5 Reasons Why We Live In A Freaking Exciting Time

Our friend and comedy extraordinaire Louis C.K. has a short clip called “Everything is amazing and nobody is happy”. In the clip he basically asks why don’t we get excited about simple things that technology has brought to us? Watch it below.

I keep telling my girlfriend that we live in an exciting and extraordinary time. And she keeps telling me that my dad has been probably saying the same thing 30 years ago. The thing she doesn’t know is that my dad was just a kid on the streets of a poor third world country, struggling to finish his PhD without Wikipedia and the Internet (even though Al Gore had invented the Internet a couple of years earlier 🙂 But now we have all these exciting things at our fingertips. With Wikipedia I am hundred times smarter than my dad at his smartest point in his life.

Below, I’ll give you 5 reasons from my everyday life and hopefully I can convince you that we should all go “Oh my God, this life is fucking awesome”. I will just give you examples about education as we rarely get excited about anything else.

Reason 1. TV is changing and educational videos are becoming cooler to watch: We have a big TV at home, but we do not have cable. It is hooked to a small computer with which we can watch all sorts of shit, from the education channel in youtube or some of the TED videos that do not suck major buttocks. By the way have you watched “Justice with Michael Sandel“? highly recommended.

Reason 2. We can now take our education on the road with us: Even I, as a poor grad student can now afford to have a couple of wireless devices. I can load PDF files onto my tablet and read them on the road. Through our university we get full access to books from O’Reilly and Springer. I can read them on the train to work without killing a lot of trees.

John Canny

John Canny is a professor at Berkeley. He is mainly known for this fact that he unlocked the secrets to longer than 24 hours days. When he was at MIT he used only 24 hours of his 70 hour days to invent the Canny edge detector and used the rest to date women. After he got married and settled down he started utilizing the rest of his days to invent things in HCI, machine learning and God knows in many unrelated fields like healthcare and psychology. To this date I am still wondering how he can make all these contributions. Many scientist go into severest depressions as soon as they realize that they can never be John Canny.

3. High quality education is becoming accessible to every fucking idiot: this is the most exciting thing for me. I have probably paid thousands of dollars to UC Berkeley. And I am kind of happy about it. That gives me the privilege to be able to sit in classes taught by professors like John Canny and Micheal Jordan. But I can also stay home and get the same education from the Internet. I can watch Andrew Ng’s machine learning class or Berkeley’s scalable machine learning without paying a penny (well, I pay 40 bucks to those bloodsuckers at  AT&T for the internet but that’s another story). Also if you like these things I highly recommend following John Canny’s Behavioral Data Mining course.

4. Science is actually being used now: When you read something about technology you know that it is being used right now. I was reading a paper about the All-Reduce method and it was great to know that my homeboy, John Langford, has used it in in his Vowpal Wabbit and Yahoo is using it for spam filtering.

5. Science experiments becoming inexpensive: I have an awfully incapable laptop but for a very cheap price I can now get a large cluster crunching numbers for me. My friends at Udacity are now teaching high school kids how to build a kick-ass search engine using commodity computers.

I do not know about you but every day when I wake up I feel freaking blessed that I live in this time. As Salman Khaan says, if these things do not make you excited, you might have no soul 🙂

Disclaimer: I’m indebted to professor Canny immensely. And I have a lot of respect for the man.  This is just a joke.

~ by marksalen on February 18, 2012.

2 Responses to “5 Reasons Why We Live In A Freaking Exciting Time”

  1. This is pretty cool, thanks for the links to the courses!
    But I have to say that with all the free and exciting stuff going on at the moment I wish all people knew the secrets to 70 hour days. What everyone really needs right now is a good time management course…

  2. LOL, I totally get that feeling when thinking about working with John Canny.

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