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About

Hi there, I’m David. Welcome to my corner of the internet. I’m flattered by your interest in getting to know me better.

What I do professionally

Let’s first get the professional side of things out of the way: I work as a Machine Learning Engineer in Germany. I hold a degree in computer science from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. My technical expertise includes deep learning, computer vision, and 3D graphics. I like writing computer code in Python and use the Vim text editor to do so.

Who I am

Now here’s some more personal information about me.

I believe in lifelong learning

If done right, learning can be much fun. Think about it. As a toddler, literally everything is new to you and you’re learning every waking second of the day, be it to recognize faces or the cat or to acquire your mother’s tongue. And think about how happy toddlers are. Through school, however, many people unfortunately lose their love for learning because the teacher is either too fast or too slow for them and there’s also that hovering threat in form of a big test at the end of the school year. This goes against everything we know about the flow state. In contrast to that, learning at your own pace, with your own goals in mind, feels like play rather than like work. Take, for example, learning how to build a website like the one you’re currently reading. How satisfying is it to see the fruits of your work come to life?

As a machine learning enthusiast, I’m interested in getting computers to learn from observations, like toddlers do. More broadly, I’m also interested in how learning in general works, in how humans learn. To make it through university I had to re-learn how to learn, which is how I rediscovered the power of flashcards and the Zettelkasten method / evergreen note-writing.

I don’t like unnecessary complexity

I much prefer simplicity. Occam’s razor gives me the right of it. I try to express that in my writing too … by using simple everyday language rather than pretentious words as is often the case in academia. Not because my vocabulary is limited but because I want no reader to fall off the bandwagon. I want to communicate effectively, not to show off. Jargon has its place, certainly—to convey ideas efficiently. Some say that studying medicine really only is learning the language of medicine; the jargon used to describe ideas (illnesses, in case of medicine). But jargon only works if everyone is on the same page and shares a common ground. If I throw around some machine learning keywords when you’re no machine learning engineer, you’re not going to understand me. More precisely, I will have failed in my attempt to communicate with you effectively. It’s not that you failed to understand my meaning, it’s that I failed in conveying my meaning. Many people, even smart ones—perhaps especially the “smart” ones—, get this backwards. It’s as though academics feel compelled to use pretentious words out of fear of not sounding academic enough. Also, jargon only works if everyone understands the idea behind the word. If I can’t explain it to you like to a five-year old, I don’t truly understand it. If I cannot explain it using simple words, I can perhaps fool laymen into thinking that I’m smart when in reality I’m only hiding my own lack of understanding behind fancy words. Complexity is poor thinking in disguise. This is why I prefer simplicity. Complexity is easy. Simplicity is hard.

My hobbies

Most of my hobbies revolve around some form of working on myself.

Reading

I like to read a lot, mainly biographies and non-fictional books covering topics like personal development, psychology, neuroscience, cosmology, entrepreneurship, etc. You can follow this link to see my favorite books.

I’m especially interested in mindfulness and philosophy, in particular the lectures of Alan Watts (Eastern philosophy) and Stoicism (Western philosophy). I know this might sound weird and boring at first, but really these teachings are very much applicable to our stressful modern lifes. They help me to live more in the present moment instead of worrying about the future or clinging to the past, to overcome failures more easily (even get something positive out of them) and not waste energy on circumstances I cannot change.

Podcasts

I also listen to podcasts, for example, the Lex Fridman Podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, The Kevin Rose Show, or The Knowledge Project, to name but a few. Listening to great conversationalists helps me not only in learning about the topics discussed but also in learning to ask better questions and improve my communication skills. Here’s a more complete list of my podcast recommendations.

Foreign languages

Learning foreign languages is another way how I like to spend my time. My native language is German. In addition to English, I taught myself to speak Swedish and am dabbling in learning Japanese. I do this just for fun, since I enjoy challenging myself. You can read some of my advice for learning foreign languages.

Physical exercise

Physical exercise is also an important part of my life, both for physical and for mental performance. Besides running, I enjoy practising Yoga. It’s a good balance for sitting in front of a computer for 8+ hours a day and helps with correcting my posture. Lately, I started getting into bouldering.

Other

Lastly, I’m a huge Game of Thrones nerd. Not only is it a fantastic show, but it also is intelligently written and contains many hidden psychological gems that may teach you one or two life lessons if you care to pay attention. I encourage you to convince yourself and watch a few of the videos analyzing the behavioral traits of some of the show’s most charismatic characters, e.g., this and this video.

What I’m doing now

To see how I spend my time these days, check out my “now” page.

How to contact me

Thanks for checking out my website and making the effort to learn about me. If you want to get in touch with me, see your options on my contact page. Be well.

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