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Atomic Habits by James Clear

In Books, Health & Well-being by Fredy Ore

Over the last few months during lockdown, I’ve slowly been reaching out to a handful of books I’ve ignored for way too long in my reading list. One I have found extremely valuable has been the brilliant book by James Clear, Atomic Habits.

Well worth a read.

James Clear is an author and speaker focused on habits, decision-making, and continuous improvement. And has spoken at a few events. Below is a nice clip where he discusses the 4 stages of habit formation – 1.Noticing, 2.Wanting, 3.Doing, 4.Linking

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Genuary 2021 – a daily January 2021 Generative Art prompt

In Artificial Intelligence, Design, Engineering, Visualization by Fredy Ore

Here is a daily treat during the UK lockdown – a generative art & data visualisation community effort titled #GENUARY2021

50 GOTO 10

Throughout January 2021, and each day, there is a prompt theme for coders, artists, designers to inspire and create a meaninful representation of the theme. So far, it is incredible the creativity on social media.

The instructions are simple, use any language, framework or medium.

The prompt is also featured in Observable and via Irene de la Torre

Daily prompts

Samples via #Genuary2021

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An interview with Gary Kasparov on the authenticity of the Queens Gambit

In Film, Image, Television by Fredy Ore

Slate has published an interview with former Chess Champion Gary Kasparov on his contribution to the authenticity in the Netflix drama, The Queens Gambit.

Nitish Pahwa: Related to the technology aspect: The Queen’s Gambit is obviously a period piece, set during the Cold War and the 1960s. Do you think a similarly compelling story of chess play could be set in the modern era?

Garry Kasparov: No, no. Chess has changed. This is the beauty of the story, that it belongs to America of the ’60s. It’s like the James Bond movies

Garry Kasparov: You can move James Bond, but you see the latest films, they have very little resemblance with the original ones.

Garry Kasparov: The whole story of Elizabeth Harmon, it’s the story of Bobby Fischer, but it’s a female version. You have drugs, substances, and alcohol, but it’s very difficult to uproot it from the ’60s and put it elsewhere. There’s a lot of people talking about the next season. I haven’t spoken to Scott about it, but it’s a big challenge because,

A) you don’t have a book, and
B) where does she go, from Moscow, from 1968?

Update: If you need to know: a queen’s gambit is the opening moves of a chess game where a player aims to swap the queen’s pawn from an opponent:

Nitish Pahwa: There are a lot of scenes where Elizabeth is envisioning games in her head up on the ceiling, playing back certain positions. Is that very common among world-class players?

Garry Kasparov: Not common, but I can name a few top players who did, I mean Top 10 players. Some players just did it all the time, especially at the climax of the game. It’s sort of rebooting your computer.

Nitish Pahwa: How did you get approached for The Queen’s Gambit, and what role did you end up playing?

Garry Kasparov: It came from two sources. One, I got a call from Bruce Pandolfini, [who was a chess consultant for the show]. I know him well. Bruce said that he would be engaged in this project and Scott Frank wanted to have a chat with me. And around the same time, I’m not sure which call came first, but I got a message from my friends, the creators of Game of Thrones, David Benioff and [D.B.] Weiss, who are very good friends with Scott. And they also said, “Scott is doing something interesting in chess and he wants to talk to you.” It ended up with me and my wife entering Boulud Sud, the restaurant on the Upper West Side. Scott was there, Bruce was there, and a couple other guys that worked with Scott, and we had a nice conversation.

Sarah El-Mahmoud has written on the Visual Effects used in the Queens Gambit.

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Our human bias starts from the moment we are born

In Artificial Intelligence, Design, Digital Experiences, Experience Design, Science by Fredy Ore

New research published by John Hopkins University shows that we actually start developing our human biases from much younger than was previously known, and that the choices we make (even as infants) start becoming part of our human preferences, that is the likes and dislikes we depend on as we grow older. This is fascinating.

Over the last few years there has been a growing interest in human bias, particularly pertaining to how we design, build and influence human use in products, machine learning algorithms and Artificial Intelligence. The act of making choices changes how we feel about our options and this is a human quality that starts much earlier than what was previously thought such as from primary school learning, our teenage years & early adulthood.

The mapping of cognitive bias over the years continues to provide a unique perspective to understanding human behaviour, including to the use, design and development of human experiences through technology.

Though researchers have long known that adults build unconscious biases over a lifetime of making choices between similar things, the new Johns Hopkins University research demonstrates that this way of justifying choice is intuitive and somehow fundamental to the human experience.

I want to re-read The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz again.

Journal Reference:
Alex M. Silver, Aimee E. Stahl, Rita Loiotile, Alexis S. Smith-Flores, Lisa Feigenson. When Not Choosing Leads to Not Liking: Choice-Induced Preference in Infancy. Psychological Science, 2020; 095679762095449 DOI: 10.1177/0956797620954491

When Not Choosing Leads to Not Liking: Choice-Induced Preference in Infancy
Babies’ random choices become their preferences
Date: October 2, 2020
Source: Johns Hopkins University
Summary: Though researchers have long known that adults build unconscious biases over a lifetime of making choices between things that are essentially the same, a new study finding that even babies engage in this phenomenon demonstrates that this way of justifying choice is intuitive and somehow fundamental to the human experience.

Related to bias and human choices:

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Seth Godin tells it how it is, in the Design Better Podcast

In Business Design, Design, Digital Leaders, Disciplines, Engineering by Fredy Ore

Seth Godin (enterpreneur, author, speaker) is special guest for the 5th season opener of the Design Better Podcast with Aarron Walter and Eli Woolery from Invision.

S5 Ep1: Seth Godin – Learning to take risks, be generous, and make a ruckus
Leadership does not come from people of authority, but from people who care.Seth Godin

I have been reading Seth’s blog and books sporadically for a while now. His influence on product and marketing are widely known and his blog seems forever eternal, updated almost every day for 15+ years. Incredible. He is a design & business leader who everyone should read & follow.

At an important time for people everywhere impacted by huge changes to pretty much everything caused by a global pandemic, Seth discusses what is important during times of crisis, such as leadership, creativity, business, design processes, engineering and the importance of constantly writing – preferable in a blog.

This podcast is really inspiring. Go check it out.

Below is a snippet from Seth on the required skills we need today during a time of crisis.

Q: What are the hard skills we need today at a time where automation, machine learning and artifical intelligence are becoming so powerful?

There is a different between soft skills, hard skills and real skills. If it’s easy to measure, we tend to measure it – call that a hard skill. Hard skills that are easy to measure are becoming less and less useful. Because we can outsource them and we can get a computer to do them.Seth Godin

“I don’t call them soft skills, I call them real skills. Real skills, are hard to measure and they range from truly human behaviour, like empathy, the will to show up on time, making promises and keeping them, or becoming an empathic voice around a table. [It includes] what I learnt in engineering school, such as understanding sub-costs, figuring out the interesting choices and making assertions.”

“This is the work of science that can be measured. I think everyone should read these classics, everyone should have an understanding of the literature.”

If you want to go to college – you should study engineering.
Seth Godin

“And do the other stuff by filling in the blanks. Because, figuring out how to solve a problem with a solution, everyone should already know how to do that. That’s hard to do on your own.”

“But, if you can be in a product design, mechanical engineering, even chemical engineering setting – that is the right answer. [These settings] give you way more foundation, such as being able to make creative assertions about what should come next. Simply saying “…I will put on a show for you” is important, but it’s innefficient. It is really also important to say my code compiles.”

Seth created the altMBA and Marketing Seminar to transform online education and help people connect with their audience. He can be reached at Akimbo.

During UK lockdown I started learning Python and VueJS – I’ll share what I learnt in the blog here shortly. It’s good to be back, F.

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Beck has re-released the Hyperspace album using an AI collaboration with NASA’s JPL

In Artificial Intelligence, Digital Experiences, Music by Fredy Ore

Beck has re-released his 14th album Hyperspace, re-titled Hyperspace: AI Exploration, as a visual album experience in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

The Grammy award-winning artist collaborated with JPL and AI artists OSK which combined publicly available NASA mission images, visualizations, animations and data using Artificial Intelligence (AI) computer vision, machine learning and Generative Adversarial neural Networks (GAN).

There is an ever growing list of Artists whom now use Artificial Intelligence as generative tools for Art, Design and Music.

Last year (2019) a blog post by Raya Bidshahri titled The Rise of AI Art—and What It Means for Human Creativity covered the broad impact AI is having in Creativity, and how IA generating stunning visuals, profound poetry, transcendent music, and realistic movie scripts is ever so indistinguishable, introducing useful conversations about the nature of art and the role of human creativity in society.


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A designed by Apple Inc. inspiration Video from 7yrs ago.

In Brand, Digital Experiences, Experience Design, Image, Video by Fredy Ore

I revisit a Designed by Apple inc. video today, for a little inspiration. It’s sometimes good slightly looking back, before starting to look forward.

Copyright Apple Inc.

Below is an excerpt from the video.

“If everyone is busy making everything, How can anyone perfect anything?
We start to confuse convenience with joy, ubundance with choice.

Designing something requires focus.

The first thing we ask is? What do we want people to feel?
Delight, Surprise, Love, Connection

Then we begin to craft around our intention.
It takes time.

There are thousand no’s – for every yes.
We simplify, We perfect. We start over.
until everything we touch, enhances each life it touches.

Only then do we sign our work.”

– Designed by Apple in California.

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Designing human-centered AI products a People+AI Guidebook

In Artificial Intelligence, Design, Experience Design, Technology by Fredy Ore

Google has started a guidebook called People + AI Research (PAIR) to help build human-centered Artifical Intelligence products.

Written for user experience (UX) professionals and product managers, it aims to help create a human-centered approach to AI within product teams.

The guide is organised by 6 chapters, each with exercises, worksheets and resources:

  1. User Needs + Defining Success
  2. Data Collection + Evaluation
  3. Mental Models
  4. Explainability + Trust
  5. Feedback + Control
  6. Errors + Graceful Failure

Based on data and insights from Google product teams and academic research, the guide will evolve, grow or change over time.

Other AI resources
Google’s AI Principles
Google’s Responsible AI Practices

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A documentary titled RAMS, on legendary German designer Dieter Rams

In Business Design, Design, Product & Service Design by Fredy Ore

A documentary about German designer Dieter Rams is in production for a release later this year. The documentary titled RAMS will be directed by Gary Hustwit, who directed Helvetica, Objectified, Urbanized and will contain original music by Brian Eno.

The production was made possible through a Kickstarter campaign by 5,000 supporters, who donated about a quarter of a million dollars.

For over fifty years, Dieter Rams has left an indelible mark on the field of product design and the world at large with his iconic work at Braun and Vitsoe. The objects Dieter has designed have touched the lives of millions of people – so many of us have had a Braun coffeemaker, shaver, stereo, calculator, speakers, or alarm clock. Or an Oral-B toothbrush. Or a Vitsoe 606 shelving system. Or any of the hundreds of other products Dieter has designed or overseen the design of. His work has influenced the way most of today’s consumer products look and function.

But one of the most interesting parts of Dieter’s story is that he now looks back on his career with some regret. “If I had to do it over again, I would not want to be a designer,” he has said. “There are too many unnecessary products in this world.” He has long been an advocate for the ideas of environmental consciousness and long-lasting products. RAMS is a design documentary, but it’s also a rumination on consumerism, materialism, and sustainability. Dieter’s philosophy is about more than just design, it’s a about a way to live. It’s about getting rid of distractions and visual clutter, and just living with what you need.

The film is currently in production and will be released later in 2018.


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Inge Druckrey’s Teaching to See

In Design, Disciplines, Education, Film by Fredy Ore

“If you do one thing today, watch this 40-minute crash course on Design Thinking.”Fastcompany

Teaching to See is a 2012 educational documentary film about graphic design. It was Directed and Edited by Andrei Severny and Produced by Edward Tufte.

Below are reviews of the film.

“Perceiving Deeply”
The Design Observer

“If you do one thing today, watch this 40-minute crash course in Design Thinking.”

“Watch the first five minutes and you’ll be hooked.”
99U by Behance

“Beautifully made film.”


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Moonshot, a tech-futures podcast by Kristofor Lawson & Andrew Moon

In Artificial Intelligence, Audio, Disruption, Innovation, Technology by Fredy Ore

I’ve recently been listening to an interesting podcast called Moonshot, a tech-futures podcast (from Australia) looking at impossible ideas, the people creating them and the steps people are taking to making those happen. From self-driving cars, human-hacking, AI, travelling to Mars, and all the technology and startup ideas in-between.

Moonshot is hosted by Kristofor Lawson (@kristoforlawson) and Andrew Moon (@moonytweets) and the music is by Breakmaster Cylinder.

With so many conversations and events on AI and Machine Learning I thought I’d highlight Episode 2 – AI: The Rise of the Machines

Researchers have spent decades trying to build machines that have the ability to think and reason like humans. But how close are we from reaching the point of Artificial General Intelligence?

Well worth a listen. / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram.

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UsTwo publishes part 2 of their Designing for Kids insights

In Design, Digital, Digital Culture, Digital Experiences, Experience Design by Fredy Ore

UsTwo have published their second-part to their July post on Designing Digital Experiences for Kids.

It’s well worth a read as they cover some new considerations they are finding as the changing landscape and perception of digital and digital products is quickly making established government and institute guidelines outdated.

The realities for some families and their digital lives are constantly changing. The blending of physical and digital is shifting the norms and considerations on the back of new digital mediums such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Skype, Siri, Wearables, Chat-bots, etc.

This shift, is not a big surprise, but it is rendering some digital experiences for children more valuable than others.

This is reflective of a wider shift, our understanding of digital and the value it can have for children is changing. From the perspective of the people making those products – there is an unprecedented opportunity to make challenging, hybrid digital experiences for kids growing and playing in this new context.

Part 1 – Creating Meaningful Experiences
Part 2 – Getting the Most out of User Testing
Holly Brenan’s – Encouraging Healthy Habits in Children