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Real investing requires real effort, not just clickbait

Deep learning is not just for machines - people need it more

Investing & Learning: Beyond Clickbait to Deep EffortAnand Kumar

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The other day, I came across an interesting post (formerly called a tweet) by an AI researcher named Andrej Karpathy. Karpathy was director of AI at Tesla and is now a key figure at OpenAI. He's also probably the best 'educator' about AI on YouTube, and anyone whose vocation (mine has) may collide with AI should watch him. The exciting thing about Karpathy's videos is that there are just a handful of them, and the educational ones are at least an hour long. This is not 'insta' material, and it's hard work watching them.

The post I mention is precisely about what he calls 'shortification' of learning. He writes, "There are a lot of videos on YouTube/TikTok, etc., that give the appearance of education, but if you look closely, they are really just entertainment. This is very convenient for everyone involved: the people watching enjoy thinking they are learning (but actually, they are just having fun). The people creating this content also enjoy it because fun has a much larger audience, fame and revenue... Learning is not supposed to be fun...the primary feeling should be that of effort. It should look a lot less like that '10-minute full body' workout from your local digital media creator and a lot more like a serious session at the gym. You want the mental equivalent of sweating. Allocate a 4-hour window. Don't just read, take notes, re-read, rephrase, process, manipulate, learn."

Every word he writes is 100 per cent true for those trying to learn about investing online. In theory, it's trivially easy to access all the information you need to invest profitably, and most of it for free. The question is, are investors able to do that?

Karpathy's insights cut to the heart of the modern dilemma in digital learning, not just in AI or technology but across various fields, including investing. His call to embrace the rigour and depth of traditional study methods in our fast-paced, digital world is a stark reminder of the value of deep work. In investing, as in learning about AI, the superficial allure of quick tips and 'hacks' can be misleading. True understanding and skill come from a willingness to engage deeply with complex material, to challenge oneself, and to commit time and effort to study. This is a universal truth: real learning requires real effort. As we navigate the vast online resources, distinguishing between what entertains and educates becomes crucial. For investors, this means looking beyond the allure of easy gains and embracing the hard work of understanding markets, financial principles, and the psychological aspects of investing.

On social media, there are endless complaints about how people giving equity trading advice are crooked or just wrong. Well, what do you expect? Without gaining knowledge that can be used to evaluate the quality of someone's advice, how can we hope to benefit from it? The idea of being able to gain expertise by just watching short, quick clips thrown up by the YouTube or Instagram algorithm is incredibly naive and will definitely not lead to riches. It's also dangerously misleading. It feeds into the illusion of competence without the foundation of hard-earned knowledge and critical thinking skills. The complexity of financial markets and the intricacies of investing strategies cannot be distilled into bite-sized, entertaining segments without losing essential information. As Karpathy suggests, the path to genuine expertise involves deep, immersive learning experiences that are often challenging and time-consuming. This principle holds especially true in the world of investing, where the stakes include not just intellectual satisfaction but real financial outcomes.

Yes, knowledge, data, and expertise about any subject in the world are now available for free, but they are free only in the financial sense. We still have to pay for it with our time and hard work.

Also read: Investing needs time and attention

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