About Mostly Harmless Ideas

Here’s a short intro to the substack, so you know what you can expect from me.

First, a little bit about myself. I’m a full-time college professor and researcher, working at the intersection between artificial intelligence and formal systems. In this substack, I write about the many things that interest me, from technical topics in algorithms, CS theory, and AI, to more historical or philosophical pieces. I also write opinionated essays on science and education, including occasional rants.

Things I’m writing about

By subscribing, you will receive everything, but I like to keep articles sorted so that you can subscribe to specific topics if you want to.

All my educational content is freely accessible. I mostly write evergreen, introductory articles for all audiences on lots of topics. Feel free to browse the public archive to get a feel for the type of content I make.

Here’s a brief description of the different sections I currently have:

  • Some general stuff is in the main publication, including cross-posts, interviews, and everything that doesn’t fit the remaining categories.

  • The Essays section contains opinionated short and medium-length essays on science, education, society, life, the universe, and everything else.

  • The Intro to CS section contains posts about clever algorithms, data structures, concepts, and paradigms in Computer Science, emphasizing intuitive ideas over formalism.

  • The Guides section is for guides to different skills. I’m planning to cover varied things, from technical writing to open-source development to how to make a business plan for a tech product.

  • The Great Ideas in CS is a special section for discussing the history of Computer Science, focusing on some of the most beautiful ideas in the field.

  • The Philosophy section is for light posts on some of the most intriguing philosophical aspects of Computer Science.

And finally, the Insiders section is for paid subscribers, who get access to meta posts, discussion threads, early drafts, and other goodies I'll tell you in a second.

If you aren’t ready for a subscription but still want to support my work, you can leave a one-time tip and show your appreciation.

Leave a Tip

Why upgrade to paid?

All the educational content I write in this substack will forever be free. I’ve had the incredible fortune of receiving world-class education for free, and this is my humble way of paying a third.

But if you want to collaborate with a paid subscription, I can offer you my eternal gratitude and a few ways to enhance the experience of reading Mostly Harmless Ideas.

  • Read everything 2 weeks before it goes public, so you’ll have the chance to chip in before anyone else, and I'll make sure any question you may have gets my full attention.

  • Weekly discussion threads where you can share your interests, ask questions on any topics I write about, suggest topics, and vote for articles you’d like me to write next.

  • Weekly insider posts telling you what I'm up to, together with exclusive and extended commentaries on the recent news in the world of AI and Computer Science.

  • Access to a private Discord server where I'll be available for any questions or discussions you want and recurrent discussion threads just for you.

Founding members get all of the above, plus a special place in my heart, and the following additional benefits:

  • A weekly roundup email with links to drafts of all the articles I’m currently working on.

  • I’ll give you my private phone number so you can call me anytime for a quick chat on any topic I can assist with.

  • I’ll book you 10 hours of free consultancy on any topic I’m knowledgeable about.

Note that if you are into professional software development, you can probably expense these benefits to your company.

How you can participate

I write for my readers, including you (hopefully), so I’m always interested in hearing your thoughts about my writing. There are, at the moment, three places we can hang out in:

  • Each post has a comments section at the end where you can speak your mind, whether to give feedback, ask for clarifications, or start a discussion related to that post. If you get a post via email, you can directly reply from your email client.

  • There’s also a Chat that you can access on the web or directly in the app, where I’ll be hosting regular conversations around this substack in general, discussing things like which topics interest you the most, what’s your preferred schedule, ideas for collaboration, etc.

  • And finally, there’s the recent Notes section, where you can jump into any conversation started by me or any other Substack user, including yourself. I’ll mostly share the best stuff I read online and sometimes cross-post my stuff.

Ready to sign up?

So now that you know what you find here, I hope I’ve convinced you to stick around. Feel free to browse the archive to make up your mind, or reach out if you want to ask something. And if I’ve convinced you, hit that Subscribe button, and let’s take this relationship to the next step!

PS: If you think some of your loved ones would enjoy reading my stuff, please share this substack with them. Nothing would make me happier!

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Opinions, essays, full-blown technical articles, and short comments on Computer Science research, practice, and education.


Alejandro Piad Morffis

Democratizing knowledge one post at a time. I talk about Computer Science, AI, Education, Philosophy, you know, mostly harmless stuff.