Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

On July 20, I was contacted by MIT Technology Review¬†to comment about OpenAI’s efforts to train robots to do tasks in the home using reinforcement learning. I am posting the questions and answers below, the corresponding article is here.


EU Membership in Pints

Posted: 2016-06-07 in Uncategorized

On June 23, the UK will decide whether to remain in the EU or not (“Brexit”). There are arguments going back and forth whether being part of the EU is good thing or not. Many of these arguments are based on predictions and more-or-less justified assumptions what could happen (in  a positive or negative way) if Brexit happens. Many numbers are mentioned in the campaigns (e.g., how much the economy would shrink, the pound would fall, the house prices go down), but these numbers are usually (educated) guesses.

However, a non-speculative but re-appearing number is 350 Million. This is the number the Leave Campaign propagate as the amount of money the UK will save by getting out of the EU by simply not paying the contribution to the EU budget (“membership fee”). Per week, by the way.

350 Million or 350,000,000 is such an unimaginable and unreal number that I want to look at it a bit more closely to understand how they get to this number, what it means for the UK taxpayer and how it fits in the general context of other taxes we pay. I will try to relate this number to units that make more sense to most people than the number of zeros attached to 35.