The Economics of Intelligence

I am still sorting out details, but this summer I am going to partner with a few other data scientists to offer a team-based professional mentorship on the Economics of Intelligence.

I plan to accept 12 aspiring data science professionals to this mentorship, and will use income sharing agreements around first-year salary for graduates who go on to get jobs in data-specific fields.

In terms of curriculum, the Economics of Intelligence will last for 12 weeks.

There will be six classes and six labs to go along with the six group-based homework projects.

We’re going to emphasize teamwork and reproducible research throughout the course of this mentorship. Knowledge of SQL, Python, and basic git will be assumed.

In terms of content, the Economics of Intelligence will be divided into three modules taught be three data professionals:

  • Web scraping & data parsing: mentees will scrape Twitter and job market data & ETL it into cloud storage. Time permitting, we’ll also load the data into BigQuery as part of a daily ETL.
  • Disinformation & fake news: mentees will analyze Twitter data to detect bots & disinformation. Time permitting, we’ll also scrape web links in Tweets & use it to inform our analysis.
  • Network science: mentees will cluster the Twitter data into communities & study how information spreads across them. Time permitting, we’ll also model the job market data in Grakn and compare these trends against Covid spread.


Alongside this Economics of Intelligence mentorship, I intend to start two bookclubs (or Barefoot Bookclubs, as I jokingly refer to them, hoping that people will take the occasion to also learn a little tap dance for their health during social isolation).

We were isolated & polarized before Covid. The pandemic is pushing us towards a mental health crisis for which we are not prepared.

Amidst a giant ocean of problems, a book club may be a meaningless gesture. But it’s a small opportunity for folks with different backgrounds to come together and talk about ideas. I think this is very important. Listening is a skill that takes practice. I’m hopeful these books clubs will provide a good opportunity for folks who are looking to stay connected with others, and also to challenge their own world views & opinions.

Future plans

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Depending on how the first mentorship goes, I may put together another professional mentorship on The Evolution of Intelligence in the fall. This semester-long mentorship would cover:

  • Natural language processing & knowledge graphs
  • Reinforcement learning & generative art
  • Swarm algorithms & animal intelligence

The material in The Evolution of Intelligence would be considerably more advanced than the Economics of Intelligence, and I’m not sure that there is demand or interest. But depending on how the Economics of Intelligence goes, I may follow up in the fall with a mentorship for folks looking to take a deeper dive. If you’d be interested, please get in touch at let me know (link for form below)

Next steps

I will share more details here soon. In the meantime, I’ve created a Google Form where you can sign up for updates about these plans. Likewise, stay tuned here for more info.

And like always, feel free to hit me up on Linkedin.

Featured image by Flavio Gasperini on Unsplash