All posts by Jinesh Parekh

How to control a society?

How to control a society?

– Put basic human needs at threat.
– Tire them out as they try to fulfill these needs.
– Make them stupid.

1. USER EXPERIENCE CONTROL VIA CAPITALISM
The user experience of an average citizen living in a capitalist society is broken. Most working class folks are tried, deprived of sleep and sex.

If you’re not well rested, healthy or deprived of your basic human needs because of spending all your time to earn money to pay rent – your experience of human life is broken.

Promote drugs like sugar/coffee/alcohol to escape or keep up with reality.

2. KNOWLEDGE CONTROL VIA INFORMATION
If we are outputs of the information we consume and the experiences we have; I sometimes feel that we live in the age of stupid.

The information we consume junk. Distractification created by information warfare between countries and corporates – run by those who can buy the most amount of media.

7 things to do

12 things you don’t know about…

You won’t believe what this girl did in this video

Russia/ISIS/N.Korea is preparing…

Dumb f*cking content created for the sake of pageviews to sell some shitty product or propaganda.

The real information is censored or not accessible. Knowledge seekers are punished – death/prison to political bloggers and activists.

Information without credibility or quality makes us all stupid.

CONCLUSION:
The tired, the deprived and the stupid will NEVER revolt and will do as told

Introduction to Information Divide

From a philosophical point of view Data can be defined as things known or assumed as facts, making the basis of reasoning or calculation. From a computer science perspective Information by itself is nothing but data (1s and 0s) that is processed, organised, stored, or transmitted.

In communication studies, forms of information can be classified as graphical or textual information – written or verbal. Different forms of information can be transferred or communicated via mediums including (but not restricted to) television, radio, newspapers, books and the Internet.

Information communicated can be quantitatively assessed by measuring attributes such as rate of information dissemination and amount of information accessed.

Information communicated can also be qualitatively assessed when data sets contain attributes such as bias or no bias, accuracy or no inaccuracy, credibility or no credibility, complete or incomplete and censored or uncensored.

For instance, the attributes to measure quality and quantity of information disseminated or accessed via the Internet include number of cell phone towers, speed of internet, download/upload limit, number of literate users, legal restrictions on bloggers, amount of government censorship on content or blocked links and so on.

Knowledge can be created by an individual or society with quality information and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

The knowledge gap theory suggests that knowledge, like other forms of wealth, is often deferentially distributed throughout a social system (REF?). Thus the quality of information consumed by a individuals/sections in a society can also partially determine how knowledge is distributed in amidst the society.

For the purposes of this thesis; Information divide (or information poverty) can be defined as groups and individuals having inadequate and/or unequal access to the same quantity and of quality information as others.

In this research I hypothesise that an information divide can be artificially created within society when:
• information dissemination via a medium is controlled,
• medium of information access is restricted and/or
• information seeking behaviour is punished.

An in-depth historical analysis from an ‘information divide’ perspective; on how sections of societies have been divided or manipulated by controlled information systems for thousands of years of known and recorded human history across multiple different cultures – will help us gather a comprehensive understanding of how quality and quantity of information communicated affects society.

In depth research on the subject of information divide will help us understand how to break power structures, reduce wars and bridge the socio-economic gaps which are created in between sections of people where information divide exists.

Responsible design of information systems can help our society transcend towards to a knowledge-era for all instead of an information-era for a few.

Failing makes us stronger

Failures make us stronger! The new Muft

F*ck Failing.

I stood outside CST station and Railtel office for 3 months to beg for permissions to start a free WiFi zone. I think Google provides WiFi there. I failed.

I flew to New Delhi, Chennai, Raipur and Hyderabad to beg for permissions to start large scale free WiFi zones in some neighborhoods. No government support. I failed.

Our first rounds of tech trails failed miserably. I lost all my savings in prototyping. I started borrowing money from family and friends.

2015 was full of fails.

But as I look back, all these fails have helped me create something larger.

In the past few months, my goal has been to transition Muft Internet​ (from a social movement) into a solid foundation.

Today we are a functional organization with zero donations, 5 full time employees and 120+ volunteers across India.

We have over 50 WiFi zones sponsored by advertisements – at cafes, hotels, colleges, hospitals, bus stops, public transport vehicles etc. We have 15 Internet service providers who use our technology.

We have enabled free Internet access for 100,000 users so far with more users coming in every month.

We have created new educational programs to create young entrepreneurs in the WiFi/Broadband space

And what do you think new website? Would love to get some feedback.
www.muftinternet.com

I have a feeling that there’s going to be a whole of lot of winning this year!

Startup ideas that will get more than 10 million dollars of funding

Here are a few startup ideas. Pick any one from List A and Pick any one from List B.

List A
1. Uber for
2. Facebook for
3. Alibaba for
4. Tinder for
5. Goodreads for
6. Zomato for
7. Booking.com for

List B
1. Cat Owners
2. Grandparents
3. Drug Dealers and Addicts
4. Fighting ISIS
5. Celebrities
6. Assh*les and their friends
7. Teenagers with raging hormones
8. Stoners
9. Musicians and Artists
10. Hindus and Muslims

A though experiment on Information Access

Thought experiments for the intelligent ones…

Experiment A
Let’s say I take 9-11 million people with from one continent (con-A) and shift them to another continent (con-B)

In this new continent I teach them how to speak in Ubrindi. I also teach them how to clean, cook, knit, stitch and farm.

I never teach them how to write or read books in Urbindi. This continues for their children and their grand children and so on for a couple of hundred years.

Question 1: Will selective access to information for a couple hundred years; create massive gaps in socio-economic status between the two groups for centuries to follow?
____________________________________________________

Experiment B
Let’s say I go to about 40-50 countries that speak an aggregate of about 1600-2000 languages. I make up a new rule – to access any well paid job – you need read/speak/write Urbindi.

Access to decent quality education is only available in Urbinidi.

This rule continues for 200-250 years.

Question 2: Could it be possible that this preferential access to information (via the Urbinidi medium) would destroy hundreds on languages in centuries to come?
____________________________________________________

Experiment C
Let’s say I win the elections in a country called Anataria. I soon pass a law that restricts all external media – via TV, Internet, Radio etc.

Anyone who consumes news/information from sources that aren’t approved by the Government of Anataria gets arrested.

This law continues for a few decades.

Question 3: Can it be possible by imposing restriction to access information; I create a country of people completely unaware of the outside reality?
____________________________________________________

Experiment D
In the year 2050, and let’s assume everything we buy is online by then, I will go to 35 countries and allow them to download stuff but not upload.

You can download at 10MBps and upload at 24kbps.

People can watch/consume/download videos/files/etc but can upload only text – no videos, files, data etc.

Question 4: What will happen when I restrict information access in this way?
____________________________________________________

Cases A, B and C have observable data.

But what do you think will be the outcome for experiment D – and the future of these 35 countries?

Earth_Eastern_Hemisphere

Ending the 400 year old information war

For the lack of a better term, ‘Information Divide’ is a way societies have been manipulated hundreds of years – with people who had or have access to quality information versus who didn’t or don’t.

During the Atlantic slave trade era – Africans who were shipped to North America were taught how to cook, clean, farm and knit; but weren’t allowed read and write.

In the 1600s – after the printing press was invented in Europe; the monarchs controlled distribution of information via ‘The Press Act’.

During the colonialism era in India and for many countries within the African continent – information was restricted by not allowing public meetings to facilitate a revolution; and curbing freedom of press.

During the soviet and nazi era – information was only passed from a ‘need-to-know’ basis and the general public was usually unaware of what’s going on because of government restricted/controlled media.

China and Pakistan still block youtube. Indian government indulges in censorships too.

Curbing information access and punishing information seeking behavior has created massive socio-economic gaps in society.

When we fast forward to the age of the Internet and the idea of an open and neutral Internet; revolutionary movements have been possible in countries like Tunisia. This was possible because of an open Internet. If at that moment, social media sites were blocked or extra-ordinarily expensive or slow for the general public to access – the outcome of the country wouldn’t be the same as we see today.

Bridging the digital divide (with an open and neutral Internet) and creating digital literacy programs is arguably one of the best way to support information seeking behavior as we know it.

With an open Internet we have had new opportunities to bridge information gap around the world. Millions of online courses are now possible because universities (and organizations) started posting their course contents online.

At present both these topics, net neutrality and digital divide, are looked at with a separate lens. Whilst in-fact, both these issues are deeply interlinked in our political, social and technical debates/solutions on these topics.

Introducing a design perspective through this research would club these issues into an ‘information divide’ debate.

By understanding the affordances (or restrictions) caused by non-neutral networks – our technologists, educators and lawmakers can better predict effects and design solutions to bridge information poverty.

‘Responsible design’ of the Internet can help our society transcend towards to a knowledge era for all instead of an information (or restricted information) era for a few.

Meghalaya – 7 to 8 days route – Travel Plan

The 7-8 days Meghalaya travel plan.

Click on this image to
Click on this image to open in google maps

The key places to see in Meghalaya are as follows:

We start our journey at Shillong…

Shillong

and then have an overnight trip to Umiam Lake

Umiam Lake

Return to Shillong and move towards Cherrapunjee for an overnight stay

Cherrapunjee

Travel to Nohkalikai Falls and camp

Nohkalikai Falls

Leave towards Garo Hills. Long journey. Stay 2 nights

Garo Hills

Trek towards Tura

Tura

Bus/Car to Balpakaram Park. Stay over night

Balpakram Park

… And back to Shillong!

Total Distance: 800+ Km

Budget: Rs. 1000 to Rs. 1500 per day

Mode of Transport: Local buses and cab sharing

The doors of #Kutch – Pictures taken 13 years after the earthquake!

I recently went to visit my grandmother in Kutch. It’s a beautiful and place with kind, hospitable, sweet (and talkative) folks! Kutch has a rich history and your can read about it on wikipedia. Here’s a short summary:

The Kutch (Gujarati: કચ્છ, Sindhi: ڪڇ) a 45,652 km² district in Gujarat is almost the same size as the country of Estonia.

Kutch literally means something which intermittently becomes wet and dry. Kutch is virtually an island, as it is surrounded by the Arabian Sea in the west; the Gulf of Kutch in south and southeast and Rann of Kutch in north and northeast. The border with Pakistan lies along the northern edge of the Rann of Kutch, of the disputed Kori Creek.

The language spoken predominantly in Kutch is Kutchi language, a slightly varied dialect of standard Sindhi, to a lesser extent Gujarati, and Hindi. The script of the Kutchi language has become extinct. It is now mainly written in the Gujarati script.

Kutch district is inhabited by various groups and communities. Many of these have reached this region after centuries of migration from neighbouring regions of Marwar (Western Rajasthan), Sindh, Afghanistan and further. Even today, one can find various nomadic, semi nomadic and artisan groups living in Kutch. Ahirs lives a comparatively large group in Kutch.

A large part of the growth of Kutch came after intense development by the state government as part of 2001 earthquake relief. A few momentos that survived the quake and the rapid development still stands today. I took some pictures of the same.

Doors of Kutch (2) Doors of Kutch (4) Doors of Kutch (5) Doors of Kutch (8) Doors of Kutch (9) Doors of Kutch (10) Doors of Kutch (11) Doors of Kutch (12) Doors of Kutch (13)

Muft Internet: Case Study for Human Centred Computing and Sociotechnical Systems

Relationship between Human Centred Computing and Sociotechnical Systems

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Why would the system be used?

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Why does s/he engage in the activity?

Muft Internet: Case Study for Human Centred Computing and Sociotechnical Systems

What is Human Centred Computing?

Human-centered computing (HCC) is emerged from the convergence of multiple disciplines that are concerned both with understanding human beings and with the design of computational systems or artifacts. Human-centered computing is closely related to human-computer interaction and information science. Human-centered computing is usually concerned with systems and practices of technology use while human-computer interaction is more focused on ergonomics and the usability of computing artifacts and information science is focused on practices surrounding the collection, manipulation, and use of information.

Human-centered computing researchers and practitioners usually come from one or more of disciplines such as computer science, human factors, sociology, psychology, cognitive science, anthropology, communication studies, graphic design and industrial design. Some researchers focus on understanding humans, both as individuals and in social groups, by focusing on the ways that human beings adopt and organize their lives around computational technologies. Others focus on designing and developing new computational artifacts.

What are Sociotechnical Systems?

Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development is an approach to complex organizational work design that recognizes the interaction between people and technology in workplaces. The term also refers to the interaction between society’s complex infrastructures and human behaviour. In this sense, society itself, and most of its substructures, are complex sociotechnical systems. Sociotechnical systems pertains to theory regarding the social aspects of people and society and technical aspects of organizational structure and processes. Here, technical does not necessarily imply material technology.