A crash course in artificial intelligence

When the word “artificial intelligence” appears, it’s not unlikely that the imagination drift towards science fiction. Machines, often in the shape of robots or massive alien structures with the objective to destruct all of humanity, is frequently depicted as an unstoppable independent force. Indeed, according to people indulged in the science and research of artificial intelligence, the scenario is not completely impossible to occur. But those events, if we look to the level of AI in global society at present day, seems to be lightyears away. Designers, scientists and developers are more interested in how to implement the possibilities that’s being provided by AI into business growth and areas that’ll make society prosper. So what exactly is AI? And what are the projections of its impacts?

Different kinds of artifical intelligence
At its most basic core, AI is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines. AI is already fairly ubiquitous. Reasonably the most widespread use of AI services is iPhone’s SIRI function, a feature that let the user conduct certain tasks by voice command recognition. This kind of AI service that focus on one specific task goes by the name ”narrow AI” (weak AI). On the contrary, ”general AI” (AGI or strong AI), is the embryo that possibly holds the potential to develop into something with a free thinking and decision making mind. If the scientific community reach the full potential of this kind of AI, it will probably outperform humans in every single cognitive task.

Risks and concerns
We’ll start off with some concerns that could lead to global spanning consequences. Prominent actors in technology like Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates can be found among those who’ve addressed certain worries.

Unfortunately, new technologies during previous historical contexts has always in some aspect being utilized in warfare. If Intelligence systems that are being programmed with the purpose to solely kill ends up in malevolent hands, things can get ugly. Let alone if these technologies develop own wills with certain objectives and the humans who set them off get derived of the ability to keep them under control. A developing technology could also lead to an AI arms race, similar to the one of nuclear weapons.

Another risk is what methods AI technologies will apply to fulfill different tasks. A consensual perception among experts and scientists is that AI probably never will be able to develop feelings like hate, love or empathy similar to those of human. So even if it’s being programmed with a philanthropic goal, the methods of getting there could lead to an outcome characterized by the opposite.

Potential benefits
A less dramatic way of discussing AI is to contemplate how it might affect business and futuristic projections of related aspects, rather than how it potentially will eradicate life as we know it. Different takes exist whether AI will lead to a more prosperous society. One advantage by replacing human power with AI power is a higher level of production. Another is that AI technologies in the majority of cases will be able to make better decisions than humans, since their choices and priorities are programmed to follow clear statistics.

”I, Robot” is one of many movies with artificial intelligence at its core.

Some that oppose themselves against the development and a higher degree of replacing human blood and flesh knowledge with AI technologies points towards an acceleration in unemployment being an unfortunate consequence. It’s true that new technologies in business and production throughout history have altered the conditions of the global market. But in fact, technological advances have always led to greater prosperity for society as a whole. And when markets go through changes employment opportunities will by all certainty disappear, but with equal amount of certainty will new technologies requier different set of skills and open up for other kinds of employment.

Adidas is one of those companies who took advantage of the technologies potential. For the first time in three decades have the company decided to bring some of its shoe production back to the motherland Germany, in part due to advances in robotic artificial intelligence. Compared to Adidas total amount of shoe production, the number of shoes being produced in Germany is still arguably insignificant. But the case with Adidas disrupt the chain of western manufacturers shifting their production locations to emerging economies.

The future
As you may have noticed, this field is characterized by subjective opinions and predictions. But artificial intelligence to a large extent already surround us, as shown with Apple’s SIRI feature and the Adidas case. The only thing that could be said with certainty is that it affects us and will continue doing so. The consequences and impacts that it will result in resides in our hands and as entrepreneurs, programmers, designers and similar occupations in the digital sector, it’s up to us to make the very best out of it.

This article addressed what I perceived as being the main points out of these brilliant sources. Check them out to learn more about the extremely interesting phenomena of artificial intelligence.





Outliers: The Story Of Success

When I first was told about Outliers, I wasn’t especially keen to pick it up. The title Outliers: The Story of Success is far more repelling than appealing to me. That’s because literature on success and which strategies to embrace and which behaviors to adopt tend to simplify reality and impose that there indeed exist measures that everyone can make good use of on their journey towards success.

The pocket version of Outliers.

The notion success also nowadays seems to exclusive adhere to monetary success. Therefore, to narrow down my view on life and what success actually means to me with another self-help book in the vast universe of its relatives didn’t seem like a relevant option to put on the list of summer reads. But this was all about to change.

I weathered my initial thoughts about the book, which I made the mistake to base on the title solely, to the same person that told me about it, which was actually my dad. During our conversation it went up for me that the book seemed to be more about what random contextual factors it is that generates success and that some people were given the perfect opportunities in a perfect time that enabled them to be successful in the field that they later on would be recognized and well known in. Maybe it could be worth giving it a shot after all, I thought. This take on the subject seemed to offer a more comprehensive and substantial approach to it. Prior to a long train ride I walked in to a bookstore located at Malmö central station and immediately identified the book in the non-fiction shelf among Gladwell’s other books. I purchased it and got on the train, and I glad that I did.

The book is divided in two sections, opportunity and legacy, which both starts off with a story about how these two factors implies a huge impact on a specific group of people in ways they aren’t aware of. Each half of the book contains chapters that all treat cases of individuals, lawyers, flight company etc. and how opportunity and legacy is the two things that’s lurking in the shadow of their success. What’s more revealing with how Gladwell sets out to analyze and furthermore explain to his readers what success actually contains of is that he wants to destroy the myth of an individual working against all odds, starting at the bottom and eventually making it to the top. In close to every single story of success it can be traced back, Gladwell argues, to opportunity and legacy. Popular culture, Hollywood and literature like to depict success like the myth that Gladwell so perfectly well in this book for once and for all completely run over.

Now you may think that this is pure bullshit and that it of course exists examples of individuals that have been forced to overcome obstacles like poverty and sickness to be successful. In my interpretation of this books message, Gladwell doesn’t in any way deny that. But still if one were to look closer on those kind of examples we would be able to find indicators rooted in opportunities and legacies with regard to their success. With that said, apart from contextual factors there is one other thing that Gladwell stresses to be essential for success: persistence.

Malcom Gladwell was born in 1963. He is a journalist and best selling author of several books.

An individual can be born into, like we talked about, a culture or world with more than a valuable legacy and given perfect opportunities, but still not succeed. All of this is according to Gladwell useless if you’re not willing to work for it. Gladwell builds his argument on studies that have resulted in the well-known 10 000-hour rule. If one wants to be a successful professional in any field, to spend 10 000 hours on that activity seems to be the undeniable key. The thing that I like the most about this strain in the book is that Gladwell apply it on not only the chapter that it’s being discussed, but continuously do so on a handful of examples. Two of these examples that are being used to exemplify the power of that vast amount of hours is the story of Bill Gates and The Beatles. With inputs from experts and scientists an estimated calculation of Gates combined time programing and The Beatles combined time playing prior to their peak seems to be around 10 000 hours.

Throughout the whole book Gladwell is constantly referring to relevant science and studies to substantiate his arguments. When I talk about literature with peers and family it’s not uncommon for many of them to perceive non-fiction literature about complex subjects, like the one in Outliers, as way too challenging for them to take on due to all the intertextuality with regards to science. For a reading eye not used to academic literature, it’s not hard to understand that a book like the one being discussed here can appear as somewhat daunting. But here I would like to state that one of Gladwell’s’ best attributes is how he manage to couple complex studies with great stories in an understandable way without compromising with the outcome of these studies. From own experiences this is not a given case in the vast universe of non-fictional writings. Gladwell really get all the essential parts of the studies and furthermore conveys it for everyone to enjoy.

I believe that this book can be both pretty depressing and uplifting, it all depends on which perspective you choose to contemplate it from. If success apparently seems to be entirely dependent on factors that we can’t control, why bother to strive for success whatsoever? Or you can also put it this way: If we know that success is as much dependent of external factors as on our own personal grit, can we put ourselves in an environment that can be perceived as bearer of Gladwell’s main points? But there is one thing that I believe to be the most important lesson to draw out of this book, which also Gladwell emphasize in the final parts of the book. If we now know what it is that produce success, then we must also know what it is that hinder success and what group of people in a society that lacks means and pure material matters to be successful. As previously mentioned, talent can potentially reside within each and every one of us. But if we find ourselves in a place in the inception of our lives were we don’t possess the opportunities, possibly due to our legacy to harness this talent, the individual in question and also society in its whole will suffer a big loss. From a holistic and philanthropic standpoint, it’s our responsibility to make sure that we work towards a better world which would mean to make the best out of every aspect hence acknowledge people’s potential and squeeze out every inch out of it. There is a few example in the book which this is actually the case and it’ very satisfying and cheerful to read.

I would like to say that this is a must read book. Partly because it completely devours the conventional understanding of success and partly because it has the power to change the minds of people in power on how to make structural changes to improve the planet that we inhabit.

Does politics and football share a common denominator?

The concept of unity and a trust in collaboration seems to be two increasingly decaying aspects of our time. The EU suffered a big blow a couple of days ago with the well debated Brexit, England’s exodus from the union. Extreme right wing parties gaining ground within the European borders and there is a risk, at least to consider, that the country who’s always been in the forefront of western world values like freedom of speech and equality possibly can elect a president who seemingly wants to turn his country’s back on the rest of the world and look inwards instead of outwards to solve its issues. These different movements and person’s actions are obviously based on fear. A fear that has its roots in a skeptical perception of the outside world and that all problems they nowadays are to deal with arise from actions and events that’s taking place outside their own borders.

This post, with that goes also this blog in general, is not intended to be political in anyway what so ever. Still, these facts and points that I treated so far is not precisely subjective. One political party that openly express its concerns and fears about the future and the negative impacts the globalization process implicates is the Swedish democrats, which politics and solutions mainly rest upon precisely this kind of fear. In line with other parties and presidential candidates around the globe that are based on similar ideological premises, they want to rise obstacles, in some cases literally, that are supposed to decrease the outside worlds influences. It’s fairly easy to recognize a feeling of resignation and powerlessness when one is confronted with these kind of questions and discourses. Me myself is not an exception and therefore I will not make an attempt to sort out the web constituted by opinions, current proposed reasonable solutions versus not so reasonable solutions and different standpoints within different ideologies.

Another aspect that is directly linked to the distrust in collective action and a collaborative society, which one can argue for is much more present in our everyday lives but nowadays is so ingrained in the way how a western world country functions that it’s hard to notice, is the phenomena of individualism. At this point it’s important to emphasize that I’m not actively trying to be consider as a distinct socialist. Liberal values and one’s free will to do whatever one want is a beautiful thing and one of the fundamental values of a free world. Still, I personally believe it’s important to be aware of its risk as well. A high degree of individualistic values of a society also brings a fairly harsh climate when it comes to factors such as the labor market and education. It’s a constant survival of the fittest were an individual’s intellect and skills in far too many cases isn’t the thing that’s being prioritized. Some characteristics seems to be more appropriate within an individual society than others and this in the longer run leads to, I would say, that a lot of competence and creativity is being lost. To illustrate the things discussed above and to highlight the strength of a solid and stable collective action we have to turn our heads towards completely different things than global politics and individualism versus collectivism. Once again, England is involved.

Just the fact that Iceland made it to Euro 2016 was totally unexpected and as I’m writing this they still haven’t lost a single game in the tournament. For example, when the country managed to reach a draw against Portugal and yesterday succeeded to eliminate England, a lot of wrinkles all over the world stamped football fans foreheads. Portugal who possess the best player in the world and England, which the salary of Wayne Rooney probably matches the annual salary of the whole Icelandic roster in total, how could it happen? Many experts argue and emphasize the collective strength of Iceland, their game plan and the importance of balance with very diverse and distinct roles on the team.

You don’t need to be a football fanatic to watch Iceland play and immediately notice these aspects and characteristics of the team that hands them the tools that makes these dominating nations, maybe it’s suitable to put in the word ”former” before that verb, start to tremble and eventually fall. In a really early stage prior to Euro 2016 Lars Lagerbäck, their Swedish coach, was probably forced to face the fact and to stress both for the coaching staff and the team itself that they don’t have the best players in the world and if they by any chance would be able to be successful in the tournament, they needed to generate strength from a collective effort.

The one thing solely that I think is the most astonishing and fascinating with Iceland is how they manage to reach the teams absolutely maximal potential. Not a single skill or competence is being neglected or lost. The team constitute a body were every player is a vital limb or cell and they work together like a swarm of bees to reach a common goal. Of course this is the ideal case for all teams in sport but obviously some teams seems to rely more on pure individual efforts rather than a collective coordination like Iceland. When England’s star players were forced to try and penetrate the human wall of Icelandic Vikings you could see the desperation and hopelessness in their eyes. When Ronaldo was conducting attempt after attempt to perform his television loving moves he was clearly frustrated and gesticulated in despair, both over the referees calls and his own teammates efforts. There resides strength in numbers, diversity and differences who in many cases triumphs the importance of individuals which Iceland is a concrete example of.

Now, it’s important to recognize that some may found it ridiculous and naive to compare sports to global politics and ideologies. To be honest, I can’t really argue with that. Yes, in a lot of ways sports and politics are two fields that are completely separated from each other, with the fact that one is intended for pure enjoyment while the other is responsible for the future and wellbeing of the society and its people. But the things that I’ve tried to illustrate and highlight in this text reflects on human psychology and the management of a limited amount of people. It shows that to look at things in a bigger perspective and to identify one community’s weakness and strengths and to be able to combine the two and make it complement each other in the best possible way is a recipe for success. If we were to look at trends in contemporary politics, we’ll notice a completely different approach on how to identify and maximize potentials.

Now I’m being all personal and speaking from a pure subjective angle when I state; the solution for all of the worlds political connected problems like wars, Brexits, xenophobia, human rights, global warming, the list is long, isn’t probably, in line with these examples and arguments, to limit collaboration by locking out the world and therefore miss out on knowledge, competence and perspectives different from one’s own. Bigotry is always going to be subordinated an open mind and even if a football tournament never going to provide us with some definite answers or an all comprehensive example that leads to a perfect understanding, to acknowledge the upsides residing in differences and to put them together in a complementary collective action was how a small Island in the Atlantic Ocean carried through with the “impossible”.

Why I wanted to be a part of The Conference, Malmö.

On August 16th and 17th I will be part of The Conference 2016 editorial team. The Conference is an annual event held in Malmö that focus on the complexity and trends of the digital world. Apart from different events that’s happening around the city of Malmö during this time, the conference itself, which takes places at Slagthuset, invites fifty speakers from all over the world that represents a wide range of disciplines. My task will be to listen to these speeches and conduct summaries on what issue the particular speech treated and also pick out a few quotes that I suppose will function as a representation of the main arguments and philosophy of the speech. The roster usually includes everything from scientists, philosophers, entrepreneurs, and from looking at this year’s line up, 2016 not seems to be an exception. With other words, The Conference put its emphasis’s on digital aspects and trends but furthermore do so from different angles and perspectives. This is the main reason that I got interested to take part of all this in the first place.

Far too often, I find myself feeling really fed up about the relatively over hyped digital era and how this new opportunity in itself have created something astoundingly new and existing. Indeed, new digital ways on how to constantly communicate with each other on a global scale is probably the biggest impact on our everyday lives in the 21st century. That opinion is likely something that everyone who’s in any way involved in the world of digital media would agree on. But the fact that we far too often tend to forget and neglect the fact that behind every use of a digital medium is an individual that’ve made strategic decisions, at least I hope, on how to use that particular medium is a backside of the phenomena. The explosion of digital media experts or social media managers is for me something that feels like pretty redundant employments. Sure, we need to know how to handle all this new stuff on how to communicate and what impacts, deliberately or not, it possibly can implicate. But I would like to argue that it’s a pretty insignificant aspect on how to successfully be able to utilize the full potential of digital communication channels.

The best part of The Conference is that it pretty much confirms and share the same views on the issue that I possess just by reading about it and with the understanding on how it’s structured. The Conference is about digital trends but they also choose to insert the word complexity in the description of the event, and for me that’s what is all about. I chose to become a communication student for these reasons. That to be able to communicate is one of the most vital, and if used correctly, effective tool that exists. But a tools is what it is, and a tool need to be used in the right context and correctly given the attributes of that specific tool. The same goes for digital media and as I discussed, the event is obviously based on those premises.

I’m really excited for August and positive that is going to be extremely interesting and completely fill me up with new experiences and widen my horizon of understanding and making sense of the world. It is also my first real job as a writer, if we look pass my book reviews in the Swedish magazine Kamratposten when I was around twelve. I’m already looking forward to write my post The Conference reflections that’ll cover the experience. Hopefully it will be a good one.

The Writer

The one question that has been lingering in my mind for quite some time now: What does it actually means to be a writer? Probably the most established perception regarding the notion is the one of an individual who spends his or her days typing down alphabetical letters in a digital document, eyes glued to a computer screen. Personally, I believe it to be just one of many accurate understandings. There’s something that someone wants to convey and subsequently do so by sitting down with a piece of paper, computer or whatever tool as a mean for writing being used and start constructing a piece of text that will carry on a message and a meaning.

But if we were to think of the concept in more detail, isn’t that what we all do consistently, regardless of if we consider ourselves as writers or not, only with the small exception of maybe not turning it into written text? People share stories with each other multiple times every day and the possibility that their story will travel with other individuals and therefore reach a broader audience is pretty likely to happen. But at the same time, a spoken text can remain within the interaction between two individuals, with the one who verbally wrote the story potentially be regarded as a writer. It’s not an official requirement for writers that their texts in any way must reach a minimum determined amount of people. If you contemplating the notion out of this perspective, it gets somewhat evident that it can hold so much more than just the hammering on keys at a magazines office or some introvert old drunken novelist with a fashionable typewriter, trying to quell the agonistic screams of his inner demons.The discussion is, as I’m aware of, abstract, trivial and probably doesn’t make sense for lots of people. But for me, it constitutes a mental obstacle, as I will explain why in a minute.

Before I’m diving deeper into it all it would be stupid and irresponsible, because it feels like I can be perceived as speaking out of a critic’s angle, to neglect the fact that people have changed the world due to their ability to master the art of writing. George Orwell coined expressions like Big Brother and Orwellian that up to present day is regularly used by politicians, academics and journalists. Orwell had a vision of what he wanted to create and by utilizing the art of writing, created it. Think about this for a second, if the concept of his novel 1984 had been handed out to a random group of people who then wrote it with just the plot outline as guidance, it would by all certainty had been a random novel among many others. The one thing that I want to illustrate with this imaginary scenario is that a good story or concept for a text is not enough.

It almost feels seldom nowadays for a celebrity not to conduct a biography told trough a writer, in other words ghost writer. This account contradicts my previous arguments that everyone potentially is a writer in their everyday lives, because if my argument in the earliest stages of this text would’ve been accurate, Zlatan would’ve wrote his book completely by his own out of his fascinating life story. If everyone was a writer by just orally sharing stories with each other, everyone could potentially be a New York Times bestselling author. I know that you all by now dying to hear my opinion, and here it comes.


I remember reading some interview a while ago with the author Gregory David Roberts. He mentioned that to write a novel is the hardest form of art that exists. I fully agree and this can also be applied for writing as occupation in general. With writing, you work with a system that pretty much everyone, in the western world at least, is familiar with. The vast majority can make themselves understandable by uttering words, and maybe not as many but still a majority I would suggest, knows how to compose a sentence. With language that is such a common phenomenon all over the world, a writer really must make something extraordinary out of the ordinary. I would say that the same goes for painting. Pretty much everyone who is capable to move their body knows how to draw a line. But for now we’ll stick with writing.

I also think that merely practical skills in creating a good rhythm and flow in a text and painting beautiful images with the means of words still isn’t enough. A text need to be substantial. It needs to carry on something that other people want to read and, if we look to the bigger picture, contribute with its little piece in the puzzle on how to make the world a better place. This constitutes the mental obstacle that resides in my head as I mentioned before. Who am I to write? Who is anyone to write really? Every time I am to write something I just feel like a fraud. A fake. Another one in the “I like to write, and therefore I consider myself a writer” club.

So every time someone label themselves as writer, something starts in me. Every time I see an ad for a job or internship at some company that says they’re looking for a skilled writer, I automatically hold up for second in the middle of the text and ask myself “What do they really mean by that? What’s their take on who’s a good writer?” Maybe the fascination some people holds and dreams they have to become a writer lies somewhere hidden between the lines in this discussion, that is, to be a writer is really to be nothing but at the same time, become everything.