Tag Archives: life

Do things happen for a reason?

Do things happen for a reason? Or do things simply happen, and we do our best to assign a reason to them automatically. Looking backwards, the path always looks clear.

The later is what many professionals/ scientists believe, and I’ll agree with them for now.

Remember my roach story? Well, the very next day I decided to browse Craigslist to see if there was anything else available, after that less than ideal experience. There was. I found exactly what I was looking for. I found something that I wasn’t able to find during the previous month of searching everyday. And I stumbled upon it only 3 hours after it was posted to Craigslist. Coincidence? Most likely. Or, like they say, when one door closes another door opens.

I went to check it out the very next day, and it was as good as it sounded. I moved in a week later, and I’m now typing this up from my new room. As bad as the roach experience was, it was definitely worth it since it led up to this.

That’s how most things in life are though. If you put in the honest effort, hard work & grueling hours, things are in your favor to turn out well. That’s why people at the top recommend putting in the work & the hours. You can’t control what will happen, or what won’t happen, but you can control your effort. And sometimes your effort is just enough to tilt the odds in your favor.

What will artificial intelligence bring?

I have noticed a lot of talk about artificial intelligence recently.

First, I’m reading The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly. This book has an entire chapter dedicated to artificial intelligence. It doesn’t view AI as a threat, to humans, as other sources are predicting it to be.

Second, the last two conferences I’ve been to this year have heavily gotten behind the idea of machine learning.

Third, one of my favorite bloggers (David from Raptitude dot com) wrote a post about it this week. David’s post, definitely, took the view of seeing AI as a potential threat to humans.

Four, it was announced today that Elon Musk launched a company called NeuraLink. Its goal is to merge the human brain with AI. Elon has stated that the purpose of this venture is to protect the human race against the likely threat of AI destroying us. The venture is aimed at keeping us ahead of the curve.

A lot of smart people are worried about the future AI, including Stephen Hawking. They seem to believe that once machines get smart enough to grow and think on their own, the only logical step will be to wipe out the human race. Or, since they will grow, very rapidly, and be much smarter than humans, we will eventually cease to exist. Our incredibly slow biological growth rate won’t be a match for AI’s rate of growth.

I agree with Kevin Kelly on this one. Since our human brains developed consciousness, and the ability to be social and empathetic, who is to say that artificial intelligence won’t do the same. It could be the nature progression of higher intelligence.

The predictions of AI, assume that it will be cold blooded and completely rational. If the human brain developed empathy, social skills, and emotions to survive, why won’t AI do the same? Honestly, no one knows. I suppose it’s a safe bet to assume the worst, and begin preparing just in case AI is cold blooded.

In the short run, I think that AI will indeed remove a lot of jobs that we have had for years, but it will add new jobs that we can’t yet imagine nor predict. I don’t think that AI taking over our jobs is a real threat, because it will simply create new jobs for us.

At one point, being a farmer was a common job. At another point, doing the same task in a factory was a common job. Right now, accounting and other office jobs are very common (truck driving is incredibly common), but those will soon be replaced with something new for us to do. We have to wait and see what those new jobs will look like. What if we all have to become programmers?

*After writing this post I stumbled upon Tim Urban’s articles on artificial intelligence. Wow. They’re really good and really long reads. Check out part 1 here and part 2 here. They painted a vivid picture as to why AI will be a big deal for humanity’s future. You’ll definitely like them.

A perfect world would not be called utopia

A perfect world would not be called utopia. It would likely be called a boring world. No discomfort. No problems. No issues. We would all get bored quickly and eventually be sick of it. If that world had smart phones, we would be staring at our phones 24/ 7. Way more than we do now. That’s what we do today, when we experience boredom for even a second.

“A world without discomfort is utopia. But it is also stagnant. A world perfectly fair in some dimensions would be horribly unfair to others. A utopia has no problems to solve, but therefore no opportunities either.

None of us have to worry about these utopia paradoxes, because utopias never work. Every utopian scenario contains self-corrupting flaws. My aversion to utopias goes even deeper. I have not met a speculative utopia I would want to live in. I’d be bored in utopia. Dystopias, their dark opposites, are a lot more entertaining. They are also much easier to envision.”  – Kevin Kelly, The Inevitable

A lot of us thrive on problems. To the point, that we manufacture them. We manufacture worry, concern, and depression. Obviously, a lot of people are actually depressed and have real reason to worry all day, but a lot of us don’t fall into that category. Most of us have every reason to be happy and content with our life.

How many of us know that person who is depressed, yet has every reason to be extremely happy and content? I know a few. This is a major reason why utopias will never exist among humans. If a utopia did happen we would quickly get bored and figure out how to undo it.

When breath becomes air

What would you do if you had been working to become a neurosurgeon and neuroscientist, right after getting your undergraduates degree, only to be diagnosed with a deadly lung cancer? You’re married, childless, in your mid-thirties and less than a year away from achieving your ultimate career goal. A career goal that not many have EVER accomplished.

Well, the above scenario is the life story of a brilliant man named Paul Kalanithi. I’ve been reading his amazing story/ book titled When Breath Becomes Air and it’s great, sad, enlightening, eye opening and amazingly written. Sadly, Paul passed away in March 2015 but his wisdom definitely lives on.

If you haven’t heard of this book, then you should buy it and read it. I’m 50 pages away from finishing it, and it’s one of those books that are very difficult to put down.

I found out that he has some additional essays that were published. I plan to read them soon. Check them out if you’re interested. I’m sure they’re good.

My Last Day As A Surgeon

How Long Have I Got Left?

Before I Go

Terra Incognita

Paul spent most of life reading literature about death and the meaning of life. He read all the great philosophers, writers and scientists who had written on the subject. He, then, went on to dive deeper into the question by working with patients who were actually faced with death. This was his goal all along, to answer the question of what’s the meaning of life.

Suddenly, faced with his own death, he gets the chance to see yet another perspective. That’s what his book is. He knows what the literature says, he knows how others react when death comes knocking on their door, and now he, himself, knows what it feels like to know that death is arriving at his doorstep.

And it did arrive. He died two years after his diagnoses.

Read the book. You won’t regret it.

“Although I had been raised in a devout Christian family, where prayer and Scripture readings were a nightly ritual, I, like most scientific types, came to believe in the possibility of a material conception of reality, an ultimately scientific worldview that would grant a complete metaphysics, minus outmoded concepts like souls, God, and bearded white men in robes. I spent a good chunk of my twenties trying to build a frame for such an endeavor. The problem, however, eventually became evident: to make science the arbiter of metaphysics is to banish not only God from the world but also love, hate, meaning – to consider a world that is self-evidently not the world we live in. That’s not to say that if you believe in meaning, you must also believe in God. It is to say, though, that if you believe that science provides no basis for God, then you are almost obligated to conclude that science provides no basis for meaning and, therefore, life itself doesn’t have any. In other words, existential claims have no weight; all knowledge is scientific knowledge.

Yet the paradox is that scientific methodology is the product of human hands and thus cannot reach some permanent truth. We build scientific theories to organize and manipulate the world, to reduce phenomena into manageable units. Science is based on reproducibility and manufactured objectivity. As strong as that makes its ability to generate claims about matter and energy, it also makes scientific knowledge inapplicable to the existential, visceral nature of human life, which is unique and subjective and unpredictable. Science may provide the most useful way to organize empirical, reproducible data, but its power to do so is predicated on its inability to grasp the most central aspects of human life: hope, fear, love, hate, beauty, envy, honor, weakness, striving, suffering, virtue.” -Paul Kalanithi