Post of Potential Posts: Nov 2021

By | November 22, 2021

This post of potential posts is an ’80/20′ on the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of posts! Basically, it is a list of topics that I am currently learning about, also planning to post about, but haven’t because I have horrible time management. This post of potential posts also serves as a way of: (a) incentivising myself to actually post some of the potential posts through increased ‘public accountability’… like anything but Google’s algorithms reads these… lol 1.0, (b) making me feel like I have posted something meaningful without actually posting something meaningful… lol 2.0, and (c) enabling me to procrastinate on an actual post through posting about how I am procrastinating on an actual post… lol 3.0. Also, I am yet to muster up the courage to remove the word ‘potential’ from the title, so we will see how this all plays out… lol 4.0.

Topic 1: Space Junk

I recently started interning at a start-up that is developing a solution for the space junk problem. As a result, I have been engrossed in the following questions:

  • What is the space junk problem?
  • What are the characteristics of space junk?
  • What are the current and proposed solutions to remove space junk and how feasible are they?
  • How do you value/price: (a) An orbit? (b) The removal of a piece of space junk? (c) A reduction in the probability of something getting hit by space junk?
  • How do you de-risk a very risky business?

Topic 2: Ideas for Improving Australian Superannuation and Pension Policy

As much as I’d like to stop thinking about my thesis topic… I can’t. So this post will help me begrudgingly conceptualize several Australian Superannuation and Pension problems as well as potential solutions. It will also provide me an opportunity to review and apply Vijay Kelkar’s and Ajay Shah’s policy intervention framework. So far, the problems I want to look at are:

  • Impact of the Early Release Scheme
  • Improving decision making amongst retirees (i.e. reducing default option bias and myopic risk aversion during crises)
  • Unintended consequences of the Your Future Your Super reforms
  • Why robots can help people get financial advice they need but can’t afford.

Topic 3: Causality

Part of this years Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences went to Joshua Angrist and Guido W. Imbensfor their methodological contributions to the analysis of causal relationships“. So in light of this, I want to brush up on my understanding of causality, namely:

  • What is causality?
  • What are the current methods for proving causality?

Topic 4: Artificial Intelligence

I recently bootstrapped Google’s Deep Learning Tesseract Engine to automate 10% of my job as Research Assistant. The program basically downloads, reads, and classifies thousands of heterogenous documents using deep learning optical character recognition. Initially, I thought the program would do a pretty good job, say 85% classification accuracy relative to humans, but, upon completion, it actually performed much better, in fact, it was more accurate than my own classifications and found lots of things that I missed (that was funny to explain to supervisors… whoops!). Basically, this was sort of a ‘slap in the face’ that illustrated how powerful these tools can be, which has motivated me to learn more about them, namely:

  • What is the current state of AI research?
  • In what ways has AI already changed my life?
  • In what ways will AI change my life?
  • How do different AI’s work and is there a relation to how humans learn (see How AlphaZero Learns Chess –
  • How can I learn about and utilise more AI tools to make my life easier?
  • How do I get better at prompt programming with GPT-3

Topic 5: Purpose of Life and the Universe

Something I feel grossly unqualified to answer, but I think I am alive and exist in the universe (cue simulation theory), so I want to explore the topic anyway. For now, assuming there is a purpose, I don’t think there is any particularly meaningful purpose that is devoid of context, so I will specifically explore the following:

  • Purpose of life in the context of the universe (Initial thought: disperse energy)
  • Purpose of life in the context of biological populations (Initial thought: evolution helps disperse energy)
  • Purpose of life in the context of a species (Initial thought: survival)
  • Purpose of life in the context of a species subgroup (Initial thought: survival)
  • Purpose of life in the context of the individual (Initial thought: survival and some things unique to self-aware organisms)
  • If something causes an effect, is its purpose the cause, the effect, neither, or nothing? For example, because biological organisms evolve to survive, is their purpose to evolve, survive, something else entirely, or nothing at all? Similarly, because the universe disperses energy to expand, is its purpose to disperse energy, to expand, to do something else entirely, or nothing at all? Is there any way to answer these questions?

Topic 6: Aliens

*Insert ominous music*

Topic 8: Why do some societies prosper while others do not?

Despite having an economics degree, I think the only useful framework I have for answering this question is from playing Civilization 6… I suppose there are worse frameworks, but improvements can definitely be made. Some things I want to start exploring are:

  • Why do some societies prosper while others do not?
  • What is the role of resource availability? (initial thought: both)
  • What is the role of institutions? (initial thought: both)
  • What is the role of other societies? (initial thought: both)
  • What is the role of culture? (initial thought: both)
  • What is the role of other things that I have missed?

Topic 9: Cybersecurity

GoDaddy security breach exposes WordPress users’ data | Reuters

This breach included my own data, so I suppose I should learn more about this new arena.

I also want to learn about how much internet information gets tracked and stored.