The Barnes Family

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Notes from the Road

  • The Certainty of Uncertainty
    I had the pleasure of being invited to dinner the other day by friends we have known for almost 20 years. Among their guests was a person with whom I had real difficulty communicating. The chief difficulty was that he seemed so certain of all his opinions, that there seemed to be little room for Read more about The Certainty of Uncertainty[...]
  • Why AI Now?
    Artificial intelligence is not new. Programmers and scientists have been working on building smart systems for more than fifty years, and have been thinking about it for much longer than that. But something has changed – I think perhaps two things – that are leading to much, much better and smarter systems. The first thing Read more about Why AI Now?[...]
  • General Ignorance
    Ignorance is always with us. There was a time when an educated person in Europe could pretty much know everything that was considered important (by Europeans). Part of this education was the “Grand Tour” – an extended journey around Europe and the Mediterranean to see ancient sites, visit libraries and galleries, and revisit the classic Greek Read more about General Ignorance[...]
  • Bearing the Truth
    It’s easier to be ordinary. But in truth, none of us are. Every one of us is different, more different than perhaps we even know. So much of living in an organized society pushes us to conform, to comply, to disappear. Even in a country like the USA, which prides itself on its pioneering spirit Read more about Bearing the Truth[...]
  • Whither the Workplace?
    Silicon Valley and San Francisco combine to make the most vibrant technology center in the world. Both startup and established companies recognize they are taken more seriously when they have a Silicon Valley presence, and increasingly companies that peripherally rely on technology are adding think tanks and research centers in Silicon Valley as a way Read more about Whither the Workplace?[...]
  • Passion and Potential
    Does your passion maximize your potential? I wrote recently about how to evaluate potential careers, and suggested that the advice to “follow your passion” might be less than helpful. One reason is that not everyone has a singular focus, or a specific interest or talent that is consistently rewarding. There is beginning to be a Read more about Passion and Potential[...]
  • Professions and Professionalism
    What does it mean to be a professional? Stephen Waddington, who used to do public relations for me when I was living and working in Europe, has just written a piece about professionalism and professional status for The Drum, in which he argues that there are five tests for a profession:barrier to entry, community of Read more about Professions and Professionalism[...]
  • Will you love your job?
    How does a young person know what career to choose? We are all encouraged to “follow our passion”, but this is very general and non-specific advice. There are a few people who are fortunate enough to find one thing that is their lifelong passion, and who are able to turn it into a career. But Read more about Will you love your job?[...]
  • Pick your Mistakes
    Some mistakes teach, and some can kill you. The challenge is to know one from the other. We all make mistakes. It’s part of our untidy human condition. The interesting question is how to reduce the severity of the mistakes we make, and how to deal with them when they happen. Making the right mistakes Read more about Pick your Mistakes[...]
  • On Dying and Being Known
    When we encounter a death, we are apt to spend time thinking about the qualities of the deceased, often in ways that we did not during their lives. Perhaps this has to do with our search for meaning – our need to associate purpose and significance with important events. By engaging in this process of Read more about On Dying and Being Known[...]

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