Deep Thinking

22nd September 2017

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Books of the Week

This past week, we read two contrasting books on the impact of artificial intelligence and the digital world.

  • World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech, by Franklin Foer. The central idea of this book is that Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple have become pernicious monopolies.  One result, according to Foer, is that the writing world has changed dramatically, and not for the better.  Foer has personally experienced this upheaval. The magazine he edited, the New Republic, ran roughshod over his career. Franklin makes some important points, even as it’s amusing to see him show the same “we know best” bias he’s accusing others of. Franklin, incidentally, is the brother of Learning How to Learn author fave Joshua Foer, who described how he became an unlikely memory champion in Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. (Audible version here.)
  • Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins, by Garry Kasparov. (Audible version here.) What a contrast with Foer’s book!  Although Kasparov acknowledges the same seductive, monopolistic problems that Foer alludes to, Kasparov’s overall assessment is upbeat. This is a surprise, given that Kasparov will go down in history as the first world chess champion to be felled by artificial intelligence.  Lots of readable insights about how AI experts went about tackling strategy in the games of chess and go. The gripping description of the final battle with Deep Blue will keep you up at night. We love Kasparov’s quote of Coursera’s co-founder, Andrew Ng, “who has said that worrying about super-intelligent and evil AI today is like worrying about ‘the problem of overcrowding on Mars.’”

Sometimes Conversations are Especially Fun

Barb spoke with  Kevin Kruse for his The LEADx Show. Kevin was especially interested in the behind-the-scenes development of Learning How to Learn.  We also had a fun time discussing failure (of which Barb has plenty of examples!).  Click here to listen to the podcast, or click here to read the article.”

At MIT and Georgia Tech, on-campus students can earn credit from a MOOC

Class Central is hot on the reporting scene, describing how MOOCs are starting to be used on campus for credit at major institutions.  This important development in providing high quality teaching for very large groups of students. A key question is, will the economies of scale of MOOCs reduce soaring tuition costs for students? Or are not-for-profit public institutions still de facto for-profit?

Florence Nightingale saved more lives with her grasp of numbers than she did with her gift for nursing

We had no idea of Florence Nightingale’s skill with numbers, and what a life-saver those math skills were in reducing soldier mortality rates.  This fantastic article by Alan Finkel in Cosmos Magazine is well worth reading. [Hat tip Nicole Charest.]

Lifelong Education Delivers Confidence, Joy and Hope

This extensive article on lifelong education in Livehappy by Jennifer Wheary features a lot of intriguing discussion and insights from our very own Learning How to Learn.

Scott Young’s “Rapid Learner” Course

We’re fans of Scott Young and his perceptive forays into effective learning.  This is the last day to enroll in Scott’s six week “Rapid Learner” courseenrollment ends at midnight Pacific Time tonight (Friday). If you’re looking for ways to learn more quickly, we highly recommend Scott’s course.

The New York Times Got It Wrong

This insightful article by Josh Kim at Inside Higher Education really nails it.  Kim begins: “Earlier this month The New York Times ran a great article on Coursera’s Learning How to Learn open online course. The article pointed out all the wonderful things about the course, including how the MOOC had been taken by 1.8 million students in 200 countries. What the New York Times story did not cover, and what those writing about higher education from outside the academy consistently miss, is why a MOOC like Learning How to Learn is so important.”

Read the whole thing.

Don’t Forget, Barb in Madrid speaking at the IE University with legendary neuroscientist Prof. Javier de Felipe

If you are going to be anywhere near Madrid, don’t miss Barb’s open-to-the-public event in Madrid on the 27th of September at 18:30 pm at IE University.  You can register here. This event will be extraordinary, because Barb will be sharing the stage with legendary Spanish neuroscientist Javier de Felipe, who is also one of the world’s greatest experts on Santiago Ramón y Cajal.  Barb will be there early to say hello!

That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

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