Blog posts

Cancel Culture Doesn’t Exist, Followup

10 minute read

Thanks all for the engagement on my last post about “cancel culture” (I’m not an #influencer or anything, I just like discussion). In light of a few points that were raised, I’ve written a follow-up that I think clarifies some of my position, incorporates some peoples’ comments, and speaks more directly to some folks’ concerns.

Cancel Culture Doesn’t Exist

10 minute read

Hey y’all, back atcha with another Long post about Cancel Culture, because it seems like it’s an issue that effectively and efficiently sews divide in folks across the spectrum in a way that is surprising and frankly quite frightening. Please engage if you feel moved to, I promise to moderate conversations on this post to be civil and mutually respectful.

Coronavirus Information

4 minute read

Coronavirus vaccination information, for my friends who express concerns over how quickly the vaccine was developed, from a total lay-person-who-knows-a-bit-of-biology’s perspective. This is NOT written for anti-vaxxers, but for the many friends I’ve had who express skepticism at how quickly this vaccine was developed.

Using Pronouns

2 minute read

I have some friends who I suspect might be confused by Elliot Page coming out. Specifically, when to use which pronouns.

‘Violence isn’t the answer’

16 minute read

For Folks who think Racism exists and needs to be dealt with, But Violence Is Never The Answer. Longest so far, and with the fewest concrete sources. I can’t find many good statistics.

‘All Lives Matter’

9 minute read

For people who think the police are thugs who are out of control, and also think “All Lives Matter.” The ground rules from before still apply. We are friends. I respect you, and you respect me at least enough to read this post. I am happy to engage either publicly or privately, and will listen with an open mind as I hope you do to me.

Tear Down The Statues

5 minute read

White folks who don’t like police brutality AND also don’t like tearing down statues: an earnest rebuttal.

Im Having Fun And You Cant Stop Me

6 minute read

In the past, I’ve been accused of having “too much fun,” at work. That it “looks like I don’t do anything,” and I’m “always off away from the lab.” I post “too many photos of having fun,” and am generally far too cheery when folks ask me how I’m doing. Apparently, “fantastic!” and “living the dream!” are inappropriate responses to this question. It’s as if having fun, enjoying my lab, loving the fact that my work is the bomb-diggity, means that I can’t possibly be doing any real work.

The Hype is Real, but the Tech is Not.

3 minute read

Human-Computer interaction is hard, but our technological interfaces have improved over time. From terminal commands to touchpads, and text to voice interfaces, consumer electronics industries understand that ease-of-use is of the utmost importance to customers. The ultimate evolution of this idea is a frictionless Brain-Computer Interface (BCI).

Report Responsibly

2 minute read

How can we, as scientists, do better to inform the public of what we’re actually doing?

Stop Asking People How They Feel About Robots

2 minute read

Humans are notoriously bad at self-reporting everything about ourselves, from our nutritional habits to sleep patterns. So, it always strikes me as odd that social roboticists seem to insist on “measuring,” social personality traits with surveys and personal reports.

Humans Especially Encourage To Apply: Why You Should Not Be Afraid Of Robots

33 minute read

As a new PhD student, starting at a new university, in a new city, in a new country, I’ve found myself introducing my work to many new people lately. I have worked in and (plan to, remember, just started) study machine learning for social and emotional interactions in robots. I’ve experimented with many ways to introduce this topic: “emotional intelligence, but for robots,” “social robotics,” “machine learning for robotic emotions.” Try as I might, I always get some flavor of this response:

Concrete Examples.

15 minute read

“Women are socialized to…”

I’ve had many friends basically say they don’t believe “women are raised to…” and use this skepticism to put the burden of gender inequality on women. Here are some concrete examples I can think of that support the idea that, currently, women are brought up in society to…

Graduate School Dreams

5 minute read

An honest, cheeky, unfiltered brain dump of why I’m ready to go back. Partially an exercise to aid writing my statement of purpose, maybe somebody else can solidify

Dev Chat Interview

9 minute read

A chat for my friends’ blog series, reposted from original found here

Paradox of Awareness

6 minute read

Being a woman is really, really weird. As, I assume, being a man can be really, really weird. But I put forth the idea that being a woman leads to a constant rollercoaster of crazy second-guessing and walking a stupidly fine line between “being assertive” and “playing the victim.”

Deep Learning, Evolution, and Why Intelligence is not (just) Recognition

14 minute read

There has been a lot of talk recently about Deep Learning. Namely, how its recent resurgence is kicking ass across the board on machine learning benchmarks left and right. At the 2010 (and 2012) ImageNet Large Scale Image Recognition Competition, a group from University of Toronto, led by Geoffrey Hinton, built a neural net which outperformed the competition by 10% reduction in classification error rate (misrecognizing an image, so saying a picture that is in fact of a magnifying glass is a photo of scissors). This essentially brought neural networks back into play for the field of computer vision, where it dominates what most of us consider to be the coolest latest technology. Facebook’s face recognition? Neural network. Google’s self-driving cars? Controlled by neural nets. The tempting logical jump to make here is: artificial intelligence? Let’s just use a neural net!