Get smarter, faster. Subscribe to our daily newsletter.
What the early life of Steve Jobs can teach us about success
This infographic, by Anna Vital from Funders and Founders, recaps the significant moments of Steve Jobs’ journey on, and sometimes off, the path of success.
Steve Jobs is one of the most admired and admonished figures of the technological age. With his razor sharp focus on his work, continuous quest for perfection, unapologetic behavior, selfishness at times, seeming disregard for the feelings of others, and absolute dedication to his life's work, he is like the hero of an Ayn Rand novel. His life, character, achievements and failures are repeatedly debated by admirers and critics alike.
Jobs' path was not straightforward, winding through Indian ashrams, unfinished education, psychedelic experiences, companies found and positions lost. But as Jobs himself says:
"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."
No matter what Jobs did, however—starting companies, looking for spiritual answers, winning over the woman he loved—he did it fully.
"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."
"I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what's next." (NBC Nightly News, May 2006.)
And his main approach for doing things well, probably rooted in his affinity for Buddhism, was always looking for simplicity, stripping ideas, problems, products to their core, looking for that one, simple, clean essence of things.
"That's been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains."
Finally, we should emphasize over and over again, that probably the biggest common denominator between incredibly successful people like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Bill Gates is simply their incredible perseverance and refusal to quit when faced with failure.
"Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.[…] It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith."
The following infographic by Anna Vital from Funders and Founders recaps the significant moments of Steve Jobs' life for a bit of inspiration and insight into his success.
How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.
- A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
- It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
- While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Tribalism and discrimination<p>One question the "Genetic Pressure" series explores: What would tribalism and discrimination look like in a world with designer babies? As designer babies grow up, they could be noticeably different from other people, potentially being smarter, more attractive and healthier. This could breed resentment between the groups—as it does in the series.</p><p>"[Designer babies] slowly find that 'everyone else,' and even their own parents, becomes less and less tolerable," author Eugene Clark told Big Think. "Meanwhile, everyone else slowly feels threatened by the designer babies."</p><p>For example, one character in the series who was born a designer baby faces discrimination and harassment from "normal people"—they call her "soulless" and say she was "made in a factory," a "consumer product." </p><p>Would such divisions emerge in the real world? The answer may depend on who's able to afford designer baby services. If it's only the ultra-wealthy, then it's easy to imagine how being a designer baby could be seen by society as a kind of hyper-privilege, which designer babies would have to reckon with. </p><p>Even if people from all socioeconomic backgrounds can someday afford designer babies, people born designer babies may struggle with tough existential questions: Can they ever take full credit for things they achieve, or were they born with an unfair advantage? To what extent should they spend their lives helping the less fortunate? </p>
Sexuality dilemmas<p>Sexuality presents another set of thorny questions. If a designer baby industry someday allows people to optimize humans for attractiveness, designer babies could grow up to find themselves surrounded by ultra-attractive people. That may not sound like a big problem.</p><p>But consider that, if designer babies someday become the standard way to have children, there'd necessarily be a years-long gap in which only some people are having designer babies. Meanwhile, the rest of society would be having children the old-fashioned way. So, in terms of attractiveness, society could see increasingly apparent disparities in physical appearances between the two groups. "Normal people" could begin to seem increasingly ugly.</p><p>But ultra-attractive people who were born designer babies could face problems, too. One could be the loss of body image. </p><p>When designer babies grow up in the "Genetic Pressure" series, men look like all the other men, and women look like all the other women. This homogeneity of physical appearance occurs because parents of designer babies start following trends, all choosing similar traits for their children: tall, athletic build, olive skin, etc. </p><p>Sure, facial traits remain relatively unique, but everyone's more or less equally attractive. And this causes strange changes to sexual preferences.</p><p>"In a society of sexual equals, they start looking for other differentiators," he said, noting that violet-colored eyes become a rare trait that genetically engineered humans find especially attractive in the series.</p><p>But what about sexual relationships between genetically engineered humans and "normal" people? In the "Genetic Pressure" series, many "normal" people want to have kids with (or at least have sex with) genetically engineered humans. But a minority of engineered humans oppose breeding with "normal" people, and this leads to an ideology that considers engineered humans to be racially supreme. </p>
Regulating designer babies<p>On a policy level, there are many open questions about how governments might legislate a world with designer babies. But it's not totally new territory, considering the West's dark history of eugenics experiments.</p><p>In the 20th century, the U.S. conducted multiple eugenics programs, including immigration restrictions based on genetic inferiority and forced sterilizations. In 1927, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that forcibly sterilizing the mentally handicapped didn't violate the Constitution. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes wrote, "… three generations of imbeciles are enough." </p><p>After the Holocaust, eugenics programs became increasingly taboo and regulated in the U.S. (though some states continued forced sterilizations <a href="https://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/" target="_blank">into the 1970s</a>). In recent years, some policymakers and scientists have expressed concerns about how gene-editing technologies could reanimate the eugenics nightmares of the 20th century. </p><p>Currently, the U.S. doesn't explicitly ban human germline genetic editing on the federal level, but a combination of laws effectively render it <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">illegal to implant a genetically modified embryo</a>. Part of the reason is that scientists still aren't sure of the unintended consequences of new gene-editing technologies. </p><p>But there are also concerns that these technologies could usher in a new era of eugenics. After all, the function of a designer baby industry, like the one in the "Genetic Pressure" series, wouldn't necessarily be limited to eliminating genetic diseases; it could also work to increase the occurrence of "desirable" traits. </p><p>If the industry did that, it'd effectively signal that the <em>opposites of those traits are undesirable. </em>As the International Bioethics Committee <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote</a>, this would "jeopardize the inherent and therefore equal dignity of all human beings and renew eugenics, disguised as the fulfillment of the wish for a better, improved life."</p><p><em>"Genetic Pressure Volume I: Baby Steps"</em><em> by Eugene Clark is <a href="http://bigth.ink/38VhJn3" target="_blank">available now.</a></em></p>
The father of all giant sea bugs was recently discovered off the coast of Java.
- A new species of isopod with a resemblance to a certain Sith lord was just discovered.
- It is the first known giant isopod from the Indian Ocean.
- The finding extends the list of giant isopods even further.
The ocean depths are home to many creatures that some consider to be unnatural.<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU2NzY4My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTUwMzg0NX0.BTK3zVeXxoduyvXfsvp4QH40_9POsrgca_W5CQpjVtw/img.png?width=980" id="b6fb0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2739ec50d9f9a3bd0058f937b6d447ac" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1512" data-height="2224" />
What benefit does this find have for science? And is it as evil as it looks?<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="7XqcvwWp" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="8506fcd195866131efb93525ae42dec4"> <div id="botr_7XqcvwWp_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7XqcvwWp-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/7XqcvwWp-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7XqcvwWp-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>The discovery of a new species is always a cause for celebration in zoology. That this is the discovery of an animal that inhabits the deeps of the sea, one of the least explored areas humans can get to, is the icing on the cake.</p><p>Helen Wong of the National University of Singapore, who co-authored the species' description, explained the importance of the discovery:</p><p>"The identification of this new species is an indication of just how little we know about the oceans. There is certainly more for us to explore in terms of biodiversity in the deep sea of our region." </p><p>The animal's visual similarity to Darth Vader is a result of its compound eyes and the curious shape of its <a href="https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/research/sjades2018/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" style="">head</a>. However, given the location of its discovery, the bottom of the remote seas, it may be associated with all manner of horrifically evil Elder Things and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cthulhu" target="_blank" rel="dofollow">Great Old Ones</a>. <em></em></p>
Workaholism is perhaps the most socially accepted addiction, but a new paper shines light on the serious health risks that accompany it along with which occupations are most at risk.
- Work addiction is a growing public health risk in industrialized nations, with some research showing that 5–10% of the United States population meet the criteria.
- Workaholism comes with a variety of serious mental and physical health concerns such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, lowered immunity, substance abuse, or even chronic fatigue.
- Employees at the highest risk for stress-related disorders are those in what researchers call the "tense" group category where job demand is high but job control is low, such as healthcare workers.
Who are 'workaholics'?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUwOTEwNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NTcxMjY5M30.co95ejt7ASPynFNcdlE2fcswuSGDo2GXWiAikYckAec/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C524%2C0%2C524&height=700" id="cfa87" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb50d89ae92c35858327efaf5b125d51" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
Credit: AdobeStock<p>Workaholism is a behavioral disorder in which someone who typically works seven or more hours extra than others per week. Financial instability, marital problems, or pressure from a company or supervisor could all be reasons for working more hours than average. The difference is that workaholics are excessively involved in work when their employer doesn't require or expect as much time as the individual is putting into the job. </p><p><strong>Symptoms of work addiction include:</strong> </p><ul><li>Putting in long hours at work, even when not needed</li><li>Losing sleep to engage in work projects or finish tasks</li><li>Obsessiveness with work-related success</li><li>Feelings of intense fear of failure at work</li><li>Sacrificing personal relationships because of work or using work as a way of avoiding relationships </li><li>Working to cope with feelings of guilt, depression, or shame </li><li>Working to avoid dealing with personal crises like death, divorce, or financial trouble. </li></ul>
Four types of work environments<p>The researchers wanted to demonstrate the extent to which risk of workaholism is associated with the perception of work, i.e. job demands and job control, and mental health in four job categories frameworked in the <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1999-01436-001" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Job Demand-Control-Support model (JDCS)</a>. </p> <p>This model assumes four work environments broken into four quadrants in which employees likely experience different levels of job demands and job control, control being the extent to which an employee feels agency and control over their work. They are: </p> <ul><li>Passive (low job control, low job demand) </li><li>Low-strain (high job control, low job demand) </li><li>Active (high job demands, high job control) </li><li>Tense or Job Strain (high job demands, low job control) </li></ul> <p>People with "passive" jobs may find satisfaction as long as the worker reaches a set of goals. Those in the "low strain" job group are not at high risk for mental health problems as the category typically corresponds to creative or imaginative jobs such as researchers. "Active" are usually highly skilled professionals with a high amount of responsibilities, such as directors of companies. Though they have demanding tasks, they usually have high levels of decision making to solve problems. Employees at the highest risk for stress-related disorders are those in the final "tense" group where demand is high but control is low. Examples include healthcare workers from emergency departments who cannot control the huge workload or flux.</p>
The study<p>The study was conducted in France, an industrial country with a growing number of occupations. The scientists collected data from 187 out of 1580 French employees who volunteered to participate in a cross-sectional study, which was conducted using the online platform WittyFit software. Participants were self-administered four questionnaires: the Job Content Questionnaire by Karasek, the Work Addiction Risk Test, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale, and socio-demographics. The researchers in the study divided all the participants on the basis of their occupational quadrants to investigate the relationship between work addiction risk and mental and physical health. </p><p>"One of the novelties of this research was to introduce vulnerable occupational groups to organizations or job holders. For example, if we find that work addiction risk can be found more in some occupations and may result in negative outcomes for the health situation then we can give this information to decision makers in this organization or, for example, to the ministry of health. And they could intervene to prevent this problem," explained Morteza Charkhabi, associate professor at the Institute of Education at the HSE University, in a press release.</p>
Results: Who is at risk?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="30f796cab87a35cf9af35ea1999e8b11"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sXy_iSUd5SE?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The research results found that jobs with high demands are the most strongly associated with work addiction risk, however the level of job control doesn't play as influential of a role.</p><p>Individuals in active and high strain job categories are more likely to be at risk for work addiction than the other job groups. These workers appeared to be more vulnerable and, thus, suffer more, from the negative results of work addiction risk such as depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and other health issues such as a weakened immune system and increased risk of disease.</p>"We found that job demands could be the most important factor that can develop work addiction risk," <a href="https://www.hse.ru/en/org/persons/211299142" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Charkhabi</a> pointed out. "So this factor should be controlled or should be investigated by the organization's manager, for example, HR staff, psychologists. Also another conclusion could be the job climate like job demands of each job category can influence the rate of work addiction risk. Thus in this study we actually focused on external factors like job demands not internal factors like the personal characteristics."
Side-effects of work addiction<p>The scientists found that those with higher work addiction risk have twice the risk of developing depression as compared to people with low work addiction risk. Additionally, sleep quality was lower in workers with high risk of work addiction compared to workers with low risk of work addiction. Interestingly, women had almost twice the work addiction risk than men.</p><p>Work addiction can be difficult to treat in a culture that accepts and rewards workaholic behaviors. The most common approach for treating work addiction typically involves outpatient treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or Motivational Interviewing (MI). <a href="https://www.projectknow.com/behavioral-addictions/work-addiction/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">You can learn more here.</a></p>
Max Planck Institute scientists crash into a computing wall there seems to be no way around.
- Artificial intelligence that's smarter than us could potentially solve problems beyond our grasp.
- AI that are self-learning can absorb whatever information they need from the internet, a Pandora's Box if ever there was one.
- The nature of computing itself prevents us from limiting the actions of a super-intelligent AI if it gets out of control.
Why worry?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUwNzc3OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2OTYyMDE5MX0.EN9QQ0BTIiHBvD3XJ0D1n2OhmCOfzyf40MocBiV6Y68/img.jpg?width=980" id="b2c31" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a098b63a4e14d0f7b7eaa792af0f76ff" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="682" />
Credit: @nt/Adobe Stock<p>"A super-intelligent machine that controls the world sounds like science fiction," says paper co-author <a href="https://www.mpib-berlin.mpg.de/staff/manuel-cebrian" target="_blank">Manuel Cebrian</a> in a <a href="https://www.mpg.de/16231640/0108-bild-computer-scientists-we-wouldn-t-be-able-to-control-superintelligent-machines-149835-x?c=2249" target="_blank">press release</a>. "But there are already machines that perform certain important tasks independently without programmers fully understanding how they learned it. The question therefore arises whether this could at some point become uncontrollable and dangerous for humanity."</p><p>The lure of AI is clear. Its ability to "see" the patterns in data make it a promising agent for solving problems too complex for us to wrap our minds around. Could it cure cancer? Solve the climate crisis? The possibilities are nearly endless.</p><p>Connected to the internet, AI can grab whatever information it needs to achieve its task, and therein lies a big part of the danger. With access to every bit of human data—and responsible for its own education—who knows what lessons it would learn regardless of any ethical constraints built into its programming? Who knows what goals it would embrace and what it might do to achieve them?</p><p>Even assuming benevolence, there's danger. Suppose that an AI is confronted by an either/or choice akin to the <a href="https://bigthink.com/culture-religion/trolley-problem-solution" target="_blank">Trolley Dilemma</a>, maybe even on a grand scale: Might an AI decide to annihilate millions of people if it decided the remaining billions would stand a better chance of survival?</p>
A pair of flawed options<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUwNzc5MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NzM3NDQ2Mn0.0GYCRvvo--LWLlRkpxm1fYxEWjK8DWyMSuU-bLdhtlE/img.jpg?width=980" id="044f3" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="51461cc1dc19049c7803d4908ccf11dc" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="1080" />
Credit: Maxim_Kazmin/Adobe Stock<p>The most obvious way to keep a super intelligent AI from getting ahead of us is to limit its access to information by preventing it from connecting to the internet. The problem with limiting access to information, though, is that it would make any problem we assign the AI more difficult for it to solve. We would be weakening its problem-solving promise possibly to a point of uselessness.</p><p>The second approach that might be taken is to limit what a super-intelligent AI is capable of doing by programming into it certain boundaries. This might be akin to writer Isaac Asimov's <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics" target="_blank">Laws of Robotics</a>, the first of which goes: "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm."</p><p>Unfortunately, says the study, a series of logical tests reveal that it's impossible to create such limits. Any such a containment algorithm, it turns out, would be self-defeating.</p>
Containment is impossible<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUwNzc5OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMzA0NDM1Mn0.ukZgrtJYO_SyrMH21-Y_UTanTh4fJjHtTCdXTsQBOA8/img.jpg?width=980" id="e2ad4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9e146d1a69b254c88e5c62e36a87450d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="753" />
Credit: UncleFredDesign/Adobe Stock<p>"If you break the problem down to basic rules from theoretical computer science, it turns out that an algorithm that would command an AI not to destroy the world could inadvertently halt its own operations. If this happened, you would not know whether the containment algorithm is still analyzing the threat, or whether it has stopped to contain the harmful AI. In effect, this makes the containment algorithm unusable."</p><p>The team investigated stacking containment algorithms, with each monitoring the behavior of the previous one, but eventually the same problem arises: The final check halts itself, rendering it unreliable.</p>