The overlay bias

I'm not very fond of some highly popular pieces of writing (I won't name them because I'm nervous about backlash from authors and/or their supporters) because a part of their popularity is undeniably rooted in technological 'solutions' that asymmetrically promote work published in the solution's country of origin. My favourite example is Pocket, the app…

Injustice ex machina

There are some things I think about but struggle to articulate, especially in the heat of an argument with a friend. Cory Doctorow succinctly captures one such idea here: Empiricism-washing is the top ideological dirty trick of technocrats everywhere: they assert that the data “doesn’t lie,” and thus all policy prescriptions based on data can…

DotA redux – AI loses

A video screenshot showing the heroes wielded by OpenAI Five against paiN Gaming. Source: OpenAI

What happened An artificially intelligent (AI) gaming system built by a company co-led by Elon Musk took on some of the best human players at a game more complex than chess or Go last week – and lost. AI losing is not something you hear about in the media often because it doesn't lend itself…

View from the beanstalk

In early 2015, I developed an unlikely hobby: tinkering around with hosting solutions on the web, specifically providers of infrastructure as a service (IaaS). It's unlikely because it's not something I consciously inculcated; it just happened. Three years later, this hobby has morphed into a techno-garden of obsessions that I tend to on the side, in…

On that Poynter debate about stock images and ethical visual journalism

Response to Mark Johnson, Article about free images 'contradicts everything I hold true about journalism', Poynter, February 9, 2018. ∞ Let's get the caveats out of the way: The article to which Johnson is responding did get some of its messaging wrong. As Johnson wrote, it suggested the following: "We don't think about visuals BUT visuals are…

Eroding the dignity of Jayalalithaa’s memories

On December 20, P. Vetrivel, a former MLA and member of the AIADMK party, convened a press meet and released a 20-second video clip purportedly showing former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa lying on a hospital bed shortly before she died on December 5, 2016. Since that day, the affairs of the AIADMK have…

Eroding the dignity of Jayalalithaa's memories

On December 20, P. Vetrivel, a former MLA and member of the AIADMK party, convened a press meet and released a 20-second video clip purportedly showing former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa lying on a hospital bed shortly before she died on December 5, 2016. Since that day, the affairs of the AIADMK have…

A close encounter with the first kind: the obnoxious thieves of good journalism

A Huffington Post article purportedly published by the US bureau has flicked two quotes from a story first published by The Wire, on the influenza epidemics ravaging India. The story's original author and its editor (me) reached out to HuffPo India folks via Twitter to get them to attribute The Wire for both quotes –…

ASI’s note to Financial Exp. over eclipse article is naïve

The public outreach arm of the Astronomical Society of India has written to the Financial Express expressing concern over their August 7 article, which advised people to fast during a lunar eclipse. The ASI called the article "anti-science", requested that FE print a clarification and finally give them room to write an article about the…

ASI's note to Financial Exp. over eclipse article is naïve

The public outreach arm of the Astronomical Society of India has written to the Financial Express expressing concern over their August 7 article, which advised people to fast during a lunar eclipse. The ASI called the article "anti-science", requested that FE print a clarification and finally give them room to write an article about the…