March 7th-14th 2020

Table of Contents

Everything here is an unfinished thought 😊

Personal Writings

What I want to do & who I want to be

The question is though, who do you want to be?

I want to be CJ Pais. No one else in this world will be me and I won’t be them. I have to stay true to myself. Looking back when I quit swimming. I made this decision for a variety of reasons, the most major one was to do something. To work on something. Is that what I did? No. It was an excuse to hang around and do nothing instead. Was it a great time. Absolutely. Did it help me find who I am? Absolutely. Have I found myself yet? No. But what I do know is I have seen my power. I know I have a lot of power and I am strong. Stronger than most. What I put my mind to I can do. There is no question about that. But what do I want to put my mind to. I have so many ideas spinning around. All of these things make me who I am but expressing this can be extremely challenging. I guess that’s why I want to build something.

What I build is an expression of what I believe in.

Like that’s really it. Like right now the thing I want to build is to help express myself to the world. To open up and show what my life is about. The people I spend time with and think about. All of the humans I interact with that are important to me. Even if they make me upset they are people here that I love. People are challenging and that’s the best part of people. I am challenging too. I think all the projects I have been most interested in have been human-centric. This is a tool for my expression. To help me better express myself in a way that others can understand and maybe for myself too. One where I can put things like this and it will make sense. Like what have been my ideas? Ok phone as computer, this is potentially really powerful and good for the America but also the rest of the world. Then beyond this is actually the data side of things. Giving everyone free internet by sharding information across everyone’s phone similar to how torrents work. Free unlimited storage and free internet. That’s still something I believe in but the time is not right.

Anyway I just want to help in some way. Whatever I am building I want to be a full representation of what I believe in

Building something truly good for people. And I guess all I want from someone else as a partner is to be there to support me in my work. I want them to be passionate about their work too. And then outside of that enjoying life however we do. I like to read. Like if I was working a job that I liked I might work 7 days a week. At least sometimes. Obviously I also want a good amount of time to travel and I would hope that my job is flexible in that.

The ideas I have don’t make money on their own. They’re not meant to. That’s not what I believe in. I believe in keeping myself alive. But I also believe that tools should be for the betterment of humanity and they shouldn’t make money or need to make money extremely responsibly with consent from the community of users.

Why would I leave my job to work somewhere where I don’t believe?

Notes on Personal Statement for HCI PhD

Source Otter.ai (copy and pasted here) & Notes. Lots of side topics here 😊 Will need to distill a lot of this information down into something that can be comprehended by someone more than just me. Maybe a challenge for next week 😛

Like look this is what I want to build. This is where I see the future going. That’s what I should write. Describe what I want to build. Give me 4 years and I will build it. A next generation information system that is free for everyone and a platform for the next gernation of innovation. AI/AR. It has to combine a lot of topics and that is what HCI is and means to me. It’s the almgamation of lots of technology to create something more than the sum of its parts. I am here to study how to build systems for human knowledge. That’s why I am here. That’s what I want to study. I have seen HCI and had the strongest reactions to it out of anything I have learned. It is what I think about on a daily basis and to not. This is literally what I am the most passionate about.

At this point now it just takes finding the right people. Probably enumerating the topics I'm interested in and, and straight up saying I have so many things that I want to research in this field like there's so many interesting things that. To be honest, I, I can't write it down in whatever personal statement you want me to write. I'm just gonna be flat out honest with you, this has been my life, I probably know how to interact with computer systems, better than like 98% of people. And, Yeah, just because I know how to interact with them, doesn't mean that I believe how we interact with them is correct. To be honest, like there's so much more to do, I think, how we organize all this information is complete bullshit. It's great, but it's not how, like human networks actually work like that's another thing is like we've got to study the humanity side of things we've got to understand how humans brains everything work, because that's it. Obviously if you understand more about how the brain works, and modeling structures, after the brain. It will probably work better for the brain to interface in such a way, right? You got to form technology naturally to to how, the brain works. And to some extent like technology does take advantage of that, but kind of in the wrong way it's like to optimize the number of likes or some bullshit like that.

Like no. We've got to optimize the bandwidth of the interface, and that means, so many systems connecting to each other that don't connect today, all of these systems need to reference each other in a way that, it is a graph. If I was to write a paper, I would almost want my paper to be like a rewriting of information like that. I hope that would be the outcome of my paper. Like, I would want to organize and contextualize this information and record every single part of the process and put it in such a format.

It is a personal knowledge graph, but it's also a knowledge graph that connects with other people as well. That's what I would want like this is something that requires a massive amount of time. And people that are in the field and passionate about the field, and are thinking creatively about these problems about how we can solve these problems and truly make Information Systems better for everyone.

That's really what I was talking about is the structure of anonymity versus real and then combining the two like things bubble up like it. It's almost like the anonymity is a filter of what we think is important right now. All the important things bubbling up and then they pop, and then they go back down and bubble up again and pop. Eventually, the thing that bubbles up is worth a big enough fuck to give for a while, right? In terms of these little bubbles, you know they bubble up, and then they fade away and then they bubble up again and they fade away. It's very very interesting how that works. And like we need to bring those conversations. When the anonymous public goes away there is a nuanced conversation that is going on. All of these people are having these, these conversations now because of this in real life, and being able to say yeah it was attributable to that and this is what we got done about it is being like humans being accountable to ourselves, on both sides thinking about the problem and how to make it better for everyone because ultimately that's where we want to go yeah there's gonna be two sides to every fucking argument. Right. And maybe there's more than two sides, but then they boil into their own arguments I get pretty much ends up in two sides. So, we gotta learn how to have those conversations to, I don't know. So, so this is the problem.

There's so much to tackle.

All of these ideas I would love to cohesively form into a paper. Not only something that's like very readable but yeah is totally augmented. This idea came from here and attributing those people, or ideas building to this, right? And giving credit to all those people and saying, Wow, thank you. Honestly thank you for contributing together to make something awesome, and it's it's not the work of just me, it's the work of all of these people. We couldn't have done it without eachother. Building systems that are for us as a community of humans. That's what I would want to research, like that's human computer interaction, building computer systems for humans. That's literally the definition of the field. I can literally write about this forever. This is my passion

I know I'm not the deepest in any single field. I'm not a machine learning expert. I'm not a distributed systems expert. I'm not an expert in any of this. But what I am an expert in is knowing a lot of computer systems, and how they can merge together. That is the definition of human computer interaction to me. If you want to talk to me specifically about like this one thing it's not what the field is about. It can't be that specific. If it's that specific, then it's it's not meant for all humans, right? Distributed systems, for example, the concept of distributed systems is meant for a tiny chunk of people. But how that a system applies to human humans as a whole is extremely applicable. Extremely applicable. That's what human computer interaction is boiling down, is getting getting to understand the information in a lot of different subjects, how they fit into computers and come back out and build systems that that that interact, that are the best for humans. Right. It's about is distilling, all this kind of different information and saying, Okay, now that we've distilled all this information, here's how we make it understandable for everyone. That's what it's about, is making information understandable.

Computers are essentially giant fact machines. We have all of these sets of facts. But we're also human, and we don't always operate on facts. Right. But the, they are these giant fact machines. And we barely know how to like interface with this fact machine and there's so many probably better ways through careful study that that we can do.

And also being aware of the like philosophical implications right? this technology is so important. But, we must be responsible with it. That's that's the job of this field. Ultimately that's really the job of this field is to build responsible technology. That's not the job of necessarily the technology field of corporations like that's why I don't necessarily fit in is because not that many corporations are building responsible technology because technology, sometimes technology that makes money is not that responsible. But what we can do is, is study it and make it as responsible as possible and yeah build legislation that that forces companies to build responsible technology, understanding what what responsible technology is actually setting standards and defining what that what that means like that's very important. So, this field is a philosophical field which is constantly evolving.

Started talking about organization of statement. To summarize some pieces of it

  • Define what I think HCI is and why it's important

  • Define what I am going to build and why (the philosophy part of it)

    • I will gather the smartest people possible whether they're in a PhD, whether they're not. It doesn't matter. It's about getting people together and building something that's good for all of us.

    • I want to collaborate with all y'all, whatever field in biology Tell me, tell me about it. Tell me about, I'd love to help you build a system for that. I don't want to build a system for you, I want you to build that system for you. I want to make it dead simple for for you as a scientist to build that system and link your information together.

    • this is what I want to dedicate my whole life to. Just building a knowledge system.

    • I know if you can take advantage of this computer system, your research is going to get better. Your knowledge is going to get better and that's what it's about. We've got a forward human knowledge, like, that is what this is about.

Yeah. Did I did I quit swimming? Fuck yeah I did. You know why I quit swimming though? Because this is what I wanted to be my life. I haven't owned up to it. I have not done it. And it is the most frustrating part of my existence, because I haven't built it.

And I think that's probably the best part of the field too is like it's a super interdisciplinary. And to be honest, I want to just have my hands in all of the disciplines that's what would be the most cool to me is like having my hands just a little bit everywhere and understanding, everything as best I can, through a system. Oh God, That would be so cool.

The PhD itself would be one of the contexts. This is my ongoing, thesis, this is my thesis in progress. You get to see it. You got to see what worked, what didn't. This is, this is what I'm working on. Check it out. It's open source. I don't know what I'm doing but I know I got to sit down and work and think. And that's what I want to do. Just give me the space. And let me ask questions. I love asking questions like there's so much that I don't know

This system currently super centralized and people basically have silos of knowledge on the web right now. You might generate original content but it's based on other people's content all from all over the place. I would love to see the evolution of a Kendrick Lamar song for example. Right? These things changed so dramatically. And love to see something that was worked on for a really long time. I would be kind of incentivized to pay some money for it to be honest, like if you worked a long time on something and it's pretty good, I'll pay you some good money for that. I appreciate that like you spent a lot of time and effort into something.

(the economy) It's another part of human computer interaction, right, like it is like it's this is like how computers are interacting with the economy too and like building an internet economy, to some extent, and there probably should be an internet economy, because so much is on the internet. We have got to help people out that are creating on the internet, basically. Potential for redistribution of wealth

Being aware of how other people make you feel

I had a conversation with a friend on Friday, and wanted to make a quick note about something she said. She was telling me how she checks her feelings when interacting with people. Before an interaction she said that she will check in with herself and see how shes feeling. Then after the interaction check in again. This tells her a lot about how that person made her feel. I think this is really smart and very important too. If someone is not making you feel how you want every time you interact with them is it worth having those interactions? It also can bring up larger patterns too. Specifically one example I can think of is that if you feel bad after interactions with nearly everyone, is it you or them? Seems to at least add a little awareness and I think this is important. Super cool. Really glad to heard this from her and definitely something I will try to keep track of in the future.

Breathing (and exercise)

Been pretty insane how much just a few breaths can make in terms of mental calmness. Love it.

On a side note exercise also helps to capture this for me. That flow state is great, and I'm stoked to be back on my bike even for 15minutes. Can't wait to get real rides in.

Thoughts

The information density of language

I made a note on Twitter about how crazy language is. I just want to pick apart that simple sentence here.

“I am laying in my bed"

Okay lets go word by word and begin to extract more and more meaning out of this sentence. So lets look at the literal implications of the sentence first and its structure.

I: Who

am: an implication of something about me. Defining a relationship.

laying: what (in this case an action/verb)

in: where

my: ownership (belongs to me)

bed: object

So okay whats the structure here? Well lets take some word groups and see what we can extract.

  • Group 1: "I am"

    • Focus around the subject of the sentence. This is where am is implying or applying a state to me (I). That part of my current state is doing the action of lying which is in the next group.

  • Group 2: "laying"

    • Focus around the action of the sentence. What is actually being done, in this case lying. What implications this has for the rest of the environment surrounding it.

  • Group 3: "in my bed"

    • The details of the action. This is indicated by in which specifies a location. This location happens to be an object which is my bed.

So looking at these groups I notice something interesting. To me is seems like we have some kind of structure like (I) <- (laying) -> (my bed). So this is quite interesting. So laying indicates some state about me, and that state is directly tied to my bed. Laying is the action that causes a state transition from whatever it was to now being in my bed. It's even possible that this is not a state transition, but rather an indication about my current state, and possibly I am already in that state and this is just a description to someone else.

Ok since this is a implication about a state then there is a lot connected with that state right?

For the purpose of this writing lets ignore any possibility of transition and let this be a description of the current state. In the future this cannot be ignored because it is defining some causal relationship.

So as stated before laying is the action that led me to be in my bed. What does being in my bed imply? Well this is a rabbithole. There are tons of implications. If I am not travelling it probably means that I'm at home. If I traveling it's wherever I am staying. Depending on the time of day I could be getting ready to sleep, currently sleeping, waking up or taking a nap and its associated states. It can also imply what time it likely is. In terms of physical state well laying helps to capture exactly what's going on. In terms of cognitive state it also could mean I am tired. Could be physical state as well. Depends on the actions of the day. Likely if I were to tell you this, you can understand a lot of this even if you were halfway across the globe. You don't have my entire context but you can understand a lot of it naturally because you have similar experience.

So I guess what I am getting at here is that there is a lot of meaning a few words can make. And these words bring up all kinds of questions. These questions to us are trivial to answer, because of course we know our context and others can infer it. But say I want to track this with a computer. How am I going to be able to do it? It definitely needs to have some base patterns about me over time. This would definitely help with inference when there is not enough information. In addition it needs real state and a lot of it. To me it seems we are very stateful! States have inheritance and there is a lot of parallel state. Some actions may only affect some state, and other actions may affect other state. Really need a simple way to define this. Something that naturally maps to how I understand it. Sure a lot of it will have to be done manually to start. But over time what I expect is you can take existing structures in high dimensional space and map them to each other as scrolling on a phone. Yeah this needs a lot more exploration.

Political Musings (Sanders, Working Together, and Hope)

I won’t be upset if Bernie doesn’t win. I wasn’t upset when Yang dropped out. The seeds of ideas that are being planted now are wonderful. They need more time to be fleshed out but I think we will get to a point where they are reasonable and work for all Americans.

I think the only thing we can do is work together. There are always going to be people in the center and the folks voting for Biden now will likely be the most conservative Democrats to come. This is okay and it's a good thing. We need smart people to disagree with each other. This improves the discourse. There is no need to put other people down because they disagree with you or outright refuse to talk to them. This is just silly. You know these people aren’t going away right? If you are unwilling to understand someone else's point of view how can you appeal to them and actually get things done? A deal is a deal because it works for both parties at hand.

Kicking and screaming won’t work. It’s immature and not respectable. It is not now or never. I know emotionally it feels that way but it’s not. Yes the environment is a huge problem. I believe that the war on climate will be the next world war and I expect it to be a step towards global unity. The world will be in distress and it will be scary but we will work together to make sure we survive. No doubt in my mind. Before that happens we need to get all people in the best possible physical and mental shape to own up to that challenge. This means sitting down and talking to everyone. I know you hate big oil, me too. But they do have influence and will need some transition plan to renewables. They can make it happen faster if done right. Yeah will they make money? Probably. Is this the worst outcome? No. And if you’re not playing a part to reduce climate change in your own house how can you expect the government to make magical sweeping changes? If Trump gets re-elected are you going to continue to buy bottled water? Can we talk about public health and safety too? There are so many questions to be discussed. Yelling that you have the right answer is ludicrous. No single person has the right answer to any of these huge questions which affect millions (and even billions) of people. No single group has the right idea. We have to take a lot of ideas and perspectives into account to come up with a good solution.

Regardless there are very good ideas right now and I expect them to withstand the test of time. Sanders has the support of the younger generation and this is very important. More important than people realize. As part of this generation is means that we will have the chance to improve the lives of all Americans and the lives of the world. America has been a driving force for good and it’s not going away anytime soon. Does history always look fondly on our decisions? No, but generally are we going the right direction? Yes. Could it be faster? Probably yes. Anyway it is up to us to improve the lives of all people on Earth in the future no matter what happens right here right now. The world will keep turning. We the people need to challenge the status quo in order to improve the lives of all people in the world. There is a lot of change to be made. I trust our generation to live up to this challenge‬.

I do think we need systemic change. Specifically I think around voting, we need to change how it's done. I am kind of imagining another system right now. This will take some time to develop and I'm sure will be covered in the future.

  • One thing to note about the above, is this was mostly derived from listening to Joe Rogan Bernie Sanders. A lot of thoughts have been stewing and this is mostly just a bunch of haphazard information. I took some unstructured writing and just added more thoughts. This is not very well thought out. When it is I will write a more cohesive piece.

Tourism and Globalism

Was in the shower thinking about something a conversation I was having. I think I noted "I heard that place is pretty touristy." To me this is an interesting and raises a question. In the world is it good for places to be touristy? I think this can be argued on both sides to a huge degree. Taking it far and extrapolating into the future where say tourism continues wildly. Does this make our society more global and one of understanding? Does it make a more homogeneous culture? Do people end up living in the places they fit best as part of tourism? It can be like exploring an entirely different way of living and culture. Personally I am not sure what to feel or think on this topic. I don't know if a place being touristy is something I really like myself, but at the same time it is an interesting phenomenon. What does it say about that place too? Why do people like it? Would more people want to live there? In a world where more people can work remote does it make sense to invest in touristy places? I think I could go on with questions here. Just something interesting to consider and I would like to know of any discussions going on in this space.

COVID-19 & The Markets

Holy shit is all I've got to say. This is crazy honestly. The markets have gone nuts. There is a lot of big things going on and I think we will see long term ramifications due to the panic. I may expand on this later as it's not really my focus right now, but I am buying right now.