Given the option, AI always cheats—we should take note

If you haven’t watched the OpenAI video of AIs playing hide-and-seek, stop reading this and do it now. Back? Good. Then let’s talk about how, once again, AI found a way to cheat. The video describes research by OpenAI on AI agents playing hide-and-seek. There are hiders, seekers, and an environment. The agents’ reward function […]

How to predict the future of humanity

I’m deep into Origin Story by David Christian. It’s subtitled “a big history of everything,” and that’s apt. It traces humanity’s origins from the Big Bang to today. From Christian’s perspective, humanity’s evolution isn’t discontinuous. All organisms use information to harness energy. Humans are better at it because we can store and share more complex […]

Focus your mind by calculating your remaining days

A few months ago, I had a weird experience. I couldn’t remember how old I was. I knew that I was 41 or 42. But I couldn’t remember which. Was it denial-induced amnesia? I’m not sure. Whatever the cause, I had to calculate my age. It was 42. Where did 41 go? At that moment, […]

Optimizing for mindful moments

In business, you optimize for key metrics. But there will be several. To focus effort, you can identify one metric that matters most. This is your “north star metric.” In my current role, my team optimizes for user acquisition and retention metrics. Our north star metric is quarterly active users. This is because it reflects […]

Applying the 80/20 rule to climate change shows why we need government action

My wife and I booked off September 27. We’ll be taking the kids out of school and joining the Global Climate Strike. It comes during a Canadian federal election. We need to send a message to politicians about the importance of action on climate change. I intended to follow that paragraph with a list of […]

What I learned writing 30 blog posts in 30 days

On August 14, I committed to writing one post per day. For an indefinite period. I wanted to start writing again. I didn’t want to optimize for search rank, views, or likes. I wanted to foster intrinsic motivation. So I made my goal output. Not vanity metrics. Today is September 14. Yesterday marked 30 consecutive […]

Pumpkin spice wasn’t a thing before Starbucks

I try to eat healthy. But I’m a sucker for certain comfort foods. The list includes breakfast sandwiches and the annual Fall tradition of pumpkin spice lattes. I had my first of the latter this season in the morning before a drive up north. The leaves are changing colors, so it’s fitting. Pumpkin spice is […]

“Meeting compression” product could cut meeting time by 80%

Okay, that title’s a bit misleading. The product doesn’t exist. But I wish it did. And if you’re subject to many meetings, you do too. So let’s figure out how to build it. Here’s my thinking. Often in meetings, much conversation contains no relevant information. This is because attendees often: Repeat themselves, or repeat other […]