Published
Oct 16, 2019
Reading time
1 min read
Does Your Project Bring Joy?

Dear friends,

I just replaced my two-year-old phone with a new one and figured out how to take long-exposure photos of Nova even while she’s asleep and the lights are very low. This piece of technology brought me a surprising amount of joy!

I wrote about ethics last week, and the difficulty of distilling ethical AI engineering into a few actionable principles. Marie Kondo, the famous expert on de-cluttering homes, teaches that if an item doesn’t spark joy, then you should throw it out. When building AI systems, should we think about whether we’re bringing joy to others?

This leaves plenty of room for interpretation. I find joy in hard work, helping others, increasing humanity’s efficiency, and learning. I don’t find joy in addictive digital products. I don’t expect everyone to have the same values, but perhaps you will find this a useful heuristic for navigating the complicated decision of what to work on: Is your ML project bringing others joy?

This isn’t the whole answer, but I find it a useful initial filter.

Keep learning!

Andrew

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