About Unpredictable Patterns

In 2021 I decided to write exclusively in English. I have run a blog in Swedish, but I felt that I wanted to see if I could learn more by being more inclusive in my choice of language. So, it is English this year. Now, English is not my mother tongue, so this is slightly daunting – but good practice.

A few things about this blog, then. Ambitions include:

  • Recommending good articles, blogposts and books. I hope to curate a specific flow of things to write.
  • Looking for new framings for old problems. I hope to use writing for thinking, and finding new perspectives, new mental models, that will help me.
  • Writing to think – and exploring ideas.

A declaration of interests is important. Here goes:

  • Currently I work at DeepMind – working on the intersection of public policy and artificial intelligence.
  • I also worked at fintech Stripe with public policy issues. I am deeply interested in all things tech and financial policy, but you should naturally use this fact to discount what I write about tech policy etc.
  • I am a Xoogler – worked at Google for 13 years and a lot of my perspectives come from there.
  • I am on the board of a small financial concern.
  • I am the co-founder of small angel investing form Blue Cabinet.
  • I am a classical Hayekian.

The views in this blog, are just mine. If that. I am a firm believer in changing your mind, and I am often wrong.

Finally, a word on the name of this blog – “unpredictable patterns” – and what it means to me. The reason I liked this title was that it combines two archetypal ideas – that of unpredictability and that of patterns – in a nice way. I am interested in patterns that emerge in hindsight in very complex systems, systems that are for all practical purposes unpredictable. The question for me is if there is a metapattern to these unpredictable pattern that can allow us to say something meaningful even about such systems and phenomena.

Is there a pattern in the set of unpredictable patterns?

In one sense this is, for me, the ultimate human hope — that we can reduce uncertainty in an ever more complex society — and at the same time it is a form of respectable hubris that confuses apophenia with science. At the edge between that hope and that hubris I have to think there is a lot to learn.