• “In a time of climate crisis, a pandemic, and predatory capitalism, is optimism about humanity’s future still justified?” Steven Levy covers a recently-settled 25-year bet about whether tech has destroyed society. (Spoiler: no, but it was close, and the loser is refusing to concede defeat by changing the parameters of the contest.)
  • “Fundamentally, the only measure of design quality that matters is how it contributes to (or detracts from) whatever has been agreed upon as a measure of success.” Peter Merholz’s approach to establishing design quality in organizations.
  • Speaking of Peter, I was thrilled to be invited to be a guest in his and Jesse James Garret’s podcast, Finding Our Way. Our conversation touched on architecture, design education, and why I’m of two minds about certifying designers. Have a listen.
  • Speaking of managing design quality in organizations, I like Jasmine Friedl’s heuristics for measuring design quality.
  • Two new OpenAI neural networks. One of them, DALL-E, generates images from text descriptions; the results are incredibly intriguing.
  • There are different ways of thinking; the mind is a crucial component in the process but not the only element in play. A short post on various ways of thinking, including sketching.
  • My favorite reads of 2020.
  • “Jootsing” – how understanding systems can help us think more creatively.
  • Looking to Buddhism for ethical approaches to artificial intelligence.
  • I’ve been considering introducing cellular automata to my systems students for the last couple of years. The time might be right. Conway’s Game of Life at 50. <p>A version of this post first appeared in my newsletter.</p>