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Morality Play

This WSJ story reminds me of a dinner table conversation with our extended team. Atleast a third of the group that evening had graduated from college less than five years ago. One of them worked full-time all through college and the employer paid most of his college bill. The rest he covered with a variety of gig-work. D often says his life is significantly easier now that he is out of college and only working. Coming from some who routinely works 12 hour days, you have to wonder what his student life looked like. He is 100% debt-free and really proud of that fact. I can see how a person like D will have very little if any sympathy for the woes of someone who has to start paying of their student loan debt.  There was this other young guy at the table who went to a state school and was sharing his story. In his senior year, he and this other kid who went to his high school ended up at the same internship. The only difference was he was paying in-state tuition that his family was able t

Laying Bare

This story about how our faces can be used to identify us is alarming for those in professions who do not want people in their real life know their professional identity. Then there is the rest of us who have reasons for seeking anonymity in public places for any number of reasons. All of us are included in the frames of pictures others are taking - just because we were around their subject and did not duck out fast enough. The story also underscore how painfully out of touch and out of pace government regulators are: Originally created in Poland by a couple of “hacker” types, PimEyes was purchased in 2021 for an undisclosed amount by a professor of security studies based in Tbilisi, Georgia. The professor told me that he believed facial recognition technology, now that it exists and is not going away, should be accessible to everyone. A ban on the technology would be as effective, he said, as the US prohibition on alcohol had been in the 1920s. Those who paid attention to a box you h

Rising Tide

Interesting take on what AI means for designers and creatives. Specially that it is the opinion of someone who started in this business in 1980 and has successfully adapted to many cataclysmic changes since then.  If we can glean any lessons from the introduction of the computer to the design world, it's that one can offload the uninspired tasks to the machines, all while formulating new ideas and forms of communication. Designers and creatives of all stripes can make the unexpected while the robots replicate the necessary background pieces to our existence. The argument might be that the bar for what is deemed an uninspired task is raised by AI. In the time of X-acto knife and tacky glue, having manual dexterity to deliver a precise output with such tools may have been seen an inspired effort. Not everyone could produce the same quality of results. When that was no longer a point of differentiation, then something else was. The goal post has moved a good bit this time around but

Telling History

As someone who loves visiting museums, I read this essay with great interest and was underwhelmed by the conclusion: No matter how intricate or well researched a palimpsest—at any cultural institution—it will never solve the problem of perspective. We can never escape ourselves or the times in which we live. Maybe this is the best we ever do—and maybe that’s fine. Maybe seeing museums as deeply flawed but instructive monuments to that attempt at understanding, rather than as definitive catalogs, is the best way to allow them to teach us about ourselves. Sometimes, we need the reminder not to believe something just because it’s written on the wall. That said, it is a valid argument that a museum is like a rich person's living room opened to the public and in that sense perpetuates their world-view which is far from representative of the average population never mind the poor and oppressed. In any age, those who were fighting to the finish just to survive did not have the luxury of p

Learning Life

Was at a team offsite recently where a young man joined our group for dinner. One of my colleagues had met him in the breakroom earlier in the day and invited him over. This was V's first job out of college and he was full of enthusiasm to do his best at work, get integrated into the community in the office and around town. As we chatted, he described his challenges in achieving the later goal. His girlfriend was in a different city completing her graduate program. He did not know to drive and preferred to live in places where it was easy to get around on public transportation.  The combination of being single and without a car greatly limited his social opportunities. We were happy to have him hang out with us for the evening and V for his part was grateful for the company. He is not much older than J and I could not help feeling some maternal concern for him. V asked me for ideas for what he could do to better network around. Based on everything I had heard upto that point, it se

Keeping Balance

My friend T has three kids ranging from three to seventeen years old. We met after a while recently and conversation turned to our kids. She told me how they balance parenting responsibilities as a couple. T has taken on the mantle of responsibility for the kids - she is the one who holds them accountable for their responsibilities at school and home. But she also provides them a judgement free zone. No matter what they do, she will not judge - that is a guarantee and she has demonstrated this time and again. Her husband is the fun parent but he can and will be judgmental. The kids have a balance between the parents and also with each parent.  I was talking recently to a young woman who is thinking about having her first child. Her pet peeve is that men often get to be the fun dad while mom gets to do the hard work and keep the kids in line. She thinks it as unfair to women and that both parents deserve to have a fun component to their job. T's formula seems to achieve that goal qu

Hard Reset

In the plane I was seated next to a woman who works at the same company I do. I could tell because she was working but as I was not, she had no reason to know. In another time, I would have introduced myself, tried to learn what she does and so on. I found myself completely uninterested in doing any of those things - things that came to me naturally and without a second thought. The woman was wearing an N95 mask for the duration of the flight. I presumed it was not her intent to have conversations with random people who happened to be seated next to her. Beyond that, I believe I might have changed in some fundamental way coming out the other side of the pandemic. Maybe, it served as a time for a hard reset for people to return to their natural settings.  For me, being naturally introverted, it has always taken effort to socialize. While I can do it and after a while even enjoy it, there is a cold-start problem now having fallen out of practice for a significant length of time. Once I a