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Book: How to Create a Mind

I've been reading the futurist Ray Kurzweil's latest book (book's web site).

I find his theories fascinating.  He has quite a record for predicting the future (see ch. 10  The Law of Accelerating Returns - How my predictions are fairing at

Kurzweil's model of the neocortex described in detail in this book, The Pattern Recognition Theory of Mind, may be sufficient to build a Artificial Intelligence.  This computer mind system may be capable of demonstrating the emergent property of intelligence.  And then by extension the emergent property of consciousness.

The sections on hidden Markov models, hierarchical architecture, and evolutionary genetic algorithms are worth reading if your into software design.  If you wonder why Apple released Siri before it was perfect, this book will give you the reason.  Kurzweil and company are the innovators of speech recognition.

Apple Had No Choice But To Release Siri As An Imperfect Product by Seth Fiegerman (2012)

"The reason I became interested in trying to predict certain aspects of technology is that I realized about thirty years ago that the key to becoming successful as an inventor (a profession I adopted when I was five years old) was timing.  Most inventions and inventors fail not because the gadgets themselves don't work, but because their timing is wrong, appearing either before all of the enabling factors are in place or too late, having missed the window of opportunity.
Being an engineer, about three decades ago I started to gather data on measures of technology in different areas.  When I began this effort, I did not expect that it would present a clear picture, but I did hope that it would provide some guidance and enable me to make educated guesses.  My goal was -- and still is -- to time my own technology efforts so that they will be appropriate for the world that exist when I complete a project -- which I realized would be very different from the world that existed when I started."
  -- Ray Kurzweil 

Kurzweil is now a fellow at Google working on building a mind.  Did he time this project start at Google for the world that will exist in 2020?
Ray Kurzweil Plans to Create a Mind at Google—and Have It Serve You by Will Knight
Ray Kurzweil TED talk on How Technology will Transform Us.
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David's notes on "Drive"

- "The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us" by Dan Pink.

Amazon book order
What I notice first and really like is the subtle implication in the shadow of the "i" in Drive is a person taking one step in a running motion.  This brings to mind the old saying - "there is no I in TEAM".  There is however a ME in TEAM, and there is an I in DRIVE.  And when one talks about motivating a team or an individual - it all starts with - what's in it for me.


Pink starts with an early experiment with monkeys on problem solving.  Seems the monkeys were much better problem solver's than the scientist thought they should be.  This 1949 experiment is explained as the early understanding of motivation.  At the time there were two main drivers of motivation:  biological & external influences.  Harry F. Harlow defines the third drive in a novel theory:  "The performance of the task provided intrinsic reward" (p 3).  This is Dan Pink's M…

Exercise:: Definition of Ready & Done

Assuming you are on a Scrum/Agile software development team, then one of the first 'working agreements' you have created with your team is a 'Definition of Done' - right?

Oh - you don't have a definition of what aspects a user story that is done will exhibit. Well then, you need to create a list of attributes of a done story. One way to do this would be to Google 'definition of done' ... here let me do that for you: Then you could just use someone else's definition - there DONE!

But that would be cheating -- right? It is not the artifact - the list of done criteria, that is important for your team - it is the act of doing it for themselves, it is that shared understanding of having a debate over some of the gray areas that create a true working agreement. If some of the team believes that a story being done means that there can be no bugs found in the code - but some believe that there can be some minor issues - well, …

Team Performance Model - by Drexler and Sibbet

Many of you have all heard of the Tuckman model of team dynamics (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing).  It was created in 1966 and has become the most popular model for describing team behavior.  Is it time to level up in your mental model of team dynamics?  Are you ready for a richer more functional model?

Introducing the Team Performance Model by Drexler and Sibbet

Orientation - Why am I here?
"Orientation is about understanding the purpose of a team and assessing what it will mean to be a member.  you need to understand the reason the team exist, what will be expected of you and how you will benefit from membership.  In a new team, these are individual concerns, because the group is only potentially a team.  that is why these concerns are illustrated as occurring in your imagination at an intuitive level.  As a team leader it is important to provide time and space for people to answer these internal questions themselves."

Keys to when Orientation challenges are resolve…

Refactoring - examples from the book

Martin Fowler's book Refactoring:  Improving the Design of Existing Code has a simple example of a movie rental domain model, which he refactors from a less than ideal object-oriented design to a more robust OO design. Included in this Zip file are the Java source code files of the Movie, Rental, and Customer classes. Along with a JUnit CustomerTest class. Using these example source files you too can follow along with the refactoring that Fowler presents in the first few chapters of his book.

Do You Put “CSM” After Your Name?

I’ve noticed a new trend—people have been gaining titles. When I was younger, only doctors had initials (like MD) after their names. I always figured that was because society held doctors, and sometime priests (OFM) in such high regard that we wanted to point out their higher learning. I hope it was to encourage others to apply themselves in school and become doctors also. Could it have been boastful?

The Wikipedia describes these “post-nominal initials”:
Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honor. An individual may use several different sets of post-nominal letters. The order in which these are listed after a name is based on the order of precedence and category of the order. That’s good enough for me.
So I ask you: is the use of CSM or CSP an appropriate use of post-nominal initials?
If your not an agilista, you may wonder …