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What We’re Reading: April 2020

By Jitendra Subramanyam | April 08, 2020 | 0 Comments

Black Swan Events by Alex Danco
“This is real Black Swan stuff. This week’s unemployment filings, compared to the last half-century, are considered by frequentist statistics as a 30-sigma event: less likely to happen than if you had to select one atomic particle at random out of every particle in the universe, and then randomly again select that same particle five times in a row. A 30 sigma event should be outrageously unlikely, at universe-scale. But they happen. And when they do, they warn us: the problem is not that the universe didn’t behave correctly. The problem is that we were wrong. “

Ten Deep Learning Jokes That You’ll Only Understand If you Really Know Deep Learning
Take a break from training models and reading research to read these!

Why digital humans will play an important role in supporting frontline efforts to global pandemics
“With so many chatbot technology companies releasing various solutions, we quickly noticed there was no one focused on providing an empathetic approach to the interaction. In a time when there’s such a positive emotional response to COVID-19, a friendly face, calm voice and compassionate response to a user’s questions would go a long way. Additionally, through our recent efforts in healthcare there was no easy way for someone with language or literacy challenges to access answers. This is what digital humans are great at solving for, and we knew exactly how we could help at this time.”

World of Warcraft Perfectly Predicted Our Coronavirus Panic
“That’s really crucial, because a lot of the models that scientists use to try and predict how a disease like Covid-19 will spread are built on assumptions about the way people will behave. But we’re pretty irrational creatures – few would have predicted, for instance, that fans barred from attending the recent Champions League football match between Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain would gather outside the stadium anyway, or that Ukrainians would voice their fear at a quarantine centre being set up in their area by going to the quarantine centre and throwing stones at a bus carrying evacuees from Wuhan.

“Traditionally when we do computer-based simulations we know everything about the world,” says Lofgren, who published a 2007 paper on the Corrupted Blood outbreak with colleague Nina Hefferman. “The people in those simulations only act the way we tell them to act. Here we get the full view of human irrationality.”

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