How many recommendation engines have you seen in the past 48 hours?
Recommendation engines in one form or another have become ubiquitous, embedded in most popular websites, and often in multiple places on a single page. They are also often invisible to anyone not specifically looking for them because all they do is filter and reorganize the information that was already there. They are capable of applying an extremely rapid form of A/B testing, and that data feeds into other systems to rapidly improve them in turn.
This question has come to define the world we now live in, where both fake news and the accusation of it abound, painting a dystopian reality in many ways grimmer than that illustrated in George Orwell’s story “1984“. However, even the complete removal of fake news couldn’t produce truly accurate news by itself.
The term “social life” in this context refers to the Quality of Life (QOL) you experience through having your social, emotional, and physical needs met through interaction with your peers, friends, loved ones, and so on. This is not a binary yes or no question, but one that scales from negative to positive infinity in every way it may be measured. As such it could always be worse, but it could also always be better.
What makes a story amazing? The kind you know you’ll have to re-watch.
Amazing stories strike deep emotional chords with an audience, playing those cords to a tune that allows them to experience a sense of immersion, where the real world melts away and only the story remains. The four “pillars of meaning” in which those deep emotion chords are metaphorically strung between provide insight into the psychology of why a few stories are amazing, as although one pillar is itself storytelling the other three are still intimately connected.
Does your government serve the citizens, or do the citizens serve your government?
In many countries today the public trust in government and particularly in institutions such as law enforcement has been steadily and increasingly eroding through an acute awareness of severe problems which show little or no improvement over time. Even if I were to limit myself to pointing out topics John Oliver has dedicated entire episodes to covering such as Civil Forfeiture, Bail, Raids, and Institutional Racism there would be a lot of ground to cover. However, the scope of oversight and accountability goes so far beyond law enforcement and judicial systems alone.
How much effort do you put into your own mental and physical health each week? How reliable is your information?
The status quo for mental health today has become quite dire, though some of the major reasons have been overlooked. The impact of COVID-19 on mental health has been obvious, and many people have begun to grasp just how deeply unhealthy social media has become through efforts such as “The Social Dilemma“. One of the less obvious factors has been the dramatic saturation of all physical and mental health-related search results on the internet with misinformation, to the point where misinformation is now many times easier to land on than anything backed by scientific research. Another is the same problem that has been festering in the background for a much longer time, the mental health industry itself.
Companies across many industries today rely on consultants under a variety of circumstances, from filling the temporary need to have a few Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) on a team to a “try before you buy” recruitment model, as well as to provide an outside perspective in messy situations. Each of these circumstances in turn has its own weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
How often do you “Go with your gut” when picking a candidate?
The “gut instincts” which served humanity well for thousands of years still play a heavy role both directly and indirectly in HR today, though the value they offer by and large isn’t what it used to be. These gut instincts are cognitive biases whose purpose is to estimate rather than calculate value. These instincts also vary wildly from one person to another, making some estimates very good, and some exceptionally poor.
Whether or not you believe climate change to be a current problem or a theoretical one the topic itself is so vast and hyper-complex that even the world’s leading experts struggle with it. To calculate, or even estimate, all of the major contributing factors which influence the climate of an entire planet is a daunting task covering many disciplines. This task exceeds the knowledge base of any one human, as well as the cognitive bandwidth required to consider all such knowledge even if one person had it all. Yet, these challenges and many more may be overcome.
Automation and software development tend to go hand-in-hand, with one resulting in the other. This has created the growing concern of mass unemployment resulting from the automation of an ever-increasing number of jobs today, with some such as Bill Gates proposing methods like a “Robot Tax” as a means of covering the added financial burden of various welfare systems.