Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn
dachte

Long Legs, Short Patience

Jobwise:

  • I'm not applying for even close to every job I'm qualified in PHL
  • Confirmed that I'll be keeping my mini-job in CMU-Psychology for the time being, as I can do it remotely
  • Had another gahhhh experience last night trying to reconstruct several years of attendance from several years of emails. As I expected, I have severely underused my vacation days.
  • Seeing if I can find a new fulltime appointment at CMU that can be done remotely. This is very hard, but CMU seems to have a lot more need for people like me than many of the universities/colleges in the PHL area. No surprise; I think Boston, Stanford, and a few other Universities are similar enough (or a lot of places in Europe).
  • I'm starting to put more effort into getting other remote work. If I can make the numbers add up, I can avoid eating savings and maybe even buy insurance until the next stage of my life.
  • Hoping to have a graceful exit to my job here without working ridiculously long days.

I like Larry Sanger's blog. So far he's mainly been writing about the growth of anti-intellectualism in the US, a trend I also recognise and am worried by. I think some of this is cultural. We're being too sensitive to people who don't stretch their minds, by saying that it's just as good not to. Americans are also excessively individualist, and we love innovation to the extent that we don't consider what we giving up when we replace traditional good ways of doing things. There are a lot of institutions that become obsolete and need to be discarded, but other institutions (like schools and universities) need smaller changes (if anything at all). Raising kids to thirst for knowledge and have attention spans longer than gnats is a better plan than designing ADD-compliant educational curricula. In practical terms, using KhanAcademy to help kids learn in a relatively standard classroom environment with well-designed lesson plans might make things better. Having kids spend the majority of their school time in either homeschools or 'unschools' with self-directed learning will lead to a lot of wasted potential, a lack of discipline, and gaps in knowledge. Unstructured learning can happen around structured learning.

I don't think one must go to college to be a good/educated person, but that it is better if one does. Universities/colleges are about self-betterment, and they (ideally) expose one to perspectives and ideas that one might not willingly be exposed to by one's parents/community or one's own exploration. The structure of higher education also exposes one to the best methods our society has to determine truth. I don't buy that "college just isn't for some people". It should be funded by taxes, and it should enrich everyone, at least at the 2-year level.

Also, IBM's Watson has been adapted successfully towards medical evaluation. I've occasionally talked about this kind of thing with big-picture-people working in the field of medicine. I never anticipated that exposing multiple answers with confidence-levels would be a big breakthrough, although in retrospect it's very important.

Problem:

  • having doctors keep in their head a staggering (and growing) list of illnesses and partly overlapping lists of indicators. As time goes on, the time needed to reach knowledge enough to do a decent job at illness-determination may require excessively long training for doctors (10 years? 20?)
  • effectively judging which illness is most likely in specific cases, possibly ordering tests to get more information
  • This is very difficult!
Watson isn't exactly an expert system, but it should be very good at this specific type of human judgement. This problem domain reminds me of a trickier one in academia: the ever-increasing depth of each field bottoms out as it becomes impossible to draw on sufficiently broad domain knowledge to make more progress. Coming up to speed in a domain requires ever increasing numbers of years (or levels of specificity that stifle the science). Problem!
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    Today at 16:45 I am running the Random Distance Run, which five years ago I managed to score second-worst of the people who finished. I imagine…

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