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[D] How much time/energy do you spend keeping abreast of new research?

I love working the machine learning field. It is so exciting to be working on what literally feels like the future of humanity and technology every day.

The flip side to that, though, is this constant feeling of pressure from knowing that I’m not quite fully in the know of the latest developments or trends at any given time. I’ve been feeling this more and more lately. As the field is expanding, there seems to be a total deluge of new ideas and findings and developments at any given time. A rational part of me says that this is just part of working in a dynamic field. Probably best to just focus on a few areas of expertise and accept that while ideas develop quickly, the everyday work is fairly predictable and controllable anyway. And I might not even feel this way if I could just stay off twitter and hackernews! But a deeper part of me can’t help but feel unsatisfied by the fact that I have to make compromises when it comes to how much research I can do relative to how much actual work and experimentation I can do. And granted, I work in industry. I feel like it would be even harder if I were in an academic setting. I wonder if any of you feel the same.

Part of the reason I’m asking this question is because I’ve begun fantasizing about building and providing some sort of service to help reduce this drowning feeling in regards to the deluge combination of arxiv, twitter, this subreddit, hackernews, etc. etc. Of course that would be premised on the idea that I’m not the only one who feels this way, which is part of what I’m curious about in posting this here. The main problem is that as I’ve thought about it more, I realize that this would have to be a paid service. Arxiv-sanity, semantic scholar etc. get us somewhat in the direction of reducing the burden, but I think they show the natural limits of what an automatic, freely-provided feed can offer us to this end at the moment. I think so much more can be done, by way of summarizing, connecting, and organizing papers as they come out, but that such features would require full time human curatorial and engineering work to be feasible. (Well, I don’t know if it being paid would actually an issue or not, but I could see certain members of the community scoffing at the idea. We’re all happily accustomed to freely available content, so it would have to involve some sort of compromise in which the content was free, but some other feature was paid.)

So I’m looking for a sanity check: would something addressing this actually be helpful? Or am I unique in experiencing the field in this way? I would appreciate any inputs or thoughts on the topic.

submitted by /u/researchthrowaway01
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