Monday, 14 September 2020

TECHNO UTOPIA:THE IMMINENT DANGER

 

Techno-utopianism  is any ideology based on the premise that advances in science and technology could and should bring about a utopia, or at least help to fulfill one or another utopian ideal.

techno-utopia is therefore an ideal society, in which laws, government, and social conditions are solely operating for the benefit and well-being of all its citizens, set in the near- or far-future, as advanced science and technology will allow these ideal living standards to exist; for example, post-scarcitytransformations in human nature, the avoidance or prevention of suffering and even the end of death.

Even today, the negative social effects of a technological utopia can be seen. Mediated communication such as phone calls, instant messaging and text messaging are steps towards a utopian world in which one can easily contact another regardless of time or location. However, mediated communication removes many aspects that are helpful in transferring messages. As it stands today, most text, email, and instant messages offer fewer nonverbal cues about the speaker’s feelings than do face-to-face encounters. This makes it so that mediated communication can easily be misconstrued and the intended message is not properly conveyed. With the absence of tone, body language, and environmental context, the chance of a misunderstanding is much higher, rendering the communication ineffective. In fact, mediated technology can be seen from a dystopian view because it can be detrimental to effective interpersonal communication. These criticisms would only apply to messages that are prone to misinterpretation as not every text based communication requires contextual cues.

Large technology companies have come to dominate the online experience, constantly gathering users’ personal data, often without their knowledge, and feeding it through proprietary algorithms to curate search results, recommendations, and news. Propagandists and extremists wishing to conceal their identities fund targeted ads and create armies of social media bots to push misleading or outright false content, robbing citizens of a basic understanding of reality. And authoritarians take advantage of technology to censor information and suppress dissent. The most sophisticated effort comes from China, which, in addition to its Great Firewall, is developing a system of “social credits,” which takes the idea of a credit score to its creepiest extension. The idea is to aggregate information from public and private records to assess citizens’ behavior, generating scores that can be used to determine their opportunities for employment, education, housing, and travel. China is using facial recognition and vast data to exert control over the ethnic Uyghurs in western China in a high-tech update of the mass surveillance and societal control of East Germany’s Stasi and, before that, Hitler’s Germany. Not only has the Internet been used to strengthen authoritarian states; it has also been used to weaken democracies.As detailed in the indictments issued in February by Robert Mueller, the U.S. special prosecutor investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Russian operatives created fake online personas aimed at spreading false information. It was run by the Internet Research Agency, an organization linked to the Russian government that is responsible for online influence operations. A particular goal was to depress African American turnout in order to hurt Clinton’s campaign. As an investigation by CNN found, one social media campaign called “Blacktivist” was actually a Russian troll operation; it had more “likes” on Facebook than the official Black Lives Matter page.

Those who organize disinformation campaigns on social media exploit commercial data-gathering and targeting systems. They sweep up personal data from a host of sources across different devices and categorize people by their behavior, interests, and demographics. Then, they target a given segment of users with ads and bots, which encourage users to like pages, follow accounts, and share information. In this way, disinformation campaigns weaponize digital platforms, whose algorithms seem to reward outrage because that is what keeps users engaged. As the scholar Zeynep Tufekci has found, YouTube’s recommendation algorithm steers viewers toward increasingly radical and extremist videos. Sites like InfoWars – a conspiracy theory site are frightening.

We must act now to prevent the further weaponization of the Internet against democracies and individuals attempting to exercise their human rights – and to do so without sacrificing democratic values such as freedom of expression. Dark money and dark data to undermine democracy are  real threats. Digital platforms should find a way to offer users more context for the news their algorithms present. They might do so through some method of differentiating those news outlets that follow accepted journalistic practices (customs such as having a masthead, separating news from opinion, and issuing corrections) from those that do not. The platforms should be required to take down fake accounts and remove bots unless they are clearly labeled as such. The largest social media companies – Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – need to be transparent about their content-moderation rules. Regulation might even require certain platforms to provide due-process protections for users whose content is taken down.

The spectre of 1984 is more real than ever before.

 

Ack:GMF USA.Wiki.

Thursday, 10 September 2020

THE COMPANY YOU KEEP

 

Read a wonderful anonymous piece on whatsapp the other day.I thought of developing the same and carry it forward.In distress and dilemma a human being is a fall back seeker.Friends,family,colleagues,gurus,peers……we seek solace and guidance.

To help you to come out of stress, one friend will ask you to drink and another will ask you to meditate.

To overcome hurt, one will ask you to take revenge and get even, and another will ask you to forgive and get ahead with your life. ‘Who is your fallback’ makes a huge  difference.

Duryodhana’s predicament is defining.He says:, “I know what is right but I am not able to indulge in it. I know what is wrong but I am not able to avoid it.” His fallback was his uncle Shakuni…we know the rest.

Arjuna too was in a predicament . His filial affiliations CREATED AN INERTIA  to dominate his sense of duty, and hence upholding righteousness was seemingly a task beyond him.. He needed a fallback. His fallback was Krishna; and again…we know the rest.

 ‘Who is your fallback’ makes all the difference.The fallback need not be a person….it can be a book,a thought,a story….anything capable of influencing our heart and mind.

A MAN IS KNOWN BY THE COMPANY HE KEEPS,so the saying goes.

Choose Well .

P.S.

As far as people go, people help you the way they know to help you.My favorite is my MENTOR THEORY. Mentoring in Europe has existed since at least Ancient Greek times, and roots of the word go to Mentor, son of Alcimus in Homer's Odyssey. Though the actual Mentor in the story is a somewhat ineffective old man, the goddess Athena takes on his appearance in order to guide young Telemachus in his time of difficulty.

To me,a mentor is A FRIEND,PHILOSOPHER and GUIDE….wisened by experience,enlightened in the subject,success being a mere side product ,competence being his byword,brilliance his signature line,last man standing against adversities,refreshingly unbiased,and hurtfully truthful and committed to you.Professional,personal,emotional…the real fallback guy.THOSE LUCKY ENOUGH TO FIND SUCH. Else we know the story of Eklavya.Passion,commitment ,innate talent,indistractable…going where none has gone before….driven by just an image of the guru.The man who defeated Arjuna. Just don’t give your right thumb when you meet your  Dronacharya finally!

An idea,a book,a thought,a song,a movie….all give us fallback moments.All you need to do is to create a life library out of it….keep a journal…you will be on your way…if not a fallback guy,you will have a fallback journal.Its priceless.I should know.I have one.

Saturday, 5 September 2020

TEACHER'S DAY:A TRIBUTE

It’s true we don’t know what we have until we find it, but its also true, we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives..

I embarked on one such journey 15 years back.The person I refer was a judge in Income tax court we call ITAT.I was a rookie deptt.rep..What he saw in me I don't know but he called me in his chambers one fine day and gave me the firing of my life ...Telling me what a disservice I was doing to the people of India I represented in that Court.And continued thereafter to call and grill me and teach me till he made a man out of me.He was brilliant & His orders are part of tax folklore.I went on to become the DR with biggest success rate in history of IRS..and the longest serving one.
He got shifted to some other place, I went my way.
Years later, in 2019,I saw him in corridor of Bombay tax court full of lawyers.In full public view I ran to him and touched his feet .He had retired and was on some work to the place.He could not place me.I said;: "Sir.Anadi Varma.You made a man out of a boy 12 years back.Aapka ehsaan taajeevan nahi chuka sakta main".
He was so happy to see me.
As for me...in that moment I was the richest man on planet earth.
DC Agrawal sir.
You made this world a better place.
May you live long and healthy.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Information overload:THE KILLER AMONGST US


             
 IO[infobesity, infoxication,, ]
“Information is not knowledge.” 
                                                           :Albert Einstein

1.I attended a executive management course at IIM Ahmedabad in September 2016.My first exposure to what I came to identify as IO happened in a talk given by its Director :he told the participants that he does not read his e mails as Director IIM Ahmedabad.A full time official does it,sifts it and post filteration a small number remains he needs to come face to face with.Else,THE Director told the participants ,the whole day long he shall be sifting e mails,reading them,replying to them and at the end of the day go back home preening with the satisfaction of having dealt with the whole inbox!
1.1 As coaches and responsible professionals, we should be learning new things and studying our field constantly. The world, and particularly the internet, is full of information today; some of it is useful and much of it is useless. Either or, this massive amount of information is in front of us, easily accessible wherever you are. Countless people are sharing their material and ideas with different motivations and goals in mind. The world is overflowing with information!It is destroying attention,killing concentration,and creating digital junk resulting in distraction leading to carbon copy average performers in life.
 2.Generally, the term is associated with the excessive quantity of daily information.. The term, information overload, was first used in Bertram Gross' 1964 book, The Managing of Organizations and it was further popularized by Alvin Toffler in his bestselling 1970 book Future Shock. Speier et al. (1999) stated:
Information overload occurs when the amount of input to a system exceeds its processing capacity. Decision makers have fairly limited cognitive processing capacity. Consequently, when information overload occurs, it is likely that a reduction in decision quality will occur.
2.1 A newer definition of information overload focuses on time and resource aspects:Information overload is a state in which a decision maker faces a set of information comprising the accumulation of individual informational cues of differing size and complexity that inhibit the decision maker’s ability to optimally determine the best possible decision. The probability of achieving the best possible decision is defined as decision-making performance. The suboptimal use of information is caused by the limitation of scarce individual resources. A scarce resource can be limited individual characteristics (such as serial processing ability, limited short-term memory) or limited task-related equipment (e.g., time to make a decision, budget).
3.The advent of modern information technology has been a primary driver of information overload on multiple fronts: in quantity produced, ease of dissemination, and breadth of audience reached. Longstanding technological factors have been further intensified by the rise of social media and the attention economy. In the age of connective digital technologies, informatics, the Internet culture (or the digital culture), information overload is associated with the over-exposure, excessive consumption, and input abundance of information and data.
4. One of the first social scientists to notice the negative effects of information overload was the sociologist Georg Simmel (1858–1918), who hypothesized that the overload of sensations in the modern urban world caused city dwellers to become jaded and interfered with their ability to react to new situations. The social psychologist Stanley Milgram (1933–1984) later used the concept of information overload to explain bystander behavior.
Psychologists have recognized for many years that humans have a limited capacity to store current information in the memory. Psychologist George Armitage Miller was very influential in this regard, proposing that people can process about seven chunks of information at a time. Miller says that under overload conditions, people become confused and are likely to make poorer decisions based on the information they have received as opposed to making informed ones.
4.1 Now in the second half of the 20th century, advances in computer and information technology led to the creation of the Internet.
In the modern Information Age, information overload is experienced as distracting and unmanageable information such as email spam, email notifications, instant messagesTweets and Facebook updates in the context of the work environment. Social media has resulted in "social information overload," which can occur on sites like Facebook, and technology is changing to serve our social culture.
4.2 In today's society, day-to-day activities increasingly involve the technological world where information technology exacerbates the number of interruptions that occur in the work environment.A 2012 survey by McKinsey Global Institute found that the average worker spends 28% of work time managing email information overload as a potential problem in existing information systems.
5.Information Overload can lead to "information anxiety," which is the gap between the information we understand and the information that we think that we must understand. At New York's Web 2.0 Expo in 2008, Clay Shirky's speech indicated that information overload in the modern age is a consequence of a deeper problem, which he calls "filter failure" where humans continue to overshare information with each other. This is due to the rapid rise of apps and unlimited wireless access. In the modern information age, information overload is experienced as distracting and unmanageable information such as email spam, email notifications, instant messagesTweets, and Facebook updates in the context of the work environment. Social media has resulted in "social information overload," which can occur on sites like Facebook, and technology is changing to serve our social culture. As people consume increasing amounts of information in the form of news stories, e-mails, blog posts, Facebook statuses, TweetsTumblr posts and other new sources of information, they become their own editors, gatekeepers, and aggregators of information. Social media platforms create a distraction as users attention spans are challenged once they enter an online platform. One concern in this field is that massive amounts of information can be distracting and negatively impact productivity and decision-making and cognitive control. Another concern is the "contamination" of useful information with information that might not be entirely accurate (information pollution).
6.The general causes of information overload include:
·        A rapidly increasing rate of new information being produced, also known as journalism of assertion, which is a continuous news culture where there is a premium put on how quickly news can be put out; this leads to a competitive advantage in news reporting, but also affects the quality of the news stories reported.
·        The ease of duplication and transmission of data across the Internet.
·        An increase in the available channels of incoming information (e.g. telephone, e-mail, instant messagingRSS)
·        Ever-increasing amounts of historical information to dig through.
·        Contradictions and inaccuracies in available information, which is connected to misinformation.
·        A lack of a method for comparing and processing different kinds of information.
·        The pieces of information are unrelated or do not have any overall structure to reveal their relationships.

7.  E Mails:
A December 2007 New York Times blog post described E-mail as "a $650 Billion Drag on the Economy", and the New York Times reported in April 2008 that "E-MAIL has become the bane of some people's professional lives" due to information overload, In January 2011, Eve Tahmincioglu, a writer for NBC News, wrote an article titled "It's Time to Deal With That Overflowing Inbox." Compiling statistics with commentary, she reported that there were 294 billion emails sent each day in 2010, up 50 billion from 2009. The Daily Telegraph quoted Nicholas Carr, former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review and the author of The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains, as saying that email exploits a basic human instinct to search for new information, causing people to become addicted to "mindlessly pressing levers in the hope of receiving a pellet of social or intellectual nourishment". His concern is shared by Eric Schmidt, chief executive of Google, who stated that "instantaneous devices" and the abundance of information people are exposed to through e-mail and other technology-based sources could be having an impact on the thought process, obstructing deep thinking, understanding, impedes the formation of memories and makes learning more difficult. This condition of "cognitive overload" results in diminished information retaining ability and failing to connect remembrances to experiences stored in the long-term memory, leaving thoughts "thin and scattered".This is also manifest in the education process.
8.Web accuracy
In addition to e-mail, the World Wide Web has provided access to billions of pages of information. In many offices, workers are given unrestricted access to the Web, allowing them to manage their own research. The use of search engines helps users to find information quickly. However, information published online may not always be reliable, due to the lack of authority-approval or a compulsory accuracy check before publication. Internet information lacks credibility as the Web's search engines do not have the abilities to filter and manage information and misinformation.]This results in people having to cross-check what they read before using it for decision-making, which takes up more time.
Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, author of Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, argues that everyone can be a "participant" on the Internet, where they are all senders and receivers of information. On the Internet, trails of information are left behind, allowing other Internet participants to share and exchange information. Information becomes difficult to control on the Internet.
BBC reports that "every day, the information we send and receive online - whether that's checking emails or searching the internet - amount to over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data."

9.Social media
Social media is defined as different online communities with shared content Most people see information through social media in their lives as an aid to help manage their day-to-day activities and not an overload.But it adds to the information overload problem because so many individuals have access to it. It presents many different views and outlooks on subject matters so that one may have difficulty taking it all in and drawing a clear conclusion. 

10.Dealing with information overload
Based on the definition of information overload, there are two general approaches to deal with it: 1) reduce the amount of incoming information, and 2) enhance the ability to process information.
Johnson advises discipline which helps mitigate interruptions and for the elimination of push or notifications. He explains that notifications pull people's attentions away from their work and into social networks and e-mails. He also advises that people stop using their iPhones as alarm clocks which means that the phone is the first thing that people will see when they wake up leading to people checking their e-mail right away.
The use of Internet applications and add-ons such as the Inbox Pause add-on for Gmail. This add-on does not reduce the number of e-mails that people get but it pauses the inbox. Burkeman in his article talks about the feeling of being in control is the way to deal with information overload which might involve self-deception. He advises to fight irrationality with irrationality by using add-ons that allow you to pause your inbox or produce other results. Reducing large amounts of information is key.
Dealing with IO from a social network site such as Facebook, a study done by Humboldt University[41] showed some strategies that students take to try and alleviate IO while using Facebook. Some of these strategies included: Prioritizing updates from friends who were physically farther away in other countries, hiding updates from less-prioritized friends, deleting people from their friends list, narrowing the amount of personal information shared, and deactivating the Facebook account.
10.1 Forbes staff writer Laura Shin references Daniel J. Levitin's book, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, and lists the 10 tips in overcoming information overload:
1.      "Do a brain dump." This means that a person should clear their mind by writing everything down their thoughts on paper and then prioritize them into categories and determine whether the tasks can be completed.
2.    "Follow the two-minute rule." This is a technique where people time-task themselves.
3.     "Clump together similar tasks."
4.    "Don't multitask."
      5."Limit the distractions of email."
      6."Spend only as much time on decisions, tasks and activities as they are worth."
7.     "Take breaks."
8."Let yourself daydream."
9."Push Down Authority."
10.2 We need to ensure that we don’t fall victim to information overload ourselves. This can be done by using any or all of the following tactics:
·        Feel free to ignore information. That doesn’t mean ignore e-mail from your boss or your clients but do recognize you can’t consume every drop of information out there and don’t feel guilty for ignoring some (or a lot) of it.
·        Feel free to take action without all the facts. We all do this at times – ask yourself “what’s the worst that can happen?” when you realize the answer is “probably, not a lot” just take action.
·        Create an information queue and tackle it on a regular basis. Don’t feel pressured to deal with information as it arrives; put it to one side and tackle it in a quiet time of the day.
·        Filter information ruthlessly. Create filters on your e-mail box and ensure that only priority material catches your eye during the day. Use filters in your searches to reduce the amount of information you get on Google. Only deal with what is relevant and/or important.
·        Delegate information responsibilities. If you are part of a team – don’t take responsibility for knowing everything; encourage people to specialize and then rely on their understanding.
·        Learn to skim. Most information really only contains a key point or two – grab those points and move on.

11.The problem of organization
Decision makers performing complex tasks have little if any excess cognitive capacity. Narrowing one's attention as a result of the interruption is likely to result in the loss of information cues, some of which may be relevant to completing the task. Under these circumstances, performance is likely to deteriorate. As the number or intensity of the distractions/interruptions increases, the decision maker's cognitive capacity is exceeded, and performance deteriorates more severely. In addition to reducing the number of possible cues attended to, more severe distractions/interruptions may encourage decision makers to use heuristics, take shortcuts, or opt for a satisficing decision, resulting in lower decision accuracy.
Some cognitive scientists and graphic designers have emphasized the distinction between raw information and information in a form we can use in thinking. In this view, information overload may be better viewed as organization underload. That is, they suggest that the problem is not so much the volume of information but the fact that we can not discern how to use it well in the raw or biased form it is presented to us.
12.Related terms
·        The similar term information pollution was coined by Jakob Nielsen in 2003
·        The term interruption overload has begun to appear in newspapers such as the Financial Times.
·        "TL;DR" (too long; didn't read), another initialism alluding to information overload, this one normally used derisively.

        13.Continuous partial attention

·        Linda Stone, a tech writer and consultant, coined the term continuous partial attention in 1998 to describe a modern adaptive behavior of continuously dividing one's attention. Stone has clarified that continuous partial attention is not the same as multi-tasking. Where multi-tasking is driven by a conscious desire to be productive and efficient, CPA is an automatic process motivated only by "a desire to be a live node on the network"or by the willingness to connect and stay connected, scanning and optimizing opportunities, activities and contacts in an effort to not miss anything that is going on.


Ack:Wikipaedia.Authors referred



Friday, 24 July 2020

PARALYSIS BY ANALYSIS


Analysis paralysis (or paralysis by analysis) describes an individual or group process when over analyzing or overthinking a situation can cause forward motion or decision-making to become "paralyzed", meaning that no solution or course of action is decided upon. A situation may be deemed as too complicated and a decision is never made, due to the fear that a potentially larger problem may arise. A person may desire a perfect solution, but may fear making a decision that could result in error, while on the way to a better solution. Equally, a person may hold that a superior solution is a short step away, and stall in its endless pursuit, with no concept of diminishing returns.
[On the opposite end of the time spectrum is the phrase extinct by instinct, which is making a fatal decision based on hasty judgment or a gut reaction.]
Analysis paralysis is when the fear of either making an error, or foregoing a superior solution, outweighs the realistic expectation or potential value of success in a decision made in a timely manner. This imbalance results in suppressed decision-making in an unconscious effort to preserve existing options. An overload of options can overwhelm the situation and cause this "paralysis", rendering one unable to come to a conclusion. It can become a larger problem in critical situations where a decision needs to be reached, but a person is not able to provide a response fast enough, potentially causing a bigger issue than they would have, had they made a decision.
The basic idea has been expressed through narrative a number of times. In one "Aesop's fable" that is recorded even before Aesop's time, The Fox and the Cat, the fox boasts of "hundreds of ways of escaping" while the cat has "only one". When they hear the hounds approaching, the cat scampers up a tree while "the fox in his confusion was caught up by the hounds". The fable ends with the moral, "Better one safe way than a hundred on which you cannot reckon". Related concepts are expressed by the Centipede's dilemma, how unconscious activity is disrupted by conscious thought of it, and by the tale of Buridan's ass, a paradox of rational decision with equal options.
In Shakespeare's Hamlet, the main character, Prince Hamlet, is often said to have a mortal flaw of thinking too much, such that his youth and vital energy are "sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought" Neema Parvini explores some of Hamlet's key decisions in the chapter "'And Reason Panders Will': Another Look at Hamlet's Analysis Paralysis"
Voltaire popularized an old Italian proverb in French in the 1770s of which an English variant is "Perfect is the enemy of good". The meaning of "The perfect is the enemy of the good" is that one might never complete a task if one has decided not to stop until it is perfect: completing the project well is made impossible by striving to complete it perfectly.
In a paper published in 1970, based on a speech in 1969 and other works, Silver and Hecker wrote:
The Duke group has used the term "analysis-paralysis" to point out that, if we wait until we have completely answered all the questions and solved all of the problems before training the personnel we need, we will never reach a solution. The insistent demands for further study and extensive evaluation suggested by some may only be a defense by those who do not wish to change or those who fear change.
Although analysis paralysis can actually occur at any time, regarding any issue in typical conversation, it is particularly likely to occur during elevated, intellectual discussions. During such intellectual discussion, analysis paralysis involves the overanalysis of a specific issue to the point where that issue can no longer be recognized, and the subject of the conversation is lost.

Preventing and overcoming
1.Set limits
Set initial constraints (deadline, time, people, money, resources,...) to what you are willing to commit for this plan.
2.Clarify objectives and priorities
3.Remember nothing is perfect
"Recognize that the moons will never align.
4.Take small iterative steps
5.Change number of options
6.Add or remove emotion
7.Talk about it
8.Make your best decision
Ack;Wikipaedia.The authors referred above.