Blog | Hendrik Erz

Blog

Is AI finally becoming sentient?

No, it's not. But yesterday, news broke that allegedly some Google chat bot system may have gained sentience. How credible are these claims? While certainly interesting, they do not prove anything – as always.


Thinking in Tables

If you work with data, you can't escape them: tables. Everything from small-scale surveys to huge register datasets are represented using the mental model of a table. While this representation of our data has worked for the better part of recorded sociological history, we are increasingly experiencing roadblocks: our analyses run slow, sometimes our computers crash, and many exciting research opportunities are left unasked, because we fear our computers will be incapable of helping us answer them. In this article, I provide – again – a somewhat technical explanation for what makes data tables so ill-suited for so many tasks, and what we can do instead.


Deep Learning is Witchcraft

Deep learning is a fascinating piece of technology. It basically consists of chaining and stacking together millions of very small functions that, in effect, can predict incredibly complex things. This also means that deep learning can sometimes feel like witchcraft. For example, why do two classifiers almost always perform better than a single one? In this article I'll dig deeper into this curious finding.


I almost got scammed today

The internet is full of scammers, and their most beloveth tool is emails. Therefore, whenever you receive an unsolicited email, you should be very careful whether even to reply. But even with many years of experience and after doing proper research, scammers can get you. Let me today share an episode where I almost got scammed myself.


Tous pour libéralisme?

France has voted. And it got another five years to ensure that the right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen has no chance of securing the presidency of one of the central states within the European Union. However, these elections were a warning sign for Emmanuel Macron. Here, I collect some loose thoughts on the election.


Zotero 6: A Review

Zotero 6 is out — time for a review. I tested the app in production for two weeks now and want to share my thoughts.


Selling Trust, Part II: How Microsoft Harms the Security of their Users

Two years ago, I bough my first code signing certificate. A week ago, I bought a second one. In this article I report my experiences and explain why the practices of Microsoft revolving around code signing put Windows users in harms way.


Stumbling out of a Pandemic

After two years of staying within our own four walls, the doors to the world are slowly reopening. As expected, we are social beings and therefore like to be in the presence of other people. But what surprises me is the amount of routine we lost over the past 24 months. It appears that the exit from the pandemic is just as harsh as the entry into it. Rather than walk out of it, we stumble.


Quo Vadis, PKM?

Arthur Perret has published an article on the point of graph views just yesterday, pivoting on the recent addition of graph views in Zettlr. This article is one half reply to his important points of criticism, and one half outlook on the future of personal knowledge management (PKM) in general.


How I Work, Part IX: RSS Readers

This part of my How I Work series focuses on a somewhat archaic technology that has lost some of its relevancy in recent years. However, this technology — RSS, or Really Simple Syndication — has a lot to offer in terms of delivering relevant content in an age where your Twitter feed mostly consists of some random people disseminating funny, but ultimately noninformative, news. In this article I walk you through what RSS is, where it came from, and what it has to offer in 2022 where social networks are ubiquitous.


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