m not. It’s more of me going through all the points again (and correcting the typos in the 2017 Books post). At the same time, I’ll be taking note of all the books that I thought would be interesting. A basic goal in 2018 would be to read at least half of the books that I list here. I dare not say all as I may have listed some books in jest. Should I even say at least?

I also noticed that some points that I wrote about are too long to explain, so I simply included a reference there. Something like a pointer to the book. This isn’t as useful because I vaguely remember the context of me putting it there. I should put a TLDR for every such point in future. Shall do that in 2018 books.

As I was reading the points on the book by Jon Kolko, I’ve come to realize that the smart phones are not user centered at all. As seen from Taplin’s book, it seems as though apps are built to be addictive: to increase engagement with the user so more data can be collected or more ads can be served. Will we ever see a user centered smart phone or Internet?

Apple came up with Maps in 2007. I doubt Google had it yet. Google won in the end. First movers don’t always win.

From Algorithms to Live By

  1. The High Cost of Free Parking, Donald Shoup

From Delivering Happiness:

  1. Good to Great, Jim Collins
  2. Tribal Leadership, Dave Logan

From Move Fast and Break Things:

  1. Books by Solzhenitsyn and Rand
  2. Democracy: The God That Failed, Hermann Hoppe
  3. Books by Plato and Epicurus
  4. Books by Orwell and Huxley

From Only The Paranoid Survive:

  1. Steve Jobs’ Biography
  2. Who is Peter Drucker?

Now that I’m done with the book review, perhaps some general thoughts on 2018. I revisited my old posts here and here, and of course many others. As I was looking through my previous posts, I can see how much I’ve grown.

2 years ago, I was torn between Web Programming, Deep Learning, and Entrepreneurship. It was clear then that I was not going to pursue Web Programming. I’m just going to dabble in it to the extent necessary for me to be able to maintain a simple website. I definitely chose Deep Learning, and when the opportunity to jump on to Entrepreneur First came up, I combined both Deep Learning and Entrepreneurship. It was a great experience and I learnt a lot from it, as documented on the EF page in my website. Following that, I jumped into Deep Learning full time for 8 months. I learnt a lot about Computer Science, Mathematics and the difficulty of research (reproducing results and coming up with novel ideas). After that, I joined a data analytics company, where I’ll be working on software and business development. I’m looking forward to learning more about how large organizations work, seeing more problems, looking at the scale of data and how it’s managed, and contrast my experience with being in a start-up. And of course, contributing to the company.

I see how naive I was in 2016: referring explicitly to Deep Learning as a focus. I’ve learnt over the past 2 years that there is so much more to Deep Learning. In 2018, I’d like to expand my interests to Artificial Intelligence. Deep Learning works great now and achieves state-of-the-art results on many applications, however, I believe that it’s far from being True AI. The answer to True AI perhaps lies in Neuroscience, as echoed by other experts in the field (Superintelligence by Nick Bostrum, among others).

Having corrected that, I’d like to set out some themes, in order of priority, for myself in 2018:

  1. Artificial Intelligence
  2. Software Engineering
  3. Cryptocurrency
  4. General Knowledge

To execute these themes, I’d do the following:

  1. Stay up to date on the latest developments in AI. This would involve reading and internalizing the latest publications.
  2. Code more on Project Euler (I’ve taken a long hiatus). Perhaps explore HackerRank again. Write some PRs.
  3. I think Tim Berners-Lee’s idea of a re-decentralized internet could lie in blockchains so I’d like to explore this area and learn more about how the math works and everything. CoinDesk wrote a post about it. It could be thoroughly biased though.
  4. Read more books.

Lots to do, so I have to balance my time!