Friday, 14 December 2018

Why privacy matters even if you have nothing to hide


Before I begin:


"Knowledge Is Power"

Lemme tell you this, data - it's a very powerful asset. More valuable than gold, more valuable Bitcoin. It will keep getting powerful and in a time when AI is more skilled than you, the only valuable asset you'll have is your data, which you signed up to give up when you checked on "terms and conditions".

Imagine this reality:


You leave your home and as soon as you leave, a person who's looking at you logs that activity in his diary. That person is looking at where you're going, what you're doing, what you're reading, what your views on a topic are, know your political views, know who you fancy and has the ability to control what you see. This is what we're living in.


Have you played Assassin's Creed Black Flag? In that game the Assassin's and Templars fight for an artifact that allows them to see what every single person in this world is doing. They envy that shear power. Imagine a power to not just see everything everyone are doing but also control what they see and do.


Some less known facts said by Edward Snowden 


“Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”
Edward Snowden 
Edward Snowden has talked about how NSA employees would just type in your name and have all the information about you and your connections. That nude you send to your boyfriend/girlfriend? If the employees like that nude, they'll show that to everyone in the office and share that photo to themselves for personal use. Would you be fine by that? Do you want your nudes to be shared and talked about in a bunch of people? A lot of NSA employees use tools like xKeyScore to spy on their loved ones.

The following is a list of why privacy matters that most articles don't write about:

#1 - AI will be very powerful in future and only the people with big datasets can build and control them


Facebook's news feed is an AI. This newsfeed has the power to control mindsets. Have you heard of Google Duplex? Its a pretty neat AI and when it came out, I was curious how it works and I reliased that its fairly simple, but do you why only Google made this? Because they had the data (also they're super smart people).

AI can be used to build powerful world scale propaganda machines. A lot of why AI is booming these days is because of a certain mathematical model called a deep neural network, but these neural networks are completely useless if you don't have the data to train them on. If only a few companies have that data, only a few will have AI. And I can assure you a monopoly on Artificial Intelligence cannot work out well for everyone.


#2 - Whistle blowing will be impossible


Data can be used to build powerful predictive models. And I mean it, really powerful. We vilanize corporations about data privacy but the real threat is the government. With data, a good enough model and computational power, governments can predict every single prominent activity that happens. Don't believe me? NYPD already uses data to predict where and when a crime would happen before it even happens. Ofcourse, they're doing good things so what's the problem? The problem is you cannot grant a single authority that much power and expect them to do only do good things with it. What even is good? There are 7.3 Billion people on this planet and there is no way we're all going to agree on anything. Who decides whats allowed and whats not?

When Edward Snowden decided to whistleblow the NSA, he did a lot of activities to gather documents and proofs to support his findings. Do you think the NSA would've done nothing if they had known (i.e their model predicted) that, this employee is going to whistle blow? Sure not. They would've stop him before he could do anything about it.

This authoritarian, mass surveillanced world is what Internet of Things is going towards. Authorities like the government can do whatever bad they want and have the power to stop anyone who decides to talk about that. If you think that would never happen, lemme remind you that technology has had a good track record of doing things people thought to be impossible.


#3 - We act different when we're being watched


“Under observation, we act less free, which means we effectively are less free.”
Edward Snowden

People act differently when they're being watched. You would be creeped out if there was a physical person spying on you all the time. This is just creepy. Privacy is a right and should be respected. Don't insult it by saying you don't have anything to hide.

“Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”
Edward Snowden

#4 - Its not just about preventing terrorism, its about power


"These programs were never about terrorism: they're about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They're about power." - Edward Snowden

Power spoils the best in us. Its true, mass surveillence helps prevent crimes, but fucking over everyone else's privacy is a trade off way more dangerous than any terrorist organisation.

We shouldn't be focusing on limiting what people can do but focus on creating better people.


I hope you reconsider your views on privacy after reading this. If yes, these are some ways to protect your privacy:

Some ways to protect your privacy:


The best way is to switch to open-source alternatives. Open-source and peer2peer technologies are the only ones you can trust.


#1 - Switch to Linux

Linux is an open-source operating system. It easier than windows to install and, quite honestly, better than windows and mac. If you're a gamer, Valve has been working very hard to support linux with AAA gaming titles and the list keep growing but if you're not a gamer, look no more, linux is what you should use.


#2 - Messaging App

Do you use facebook messanger? My condolences. If you use WhatsApp you're on a better position since all your texts are end-to-end encrypted but I should tell you that Facebook still uses your meta data. Facebook has planned to inject ads on WhatsApp stories from 2019 and ads aren't just images, they're scripts, scripts that track you. I don't trust facebook at all so the best messaging app would be Signal. Signal is an open-source privacy texting app founded by the founder of WhatsApp after he regreted selling out his user's privacy to facebook. So yeah, use Signal.


#3 - Mobile Phones

Our phones are the primary source of our data because they're always with us. There's not much you can do without getting your hands dirty with some technical stuff. The best alternative would be to switch to LineageOS (only for Android) but that would not be easy since you would lose some great features like Samsung or Google camera. So its better to just root you phone and remove bloatware that spy on you (Jail Break for iOS).


#4 - Social Media

There's not much you can do, but don't use facebook. There's been some decentralized alternatives but I wouldn't recommend them. If you use social media for memes, switch to something like Reddit. Reddit isn't privacy centric but it atleast gives you more control over your data.


#5 - Payment

This one isn't easy. You can choose to use cash but our economy is moving towards being a cash-less so it's better to use a cryptocurrency like Monero XMR or Zcash. You can use Bitcoin, but its not very good at privacy. You use certain privacy wallets like Samourai wallet which is what I use for my Bitcoins. Using cryptocurrencies isn't easy cause they haven't gone though massive adoption but maybe its good time that they do?


#6 - Configure privacy settings of all services you use

Change Google's privacy services to collect data about you. This won't stop Google completely but its better than giving out everything. Do this to every service you use, twitter, instagram, reddit all of them.


#7 - Don't use Chrome

Chrome analyses every website you visit and is a complete privacy disaster. Switch to Tor browser but if you're not ready for that commitment, switch to firefox instead.


#8 - Change certain browser settings

  • Enable "Do Not Track" in your browser settings
  • Do not grant websites permission to read all your cookies


#8 - Educate everyone else about this. Vote for privacy laws, even from the government


Yeah, do that.

Tags: privacy, freedom, freedom of speech, data, spying, bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, nsa, security, edward snowden, ai, artificial intelligence, big data

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Why cryptocurrencies should be adopted

"It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." - Henry Ford.

In the early stages of trade, gold was the standard. Gold was limited, therefore, it couldn't be inflated, but it also couldn't be regulated. So the government created its own currency and asked people to use their currency instead of gold. The money you and I use is fiat.

The central banks controls all of it. They have the ability to manipulate your purchasing power. While we work all day to earn our wager, the central banks just print more money and thus reduces our money's value.

What do you think happens when you ask for a loan from a bank?

The bank doesn't gives you loan from from other people deposited money. They just create it. You need money? Let me create some more and give to you as loan with interest. Result? - It inflates the currency, thus reduces your purchasing power.

All the power is centralised to a few. The Great Depression and The Great Recession happened because these people in power (central banks officials) manipulated with their currency.

History has shown that these centrailsed authorities have occasionally breached out trust.

The fiat currency system we have is a broken and flawed system with too much power in the hands of few.

The solution? *drum rolls* -  CryptoCurrencies

Currencies like Bitcoin and Altcoins have certain properties which make them worth replacing the fiat system:

  • Decentralized - Run BY the community that uses it.
  • limited supply - Cannot be inflated.
  • Secured by the beautiful and powerful math of cryptography - Practically un-hackable.
  • Completely public - No corruption (and we think why govts don't like crypto).
  • Trust-less.
Crypto has some problems as well. Since it doesn't has any intrinsic value (we gave it value because we wanted to), volatility is big problem. Though as crypto gets adopted, volatility would decrease.

Energy usage is also a problem though I think proof of stake and hash-rate dependent difficulty for miners could greatly optimize the process.

Crypto brings back the goldness back to trade (quite literally). Crypto has the trade properties gold AND has all the benefits of modern money exchange like:

No one could have transferred gold from one country to another within minutes. But you can do that with crpto-currencies which have the properties of gold.

No authority could just come up and say some notes are illegal (*looks at BJP*). Crypto couldn't even be banned. Unlike Gold, you couldn't just take away their asset. What does it mean to posses Bitcoin? It just means I "know" private key to a Bitcoin wallet. That's it. The wallet doesn't even exists. It's balance is calculated from the blockchain that no one can tamper or shut-down.

Crytocurrencies bring power BACK to the people. It distributes power. It's the true currency of a democracy.

How Central Banks work :
How Bitcoin works :

Note - I'm not saying Bitcoin is the solution. I'm saying decentralised cryptocurrencies are the solution.

Tags : bitcoin, crypto, cryptocurrency, virtual currencies, crypto currencies, banks, money, fuck you rbi, math, blockchain

Friday, 22 September 2017

Automation will take all our jobs - can we avoid that?

With the recent advancements in deep learning and neural networks machines have started to reach intellectual level that have never been seen before. With that companies and has started to use automated machines instead of human employees to do their jobs cause, you know, machines are better and don't need to be paid.

"Its not 'good' that always wins, its economics." - Parmu

If this keeps on going there would be no jobs left for us! so what do we do? We could implement universal basic income in our economical systems but that is something I'm wouldn't really recommend cause if that happens, we all might become a bunch of idiots after few generations. Our complete dependency on automation mean we ourselves don't need any skill set, so we wouldn't learn them anyway.

The reason why our generations (millennium and post millennium) are so educated and are the most scientifically literate generation is not because we had some inherit curiosity. Most people take up science because it gets you a job.

So if there's no jobs left and you get paid by universal basic income then why even study anything?

This is the reason why I'm deeply worried about universal basic income.

This is what I suggest:

The reason we're unemployable is because we're weaker than machines. Our rate of improvement is way less than machines.

But what if we engineer ourselves?

Yes. I'm talking about gene editing with CRISPR/CAS9. Its hard to improve with purely natural evolution. Why not just edit our genes to be better? This way we could again be better than machines,

Ps - Elon musk's startup, Neuralink also seems a very plausible alternative to gene editing.

Tags: automation, jobs, universal basic income, elon musk, neuralink, neural nets, machine learning, deep learning, artificial intelligence,


Friday, 2 June 2017

Sciexpel - Science experiments channel!

Hey people! I've got something different today. My friend, Apurva and I are science lovers. We love doing science experiments and argue about our Universe. My friends recently launched his YouTube channel which is all about crazy science experiments we all love!

Check out his channel at: Sciexpel

These are some of his awesome videos worth checking out:

Potassium Permanganate and Glycerin | Thermite fire | Smoking a bottle:

Two simple and useful LIFE HACKS you need to know:

Go check out his channel!


Thursday, 1 June 2017

CPU/GPU temps of your PC depends on your surface

So I've had a lenovo Y50 for about an year and I realized that I've been having really high cpu/gpu temps (thermal throttling). I decided to repaste it with arctic silver 5 and it worked flawlessly. All was good until yesterday I was playing some Rainbow 6 siege with my friends and my temps got high again!  My gpu was reaching 93 degs and was throttling! I thought it hasn't even been a week since I reapplied tp and the problem is back again. So the next day (today) I saw my temps were good again but this time I was in an AC room and was on a different surface. So I performed an experiment to figure out what the matter was:

Stress test were done using Furmark. I only noted gpu temps but cpu temps were affected in the same way.

Test 1:

Some sort of study table to use on bed

Ambient: 27 degs
GPU temps: 79 degs

Test 2:
Dining room's main table with plastic cover on
Ambient: 32 degs
GPU temps: 93 degs (Thermal throttles here. That's where I was playing R6S)

After reaching 93 degs I, for some reason, lifted my laptop. This made my temps to rush down to 82 degs. That's when I figured out there's not much to do with ambient temps and made me conduct this experiment.

Test 3:
A light plastic table
Ambient: 32degs
GPU temps: 82 degs

That's where I suspected that it's not my laptop's ventilation but the surface.

Test 4:

A table with glass base covered with some cloth and that same plastic cover as test 2
Ambient: 32 degs
GPU temps: 93 degs (Throttled again)

Now I was certain that its the plastic cover which made temps go so high.

Test 5:
Same table as test 2 but without that plastic cover
Ambient: 32 degs
GPU temps: 77 degs

Conclusion: Keeping your laptop on a table with that type of plastic cover somehow 'chokes?' the vents and makes your temps skyrocket. So, don't keep your laptop on them.

I still don't know why this happens. If you know why this happens then please comment that below.

Lets discuss below!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Argument: Consciousness as an abstract concept

Everything in our Universe (in principle) is explainable from the standard model of particles. The key to understand anything is to first understand the laws of nature.

So, If I were to move each of your body's atom one by one from one place to another but keep their arrangement same, would the new set be you? The answer is yes. But where was consciousness? I just placed all your atoms from one location to another. At what point was I  transferring consciousness? My answer: Conscious isn't a 'thing'. Its an abstraction that emerged from that arrangement of atoms.

What are you made up of? Cells. What are cells made of? Atoms.

When a bunch of conscious microbes get together to form a 'being'. They form a new level of consciousness. That being is a human.

But what if bunch of humans get together? They form a society. This society is made up of conscious beings we call humans. So I ask: Is the society conscious? Its completely consistent to consider a society as a being. Just like humans interact with each other, societies can interact with each other. They have different mechanisms to do what they do.

We keep listening, "USA did this" "China did this" "India did this" "Google did this". How could a nation (say usa) do something if its not conscious? You may argue its not the nation thats conscious, its it's constituents: Humans. Humans are conscious therefore it makes an illusion that nations are conscious. But what if I go even deeper and say "Humans seems conscious because their constituents are conscious. Well what are they? Microbes. Cells. They make us conscious".

Our brains are nothing more than a bunch of neurons. These neurons interact with each other. They have their mechanisms. We have ours.

The answer is all those levels are conscious. You are conscious because your constituents are conscious. Your consciousness is definitely more complex than a lower level consciousness. You can do more than bacteria. A society can do more than you.

A level 0 consciousness are the laws of nature.

Lets discuss below!

Tags: philosophy, meta physics, consciousness, abstract concept, reality

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

A Thought Experiment Regarding the Existence of Time

Some people propose that the notion of time is completely psychological and is not intrinsic to the Universe. While others say it is intrinsic to the Universe. I'm on no ones side. But I've come up with a thought experiment that might be useful.

It goes like this:

If we simulate the laws of physics and the Universe from the big bang on a very powerful computer with certain initial conditions. According to current laws of physics it would it take  years for this universe to die and another to born. Now, how much time would the computer simulation take?

Since it is an imaginary computer with such power that it takes no time in performing astronomically complex calculations. Shouldn't it complete all tasks in ZERO time? That universe will die in no time.

A program like this would terminate in no time:

This program will terminate in no time. The only time it takes is the for the processor to perform calculations, Which for our imaginary computer takes no time.

When programmers come across these problems they add another line to pause the program at every iteration to dumb down the flow to the level of 'human perception'.

A delay is called to pause the program for given milliseconds. This program will now wait for 1 second at every iteration.

Now the point is: Does the Universe have this delay() intrinsically? or is it intrinsic to human perception only?

Lets discuss below!

tags; philosophy, time, existence of time, thought experiment, universe simulation