Updates from April, 2016 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Doug Belshaw 7:00 am on April 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Why work in a university? 

    Deep-learning research

    I found this article interesting as it’s something I’ve discussed with many people over the four years since I finished my doctoral thesis

    Million-dollar babies: as Silicon Valley fights for talent, universities struggle to hold on to their stars

    The focus of the piece is on Artificial Intelligence (AI) but I think it’s more broadly applicable:

    The firms offer academics the chance to see their ideas reach markets quickly, which many like. Private-sector jobs can also free academics from the uncertainty of securing research grants.

    It may be different from the outside, but right now seems to be a particularly bad time to work for any kind of institution, especially an educational one. Universities, in the UK at least, seem to be in crisis, unsure of the reason for their very existence, and hampered by league tables, research grants, and government reporting. 

    The problem with academics being poached and exfiltrated from universities by corporates is that profitable research may never be shared:

    Another risk is if expertise in AI is concentrated disproportionately in a few firms. Tech companies make public some of their research through open sourcing. They also promise employees that they can write papers. In practice, however, many profitable findings are not shared.

    All of this is the logic of the market taken to extreme. I, for one, would like to see universities return to being (reasonably) well-funded and academics sheltered from the constant pursuit of funding. Perhaps then there may be something for academics to make a principled stand about — rather than simply moving from one organisation chasing profit to another.

     
  • Doug Belshaw 6:15 pm on April 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    confirmshaming 

    a tumblr collection of applications/services/sites that use passive-aggressive, borderlining on actually aggressive language to make it pretty clear what the desired action is; you know the kind “Sign up for a subscription/No I’d rather pay full price and be an idiot” that relish taking agency away from users and making them feel stupid.” (via Dan Hon)

     
  • Doug Belshaw 5:51 pm on April 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    “The truth is that the news, if you’re really paying attention, is complex and boring. I often set a goal for myself that I’m only 

    “The truth is that the news, if you’re really paying attention, is complex and boring. I often set a goal for myself that I’m only going to read the news in the news paper and to stay away from Internet news. Because the stuff that goes up on the sites is immediate, brash and badly reported. They just scoop it and slop it and chuck it. The news paper has limited space. And they have until morning to get it to you. So there’s more thought put into it. Internet news is heroin. Newspaper news is nutrition. That’s MY view. Don’t get all mad. I’m just sharing. I’m sure there are other avenues to the truth that are web based. When I walk into the coffee places where they are literally using lab equipment and glass beakers to make the perfect coffee, I get the sense that the young people sitting at the tables are reading blogs and sites that are quiet and thoughtful. My daughter reads a cocktail of blogs on her favorite subjects, knowing they each have a bias, and averages them out to find her truth.”

    (Louis C.K. via his newsletter on 26th March 2016)

     
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