I'm so meta, even this acronym

This is my 52nd blog post within the span of one calendar year, since I (re)started blogging on September 5th, 2017. My writing productivity has far exceeded my expectations, and I'm very happy about managing to explore so many ideas. Here are some metrics.

Breakdown by topic:
  • 10 posts on computer science, machine learning, and maths
  • 10 posts on philosophy
  • 7 posts on politics and economics
  • 6 posts on modern life and the future of society
  • 5 posts on history and geography
  • 3 posts on intelligence
  • 12 miscellaneous posts (including this one)

Most popular (in order):
  1. In search of All Souls
  2. Is death bad?
  3. What have been the greatest intellectual achievements?
  4. Utilitarianism and its discontents
  5. The unreasonable effectiveness of deep learning
  6. Yes, you should be angry about the housing crisis
  7. Oxford vs Cambridge

Longest posts (in order of word count):
  1. A brief history of India. 5915
  2. Proof, computation and truth. 5627
  3. Utilitarianism and its discontents. 5550
  4. Yes, you should be angry about the housing crisis. 5291
  5. The unreasonable effectiveness of deep learning. 3887
  6. In search of All Souls. 3873
  7. Which neural network architectures perform best at sentiment analysis? 3291

Word clouds:

Daily users (since I signed up for Google analytics):
 I really need a better way of getting readers than just the spikes from sharing on facebook.

Overall word count: 92,808 words (as a comparison, the first Harry Potter book was 76,944 words; The Hobbit was 95,022 words). This is over double the 44,816 words of material (excluding academic essays; most of it found here) which I'd written over the previous few years. Also note that this is a significant underestimate of how much I've actually written this last year, because I have at least a dozen drafts on the go at any one time, and right now also an extra half-dozen which I've written during my internship and am still mulling over.

However, I've been thinking lately that the focus for the next year will be on quality rather than quantity. This year has been fantastic in terms of intellectual exploration, but I'm not sure that any of my posts would actually contribute robustly valuable knowledge to people who already know about the topic. By contrast, I think my friends Jacob and Tom have blog posts which do so, because they're more careful and thorough. So I'd like to move in that direction a little more.

On the other hand, this blog is useful to me in many ways even if it doesn't make novel intellectual contributions. Probably the biggest is the fact that I started seriously reading current machine learning research while I was writing summaries of key ideas in deep learning. Without that, I wouldn't have learned nearly as much and may well not have gotten either my current internship or my upcoming job. Meanwhile, writing book reviews pushes me to read and understand books more thoroughly. In general, I'm glad to have something which feels like a tangible and permanent record of my personal intellectual progress, because I do worry about losing touch with my past self. Now I can be much more confident that my future self won't lose touch with me.


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