“They get too close to the horn with the mikes and don’t give the sound time to travel as they should. Consequently, they don’t get enough of the real timbre and they miss the whole body of the sound. They get the inside of it but not the outside as well.”
John Coltrane

Coltrane - The Story of a Sound

AlphaGo

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I enjoyed this documentary about AlphaGo – the AI that cracked the game of Go. However, I felt that there was another player at the table, an overlooked player: the qualitative outcome. Despite the potential complexity of the game of Go, its outcome is still a simplistic quantity: area conquered.

I have a feeling that the better this technology gets and the better we get at applying it, the more likely we are to lose touch with quality, with human nature and human sensibilities … with life. Measurable efficiency will attain godhood.

I have witnessed this kind of trap in my own (non AI) thinking. I aspire to have a warm home with little to no energy input. I’ve done research on this and have come up with (for now theoretical) answers on how to achieve this. They involve strategically burying and insulating a house WITH the earth around it. This presents challenges in terms of natural light.

Through my exploration of Christopher Alexander’s work, I’ve come to appreciate that warmth is a holistic experience that goes beyond temperature/humidity experience. I am now willing to compromise (intelligently) on thermal efficiency to provide a space with good lighting because a well-lit (and properly insulated) space can feel warm and inviting (more than an efficiently thermally insulated space that is dark and gloomy).

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