Happy 2017

2017

Here’s my wish list for the world in 2017:

1. Not more stable countries and functioning pieces of the developping world fall in to the destiny of Syria. Not more peaceful cities be subjected to invasion, wars, conflicts, destruction and evacuation.
2. More refuguees go back home safe.
3. Less terrorist operations be observed in the western world.
4. The freedom of expression does not get more limited where it still exists.
5. There will be less policing, unnecessarily harsher law enforcement, survailance and control.
6. Less number of species go extinct during the year to come.
7. Multinational corporates do not come closer to a monopoly over our lives and choices. In particular there will not be more frequent mergers and acquisitions more than 10B dollars value.
8. Rich-poor gap does not get wider worldwide.
9. America becomes a democracy again!
10. The other democracies of the western world do not move to that direction, away from fair distribution of decision making and cashing out the political power.

Looking at the trends, most likely none of these will come true, so I make one last wish hoping less celebrities die in 2017. This one stands a relative chance. Specially because many more people asked for it.

Happy New Year!

The Gaian Mind

Trondheim, Norway
Trondheim, Norway – View out of the plane window.

Could it be so that the Gaian mind is actually a purposeful mind, although much bigger than ours so its super-intelligence can’t fit in our scientific theories?

Could we as a species be just an allergic reaction of our planet to some cosmic danger that the Mother Earth has sensed through all the information it has acquired from all levels of species across its body?

And that our collective technology is supposed to protect it from some external hazards in the solar system instead of ruining it from within?

I hear this argument recently (and independently) more often. It doesn’t add up to what I think of the purposelessness of self-organization and randomness of emergent properties. But what do I know if I’m only a cell in this super-organism?

Where are Trump voters?

I thought I have a diverse and colorful social network or at least I did not expect that I have somehow excluded a big parallel reality of Trump supporters from my life.

Everybody in my social circle (residing in Europe, the middle East and the US) – literally everybody – is frightened and is mourning over Trump’s precidency. Where are the others who have actually voted for him? I would not be upset or sad, at all, to see them celebrating but I don’t get anything on my news feed.

Either I have Trump supporters and they hide their celebration from the world which I doubt it. Or Facebook hides it from me as their algorithms assume that this will keep me longer on their platform to click ads. Or simply, Trump supporters are nearly non-existing in my social circle. I seem not to have friends who have voted for Trump. Or I may have really few.

The thing is that I never removed someone from Facebook for being a Trump supporter and I won’t. I have taken similar wrongful measures previously when my philosophy was more tied to my reactionary political views. There and then I have happened to exclude people from my social friendship because our political views deviated. But I haven’t something like this lately, at least not because of politics, and certainly not becose of someone being a fan of the Republican party or a Trump supporter.

YET, I don’t seem to have any one in my social network who have voted for Trump. Where are they? How can I find them, befriend them and hang out with them?

I don’t befreind people in political rallies, why am I located on such a politically polarized spot now? How come I ended up with so many Clinton, Sanders and Jill Stein supporters and have I not come across anybody from the majority of the American voters? Can they be stereotyped for me to understand why not? They love country music, have family values, and call themselves socially conservative in some sense? Well there’s not any reason for me to have excluded them for any of thse reasons. Quite the contrary. And neither for them there should be a strong stereotypical reason to exclude me. But we have not come across each other, probably in any of the red states that I have travelled, or the places that I have been to. Is that so?

I will travel to the US next week and will make sure I meet some Trump voters/upporters and will hang out with them to break the social network’s self-reinforcing illusion that the world is in a full agreement with me. And well, which agreement? I was not even a Clinton supporter.

We seem to live in two parallel realities, divided with respect to the bi-partisan magnet of the US election lately. But I don’t wanna blame it on the social media’s news feed algorithms and their so-called “echo chambers”. I think the links between me and Trump voters hasn’t been simply formed in reality and social networks can’t capture something that is non-existent. They haven’t helped it form either though, which is a different topic.

Are we two parallel intertwined species minding our own business and pass each other bye only in public transport where people’s political agenda is not written on their foreheads? And then we crawl into our own bubbles to keep spreading our ideas to like-minded people?

The reality of Trump’s precidency didn’t hit me so hard as waking up to the gravitational forces of some mysterious dark energy that we don’t see but we can detect its effect on the universe, for example, after seeing the election results!

Come on people. Who voted for Trump? Let’s hang out!

I am still in shock.

Blindspot Dilemma

“We are blind to our blindspots.”

Does this quotation have a name? I couldn’t find, but let’s call it the “blindspot dilemma”.

Blind2
The image copyright: George Redhawk, an actually blind artist.

From the view point of dominant scientific paradigms [and in fact several of them] this statement amounts to bullshit!

When you mention it and you start to expand on it, mainstream routine scientists start to laugh at you.

Why?

– It is a logical tautology.
– It does not add anything to our knowledge.
– It doesn’t give us any new fact about our environment and how it works.
– It is not testable.
– It is unfalsifiable. (If they think Popper)
– It is unscientific. (If they think Feynman)
– It contains zero amount of information.
– It can’t predict.
– It has no value.
– At best it’s just a definition.

– “We can’t see what we can’t see.”

If you come from science, philosophy, business or what not, the dominant mindsets of your field may be expressed in different forms, but they all – perhaps wrongfully – mean the same thing:

The blindspot dilemma is worthless.

Yet, quite surprisingly, when I think about it, when I apply it to different domains, when I keep it – constantly – in the back of my mind, the conclusions I get are drastically different from before: New things emerge and old things get a different set of explanations. Observations make a better sense in a broader range, and a recursive sense of clarity starts to form.

How can that be worthless?

A month ago I applied this simple recipe to “the range of empathy in humans”. As a result, I was taken by a long trip and came back much more insightful. A whole new world of meanings and insights about morality, empathy, psychopathy started to hit me. I got a different vision of our collective civilization. My relationships with the people improved. Social behaviors made more sense. Everything was shed in an irreversible light!

I applied it to human behavior and I learned new things about politics, conflicts, societies. The way the world works and how it could be dealt with it.

I applied it to data, and I got new approaches, new models, new charts and shapes and values.

I applied it to cognition, and I learned new things about conciousness, and even geometry, math and topology.

Someone please tell me how can such a simple yet useful statement be so worthless?

I think the dominant scientific epistemology that is ruling the way science works is incompetent here. And the harm that is causing us comes exactly from that rigid inadequecy.

From Popper’s “falsificationism” to the statistical null hypothetical testing that is dominating the logic with which we do science, have failed to reflect a sense of recursion that may be more profound to our nature than we think.

The late Feyerabend who eventually went against Popper with refusing to accept the existence of universal methodologies in science was on to something. His anarchistic views of science in his against the method lost the battle of history to the falsificationism of Popper.

Science is so blind to its blindspots that Feyerabend’s “sociology of scientific knowledge” where he started to study science as a man-made cultural product made by the society of scientists (my wording) never took off the way it deserved to.

I don’t have a clear formulation to introduce a paradigm here. But I am sure, as much as Popper was sure of his unfalsifiable theory, that we can and we should formulate the blindness dilemma into scientific paradims in an elegant and ground-breaking way.

Me and myself have a recursive faith that beyond the incompetent tools of our current science and our profound blindness to other potential ways of finding the truth, there must be a formal way to adress the so-called “blindspot dillema”. We must nicely and regretfully invite it back to our toolbox of making sense of the world!

I can only hope we see a paradigm shift before our extinction.

P.S. In a looser reading, one can interprete the two “we”s differently by inviting two different perspectives. Then it is no longer a tautology. There is a model (an interpretation/semantics), for which you get something similar to Dunning-Kruger effect. That is not a tautology either. This is probably where I “cheated” in this passage. But I don’t think of it as cheating and that is the point here.

I am not defending this quick text as a well-thought and accurate post. But hear the idea:

Such a fuzzy freedom of interpretations (such as moving between perspectives) is missing in falsifiablity paradigm.

Even the way the dominant paradigms include uncertainty (e.g. statistical hypothesis testing) is so deterministic that they push uncertainty all the way to a statistical parameter or a random variable.

Such freedoms are in the blindspots of the falsifiability approach without originally being excluded them for a good reason. They are only not included, yet, due to a lack of solid and rigorous formalization.

Synesthesia vs. Dyslexia

I don’t have “dyslexia”.

If you are curious, I am a “grapheme-color synesthete”. It’s a different thing.

Or argualbly of a “phoneme-color” type. (They are sisters)

It’s the most comon type of synesthesia out there. Means seeing inevitably fixed colors in letters and numbers.

It usually helps folks to get better with spelling. In my case too. However, there are corner cases that this ruins life for me. I am blind to them and appear dyslexic.

The [personal] problem is that my consonants have unique and saturated colors. The wovels on the other hand are grayscale and mostly transparent. So the wovels get melted and merged with their consonant neighbors. In fact they get their colors from their neighboring consonants.

That makes mixing vowels much easier. In the particular case of “o” and “u” it’s even worse. They are both quite glassy and they sound similar. So it is random to use them in the right order if they both appear in the same word.

I always thought I am lazy or too dependent on colors for spelling.

But in fact I just can’t learn words that follow that pattern. Words such as “customer” or “corrupt”. As we are blind to our blindspots, I wouldn’t know this without a feedback. I didn’t see those as misspells to judge if they’re systematic or not, until my previous manager pointed out that specific pattern in my reports.

No matter how many times I leave marks or set signs or rules, I will never learn the right spell when it comes to those words and I will end up tossing a coin again. It’s just not worth the effort. Similar issues appear in coding too.

The wovel transparency issue applies to both alphabets that I know (Arabic and Roman). Wovels are transparent / grayish and same-sounding consonants have the same color in both alphabets. When I tried to learn a third alphabet (Cyrillic) things quickly shaped that way, too. Except for the cognitive dissonance of color mismatch between similar looking letters (such as “И” and “N”) that sound different. Which makes it harder to learn them for me.

“И” sounds “I” and should be white/milky transparent but it is red at the first glance because it looks like “N”.

Point, I am not “dyslexic”. I am “wovel color blind”, brought up to outsource spell-checking effort to colors, which did not turn out to be a full-proof approach.

P.S. By the way I live inside my head. I think you should too. As long as you talk about it.

Tech’s purposeful adictivity

spiral

As a product enthusiast who has gone through enough material on the so-called “habbit-forming” digital products, as a data scientist who has created models on the cognitive addictivity of apps and smartphones, and as an amateur magician who understands the art of deception, I approve of the contents of this article.

Luckily I have worked for ethical firms, and I have some self-control mechanism in place, so I didn’t end up doing any harm.

* * *

Just a week ago I caught myself again rolling in bed for two hours passed midnight, being confused and restless. That I have forgotten to check or write or read something. I was constantly looking into the notifications of my phone and certain apps. Until I realized that I have read this somewhere. I am being manipulated. I knew how it works and I could do it to others myself, yet it works on me!

The notification slot machine explained in this article is just one way of mindfuck that smartphones give you, so you come back for more. There are many more tricks.

There is this thing called “psychometrics”. Originally it is the science of psychological measurements. In the world of business, it has much simpler applications; From the data you produce using tech, those who run the figures and numbers, can sometimes measure some states of your mind, and use it in any direction they want.

So far I haven’t said anything new. But, there is one thing that you need to know:

Typically, the psychometrics of tech are not committed to your happiness. They are committed to your addictivity.

And they work!

P.S. Just came across another example:

Nima, we care about you and the memories you share here. We thought you’d like to look back on this post from 1 year ago.

Bullshit of the day; said by a robot. True that I liked to look back on this post from 1 year ago.

Facebook doesn’t give a rat’s ass about me, my life and my happiness. The programmer and the product owner related to their code has just found another way to maximize the monetization and maintain their high salary. They lie systematically to keep you in the platform.

P.S.1. The Minus Trillion Dollar Question. How many people (let alone other beings) we harm remotely during our lives, without seeing or registering them?

P.S.2. Nice someone wrote this so I don’t have to do it.

Smart House

It will be interesting to see what kind of things Zuckerberg will show off. This is a big gamble for one of the most successful people out there in a long run. It may create a hype right now, but in a couple of decades things can look funny, silly or try-hard.

I can’t see this effort in 30 years, to be something like 1984 Apple ad that people still talk about.

He would probably focus on things that he has in hands and they are good at: face and speech recognition.

But let us hope for a variety of non-AI technologies alongside AI to shape a livable future smart home. Some can’t happen today, but he could push to conceptualize/implement some of these:

– Home energy optimiser with central light control
– Self washing huge windows
– Animated carpets
– Illuminating interactive art
– Recursive spaces and scalable halls
– Cloud based Mood analyzer (Happit brand!)
– Augmented reality fashion room integrated with the above
– Advanced AI back-scratching robots!

And looking at things culturally may be such innovations turn out to be more important, for the sake of sustainability of the exponential growth of tech and its artifacts:

– Stupidity reflector
– Manipulation resistor
– Random joke maker
– Relationship break up alert
– Alter-ego booster
– Cool neighbor finder
– 3D fashion closet
– Sleep optimizer with dream detector
– Standardised EU-approved sustainable self-promoter

Although people would still fry eggs in the future, a robotic chef is ok. A human-like physical robot is just dumb.

Also a contrast of old/new, like a blend of future and old technology would be more visually beliavable than getting rid of everything that is so 2015. Also ritual stuff from all over the world improves the scenery.

More ideas appreciated in the comments. How would you imagine your own future smart home?

PS. Also who will live in a futuristic home? Kids. So may be you can ask them for inspiration

Sorenography

Introduction

This is Soren.

Soren

His owner (whom I won’t tag for security reasons) is traveling for two months and so this fluff stays with me for a couple of months. Soren is a mixed breed called Hymalayan. They are Persian cats bred with some Siamese gene that makes them smarter. They have the fluff and laziness from the Persians and intellect and analytical skills from Siamese. For the same reason they are vocal. They talk to express themselves. His owner told me that sharing space with him will help to decode his language soon. So far I’ve recognized three distinct sounds referring to:
– I’m starving
– Stop ignoring me reciprocally
– Don’t you sit on me!

Liquidity

The molecular structure of cats makes them liquid but it doesn’t mean that you can pour a cat into more than one bucket. Here is a drop of cat for example:

Soren drop

The Dishwasher

The puzzle of Soren’s love for the bathroom, the mystery of him disappearing a couple of times where no one could find him, the problem of unpleasant smell that I couldn’t sniff where it comes from, all solved when I wanted to do laundry! ‪#‎cat‬ ‪#‎urine‬ ‪#‎inside‬ ‪#‎washingmachine‬

Soren Dishwasher

The Alarm

Fluffy alarm goes off again. 6AM in the morning…

Soren Alarm

The Other Cat in Karl Johan

Born in the wrong species

This girl is a cat. She realized it when she was sixteen and came out later. I had seen her before through my window and the scenes you see in this video are just down my apartment. I was confused many times what Soren is reacting to when there’s no other cat. Now I know she is one of the reasons that he leaves marks by the window, to spread his smell and to show his territory.

The Wine

So a normal man has a wife who kisses him good night. I have Soren (If you don’t know him, he’s a 7-year-old non neutered Himalayan cat who bites me goodnight). Usually he’s gentler than this but tonight he bit me really hard while I was petting him. My hand was hurt and he felt guilty enough to hide himself and didn’t show up as usual to sit on my head or to hump the pillow. It could be the night for me to sleep uninterrupted.

And it was until I woke up by the sound of dripping water in the kitchen. Then it was the smell of wine. Apparently one full bottle out of twenty bottles of home-made banana wine – recently arrived from Trondheim – had just cracked and spilled all over. I cleaned it up and examined the scene. Soren playing a role in this is very unlikely since he is still under the bed. The bottle had cracked horizontally but standing still. So some physical effect like explosion due to gas pressure or temperature change is to blame. Still strange though!

Just in case I displaced all the bottles and kept ignoring his presence. He’s still under the bed and seems a little depressed.

If there will be more casualties tonight, yet he does not show up on the bed as he usually do then he’s in charge of these plots.

Unless he reads this post which is a different story! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

3:30 AM – OSLO

Soren Wine

p.s. 5AM! He just, NOW, shat and made too much unnecessary noise. Purposefully digging the earth and playing with hard objects 5 in the morning. As he realized that I woke up he ran under the bed again. Still not showing up on the bed. He’s making me very suspicious…

The escape

So Soren had escaped and was gone for a night. The poor thing was discovered sleeping in the sun in the backyard not in his most charming shape. We don’t know where he has been and what parties he has crashed but he has possibly digested some grass that made him vomit. Or at least doctors suspect so. Soren is deffinitely not vegan. Like any other cat he is an absolute carnivor. He doesn’t even eat other things than the cat food, made from chicken, turkey and fish. Even if he is hungry he refuses any other thing. So it’s odd if he has tasted some fiber that would make him like this. Out of curiosity may be?

He is in a good shape now and will respond to his emails at his convenience.

The catch of the day is though: There actually exist vegan dogs and cats out there! There are dogs (and even cats) who are on a cruelty-free vegan diet because of their vegan owners. And they manage to live long. Can you believe it?

Table Manners

Although Soren is humble and nice to other pets, he is still classy and elegant. He has the manners and etiquette of eating properly and sometimes when he meets some of his friends who don’t do this right, he humbly tries to show them the correct style. So they can also be more successful pets in their lives. Check the video!

Soren from Inside

Soren-badass

I must add that baby sitting is not a totally correct word since he is a 40-year-old big bearded muscular man and a bad-ass alpha mail from inside. He looks cute from outside but if you normalize him within his species you get Tom Hardy or Bruce Willis. Hi beats the shit out of other cats and sometimes dogs and he can be super confident, determined and someitmes rude, but very kind and caring at the same time. For real!

Soren is gone

Soren_gone
So the cat is gone. The owners came back from the long journey and claimed it back. They had a bunch of ridiculous reasons such as Soren is used to their home for 7 years, or that they have a bigger place and the cat is more comfortable there. And that they are a couple and have more time to spend with the cat. But on top of their arguments was that they should have the cat back because he is their cat. Seriously? And that’s how things are. Soren is gone…

Hectic weekend!

Left to the airport after my work on Friday and landed in Trondheim midnight, partied with friends and had fun big time, met with the accountant to close the company, finished the tax return forms (s), picked up the neon lights and other branded material from the cafe to ship to Oslo, took over my so-missed apartment and signed a contract renting it out again from tomorrow, gave away the last unwanted items both from the cafe and the apartment, went through around 50 unchecked letters and acted upon them, met with as many Zedgers as I possibly could passed a midnight and even got time to drop by the once in a year underground electro scene in Trondheim which luckily coincided my trip. It would have been awesome to get the chance to meet the magicians and it turned out that today is the yearly meeting of the association in Trondheim! Had more to do but sadly not possible on a weekend. I guess I am ready to head back to work in Oslo tomorrow (Monday) early morning!