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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 KurzweilAI.net).

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.

Introduction

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…

Elements of an Effective Scrum Task Board

What are the individual elements that make a Scrum task board effective for the team and the leadership of the team?  There are a few basic elements that are quite obvious when you have seen a few good Scrum boards... but there are some other elements that appear to elude even the most servant of leaders of Scrum teams.









In general I'm referring to a physical Scrum board.  Although software applications will replicated may of the elements of a good Scrum board there will be affordances that are not easily replicated.  And software applications offer features not easily implemented in the physical domain also.





Scrum Info Radiator Checklist (PDF) Basic Elements
Board Framework - columns and rows laid out in bold colors (blue tape works well)
Attributes:  space for the total number of stickies that will need to belong in each cell of the matrix;  lines that are not easy eroded, but are also easy to replace;  see Orientation.

Columns (or Rows) - labeled
    Stories
    To Do
    Work In P…

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: http://tinyurl.com/3br9o6n. 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, …

What belongs on the Task Board?

I wonder about these questions a lot - what types of task belong on the task board?  Does every task have to belong to a Story?  Are some tasks just too small?  Are some tasks too obvious?  Obviously some task are too larger, but when should it be decomposed?  How will we know a task is too large?

I answer these questions with a question.  What about a task board motivates us to get work done?  The answer is: T.A.S.K.S. to DONE!



Inherent in the acronym TASKS is the point of all tasks, to get to done.  That is the measure of if the task is the right size.  Does it motivate us to get the work done?  (see notes on Dan Pink's book: Drive - The surprising Truth about what motivates us) If we are forgetting to do some class of task then putting it on the board will help us remember.  If we think some small task is being done by someone else, then putting it on the board will validate that someone else is actually doing it.  If a task is obvious, then putting it on the board will take vi…

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 Refactoring_FirstExample.zip 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.