25 February 2021

Success? What would your choice be?

Over dinner the other day, my wife and I were discussing a question I started asking my students about twenty years ago.

If you had to choose between the following two options, which person would you rather be?

1: Someone who is objectively knowledgeable and competent but who is always ignored by her/his peers.
2: Someone who is aware that she/he is an idiot but who through sheer luck is always successful.

(Or, in more abstract terms, following Success = Competence + Luck: Would you prefer Success = 0 or Competence = 0?)

I was always puzzled by the choice of most of my students. At least, until I heard the late Patrick Winston, of the M.I.T. Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, relate a conversation he had with Julia Child.

Julia Child: "You get used to [being famous]."
Patrick Winston: "[But] you never get used to being ignored."


04 February 2021

What exactly does a criminal government have to do ...

A QUESTION has been going through my mind lately: If concentration camps and systematic rape of internees in China, if nerve agent poisoning and frivolous show trials in Russia are not enough for our international community to restructure relationships with thug nation states, WHAT EXACTLY DOES A CRIMINAL GOVERNMENT HAVE TO DO IN ORDER FOR US TO ACT? There is precedent, you know.

#justintrudeau #emmanuelmacron #angelamerkel #giuseppeconte #yoshihidesuga #borisjohnson #joebiden