Category Archives: Learning

Ideas for improvement – Google Translate


I wonder at what point Google Translate will offer the option of a hyperlink to the original text with the translation.

Sometimes the translation doesn’t make sense and getting back to the original can help – and also help one understand the other language better, maybe even learn…

By effects:
1. free advertising when linked to Google Translate page…
2. some learning on when people want to check the translation which may be an indicator of the quality…

Future of work – Law

Automation is also taking over parts of the legal world – automating previously unstructured tasks into structured tasks, such as ““search-and-find type tasks” in electronic discovery, due diligence and contract review”, leaving the tasks not easily automated to humans:

putting all new legal technology in place immediately would result in an estimated 13 percent decline in lawyers’ hours. (source: CAN ROBOTS BE LAWYERS? COMPUTERS, LAWYERS, AND THE PRACTICE OF LAW)

James Yoon, a lawyer in Palo Alto, Calif., recalls 1999 as the peak of the old way of lawyering. A big patent case then, he said, might have needed the labor of three partners, five associates and four paralegals. Today, a comparable case would take one partner, two associates and one paralegal. (VL: this is a reduction of 75%)

As a lot of the legal work can not yet be easily automated as it is based on complex decision making or just plain “showing up (in court proceedings, talking to clients etc.), the algorithms need to be trained by humans to achieve adequate results. This is a time consuming process, but when it’s done it is quite robust and systematic.

Similar to the master craftsman in the automobile industry, lawyers will have to specialize and let semi-skilled workers and machines do the rest of the work. Routine tasks will be commoditized and cheap, largely done by algorithms and assisted labor:

The data-driven analysis technology is assisting human work rather than replacing it. Indeed, the work that consumes most of Mr. Yoon’s time involves strategy, creativity, judgment and empathy — and those efforts cannot yet be automated. Mr. Yoon, who is 49, stands as proof. In 1999, his billing rate was $400 an hour. Today, he bills at $1,100 an hour. “For the time being, experience like mine is something people are willing to pay for,” Mr. Yoon said. “What clients don’t want to pay for is any routine work.” But, he added, “the trouble is that technology makes more and more work routine.”

A.I. Is Doing Legal Work. But It Won’t Replace Lawyers, Yet.

“Where the technology is going to be in three to five years is the really interesting question,” said Ben Allgrove, a partner at Baker McKenzie, a firm with 4,600 lawyers. “And the honest answer is we don’t know.”

Future of Work – Banking – AI and investing at BlackRock

Apart from the Mergers and Acquisition process and other parts of banking (see previous posts), stock picking is becoming driven by A.I: and human stock pickers are being laid off at Black Rock, one of the largest investment firms globally.

Now, after years of deliberations, Laurence D. Fink, a founder and chief executive of BlackRock, has cast his lot with the machines. On Tuesday, BlackRock laid out an ambitious plan to consolidate a large number of actively managed mutual funds with peers that rely more on algorithms and models to pick stocks.

This has been part of a larger trend for years, showing that most fund managers do not outcompete indices after cost:

Last year, for example, $423 billion left actively managed stock funds and $390 billion poured into index funds, according to Morningstar.

At BlackRock, Machines Are Rising Over Managers to Pick Stocks

The initiative is the most explicit action by a major fund management firm in reaction to the exodus of investors from actively managed stock funds to cheaper funds that track every variety of index and investment theme. Some $30 billion in assets (about 11 percent of active equity funds) will be targeted, with $6 billion rebranded BlackRock Advantage funds.


Management miscellenia – Taiichi Ohno’s favourite word – understanding

Taichi Ohno counselled, never codify method, because it is the thinking that is the key. Ohno’s favorite word was understanding.

Like Socrates, who never wrote anything (Plato did). The moment you think the tool is the way, you may stop to think… Learning people to think, that is the way.

From an article by Jan Höglund. Great blog.

Ray Dalio: Decision Rules – “Have we got this right?”

Admitted, I am not a big fan of the hedge fund industry and its remuneration. But what I found interesting is the way some of them work. A great article in The New Yorker about Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Fund makes for a very interesting read – especially the part about the principle-based approach. Smarter thinking…

Some excerpts from the interview:

”Our greatest power is that we know that we don’t know and we are open to being wrong and learning.”

”I believe that the biggest problem that humanity faces is an ego sensitivity to finding out whether one is right or wrong and identifying what one’s strengths and weaknesses are.”

One rule of radical transparency is that Bridgewater employees refrain from saying behind a person’s back anything that they wouldn’t say to his face.

(On Meditation) “It’s just a mental exercise in which you are clearing your mind,” he said. “Creativity comes from open-mindedness and centeredness—seeing things in a nonemotionally charged way.”

“They (Bridgewater, VL) are consistently innovating—constantly soul-searching and asking, ‘Have we got this right?’”

To guide its investments, Bridgewater has put together hundreds of “decision rules.” 

“The duty of a leader, first and foremost, is to be transparent.”

“the intention is to make people better. . . . I have never seen a C.E.O. spend as much time developing his people as Ray.”

Dalio has published his principles on his company’s site, Bridgewater.

In a letter Dalio and his wife described their reasoning for their philanthropy and joining the Gates-Buffett giving pledge. Happiness does not increase after a certain level of wealth with more wealth, but through meaningful relationships and work. And by charitably giving making a positive impact on other people’s lives: