"Something about being watched makes us more responsible ... In a pinch, placebo-ing yourself with a huge fake pair of eyes might also help."
There are 'Study with me'/'Work with me' videos on Youtube, which is usually just a few hours of someone working silently at a desk or library. I sometimes turn one of those on to give me the feeling I'm not alone in the room, raising accountability.
I don't think people focus on language and vision because they're less boring than things like decision trees; they focus on those because the domains of language and vision are much broader than the domains decision trees, etc., are applied to. If you train a decision tree model to predict the price of a house it will do just that, whereas if you train a language model to write poetry it could conceivably write about various topics such as math, politics and even itself (since poetry is a broad scope). This is a (possibly) a step towards general intelligence, which is what people are worried/excited about.
I agree with your argument that algorithms such as decision trees are much better at doing things that humans can't, whereas language and vision models are not.
It's great to see Brittany's response was so positive, but could you still clarify if you explicitly told her you would help her learn how to cook, and/or did she ask you to do so? Or did you just infer that it's something that she would enjoy, and proceed without making it explicit?
Again, I'm happy for Tiffany's newfound cooking abilities - congratulations to her!