One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Popularity Of A Childhood Tactic in The Current Election Campaigns

It's very hard to predict an individual's behavior and in contrast, a certain population may show trends that make their behaviors more predictable. It's called statistics. If you remember Maxwell's name or his Kinetic Molecular Theory of gases from your high school Physics class, then, it might be interesting to know that he faced the same problem. It was hard to determine the behavior of the individual atoms/molecules of a gas, however, a known mass (a certain size population of atoms/molecules) of that gas showed predictable behaviors under certain conditions (The Maxwell Distribution Laws). Basically social sciences deeply influenced by the practice of finding trends in populations (a popular method in natural sciences). 

This blog is not a study of the childhood tactics in the election campaign (though, might be an interesting study if one commits time to), as the title suggests but to share an observation that has become so obvious in the current election season that I can't resist, not sharing it 😜;

It's the general election season in Pakistan, and the two Hazara enclaves in Quetta (Hazara Town and Alamdar Road) are actively participating in the election. As you may have guessed by now, I have keenly observed the common trends and one trend that has particularly taken my attention is a tactic that is commonly used by the children for "social" dominance;

The boys (often unconsciously) try to discourage other boys from expressing themselves by making fun of their voices, choices of the words, accents and the stories they share OR make other boys question their self worth by assigning derogatory names based on their physical features, appearances, location or family affiliations. The worst part is that these derogatory remarks/names are considered "cool" and funny. The boys who use them don't think they are trying to force other boys to submission (or suggesting their supremacy) but consider them cool and their usage as funny. Well, you may consider it as bullying. But I think, it is a bit different than bullying. As I said, these kinds of behaviors are considered cool, funny and friendly. A good analogy would be the friendly fights of the carnivorous-cubs. Friendly fighting and plays not only improve their hunting skills but also determine the social ranking at the same time. 

Back to the election,

While the election is an open competition and some leg-pulling is expected, however, a mature society would use the democratic processes to ENCOURAGE expressions (as the only venue towards improvements is practice) to improve the collective wisdom. Election as a democratic process is not only electing representatives but also promoting civic virtues and training future community leaders. Using the boys tactic of DISCOURAGING expressions will not produce potential leadership that will be able to lead the community in hard times. 

As a Hazara, I am expressing my concern about the common usage of such a vile tactic on social media and ask concerned Hazaras to write and speak on the topic. THANKS

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Lost in Space: A Review

I don't remember that I have written any review before (at least not for a TV show: but bad memory may betray me and this statement may look a lie 😜). Here comes my first review and like any other first timer, it probably ends up more about me than about the show 😳):


Alright, I decided to write a short review because of two "fundamental" changes that I noticed in me:

First, I haven't watched any show that was related to space. I'm bad at directions and I easily get lost in a new place (Thanks to all those who had contributed in whatever capacity in the inventions and developments of GPS and vehicles that I don't worry about directions when I do have access to GPS and a vehicle to drive). You probably have rightly guessed that I stayed away from the space-related-shows out of fear of getting lost in a place that we know very little and most of the knowledge comes from indirect observations and very limited data and very little time. So, there are much lost essential data in our reading of data and our ability to capture the data. 

What Made Me to Watch, the "Lost in Space"?

My own guess was that it was a kind of escapism from what was happening around me. The awful news is killing hopes. I know, hope is organic. It regrows whenever the conditions are right. Anyway, I decided to get lost in Space, albeit via the show and to my surprise, it was a pleasant experience. 

What I liked most about the show?

The Robot. I got surprised that I liked the robot and it made me keep watching the show. These days, I am struggling with a neural network design that is inspired by root systems. It's a concept that I think will work and as humanoid robots run on artificial intelligence, the robot in the movie looked cool and therefore, I give the show 5 stars just based on that cool robot 👍. 

Second Change?

after the show, I am more interested in the robotics:

Humans collect data too and are good at processing the data even without understanding them. For example, people doing business using arithmetic every day without any kind of school or understanding the concepts, or people driving the car without understanding anything about the engines or people using computers and smartphones without knowing much what is running under the hood.  The same is true about robots. Robots don't have to understand the concepts but are much better at capturing, storing and analyzing data and as unlike us, they do not have survival instincts embedded in them in the form of the raw emotions make them more reliable than humans. So, I think, I am more pro-robotics than before and that's a change that I noticed. 

All in all, "Lost in Space" is a great story and have a lot more than the robot and if you have noticed that my review is just limited to the robot, then, you have guessed it right that I definitely recommend the show for more surprises and fun 👍. 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Bigger Picture

Passion, while an essential force behind the drive for excellence, often blinds us from seeing the whole (or broader) picture. Very often, I find the younger talents struggling with hope related their works. Too much time and energy and little results make them disoriented. While the common expectation is that, those who are sitting on the higher rungs of corporate/trade/organization ladder to offer bigger picture for the younger talents, it's the closest elders who do the job much better:

The old lady limped a bit, was a bit overweight and struggled with her sari as she moved around the stoves. She was cooking several dishes while making puffed roti, all at the same time.

On another side of the table, her young niece updated her on the latest professional achievements, she scored. The old lady listened attentively while cooking. She only talked when her niece drifted into complaints. Her talks were mostly snippets from her young self and at end of each story she reminded her niece that things have much improved.

While there was a stark difference between the spoken and body languages of the two ladies but I could see the visible gaps between sounding smart and wisdom.

While the young lady went back and forth between showcasing her achievements and worrying, the old lady listened calmly and told her personal stories to reassure her that despite ups and downs, things have always gravitated towards better. It was amusing to be a silent part of the conversation thinking that if there was a mental state such as wisdom then, the hope that things always gravitated towards better definitely qualified for it.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Artificial Intelligence & Moral Economy : An Opinion (Part III)

Shrinking Attention Span and Missing To Notice Important Societal Changes:

In the last blog on the subject, I argued that human brain is so good at recognizing patterns that it strongly inclines for overfitting which is one of the main reasons for the biases we have in the systems we build.  

In this blog, I want to argue for another BIG PROBLEM that is only getting worse and that The Shrinking Attention Span which is (will) deepening our biases:

You may have donated in one of the campaigns run by one of the big box stores, giant food chains or online retails companies that had promised to match each dollar of your donation by a dollar for some noble cause (curing a disease, food drive or help a disaster hit the community and so on). You also may have read the news about the mega-philanthropic projects by founders of the fortune 500 companies. You may have also noticed the mushrooming of crowdfunding for the smart solutions of the major problems like poverty, education, health, environment, refugees, ...etc.

If you have donated in or noticed any of the above-mentioned developments, it is very likely that you may have asked yourself, despite the generosity of commoners and corporate businesses, why there is so much frustration over access to healthcare and insecurity of job, housing, and even nutritional food? No doubt, commoners, corporates, and techs are getting smarter. Why generosity and smartness are failing to solve the problems that smaller countries (with much smaller economies) have efficiently handled?


While people have noticed the most advertised gestures like donation campaigns, mega-philanthropic projects and crowd-funding and so forth, they have failed noticed the most important societal change and THAT'S in words of the Michael Sandel (The political philosopher) becoming a MARKET SOCIETY (Please read about the difference between Market Economy and Market Society by following this link or you can watch here a talk by Prof. Sandel the role of Market Society in increasing economic inequality).

While the common expectation is that by the evolution and ease of access to media, people become more politically aware and their ability for cross-referencing and weighing facts increase linearly, an important factor is usually downplayed and THAT IS THE SHRINKING ATTENTION SPANS on the most important societal changes.


Who could imagine that one day the most popular source of news will become a platform where tweets will be limited to 280 characters? The popularity of the twitter as the largest news source illustrates the extent of the shrinkage of attention span. Still, not convinced? How about communicating important policies of the US via twitter by POTUS? Could anyone have imagined that one day POTUS will declare war via twitter?

It was understood that the earlier exposure of children to television makes them struggle with sustaining attention in their later age. But the becoming of twitter as a communication tool for highest ranks of the government shows that it is not just common people who suffer from shrinkage of the attention span but also leadership and policymakers.

According to the statistics, the size of the indexed pages on Google increased on average of 1.5 billion pages per year, in last two years (There are an estimated more than 45 billion indexed web pages on Google). Now, add to that the gaming and binge-watching as the most dominant forms of the entertainments and time passing activities.

Yes, people have access to media and they are smarter than ever but if the attention spans to the important issues have kept shrinking, then, while people know the little details of the most events, they will fail to see the big picture. AND THAT'S TRAGIC.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Artificial Intelligence And Moral Economy: An Opinion

Let's begin with three boring statements (and my hypothesis for the why, and how AI help):

1. The market economies with good managers out-performed the communist economies with equally competent managers.

2. Communist economies age at the young age.

3. Market economies with bad managers create a social dichotomy of winners and losers.

Let me give some examples so you can make sense of what I mean by those three statements.

1. Market Economies with Good Managers:

Market economy shined in countries like Japan, Germany, Asian Tigers/dragons (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan), Malaysia and the even Gulf States (oil export economies - no manufacturing or knowledge-based services- with the monarch systems of governance). No doubt, there are other Western countries with market economies much bigger than the listed economies but the purpose of the list to mention the stars. 

Market economy rebuilt Germany and Japan that were destroyed by world war second. It enabled four small countries/administrative regions to be big enough economic players to be called Asian Tigers and even make the desert states of gulfs to become the major investment destinations. While the cultures, composition of markets and geography of the listed economies vary considerably, they had one thing in common and that's good management.

3. Market Economy With Bad Managers:

Before going to the second point, I brought up the second point for the obvious reason of stressing that Market Economy does not do well by default. It needs proper management;

The memory of the 2008 US government bailout of the banks after the real-estate-market-crash is still fresh. That was a defining moment in the history of the market economy that exposed the effect of bad management. While the bailout saved the banks but the fallouts of the bad management pushed the forking of the losers (who live under fear of losing jobs, homes, and saving) and winners economic classes to the extreme that led to the occupied wall street movement and election an administration that has promised to run US government as a successful business.

I can add the long list of the countries with soured market economies from the four continents of Asia, Africa, America and Europe but for the sake of staying on the point, I prefer to restrict this knol to the big names. So, let's bring in China. Everybody talks about China, one or another way. From Chinese products to ambitious Chinese land-based-economic-corridor projects to the US-China trade war. It all indicates the success of Chinese economy that is unlike any other economy is very unique. So far, it is a very well managed hybrid market economy that pulled millions of Chinese out of poverty, what communist China couldn't achieve. The Chinese model showed that well-managed communist economy soon expands to its limits but a well-managed market economy can sustain growth much better for a longer time period.

2. The short lifespan of Communist Economy:

Since the powerhouse of the communist economy barely lived for eight decades and there does not exist any mentionable communist economy, this subtitle is almost self-explanatory.

NOW, let's consider a plausible answer to the WHY:

It's common sense that smaller the number or size of something (at macro-scale), it's management is easier. Small villages are mostly self-sufficient populations that neatly recycle their resources. In comparison, the bigger the population of an area, the more they rely on the exchange of goods with other populations, the greater are their waste and more obvious are the economic segregation of the populations.

Size of Problem: My hypothesis is that the bigger the size and complexity of the economy, the greater are the chances of the mishaps and mismanagements. That's one of the main reason for an inherent short lifespan of the communist economy. The government can manage certain amounts of mishaps. Once, the number of mishaps increase, they start tearing down the whole system.

Seeing Patterns That Matters: The human factor is another reason for mishaps when it comes to the handling of large numbers/sizes. In one of the databook (I don't remember where) I read, "Human brains are so good at detecting patterns, they most often overfit." The overfittings make them see things that are either not there (noise) or make predictions based on averages ignoring big chunks of important information that actually matters.

Trusting The Judgements of the Performers Instead of Performance: 

If you have closely watched the politicians, they are good performers, the composition of voices, body languages, the environments, and messages are appealing that make people follow them. In comparison, not too many people really care what kinds of laws they pass. It's too much of boring and complex information that is not pleasing at all. People want excitements and relaxations after dealing with exhausting jobs and dealing with their daily personal battles.

Transparency And Fairness Are the Building Blocks of A Moral Economy:

I guess I may better not to go into defining a moral economy here (the risk of undermining the main topic, that's setting the role of artificial intelligence in creating a fairer economy). Still, it's essential to point out that without fairness and transparency there will be not any moral economy. Having said that, I very like to stress that even if intentions are good, complexity and size of problems reduce significantly the transparency of information and hence the fairness of the decisions based on the poor understanding of information. Here comes the role of the AI.

As I prefer short blogs, I will try to add more on the topic in my next blog post.