All of cicatriz's Comments + Replies

This brings to mind the infamous case of Google censoring search results in China according to the government's will. That's an example of a deliberate human action, but examples will increasingly be "algorithmic byproduct" with zero human intervention. Unlike humans the algorithm can't questioned or intimidated by the media or taken to a court of law.

Legally and professionally, I suppose the product team could be taken responsible, but I definitely think there needs to be a push for more scrutinizable computation. (There have been discussion along these lines in terms of computer security. Sometimes open source is cited as a solution, but it hasn't necessary helped--e.g. Heartbleed.)

In fact, I'm just going to edit out that bit to de-emphasize the term itself.

As I replied to solipsist, I'm now wishing I had asked what experiences people here have at the intersection of interface design and machine intelligence and gone from there. I find UX design and other fields I mentioned as huge and nebulous--it could be equally about hex codes for button shadows as "humane representations of thought"--but my post is not necessarily reigning that in coherently.

You can't ignore issues such as choosing the right colors when you want to transfer information from comptuers to humans completely but most of the discussion on UX is not about graphic design.

Perhaps I overemphasized the "term introduction". Since the first two comments seem to be questioning whether this term and grouping of ideas should exist at all, now I'm wishing I could go back and frame the post as, "Is anyone here thinking about these kind of things?" Once the activity and attention of the community is better resolved, I could re-examine whether any part of it is worth promoting or rebranding.

Any suggestions of where to get programming gigs?

I've only been looking at online freelance sites and have had the most success at oDesk. In the past I've picked up a gig or two on Craigslist, but there was more legwork required to get gigs and I stopped. The amount time spent reviewing and applying to jobs is such that I don't intend to keep at it for a long time - but it is definitely a means to keep an eye on what (mostly) small businesses and hackerless startups out there want enough to pay someone for.

(Similar to Fluttershy) Culturally, there's a belief that college years are our formative years, and we should be learning to be good, well-rounded (in the liberal arts sense) people. But college is a huge time and money commitment, and the job market is competitive, so I think college ought to be used strategically for advancement in academic or well-paved professional tracks (doctor, lawyer). My college, Harvey Mudd, had a noticeable emphasis on ethics in science and technology and humanities as a hearty side heaping to technical topics. Ideally, ethics ... (read more)

There is an academic field around this called intelligent tutoring systems ( The biggest company with an ITS, as far as I know, is Carnegie Learning, which provides entire K-12 curricula for it: books, teacher training, software. CL has had mixed evaluations in the past, but I think a fair conclusion at this point is that ITS significantly improves learning outcomes when implemented in an environment where they are able to use software as it's intended to be used (follow the training, spend enough t... (read more)

Your approach -- targeting home-schoolers who are "nonconsumers" of public K-12 education -- is exactly the approach advocated by disruption theory and specifically the book Disrupting Class. Using public education as analogous to established leaders in other industries, disruption always comes from the outside because the leaders aren't structurally able to do anything other than serve their consumers with marginal improvements. is one successful example that's targeted gifted home-schoolers (and others looking for extrac... (read more)

I've explored using spaced repetition in various web-based learning interfaces, which are described at I'd love to talk more with anyone who's interested. Based on my experiences, I have reservations about when and how exactly spaced repetition should be used and don't believe there's a general solution using current techniques to quickly go from content to SRS cards. But with a number of dedicated individuals working on different domains, there's certainly potential for better learning. I've been working on writing up a series of articles about this. Again, contact me if you want to be notified when that is released.

This seems to contradict the very powerful effect of learning from failure and corrective feedback. See for an accessible overview.

I'd conjecture this works better when someone can already perform the desired behavior and wants to form a habit, whereas learning from failure comes in when new information needs to be stored and reorganized.

I was about to reply "hmm, I wonder how you could reward someone for making an effort rather than just for succeeding, or reward them for noticing when they make a mistake." Then I read the article, and realized that that's basically what it talks about. Yeah, failures are important. But the natural tendency, whether teaching others or trying to change our own behaviour, is to correct and criticize failures–which is basically negative reinforcement and trains people to stop trying because failing is so painful. The interesting new point in the article is that positively reinforcing for success, if done in a certain way (the "wow you're smart!" group of kids) can actually have the same effect as negatively reinforcing for failure.
That article especially seems to demonstrate the critical importance of choosing what you reinforce, and how your a teacher's model of what they are reinforcing may differ from the students.