The stories told here are not for the faint-hearted. According to human moral standards, they are all about the rejection of all ethical behaviour and the deep abyss of social machinations. Things get really bad in the bird kingdom. So think twice: do you really want to read on? I warned you….
When I recently spotted the title in a science journal, my first thought was: Huh? (Hessian for Whaaaaat????) I understand the individual words, but I don’t know what they mean together.
I remember an episode when my brother happened to be standing in my office and overheard me talking to a colleague about a current IT project. When the colleague had left the room, my brother asked: “What were you actually talking about? I didn’t understand a word. What kind of gibberish was that?” He is a lawyer and therefore at home in his own language.
This is not about your unease as a mighty thunderstorm front approaches, although this spectacle of nature could also be worth an article in Harlequin, especially if there is a theatre of clouds in the sky (look up and discover, as I did, your grandmother as a cloudy silhouette). And it’s not about mosquitoes either, which are, after all, known as awe-ful bloodsuckers of mammals and thus also transmit diseases. Nor is it about ticks, which, once they have bitten into a mammal, grow larger and larger and only occur at altitudes of up to 1,200 metres.
Today it’s really about crime stories, S&M practices, pretense and deceit. And all this in nature. And it’s about small and tiny creatures trying to hold their own in a world of eating and being eaten with artifice, guile and trickery.
I’m visiting friends in Hamburg, who live on the 5th floor of a modern house with a small garden. And early in the morning at 4:30 a.m. I am woken by the piercing chirping of my favourite bird, Troglodytes troglodytes. This animal alarm clock is the loudest loudmouth (between 40 and 90 decibels!) in relation to its body size (about 10 cm) in the diverse ornithological kingdom: my favourite bird, the wren. With its tail always up when it sings, it acts with great self-confidence. The male belts out “with warbles and trills and ends abruptly. It (the song) is composed of about 130 different sounds.” (Wikipedia)
According to a very old fable, it also reputed to be a trickster who likes to fool other animals. In order to escape the revenge of the aggrieved, he is said to lurk mostly in hedges and bushes. Trickster or not, I like the little fella, even at 4:30 in the morning, when he is the first to open the dawn chorus.
Where artificial intelligence gets it wrong, why it affects us and what we can do about it
I am not a specialist in Computer Science issues, but have been at home in the IT environment for many years as an Agile coach and organisational developer. I can recommend the book with the title above especially to “non-IT people” like me who want to take a closer look at the cryptic and not easily accessible topic of artificial intelligence and associated algorithms. In casual language, the author explains to us what algorithms are, how they work, what difficulties the unrestricted use of algorithms entails and at what point we can (and must) exert influence on their uncontrolled use. Katharina Zweig is a professor of Computer Science at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern, where she heads the Algorithm Accountability Lab and is the founder of the “Socio-informatics” degree programme, which is unique in Germany.
This is another contribution by our guest author Christoph Henties, who is no stranger to loyal readers of the harlekin.blog. Thank you, Christoph!
Planning the next step
The End is My Beginning is the title of the autobiographical Spiegel bestseller by Tiziano Terzani. The book is a hymn to the possibility of being what you want to be. The journalist and writer begins a wonderful conversation about the venture of freedom, about courage, love, sickness and grief, about transience, moments of beauty and how you can learn to let go.
A fresh start at work is not easy. Replacing well-known structures and organisations with familiar people with something new and developing curiosity for the unfamiliar is a challenge. Anyone who has changed jobs more often will find it easier.
Do you know Neuss (pronounced /nois/)? No? It’s worth a visit, especially for birdwatchers. And it’s back to the cheerful springtime topic of ornithology. So if you were in the mood for a Harlequin article on agile project management or artificial intelligence today, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a while longer.
Have you also made firm resolutions for the new year? A friend told me she would now leave out cream when cooking in favour of homemade tomato sauce. Aha! Initially it sounds healthy and prudent. She wants to give up some dairy products in order for her intestines to recuperate. What is it supposed to recuperate from? A friend told me that he would drink less alcohol now. What exactly is less? Less, compared to what? Is one glass in the evening a lot or a little?
I myself have a resolution this year to work “less”, which a self-employed person can only influence to a limited extent. I am very curious to see how this resolve develops and how I strive to achieve it. What is less or more is mostly a matter of opinion and – habit.
Sometimes clients surprise me when I learn from them “how to do it right”. By that I mean how quickly transformations that no one previously thought possible sometimes succeed. For several years now, I have been discussing how to continuously change and improve with the board of an association that has set itself the goal of redefining and shaping youth work. What makes CREW, as the association is called, special?
Today I have brought you an article from the category: Knowledge we don’t actually need in everyday life and that is precisely why we keep it in mind.
Those who know me well know that ornithology has long been close to my heart and that in this context I make a tiny contribution to improving the climate, at least in my garden. Recently, when I was looking for a gift for a friend with whom I share a passion for observing wild birds, I came across the German book “The Names of European Birds” by Viktor Wember. It is scientifically structured, with a lot of diverse information and an attempt to derive or explain both the German and scientific names of the birds.
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