Should Driverless Cars Kill Pedestrians to Save the Car Owner?

 

Big, real questions are starting to bubble up as artificial intelligence and driverless cars get closer to impacting our daily lives.

Here are some of the opportunities to dig deeper into this fascinating mix of philosophy, technology, and society:
The Driverless Car Dilemma (via Radiolab) at http://bit.ly/2xXdXrL [Podcast Episode]
Why DeepMind Established a Coalition on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (via the DeepMind Blog) at http://bit.ly/2yKejhW [Blog Post]
The Partnership on AI at http://bit.ly/2hQSpXl [Study Group w/ Google, IBM, Apple, + More on AI and Society]
Racism and Predictive Algorithms (via ProPublic) at http://bit.ly/2xZ2tRV [Article]

A major debate was started when Christoph von Hugo, an executive at Mercedes revealed that Mercedes’ programmers had programmed their driverless car to prioritize the life of the owner of the vehicle over those of pedestrians should it ever have to make a decision in the lead-up to a crash. What are the ethics of AI?

Moreover, it turns out that some racist AI applications are already being observed. For example, evidence shows that artificial intelligence in law enforcement has led to an increase in the incarceration of black people.

Now Google’s DeepMind team has launched a team to look at the ethics of artificial intelligence. What’s your take?

Cover Image: Mercedes’ driverless concept car.

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From Forbes: Never Give Up Your Salary Details — Do This, Instead

eazl never give salary details

“It is wonderful to see job-seekers waking up to realize they have more power in the hiring equation than they thought they did.

Employers can’t grow their businesses without great employees on board.

Job-seekers need to know that there are lots of badly-managed organizations that treat job-seekers like dirt. Almost everyone has run into one of those organizations at some point.

The faster you run away from organizations (and recruiters) who treat you badly, the sooner you’ll find the right people to collaborate with!”

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What is Neuroplasticity? (+ Free Neuroplasticity Handbook)

“The only constant is change itself” – Heraclitus of Ephesus ca. 500BC

Because we don’t see or touch our brain it’s easy to forget that–like any other part of our body–our brain changes over time. Specifically, neural pathways, our synapses, and individual neurons evolve in parallel with our habits, with the types of information that we consume, and with our life experiences.

The concept of neuroplasticity really began to take shape in the mid-20th century as psychologists and neuroscientists learned more about our brains, how they adapt, and how the physical “brain folds” that we observe are connected to how we think.

Specifically, neuroplasticity describes the physical and cognitive evolution of your brain that results from your habits, life experiences, and choices.

Here are links to some of the research we used in the making of this video:
• Human Echolocation Study- http://bit.ly/2wnCGRQ
• Neuroplasticity and Meditation- http://bit.ly/2yw7iBh
• Cognitive Development and Neuroplasticity- http://bit.ly/2fTM2hV

Here’s a link to the free handbook created by Eazl Well-being Researcher Ludell Jones related to neuroplasticity.

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Why You Should Start Talking to Your Devices

 

If you haven’t already started, it’s a good idea to start getting used to interacting with your hardware with voice commands. As Bose releases the Bose QC35 headphones with native Google voice assistant, it’s clear that almost all personal computing hardware is moving towards voice command.

Two other stories we’re paying attention to this week:

• Ethereum is Getting Bigger and Bigger: Recently, the founder of Ethereum said that he believes that the Ethereum network will facilitate around the same number of transactions as Visa, the global credit card processor, by 2020. You can watch a great interview with him to learn more about Ethereum and the future of this arena with AngelList founder Neval Ravikant at http://bit.ly/decentralizeeverything

• Visualizing Google Data: The Google News Lab has just finished a massive collaboration with some of the world’s most creative data visualization artists to come up with beautiful new ways of visualizing data related to culture, news, and sports data and it’s amazing! One Spanish team used data from Google Translate to show the most commonly-translated words from different countries. Worldwide, the most translated word is “beautiful.” That’s rad. You can see the whole collection at http://bit.ly/visualizebygoogle

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How to Change Your Neural Pathways and Create Better Habits

neural pathways

Think you are who you are and that’s the end of the story? Everyone should accept you for who you are, inhibiting weaknesses included?

If you answered “yes,” you might want to check your assumptions and look into a lil’ thing called neural plasticity.

What is Neural Plasticity?
Neural Plasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. (1)

Essentially, with a bit of conscious effort, you can change your neural pathways and create new habits that are better and healthier for you (and, consequently, those around you) than your old ones.

This goes for anything from diet and exercise to relationships and the way you see the world around you. Think: negative thought tendencies vs. positive thought tendencies. (Those negative thought tendencies can really hold you back!)

You CAN change anything you don’t like about yourself or anything that isn’t serving you and it’s not even that complicated. Anything is possible!

How I Discovered Neuroplasticity
A couple of years ago, I got deep into my yoga practice and really took it to the next level, practicing daily and exploring the science of yoga. When you do something like yoga regularly, you become very aware and connected to both your mental health and your physical health. (2)

In the western world, a lot of our suffering is caused by our disconnection from our well being that is caused by stress, perceived lack of time, and distraction by a whole lot of things that aren’t good for us. Yoga is an effective way to balance things out, in my experience.

If you are someone who is opposed to the idea of yoga, I encourage you to open your mind to this mental, physical, and spiritual practice that I have seen transform many lives for the better. If you’re interested in dipping your toe in, I’d recommend checking out Yoga with Adriene. Get past any ideas you might have about who does yoga and look for what yoga can do for you.

While practicing yoga one day, I had a breakthrough and realized that I had been suppressing some childhood trauma (most of us have some kind of childhood trauma in varying degrees) and it was time to work through it because life wouldn’t get any better until I did.

I began making a lot of positive changes that took a lot of effort at first but eventually became habits that I didn’t need to think about in order to make happen. The first changes led to a cascade of additional improvements in my life because I realized how much control we over our brains.

These changes naturally turned my relationships and career around because happy, healthy people attract others and develop stronger bonds. And I don’t mean a smiling-like-a-fool kind of happy, but a genuine satisfaction for life and interest in the people around you.

I had naturally stumbled upon the wonders of neural plasticity and changed my own pathways without even being aware of the science behind it.  Soon, in my research on the power of the brain and Science of Happiness, I was able to formalize these techniques I’d been thinking about and became even more intrigued.

It had such an impact on my life, that I want to explore it further and make it a big part of my career. You can follow my research project here.

Who Can Benefit from Creating New Neural Pathways?
Taking advantage of neural plasticity is beneficial to just about anyone but especially useful in the following situations:

  • Those who experienced childhood trauma (to any degree) and would like to overcome negative and fearful thinking patterns
  • Those who tend to see the world from a negative perspective /  have a tendency towards negative thought patterns and have seen those habits affect their relationships and career
  • Anyone who has trouble focusing on tasks and completing projects
  • Anyone who is facing obstacles while on the path to achieving their goals
  • Those who feel like they are stuck in a rut and aren’t sure how to make positive changes in their life
  • Anyone who has habits that are harmful to their well being and/or success
  • Those who struggle with happiness

Ways to Create New Neural Pathways
There are a lot of different methods and exercises out there to help you get to work on creating new pathways but the main theme is conscious, repeated effort. Here is a list of practices I’ve collected for different purposes and a general guide on how to create your new habits.

ludell jones neural plasticity

References:
(1) Nelson, C. Neural Plasticity and Human Development. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1999.
(2) Butterfield, N. Yoga and Mental Health. Melbourne: Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal, 2016.

From Freelancer’s Union: 4 ways to attract better paying clients

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“Who are the clients you naturally gravitate towards?

In my experience as a business coach for creative freelancers and entrepreneurs, I’ve learned that graphic designers, website designers, and photographers often target other small creative businesses as clients. The reasons being that (a) they relate to them (b) they get excited about the launch of a new business (c) there is more perceived freedom in these projects.

I say “perceived” because the opposite is often true. While wonderful people, small business owners tend to be emotionally attached to their business and unwilling to relinquish control. Not to mention, they usually have small budgets.

If your goal is to build a viable business that you can grow, you need to make money. For most of us, that means we need to upgrade our mindset and reach for better-paying clients.”

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Access Your Eazl Courses on the New Native App for iOS

If you like to take your Eazl courses on an iPad or iPhone, we’re excited to let you know that you can now do it through a brand new native iOS app. Note that this only applies to the courses you’ve enrolled in through Eazl’s online course platform. The app will show up as the “Teachable Online Courses” app in the app store (they’re one of our technology partners).

Once you have the app downloaded, you can log in with your same Eazl login and password that you’re already using. You might like using the app because you can:

  • Stream videos and view handouts/worksheets all while on the go
  • View courses offline after visiting the course once while connected to the Internet through the app
  • Take lecture quizzes from your phone (while online)
  • Pick up where you left off: your course progress is automatically synced between the iPhone app and your web browser
  • Track your progress on a course-by-course basis
  • Listen to audio with your screen turned off or turn off the screen or use other apps while you listen

We’re stoked about this! I hope you enjoy using the app. Here’s the link to download it again.

 

Bitcoin: Made in China

The $320,000/day Chinese Bitcoin Mine
Inner Mongolia is now home to the bitcoin mine that produces 5% of the world’s bitcoin supply (the equivalent of around $320k of bitcoin per day). It’s in a region that used to be known for coal mining, but now massive server buildings are filled with computers built by the “bitmine’s” parent company, Bitmain. The machines solely exist to perform the complex math that it takes to create or “mine” bitcoin. There are also huge water tanks and fans that run 24/7 to prevent the computers from bursting into flames. Read more at http://nyti.ms/2y9u56u (via the New York Times).

Tesla to Produce the World’s 1st Electric Big Rig
Tesla has announced that it will produce the world’s first electric-powered big rig. The trucks are expected to cost ~$100k, have autopilot features similar to passenger Tesla models, and be able to travel around 300 miles on a charge while towing a full payload. Most big rigs can now travel around 1,000 before refuelling and Tesla is looking to create a series of battery swap stations to enable the big rigs to stay on the road without much downtime.

Major Step in the Fight Against Cancer
Carol Bertozzi’s team at Stanford has discovered a new way to detect and treat cancer. It turns out that sugars on the surface of cancerous cells (called Sialic Acids) deceive the immune systems of cancer patients and prevent their bodies from attacking the cancer cells. Ms. Bertozzi’s just-released TED Talk shares these details and how this line of development helped former US President Jimmy Carter beat cancer that had spread to his brain, something that was unheard of only a few years ago.

You can watch the TED Talk at http://bit.ly/2h5y9gk and read more about these therapies at http://bit.ly/2vXb9GJ.

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Feedback is Even More Important for Freelancers

Freelancers and freelancing is often misunderstood.

For example, “freelancers do it so that they can wake up at noon” and “freelancing is just like being in a bigger company, only solo.” …and one of the biggest misconceptions that freelancers themselves make is that, now that we’re our own bosses, we’re done getting performance reviews. Not exactly.

In this Brain Boost, we’re going to look at the changing world of feedback and performance improvement. It’s changing in larger organizations as the good ones abandon aging practices like performance reviews in favor of people analytics and continuous improvement practices. It’s also changing in the broader workforce as many of us become remote workers, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and contract workers.

In a work environment where you have few colleagues you also have relatively few opportunities to receive feedback. This makes people who work in these situations weaker because they have fewer opportunities to improve.

Now that I have been collaborating with people and working in distributed workforce situations for a while, I realize how important feedback is.

At minimum, after each project or freelance engagement you should proactively exchange feedback with your counterparts on three things:

1) What could be better about the workflow?
2) Were the communication channels, were the timing of the communications, and was the nature of the communications done well?
3) What could have been better about the work product?

Remember my freelancer, entrepreneur, and contract worker friends–feedback makes us stronger and, when we’re working in small teams, it’s up to us to manage our own improvement!

If you’re interested in getting better at exchanging feedback, here’s a link to Eazl’s award-winning Feedback course.

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From Harvard Business Review: Prevent Burnout by Making Compassion a Habit

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“’I am sick to death of the ridiculous situations I have to deal with at work. The pettiness, the politics, the stupidity — it’s out of control. This kind of thing stresses me out to the max.’

Stress is a happiness killer. And life is just too short to be unhappy at work. But we hear this kind of thing all the time from leaders in industries as varied as financial services, education, pharmaceuticals, and health care. In our coaching and consulting, we’re seeing a spike in the number of leaders who used to love their jobs but now say things like, “I’m not sure it’s worth it anymore.” They’re burned out — emotionally exhausted and cynical, as a result of chronic and acute work stress.

Why is stress on the rise? A lot of it has to do with uncertainty in the world and constant changes in our organizations. Many people are overworking, putting in more hours than ever before. The lines between work and home have blurred or disappeared. Add to that persistent (sometimes even toxic) conflicts with bosses and coworkers that put us on guard and make us irritable. Under these circumstances, our performance and well-being suffer. Work feels like a burden. Burnout is just around the corner. And happiness at work is not even a remote possibility.

Here’s the good news: Some people don’t get burned out. They continue to thrive despite the difficult conditions in their workplace.”

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