Centaur Living

The World-champion chess player Gary Kasparov concluded that “Weak human + machine + better process was superior to a strong computer alone and, more remarkable, superior to a strong human + machine + inferior process.” He created “Freestyle Chess”, pairing a computer and a human to make a stronger chess player. This hybrid combination is sometimes called a “Centaur”.

Being a programmer means that I deal with human/computer collaboration all day. In fact, my most satisfying bits of code are the small utilities that I write that make my life easier. The Internet of Things and Wearable Technology are also adding to our “post-human” capabilities. Being able to tell Alexa to add to my shopping list, and then know that my phone will remind me at the supermarket is something that has definitely made my life easier.

The tools that I leverage off most at the moment are:

  • My Emacs environment. Having a programmable editor that I can create an environment in for maximal editing productivity. Org-mode for outlining thoughts.
  • My Phone and iPad. Using Todoist and my calendar for task management. Using the iPad for studying. Using Due for making sure I do particular things every day.
  • Alexa for quickly recording random thoughts.
  • Python for writing scripts to automate routine tasks
  • Workflow on my iPhone for running daily update tasks

The things I want to improve are:

  • Write more Python scripts. More automation! Use my crontab a lot more
  • Improve my Maths environment. Use Mathematica, R and Python a lot more for creating and visualising models
  • Build custom iPhone / iPad apps to augment my capabilities
  • Improve my Writing environment. Emacs / Python tools that monitor my writing and make suggestions for improvements

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