“User research is hard — not because recruiting participants and conducting interviews are difficult, the logistics have never been easier or less expensive. True user research is hard to take because it forces you to consider the true behaviors of real people who aren’t like you and quickly reveals wishful thinking.”

“Focus Groups Are Worthless” – Erika Hall

When something is designed, we need to look at the motives of the designer. Tech campuses are designed to, first of all, lure you in… Secondly, they’re designed to keep you there… Thirdly, and most insidiously, they’re designed to inspire loyalty. Especially when the community is under attack. They may appear to be designed for the benefit of the worker, but the feelings of loyalty the community is designed to engender benefit the company much, much more.

Facebook Isn’t a Community, It’s a Company Town” – Mike Monteiro

Circle the Wagons

…no algorithm can replicate human creativity. In fact, creativity is antithetical to the way artificial intelligence works. We develop machine learning by feeding in data about the way people react in certain situations. The point of algorithms is to predict what most people will do and execute that expected action.

How to thwart the robots: unabashed creativity” – Fast Company

I worry that statements like these misunderstand AI, fetishize human creativity, and underestimate the drive to substitute every human labor with capital.

Whistling past the robot factory…

What are we waiting for?

The biggest risk may be that an external emergency — a war, a terrorist attack, a financial crisis, an immense natural disaster — will arise. By then, it will be too late to pretend that he is anything other than […]

“Emergency” Powers

It would be nice to think that America is protected from the worst excesses of Trump’s impulses by its democratic laws and institutions. After all, Trump can do only so much without bumping up against the limits set by the […]

The Rule of One Hundred

Start with the total U.S. population, then divide by 100, since that’s the size of the current, more deliberative upper chamber. Next, allocate senators to each state according to their share of the total; 2/100 equals two senators, 3/100 equals […]

Mattis Was Prepared

“You abandon [the President] only under the most dire circumstances, where the message you have to send can be sent no other way. I never confronted that situation.” In Dec. 2018, it looks like [Mattis] finally did. Paul Szoldra, Task […]