Machine Learning

So, I’ve been trying to learn Machine Learning. It’s been an open subject for me for years; I remember going to university to learn computer science (which took me a long time to begin with — a story for another day perhaps) already with the fuzzy idea of going into Machine Learning.

Prior to that I had studied Literature/Linguistics, and already I had the fuzzy idea there of specializing in Neurolinguistics. In the end I only did some introductory subjects on the matter before dropping out. Dropping out is sort of what I do, by the way. I’m trying to change this aspect of my personality, and actually starting this blog has to do with that.

Anyway, I’ve always been interested in ML, but for several years now I’ve been content with reading Wikipedia on it from time to time. And to sit back and sort of spectate about how the field has been advancing. Only a month ago I decided to get into it more seriously, and I’ve been doing the well-rated (and by now sort of classic) Coursera course on the matter (Andrew Ng’s). It’s been great fun, and I intend to do it to completion (not to drop out this time). What comes after that, I’m not completely sure right now, but that’s sort of exciting on its own right.

Scaruffi

File under “sites I’d really like to read, but I haven’t read yet”.

  • Scaruffi‘s site. He writes about many of the same topics I find interesting, and has been doing so for decades now.

https://www.scaruffi.com/nature/ seems particularly interesting. That plus all his work on music.

This New York Times’s article on him is probably a good primer on the scope of his work, and may have been what originally got me interested in his work — although I’ve been postponing diving into it for a while now, so who knows by now.

Evolution

I seem to think about evolution quite often. It sometimes seems fantastic we’re all around, and we got here by a stochastic process of mutation and selection starting from inorganic molecules. I mean, I totally believe in it, but when you really think about it it’s fascinating. The probabilities affecting the events that needed to take place, and the timeframes involved, are just too tiny/huge for human experience to be able to reliably have intuitions about them.

My interest in evolution may have to do to some extent with my interest in the nature of consciousness. Theory of consciousness seems to be a mine field — but really I’ve only read a few papers about it and a lot of Wikipedia articles. I should read up more on it. And in turn theory of consciousness is related with the topic of knowledge, and why we search for it — why we search for meaning in the void, and we try to build it into anythiing we create with inert mass when don’t find it already there. I sometimes wonder if humanity’s goal, if it can have one, is not (or should not be) to spread consciousness throughout the universe; and evolution’s goal, if it can have one, may be the same.

I very often resort to evolution I think about why people, or indeed animals, behave the ways they behave. It seems as if we’re somehow burdened by behaviours that were evolutionarily successful at some point, but are now outdated — or perhaps just co-evolved with positive traits and sort of stuck around so far. Violence, in my mind, is one of these traits or behaviours. It seems obvious to me that a humanity without violence would be a better humanity; in particular if traits that may be correlated with the capacity for violence, like drive and innovation, are somehow left unchanged by whatever process is used to erradicate the associated ills. I have a (fuzzy) idea for an article about this topic that I may write at some point; about how violence pervades society and may be just a disease in our genes that needs to be handled more effectively than we’re doing so far. I’m thinking of this also in relation to things like #MeToo, which is a reaction to the sexual violence that seems to permeate the current world, and victimizes mainly women.

Music

This should be an easy one. An easy post, I mean. It’s harder to put together the willpower to start with a post about an original idea. Music perhaps I can do.

I play a bit of piano. Really not much. I started “only” two years ago. I know only very basic stuff; a few simple songs, some classical, some pop. I’m self-teaching, which I’m sure really is as terrible an idea as people usually make it out to be. But I enjoy the feeling of teaching myself things, even if it’s suboptimal. At least it doesn’t seem impossible — I feel like I’m (slowly) getting better, and I do seem to be getting a better understanding of music at some level, which is what I mainly set out to do I guess. I don’t think I’ll ever be a professional musician, of course, but then again I don’t think I care. I’m fine with being an amateur (this will be a recurring assertion in this blog I’m sure, I should write a post about amateurism - or just make it my pseudonym?).

How self-serving is to write? Writing about oneself clearly is. But which writing is really not about oneself, or about what one has lived, or what one thinks or considers important?