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Mdeii Life - Anand Krishnamoorthi's blog

Monday, March 30, 2009

Privacy, innovation, the credit crunch, and free-speech, via Hirschman

Chandrachoodan has has speculated that the clamour for privacy stifles innovation in web companies.

In many respects I agree with him that as a voluntary subscriber of a service, one does tacitly agree to the potential risks that come with an innovative product. What if they steal my credit card number? What if they know how large my penis is? Well, bulk ordering condoms online does have such risks attached, but it is so much more convenient no? And who ever asked these people to buy those houses?

Yet, there are certain things in his argument that don't cut it for me; and C being the nice chap he is had a brisk chat with me this morning so that I could clarify my arguments and write this here.

His primary case is for hitherto undiscovered and gloriously beneficial uses of mined data. Now come on, what if there is conclusive proof that those whose visits to the Savita Bhabhi website consistently lasts more than 7.5 minutes everyday have erectile dysfunction? A strategically placed advertisement could save many relationships.

Granted, mindless activism stifles innovation in the name of keeping the best interests of the consumer in mind. But dear Chandru comes up with an equally audacious Orwellian claim to highlight his point: "information about you is essential to safeguard you".

For being respectable proud Capitalists, we tend to be extremely vary of any and every Commie trick.


The market is self correcting, the market is perfect, and the market is good... and that is where we fuck up. For all this to be true, one needs to do two things: have a defined idea of what 'the market' is, and believe that optimum solutions are best solutions. i.e. make a value judgement (always positive in case of Capitalists and negative if your persuasion is Commie) of the 'market product'.

In my continually evolving understanding, neither does the 'market' exist with finite definition, nor is it wise to call it 'good' (or bad). Any high-school nerd who reads Shaiva siddhantha via popular quantum mechanics will tell you that what we desire to understand just is... neither wave not particle. Well, the market is a process, an emergent process, and like the Shiva lingam... just is!

So to attribute values to the outcome of a market process is dubious, more dubious is to assume positive externalities and enforce our limited understanding of the Market/Shivam to define and conserve it.

As a result we believe that "information about you is essential to safeguard you". Why not? We did tell that guy who saw his bank taking up them securitized mortgages, "What on earth you complainin' about, you risk-averse commie nitwit? Don't you know this is the Market? If we sell a duff product, it is rejected. Plus look at what the credit agencies are saying?"

Albert O Hirschman spoke about ‘exit’ and ‘voice’. Basically, as a consumer when you have the option to exit you do. When you have the option to voice, likewise. When exiting is difficult you voice, and when voicing is difficult you bloody well try and exit.

In politics we call ‘voice’ free-speech. And that is because not all nations have open borders that somehow glorious market competition and consumer ‘exit’ will ensure freedom and justice. Unqualified free-speech is essential in the absence/limits of exit (or entry) options.

Therefore, dissent is very much part of that emergent market process. If we think that dissent kills innovation, we must also remember that if there is money to be made of an innovative product, at-least the next bloody inventor will tailor his product to minimise consumer resistance or opposition. Therefore you have innovation as well as safeguards. And products evolve until we get extremely interesting things such as securitized mortgages. This belated, and therefore harder market correction is going to make that innovative product just that bit better.

So it is not just wonky incentives, and copy-cat mentality that perpetuates stupid and risky products or web services. It is also the really dim understanding that Shivaroopam is Shivam. That if it looks like the Market, it is perfect and needs no correction. The Commie cannot kill Capitalism, but can surely thrive on its carcass! As a result you have more regulation, less innovation, and are well on your way on the road to serfdom.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fundae putting and news roundup

Q: What do we usually say when we sign off?
Ans: Tata

Q: What does Mork say when he signs off?
Ans: Nano Nano!

See, we are getting somewhere on this already. But wait, not yet done.

Q: What does Mork mean in Rhyming Slang?
Ans: Windy

Q: What is name of the wind god?
Ans: Vaayu

Stay with me... this is taking us somewhere proper.

Q: What is the name of Vaayu's son?
Ans: Hanuman

So there! That is Tata already telling Maruti, "Who's your daddy? I'm your daddy!"

Q: But who is the real father of Maruti?
Ans: Sanjay Gandhi

Which makes Varun Gandhi the half-brother of Hanuman, (who headed the "Ram Sena"). See... now that explains why Varun hates muslims. But hang on, there is more.

Q: Who else might be violating the model code of conduct, and why?
Ans: Tata, by releasing Nano (linkthanks Ravikiran)

Q: What else got Tata'd and Nano Nano'd out of India this week?
Ans: IPL

Objection milaad! எதிர் தரப்பு வக்கீல் சம்பந்தம் இல்லாத கேள்விகளை எழுப்பி சாட்சியை குழப்புகிறார். IPLக்கும் Model Codeக்கும் என்ன சம்பந்தம்?
சம்பந்தம் இருக்கு yuvar aaner!
Objection overruled. You may proceed!

Q: Who heads the IPL?
Ans: Modi

Q: What is common between hating muslims, Tata Nano, and the name of the IPL boss?
Ans: Modi

Wait a minute, that is cleverly avoiding first names...

Q: Would anything that points to a Modi success be construed as violating the model code?
Ans: Maybe

But that is a different Modi...

Q: Where is the IPL being moved to?
Ans: South Africa

Q: Who got Tata'd and Nano Nano'd out of South Africa this week?
Ans: The Dalai Lama

Q: Who else got Tata's and Nano Nano'd in South Africa in 1893?
Ans: Gandhi

Q: Who did not do Tata or Nano Nano to Dalai Lama in 1959?
Ans: Nehru

Q: What is the Nehru family called now?
Ans: Gandhi

Q: What is common between Modi and Gandhi?
Ans: There are two different Modis, and there were two different Gandhis, but all four are Gujjew names

Q: Talking about names, what is the Nano being called?
Ans: The people's car among other things

Q: Who else called what else the people's car?
Ans: (Answer hidden due to violation of Godwin's law)

Q: Who else hates the Dalai Lama?
Ans: The people's republic

Q: The Nano was originally supposed to be manufactured in?
Ans: The people's state of West Bengal

Q: What is the state of the people of West Bengal?
Ans: Pathetic (among other Ps)

Q: Does West Bengal have an IPL team?
Ans: The Kolkata Knight Riders

Q: Do the Gujjews have an IPL team?
Ans: The Baroda Bombers... no, they do not exist

Hmm, I see a pattern here. Having an IPL team means not having a car factory...

Q: Who co-owns the Kolkata Knight Riders?
Ans: Chawla

Q: What is the name of the election commissioner?
Ans: Chawla

Q: Who likes Chawla as election commissioner?
Ans: The people's daily of Chennai

Q: Which other Tam has a spat with the IPL?
Ans: Chidambaram

Q: Which other comedian is as irritating as Chidambaram?
Ans: Robin Williams

Q: Is Chawla a Gujjew name?
Ans: No, it is a Punjew name

Q: Do the Muslims hate the Jews?
Ans: Maybe

Q: Which Indian leader is compared to the most famous Jew hater of them all?
Ans: Boderline Godwin's law violation, but Modi

But wait, if Modi hates Muslims, and Hitler hated Jews, and Muslims hate Jews, does Modi hate Hitler?

It gets more complicated... If China hates the Dalai Lama and West Bengal loves China, but West Bengal lost Nano to Modi, and Hitler hated the Communists... do the the Communists hate Robin Williams?

If N Ram loves Chawla, but hates the Dalai Lama, do the Kolkata Knight Riders love South Africa?

If Chidambaram hates Modi, and Modi moves IPL, and Tata moves Nano factory, do the Punjews love Gandhi?

If there are two Modis, two Gandhis and two Chawlas, does this explain the name of Varun's book of poems?

As you can see, everything is connected... and as you ponder the profundity... it is time for me to say tata, nano nano!

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