Smoke Signals from Berlin-Mitte #1

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What I am up to right now

I am learning how to blog right now. And, because I like to overdo things sometimes, I am enrolled in two blogging courses at the same time. They keep me super busy! I’m starting to write in my dreams…

For those classes, I wrote blog posts on

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  • How to identify what a nonprofit needs to make use of data in their work

  • Whether it is worth worrying about “Artificial general intelligence” taking over the world (spoiler: Not any time soon!)

  • The question I have received at parties several times: Will AI be able to save us from climate change?

I need to edit them a bit and will publish them in the upcoming months. I’ll keep you updated here!

My first blog post is already online on my new homepage: How can data science contribute to social good? A curated link list I cover optimistic, pessimistic and pragmatic views on this issue.

If we have not been in touch recently, you might not know that I changed jobs pretty recently. I now work for two sister companies: Humanitec and TolaData. Both are very fresh startups (about two years old). My job is to establish the data foundations in both companies, which right now means data infrastructure, reporting and initial strategy.

Humanitec is working on making the deployment of small software services (micro services) easier on Kubernetes. And making it easier to combine these micro services into software applications.

TolaData offers a user-friendly monitoring and evaluation software. That means we enable development aid organizations, corporate social responsibility departments of companies, foundations and others to monitor and report their social impact.

I am really happy at my two new employers and looking forward to work again!

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And beyond techie stuff, I am learning how to garden! This weekend, I cleared my grandma’s rose bed from weeds. I enjoyed the fantastic early summer weather.

 
 

Last week’s favorite internet finds

Zeynep Tufekci on “Sociological vs psychological story telling” Zeynep analyzes the story evolution of Games of Thrones (contains spoilers!) to describe two ways of telling stories:

  • Sociological, where characters and plots develop out of social interactions, constraints and institutions

  • Psychological, where characters and plots develop out of the characters’ inner motives and personal history.

Her most interesting point is that because we usually see psychological storytelling in action, this shapes and hinders the way we understand the impact of current technological developments on our lives.

A conference workshop on “Green data mining”, i.e. how to make machine learning more energy-efficient.👏 I really hope that workshop is part of a growing trend!

What’s coming up next week

I’ll be attending two events next week:

  • On Friday, I’ll host a “CV clinic” for newcomers and career transitioners into data science as part of the Berlin-based “Women in Data Science” career consulting meetup. The event is by invitation to keep it personal. If you are a woman or non-binary person in Data Science in Berlin, hit reply on this e-mail and I can put you in touch with the organizers!

  • The OMG climate change mini-conference on Saturday which will explore the question of what we in the tech sector can do to reduce our massive energy footprint.

Bonus: This day in personal history

11 years ago I took part in a student conference in Kiev, Ukraine. 10 years ago I was wrapping up my first full-time job in Rotterdam, Netherlands, working for AIESEC International. And 9 years ago I signed up for my last internship which took me to lovely Warsaw, Poland, for 9 months to work with TechSoup Europe. Those were some traveling-intense years! Some of you on this list will remember! 🙂

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I'm still experimenting with this format. So please hit reply and let me know what sections you find useful or interesting. What would you want to read about in the future?

Thank you for being in my life and for sharing your attention with me!

Ellen