Cam Pegg Pocket Articles

June 12, 2018

To work for society, data scientists need a hippocratic oath with teeth

One person unsurprised by the unfolding data scandals surrounding Cambridge Analytica and Facebook is Cathy O’Neil. In 2016 Cathy published her book Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy.

WIRED UK • 3,057 words • 14 minute read

June 11, 2018

Mr. Rogers Had a Simple Set of Rules for Talking to Children

For the millions of adults who grew up watching him on public television, Fred Rogers represents the most important human values: respect, compassion, kindness, integrity, humility.

The Atlantic • 1,132 words • 5 minute read

June 5, 2018

How Tolkien created Middle-earth

As a fantasy lover, I can barely remember a time when I wasn’t aware of JRR Tolkien. I read The Hobbit until it fell apart as a child, and have always strived, in my own contributions to the genre, to take even a shred of the care in my world-building that Tolkien did in his.

The Guardian • 1,288 words • 6 minute read

June 2, 2018

The Growing Emptiness of the “Star Wars” Universe

Early in William Gibson’s novel “Pattern Recognition,” from 2003, Cayce Pollard, a highly paid professional “coolhunter,” wanders through a London department store. Pollard is hypersensitive to the semiotics of brands: when a product is lame, she feels it physically, as a kind of pain.

The New Yorker • 1,524 words • 7 minute read

May 30, 2018

How everything on the internet became clickbait

Remember Yanny vs. Laurel? It was some science thing that made people hear the same sound in two different ways, and everyone on the internet talked about it. In a sane world, there would be nothing else to discuss.

The Outline • 1,829 words • 8 minute read

May 26, 2018

Being Bored Is Fun and Good, Sorry

Recently I was on one of those budget airlines where you have to rent a tablet or provide your own to access the in-flight entertainment system. In preparation for one day being the most annoying…

Medium • Word count / reading time unavailable

May 22, 2018

How the Math Men Overthrew the Mad Men

Once, Mad Men ruled advertising. They’ve now been eclipsed by Math Men—the engineers and data scientists whose province is machines, algorithms, pureed data, and artificial intelligence.

The New Yorker • 2,604 words • 12 minute read

May 22, 2018

How a Pioneer of Machine Learning Became One of Its Sharpest Critics

Judea Pearl helped artificial intelligence gain a strong grasp on probability, but laments that it still can't compute cause and effect. Artificial intelligence owes a lot of its smarts to Judea Pearl. In the 1980s he led efforts that allowed machines to reason probabilistically.

The Atlantic • 1,965 words • 9 minute read

May 11, 2018

We Are All Confident Idiots

Last March, during the enormous South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, the late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! sent a camera crew out into the streets to catch hipsters bluffing.

Pacific Standard • 5,976 words • 27 minute read

May 11, 2018

Beyond The Cult Of Human-Centered Design

On the eve of a historical election, last year’s Fast Company Innovation Festival was about hope and potential. In the wake a historical upset, this year’s festival was about resilience, values, and impact that we as individuals, communities, and organizations should strive for.

Fast • 1,470 words • 7 minute read

May 7, 2018

Think In Systems—Not In Goals

Do you set high goals for yourself? If you’re ambitious, or if you simply want to do a lot of things in life — there’s something you might have experienced: Goals can sometimes be counterproductive. I see it a lot with the highest achieving people.

Medium • Word count / reading time unavailable

May 6, 2018

Can Humans Survive a Faster Future?

An American consulate is surrounded. At 1:06 p.m. local time, three trucks arrive and a dozen men gripping matte black assault rifles stream out of the vehicles. There might have been an explosion in the compound.

RAND Corporation • 1,302 words • 6 minute read

May 2, 2018

Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a type of cognitive bias in which people believe that they are smarter and more capable than they really are. Essentially, low ability people do not possess the skills needed to recognize their own incompetence.

Verywell Mind • 1,907 words • 9 minute read

April 12, 2018

Mental Models I Find Repeatedly Useful

2019 UPDATE: Since this post came out, I co-authored a book about it called Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models. You can order it now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound.

Medium • 659 words • 3 minute read

April 12, 2018

The secret rules of the internet

Julie Mora-Blanco remembers the day, in the summer of 2006, when the reality of her new job sunk in.

The Verge • 9,624 words • 44 minute read