The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

I don’t recall where, but somewhere I heard good things about Matt Ridley’s books. This one didn’t disappoint. He calls himself a Rational Optimist – meaning he’s optimistic about the future of humans and the prospect for our prosperity. There are plenty of things to quibble with, but a lot of validity to his arguments. His approach isn’t scientific in the sense of peer-reviewed research, but it is seemingly fact-based (without references, it’s hard to confirm though). There is, of course, the clear-as-day pattern of humankind seeing material improvements in lifespan and quality of life, despite the frequently fashionable pessimistic predictions of doom. The book could have been shorter without losing its substance, but thankfully I was able to listen to it at 1.25x. (View on Amazon)

Algorithm helps robot adapt like animals. 

The more complex robots get, the more ways they can be unpredictably damaged. Animals have a built-in adaption system (i.e. if you can’t walk on one leg, you might figure out how to hop on the other or use crutches). Robots don’t. Researchers in France and the US have created an algorithm that helps robots create fallback adaptations without requiring builders to hard-code them. learn more

Learning from the Feynman technique. 

Richard Feynman was a Nobel Prize winning physicist. One of his claims to fame was his ability to teach very difficult subject matter. “The Feynman technique for teaching and communication is a mental model (a breakdown of his personal thought process) to convey information using concise thoughts and simple language.” learn more