Expanding Boundaries of the Mind: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality with Elon Musk and the Sundance Film Festival

Hi all!
As you know, I’ve been fairly interested in the Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality space.
 My personal surf usage usually spans and alternates between news and studies on that
and reading up on brilliant art or fashion shows such as Elie Saab’s Haute Couture.
Chris Milk is continuing to produce some great media for VR and MR, so you should look him and his production company, Within (formerly Vrse) up (Jocelyn: the videos I showed you and Tony last summer were produced by him). He recently showed a new one at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and I heard it was MIND BLOWING! It’s called Life of Us, an expositional journey of our life as humans – music by Pharell Williams )
Sundance also hosted some very cool MR and VR installations like this:img_1635 I saw a demo of one which included not just the headset, but full audio and body set (vibrating suits??)– so complete immersion. It was so scary and pretty funny to see the physical realization of someone within this, and it also invoked some very powerful reactions from me even as a secondary viewer.
It’s almost as if there should be more invested discussions in the making of MR substituting for traditional medical solutions. From what I’ve seen, it has the potential to induce hallucinations and effectively distort mental cognition processes, and I really see it being a strong tool in the future for neurological malaises (or for people who just want to get high).
Lastly, neural lace!:
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^ this will give you a short summary on what the possibilities for neural lacing look like for advancing human intelligence, but many more and better articles will go into depth on the potentials for this if you look up anything from Elon Musk, M. Banks, to neuroprosthetics + neural lace.
Basically, the development of neural lace or prosthetically made brain functions could in theory augment parts of our brain or simulate entire functions of our brain and we could all just opt-in in becoming Gandalf the Grey, Sauron, and Tony Stark… in one!
Crazy stuff happening our world, outside of the antics of the new Trump administration– news of those are sadly invading prime front page  space by the hour.
I’m heading over to an opening reception for one of my favorite galleries here, Paul Kasmin. Their upper location on 27th st. is dedicating an exhibition tonight to American Artist William N. Copley’s retrospective of women, how exciting! Especially after that march last week.
Wish you all could be here with me.
Bises,
Soo

Day at the Museum: Teiji Furuhashi on the Transience of Contemporary Love

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Figures moving like specters – Feiji Turuhashi adds an ultra-romantic lens to contemporary love through his video-projection installation: Lovers.

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Naked lovers run towards each other, passing each other and overlapping one another only to never actually touch.  Coupled with the displacing sound mix, it makes for a beautiful and stirring native scene.

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“How slim are the odds that one shall paint, another shall dance, whose unexpected orbits keep intersecting mine…” – Amy Uyematsu, Calculations

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Band of Friends

“There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes are not content with his wealth. ‘For whom am I toiling,’ he asked, and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment? This too is meaningless- a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. but pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 5:12

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This is my wonderful CG. It’s crazy to think that I’ve only known my friends here for a little over 3 months.

As a CG, we convene every week as a means to deepen our relationship with God and engage in fellowship. Here, I find myself being fed not just spiritually, but intellectually, physically, and emotionally. It’s almost indescribable to explain the encompassing and enormous nature of the benefits and joy I’ve received from these gatherings. I’ve also noticed that I’ve become more alert and acquired a heightened sensitivity to the going-ons in the world around me… to the conflicts and celebrations arising day by day in the personal lives of those I care about and also of those I was previously indifferent to.

Every week, we challenge each other with our questions regarding issues present in our world and current events, and around scripture; we ask each other about our careers, our job searches, our physical well-being – whether that leg is feeling better and how much exercise it’s taking, whether x project/x presentation last week went well; we rapidly learn intensely personal things about each other (exhibiting an unbelievable level of vulnerability and trust) I’m not sure I’ve ever learned this quickly in my other relationships.

We build one another up, and the effects of this is enduring and lasting throughout the week. Together, we actively seek and discuss ways to address and alleviate the hurt rampant in the broken world around us and to better each other as young citizens and humans bonded by a common belief.

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Sometimes I wonder if without this CG, I’d have ever befriended them or have even crossed paths with them. We all come from very different backgrounds and paths in life, and our personalities range across the entire color spectrum; it really would be hard to explain our deep friendships in relation to our compatibilities in the traditional sense of the word here.

Yet, these people have quickly become a home to me unlike any other I’ve found, and I can’t imagine a world not knowing them and not loving them.

I only wish I could explain to you better just how good this feels. How good he is to me.

Bises,

Soo

When You Know You’ve Got Something Good: C.S. Lewis + Co. on the Beauty and Essentialness of Friendship

Friendship never belittles.
It runs in at the first sight of pain and pleasure in its members. It seeks out and dulls the slightest pangs of suffering.
It observes less of the human instinct for armour and self-protection.
It inspires perspective and growth.
It warns against hubris and judgement.
It binds together and fortifies all that is good and pure.
Friendship is a gift we all have–
to receive, to give, and to hold.

It looks like this:

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Henri Matisse’s The Dance

reads like this:

“Friendship”

“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles [Williams] is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s [Tolkien’s] reaction to a specifically Charles joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald… In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious “nearness by resemblance” to heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each of us has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are crying “Holy, Holy, Holy” to one another (Isaiah 6:3). The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall have.” – C.S. Lewis in describing his friendship with J.R.R> Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, and author Charles Williams.

sounds like this:

(cacophonous in composition yet utterly harmonious)


And lastly, why you and I cannot live without it:

“There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. For whom am I toiling,” he asked, and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment? This too is meaningless– a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – The Bible, Ecclesiastes 5:12


“Lovers seek for privacy. Friends find this solitude about them, this barrier between them and the herd, whether they want it or not…

In a circle of true Friends each man is simply what he is: stands for nothing but himself. No one cares twopence about anyone else’s family, profession, class, income, race, or previous history. Of course you will get to know about most of these in the end. But casually. They will come out bit by bit, to furnish an illustration or an analogy, to serve as pegs for an anecdote; never for their own sake. That is the kingliness of Friendship. We meet like sovereign princes of independent states, abroad, on neutral ground, freed from our contexts. This love (essentially) ignores not only our physical bodies but that whole embodiment which consists of our family, job, past and connections. At home, besides being Peter or Jane, we also bear a general character; husband or wife, brother or sister, chief, colleague, or subordinate. Not among our Friends. It is an affair of disentangled, or stripped, minds. Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities.

Hence (if you will not misunderstand me) the exquisite arbitrariness and irresponsibility of this love. I have no duty to be anyone’s Friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine. No claims, no shadow of necessity. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis


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Chen-Dao Lee’s Swan Lake // “A friend awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you.” – John O’Donohue, poet and philosopher
Bises,

Soo

My 2016 Book List: Let my Year in Books Inspire You as Well!

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Here is my 2016 book list of books I’ve carried through completion and thoroughly enjoyed, with random, rambling annotations:

Books with * = well read, well worn, well kept

Books with ** = SUPERSTAR

  1. *The Unpublished David Ogilvy by David Ogilvy, Joel Raphaelson
  2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  3. Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann: Recommended by my friend Nick McClish; Hans Castorps take on life in a sanitorium is hilarious and may I say, morbidly magical.
  4. *Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  5. *How Proust Can Change Your Life by Marcel Proust: I bought this at the Strand bookstore for $2 and it opened me up to the world of Proust. Guys, $2 + tax can indeed change your life for the better.
  6. *In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust: This book changed my life, but if you are a grammar N*** or someone who considers brevity a virtue, then this is not that life-changing book for you.
  7. *Bible (NIV): For my spiritual and moral feeding – I hold this very close to my heart, always, for the truth of the Lord breeds the purest of love, knowledge, kindness, goodness, forbearance, joy, and peace.
  8. ** Leonardo’s Notebooks edited by Anna Suh: my eyes were burning from the amount of manuscript notes I had to read that he created; can you believe that someone with a non-classical education has over 20,000 notes in total of mind-blowing studies and findings found through sheer observation and experimentation? Wowzers.
  9. Chaos Monkeys by Antonia Garcia Martinez: hilariously scathing, and very tell-all by nature, a book on the going ons of the SV tech world from the eye of one man who managed to get acquired by or work for some top companies. A peer and Director of Salesforce who I recently met told me this is much like the HBO series: Silicon Valley, so for those who liked watching that, you ought to take a chance on this.
  10. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli: I never got to read this in school, but all of a sudden I had the urge to read this now and on Machiavelli’s thoughts on acquiring, conquering, managing, and losing principalities/power/people. Pretty relevant, I’d say.
  11. The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller: talks a lot about the moralistic brothers of the church vs. brothers who’ve gone wild and then returned to the folds of God – really cool and enlightening read on the hypocrisy of institutions like religion and even more importantly, why it’s even more necessary to stay steadfast in your faith in God.
  12. **Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan: I had been exposed to surfing this year through a man I loved, and naturally became curious as to the intensity of adoration felt for this specific hobby by him and by many other friends. Finnegan explains the surfing life perfectly, and I am totally hooked – theoretically speaking.
  13. *Blood, Brains, and Beer: Autobiography by David Ogilvy
  14. **Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: recommended by my friend David Kong. I enjoyed it and as a Jane Austen fan, really glad I got to read another stellar work of hers!
  15. Ein Mein Manifesto by Eric Jarosinski
  16. **Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
  17. Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths: My older sister had this on her Audible.
  18. So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport: because I enjoy reading Cal Newport’s blog and was deeply changed by his book Deep Work. This is an earlier book of his, and I have noticed that his prose here is not so pithy, but still to the point. It serves its purpose.
  19. **Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations by Michael Malone and Rich Karlgaard: because I wanted to make the company I worked in at the time better.
  20. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington
  21. The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Recommended by my dear friend, Victoria Wong! It’s one of her favorite books. Funny story: There was a time when I was quoting this book, and a friend had asked me who the author was, when I replied, “Mila Kunis” with the sureness of a cock. I was deservedly embarrassed.
  22. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein
  23. Who Needs the Fed by John Tamny: I picked this book up because my younger sister works at the Fed, and I am always down to read a book that will enlighten me more on the activities of loved ones.
  24. Virtual Billions: The Genius, the Drug Lord, and the Ivy League Twins Behind the Rise of Bitcoin by Eric Geissinger: The book in its entirety wasn’t engaging, but the first couple chapters were amazing in detailing the foundations of Bitcoin & its network, and the influencers * all the the ants involved in this crypto currency ecosystem.
  25. The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane: written for the layman, it reinforces wise mental hacks that are necessary to live both in optimism and be successful.
  26. Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security by Laurence J. Kotlikoff: A book picked up in an effort to aid my parents when they become of age.

Things I’ve started or am looking to read in 2017!:

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: I’m reading this one to get to know my younger sister better. She is a big fan of Tolkien.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: I’ve only read the first few chapters, and so far the story lines of the characters introduced and families are absolutely ACE! The complexity! The depth! The scandal! Recommended by my good friends: Sewon Yang and Max Heering.

Leonardo da Vinci: The Marvellous Works of Nature and Man by Martin Kemp

I wish the world the biggest growth it’s seen yet this 2017.

Bises,

Soo

Soo’s 2016 Gift Guide

While the holiday season is indeed a time for many a celebration of significant histories propagated by religious institutions, it also heralds in a month of humanly epic proportions of consumption…

Engineer the perfect setup for a cozy evening in your urban abode this holiday, and use this time as an excuse to get some self-loving R&R.

1. Revolutionary Speakers

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Devialet Phantom

Patented intelligence and one tiny, savvy, smart sound system that packs an immersive sound experience in a very large room.

OR

2. Silent Headphones

Bose Quiet Comfort 35 Headphones

The first time I got my hands on Bose Headphones was when I “acquired” my dad’s QC 15s. Ever since, I’ve been hooked and fiercely loyal to this headphone line.

One of the best headphones I’ve ever used in my 24 years of existence– It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing, but personally, I really value being able to listen with uninterrupted focus to my music sans NYC noise over looking cool with my headphones. Function over form wins here for me.

Cnet Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/bose-quietcomfort-35/

3. Idyllic Drawings

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COCTEAU, Jean. Dessins

While Jean Cocteau was rather infamously remembered for being an aggressive social climber (cool fact: he was actually slighted in a portrait painting by Modigliani for these very reasons) and a “celebrity friend,” I deeply appreciate Cocteau for the writings, films, and doodles he created throughout his life. I think these reveal most significantly the contents of his character which do deserve remembering.

4. Relaxing Drink

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Pouilly-Fuissé 2014 – Maison Louis Jadot

Not cloyingly sweet and not too crisp. I generally prefer red wine over white, but this one was really well balanced, and truly enjoyable to drink! Wine Spectator rates it in at a 91 — Good for drinking through 2022.

(Pouilly Fuissé is the appellation (A.O.C.) for this white wine (spec. Chardonnay grape) grown in Maçonnais (subregion) of Burgundy, France.

The labeling regulations for wine labels are very lenient; according to federal law, one is only required to list alcohol percentage if the proof is over 14%, and has liberal authority over what metric is signaled on the label header (such as Producer; Wine Region; Grape Variety). As a young wine drinker, these kind of things posed a great logistical challenge for me as I was trying to have deeper drinking experiences beyond that of a mere somatic examination. The Wine Spectator had an op-ed on this issue earlier this year, I’ll link it here once I’m able to find it–  a much more informative source, if you’re interested in learning more about the consequences of unsystematic wine labeling!)

5. Hand Candy

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Zalto Denk’Art Universal Glass

Boasting a modest, but sublimely delicate design, the Zalto Universal is competitively suited for all kinds of magical, multi-purpose drinking. It’s an absolute pleasure drinking from this glass and being able to indulge  3 senses.

I’ll be having a very warm and agape holiday season, and I hope you do too.

Bises,

Soo

Understanding a Marginalized Metric in the Arms Race for Success: Emotional Intelligence

In his delicious article “What Makes A Leader?,” brain and behavioral sciences expert and professor Daniel Goleman summarily tackles and identifies Emotional Intelligence as the fulcrum of the development and measurement of leadership within spheres of business and management.

First surfaced in 1985 via Wayne Payne’s doctoral thesis, “A Study of Emotion: Developing Emotional Intelligence”, EI was formally termed to account for the additional types of intelligence not subscribed in the parameters of technical and IQ modules.

Emotional Intelligence is an important quality to understand as how you measure up against these elements/pre-requisites are factors that can affect one’s ability to be a leader: managing a critical mass of people and ultimately creating high-impact value.

Out of the many models that have since been created by many scholars in their attempts to define EI, Goleman’s on EI has withstood the 2000’s and has served as the frame of reference for many educational and professional institutions seeking to understand this more deeply; I have likewise found his model for EI to be particularly useful, so I will continue on with reference to his model of five fundamental components:

Self-awareness is pretty by the book. It’s having a keen knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses, your needs, and your desires.

Self-regulation is the ability to maintain what can be simply described as the “emotional/professional poker face”, having the ability to yield reason over instinct despite certain situations natural eliciting a reaction that might be oppositional.

Motivation is the desire to achieve something. Often times, those who are motivated in the work place who currently hold decision making power have been observed to have the inclination to achieve for achievement’s sake regardless of there being a targeted goal or not.

Empathy, is empathy 🙂 Showing and successfully conveying genuine camaraderie and understanding for teammates, despite facing situational differences, deadlines/hard decisions being needed to make (i.e. corporate layoffs). Having the ability to treat each person uniquely and smoothly to best fit his/her emotional makeup and reactionary dispositions.

Lastly, social skills, i.e. being  gregarious – being willing to open up your time, resources, and mind widely. Studies have supported that people with great social skills often have  friendship networks that are very wide in breadth. Also, in the working space, high-leadership potential individuals can paradoxically appear to not be working as much because they more often than not recognize the needs to do things like allocate amounts of time during their work day to “chat ” and get to know their colleagues cross-departmentally.

Goleman doesn’t merely expound on or seek to heighten the value of pre-existing didacticisms, and this particular excerpt, amongst many, is very enlightening as it gets into the neuroscience of it all–showing where exactly EI growth is being activated and how we can push ourselves and our lovely comrades forward towards [higher command!] higher vision:

“With competency and leadership training programs provided in leading companies, it’s important to determine where exactly our emotional intelligence comes from. It’s a mixture of nature and nurture, but studies show that a large part of our development in regards to this as physiological: “Emotional intelligence is born largely in the neurotransmitters of the brain’s limbic system, which governs feelings, impulses, and drives. Research indicates that the limbic system teams best through motivation, extended practice, and feedback. Compare this with the kind of learning that goes on in the neocortex, which governs analytical and technical ability The neocortex grasps concepts and logic. It is the part of the brain that figures out how to use a computer or make a sales call by reading a book. Not surprisingly-but mistakenly-it is also the part of the brain targeted by most training programs aimed at enhancing emotional intelligence. When such programs take, in effect a neocortical approach, my research with the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations has shown they can even have a negative impact on people’s job performance. To enhance emotional intelligence, organizations must refocus their training to include the limbic system. They must help people break old behavioral habits and establish new ones. That not only takes much more time than conventional training programs, it also requires an individualized approach.”

And just how important are these for professional development and how do they add up to affect the trajectories of our careers and our lives?

An extensive study of data culled through the numerous competency models employed by top 500 companies of manager to C-level executives has revealed that out of the technical, intellectual and EQ abilities we can strive to develop, EQ is what’s most paramount to hinting at one’s growth potential as a thriving leader.

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There are people that would scream out in surprise, “what a coincidence! That this is so important to my success!! ..I suppose they would be the kind of people who forget that humans are the backbone to every problem and every solution found in this world, but this is only the opinion of one.

Cool stuff!

Anyways, I shall end my advocacy for EI for the moment, but I do hope you take the time to read Goleman’s article, “What Makes a Leader” when you have the time.

Bises,

Soo

***

See here for another benefit to EI form a cost/benefits angle as noted by a leading research team in the UK specializing in management training:

Benefits of early EI measurement:

Case 1: “When hiring recruiters, the government used an emotional intelligence test as part of the process. They found that the recruiters who performed the best were the ones that had scored the highest on the EI test– particularly in the competencies of emotional self-awareness, empathy, happiness, and assertiveness [hiring employees who have high levels of EI gives you a better chance of hiring the right people the first time and reduces employee turnover, resulting in significant cost savings”. The Air Force soon learned that it could increase the chances of hiring successful recruiters by three times as much if they used the EI test. They found that using EI tests saved over $3 million annually by being able to hire the right people for the first time. The results were so notable that the Government Accountability Office (formerly the Government Accounting Office) presented the information to Congress who in turn requested the Department of Defense use emotional intelligence tests in recruitment and selection in all the armed forces.”

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Read on to get better acquainted with the fundamental tenets of emotional intelligence as delineated here by Goleman: self awareness, self regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills, and see them presented through examples within the business sphere.

For additional content, feel free to go further with Daniel Goleman’s work on EI here, or here, to get his best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.