Friday, March 23, 2018

Power of Word in Value Based Education: Discriminating Truth from Falsehood

Honorable Prime Minister, Group Chairperson City School, dignitaries, educationists, teachers and my dear students. I thank the organizers for giving me the opportunity to speak about value based education, some thing that is near and dear to my heart. Power of Word emanates from the depth of our feelings. Words are only words unless they have conviction and heart felt emotions supporting the message. The reason why we are talking about values today is because we have lost sight of the fundamental value that used to be ingrained in the lives of the students. Some 40 years ago, all the corridors and halls of the schools in the morning would start with the reverberation of that prayer from Iqbal that outlines the purpose of life of the students: To make my life a beacon of light whose purpose is to remove the darkness from the entire world and to spread light everywhere. Somewhere along the way, we lost sight of this noble value. Our education's purpose became my personal career and prosperity for me and my family. My only objective became to have a generator that would lit my home instead of my knowledge spreading light everywhere. 

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied: Covey's First Habit Advice to Chief Justice of Pakistan

[To understand the context of this post, please read At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions]
What is the advice for Chief Justice of Pakistan(CJP) from Covey's First Habit of Highly Effective People: CJP ought to work on his circle of influence, instead of his circle of concern, by focusing on speeding up the judiciary's process of dispensation of justice. Justice delayed is justice denied. If CJP succeeds in reducing the average time of court cases, he would have effectively extended his "circle of influence" to encompass majority of zillions of issues which are currently in his "circle of concern" as shown in the figure. However, he can not extend his circle of influence without working on his circle of control i.e. session courts,  high courts and SC. Ignoring the circle of influence and control makes his attempts to address the myriad of issues in his circle of concern, resemble more like "tilting at the windmills" by Cervantes' Don Quixote [1].

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Baba Rehmatay- From Chief Justice to Chief Executive: Tilting at the Windmills?

[To understand the context of this post, please read At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions]
What is the constitutional role of CJP? To act as the Chief Justice who arbiters when there is a constitutional conflict between law passed by parliament and executive decision making, or is the CJP role to assume powers of the Chief Executive and start controlling  the executive decision making?  Given the recent intrusion into the executive policy making, Baba Rehmatay through an indiscriminate use of the the suo-motto powers, appears to be morphing from the role of Chief Justice in to the role of Chief Executive? Is CJP responsible for framing  (i) sugar policy, (ii) health policy, (iii) salt policy, (iv) education policy, (v) water policy, (vi) drugs policy, (vii) milk policy, (viii) media policy? Is CJP the framer of investigations policy, procedures and schedules for JITs, and NAB, is he the final approver of executive appointments, and determinant of hiring policy? The news reports below, quoting the remarks and observations of CJP, indicate that he is on a mission. Is the mission extending beyond the constitutional boundaries of judiciary? Ignoring the circle of influence and control over courts makes his attempts to address the myriad of issues in his circle of concern, resemble more like "tilting at the windmills" by Don Quixote as explained in
Covey's First Habit Advice to Chief Justice of Pakistan.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Metro/trains vs hospitals vs schools: Where to Allocate Meagre Resources

[To understand the context of this post, please read At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions]
Metro/trains vs hospitals vs schools vs dams vs energy vs other infrastructure projects?
Allocation of resources to infrastructure projects and measurement of their comparative benefits is a political decision and should be decided  by people not elites. Why?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sir Najmul Hasan of IBA and How to Determine the Extent of Your Success in Life

Yesterday, during my PhD class with students I was trying to explain the complexity of real world and how models (and theories) help us in making sense of this complexity by focusing on a few concepts and their relationships. The discussion moved towards perception and reality and from there to this phenomenal lesson by Najmul Hasan Sb about how to determine the extent of our success in life. Sir Najmul Hasan did his MBA from 1955-57 as part of the first batch of IBA, Karachi offering the very first MBA program outside North America in collaboration with USAID and University of Pennsylvania. He served as a faculty member of IBA from 1969 till 2006.
Sir Najmul Hasan of IBA. Photo taken for NIC card in 1972-72 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Artificial intelligence vs data science - A Parallel between Chomsky's Cognitive Science vs Skinner’s Behavioral Science

AI is facing the same challenge today from data sciences that was faced by Chomsky’s Cognitive Psychology when it confronted Skinner’s Behavioral Psychology in early 1950s. The basic issue is whether “intelligence” can simply be understood by observing the input-output relations over a black-box representation of the mind? Is the success of Google data science in predicting outputs usefully from deep statistical analysis of big-data of billions of similar input-output relations a sign of artificial intelligence? Does accuracy of proving its machine generated conjectures through big data analytics can actually replace the need of humans to do science, i.e. to develop hypothesis, design experiments, observe results and develop theories? This talk focuses on some of the questions raised by Chomsky about the recent advancements in AI and draws parallel with clash of Cognitive Psychology with the Behavioral Psychology in the 1950. This talk would illustrate through this parallel the need for AI to understand and develop the internal representations of how humans intelligence work.

Constitutional Solution to Curb Horsetrading in Pakistan

[To understand the context of this post, please read At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions]
Massive horsetrading of votes took place during Senate 2018 elections.  PTI and MQM Senate seats were lost. Do you know what were the two signals that triggered  horse trading in Senate elections 2018?

  • (1) The stringent regime of secrecy implemented by ECP signaled the voters to cross party lines without divulging their affiliations to their party heads. This led to their wholescale defections. The regime threatened action through agencies.
  • (2) Signal by DoN godfathers to declare all PMLN candidates to be independents.
Unfortunately the godfathers' calculations misfired as majority turncoats emerged from PTI. However, PMLN voters, contrary to predictions, held their grounds and retained their loyalty.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Difference between a Political Leader and an Employee

What is the difference between a leader and an employee? To become an employee you need to appear in an interview. However, unlike employees, a leader has no need to appear in a job interview or have his application processed by an HR manager. People elect the leader not some HR manager or unelected elites who want yes-men. It is election not selection. 
Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 28 years in jail as a terrorist, and yet became the leader of people immediately after his release. Infact forceful removal of a leader creates a greater attraction for him. 
Recent senate elections show that ZAB and BB are still stimulating the hearts of people decades after their killing.

Problems of Psychometric Labeling (MBTI-DISC) and Imprisoning People in Artificially Constrained Boxes

Psychometric scales in the hands of psychologists and HR professionals are playing havoc with the lives of people. They are misdiagnosing and being used for purposes that were not the objectives of their design. Use of a test to determine the current state of a person's perception and thinking is one thing and to use it for projecting and predicting the future of that person is quite another thing.

A few years ago I was introduced to MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) which consist of tests that try to fit a person in one of the sixteen boxes as shown in the diagram below. It took me several days after my first introduction with MBTI,  to understand why I felt a troubling unease with the model. MBTI idea is to help the managers identify the box in which a person belongs. He is assigned responsibilities and tasks that are only suitable for that box. Once boxed-in, the HR makes the person believe that he belongs to that box and tries to build strategies within and around that box.

MBTI Boxes in which to fit the human behavior

Friday, March 2, 2018

Smoking and Childhood

The closest I had ever come to smoking was when I was 6years old when my neighborhood friend introduced me to the dried branch of "turai" (torai,  gourd). It has perforations that allow to be lighted and smoked. Did smoke that for a few days. Got caught,  and somehow my mother logically convinced me to never go near to it again.