Weeknote for 7/28/2019

Conceptual modeling


I got over my procrastination hump on the essay update by making a list of my worries and questions and then adding a list of analytical questions to answer in the outline. I’m in the middle of writing summary answers to them, and then I’ll expand on them to create the actual content. I feel I can finish it by my deadline at the end of next week.



I finished September Vaudrey’s memoir Colors of Goodbye (book trailer, but don’t watch it if you want to let the book unfold the story) about her family’s loss of her daughter. 6/5, amazing book, about as intense as I expected, and if there’s any chance you can handle the subject, one I recommend to everyone (but get the ebook, because the pictures are in color). Having said that, there’s a certain poise to the Vaudreys’ story that not every experience of grief will share, and I think it’s important to remember that both their story and everyone else’s are legitimate. I’m thinking of these kinds of memoirs as incomplete maps of loss that can each locate some of the dangerous whirlpools and some islands of beauty and relief. This one helped me see what kinds of messages and actions matter to the victims in this kind of crisis, and it’s a book I expect I’ll come back to for study.

Next is a similar memoir, Hit Hard by Pat and Tammy McLeod, about their son’s severe disability from brain damage after a football injury.



I watched Her, a thoughtful movie about a relationship between a human and his computer’s operating system. It captured the deep ambivalence we’ll surely feel toward AGI and our struggles to adapt to its changing nature, and it was the high point of this AI movie project (which would have been shared by Ex Machina if I hadn’t already seen that one). In spite of the bittersweet ending, the AI’s general trajectory is actually something I would expect and even hope for if I were designing the system, so I couldn’t be too sad.

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