November 23, 2019

Artificial Intelligence Prediction and Counterterrorism

9 August 2019

The use of AI in counterterrorism is not inherently wrong, and this paper suggests some necessary conditions for legitimate use of AI as part of a predictive approach to counterterrorism on the part of liberal democratic states.

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Kathleen McKendrick

British Army Officer, Former Visiting Research Fellow at Chatham House

Surveillance cameras manufactured by Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. at a testing station near the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China. Photo: Getty Images


The use of predictive artificial intelligence (AI) in countering terrorism is often assumed to have a deleterious effect on human rights, generating spectres of ‘pre-crime’ punishment and surveillance states. However, the well-regulated use of new capabilities may enhance states’ abilities to protect citizens’ right to life, while at the same time improving adherence to principles intended to protect other human rights, such as transparency, proportionality and freedom from unfair discrimination. The same regulatory framework could also contribute to safeguarding against broader misuse of related technologies.

Most states focus on preventing terrorist attacks, rather than reacting to them. As such, prediction is already central to effective counterterrorism. AI allows higher volumes of data to be analysed, and may perceive patterns in those data that would, for reasons of both volume and dimensionality, otherwise be beyond the capacity of human interpretation. The impact of this is that traditional methods of investigation that work outwards from known suspects may be supplemented by methods that analyse the activity of a broad section of an entire population to identify previously unknown threats.

Developments in AI have amplified the ability to conduct surveillance without being constrained by resources. Facial recognition technology, for instance, may enable the complete automation of surveillance using CCTV in public places in the near future.The current way predictive AI capabilities are used presents a number of interrelated problems from both a human rights and a practical perspective. Where limitations and regulations do exist, they may have the effect of curtailing the utility of approaches that apply AI, while not necessarily safeguarding human rights to an adequate extent.The infringement of privacy associated with the automated analysis of certain types of public data is not wrong in principle, but the analysis must be conducted within a robust legal and policy framework that places sensible limitations on interventions based on its results.In future, broader access to less intrusive aspects of public data, direct regulation of how those data are used – including oversight of activities by private-sector actors – and the imposition of technical as well as regulatory safeguards may improve both operational performance and compliance with human rights legislation. It is important that any such measures proceed in a manner that is sensitive to the impact on other rights such as freedom of expression, and freedom of association and assembly.

November 20, 2019

Psychologists Explain How To Stop Overthinking Everything

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Overthinking can lead to serious emotional distress and increase your risk of mental health problems

Thomas Oppong

Nov 16 · 6 min read

Thinking about something in endless circles — is exhausting.

While everyone overthinks a few things once in a while, chronic over-thinkers spend most of their waking time ruminating, which puts pressure on themselves. They then mistake that pressure to be stress.

“There are people who have levels of overthinking that are just pathological,” says clinical psychologist Catherine Pittman, an associate professor in the psychology department at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana.

“But the average person also just tends to overthink things.” Pittman is also the author of “Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry.”

Overthinking can take many forms: endlessly deliberating when making a decision (and then questioning the decision), attempting to read minds, trying to predict the future, reading into the smallest of details, etc.

People who overthink consistently run commentaries in their heads, criticising and picking apart what they said and did yesterday, terrified that they look bad — and fretting about a terrible future that might await them

‘What ifs’ and ‘shoulds’ dominate their thinking, as if an invisible jury is sitting in judgement on their lives. And they also agonise over what to post online because they are deeply concerned about how other people will interpret their posts and updates.

They don’t sleep well because ruminating and worrying keep them awake at night. “Ruminators repetitively go over events, asking big questions: Why did that happen? What does it mean?” adds Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, the chair of the department of psychology at Yale University and the author of Women Who Think Too Much: How to Break Free of Overthinking and Reclaim Your Life. “But they never find any answers.”

If you consistently focus on ruminating and make it a habit, it becomes a loop, And the more you do it, the harder it is to stop. Clinical psychologist Helen Odessky, Psy. D., shares some insight. “So often people confuse overthinking with problem-solving,” says Odessky, the author of “Stop Anxiety from Stopping You.” “But what ends up happening is we just sort of go in a loop,” Odessky says. “We’re not really solving a problem.”

Overthinking is destructive and mentally draining. It can make you feel like you’re stuck in one place, and if you don’t act, it can greatly impact on your day-to-day life. It can quickly put your health and total well-being at risk. Rumination makes you more susceptible to depression and anxiety.

Many people overthink because they are scared of the future, and what could potentially go wrong. “Because we feel vulnerable about the future, we keep trying to solve problems in our head,” says David Carbonell, a clinical psychologist and author of “The Worry Trick: How Your Brain Tricks You into Expecting the Worst and What You Can Do About It.”

Extreme overthinking can easily sap your sense of control over your life. It robs us of active participation in everything around us.

“Chronic worriers show an increased incidence of coronary problems and suppressed immune functioning. Dwelling on the past or the future also takes us away from the present, rendering us unable to complete the work currently on our plates. If you ask ruminators how they are feeling, none will say “happy.” Most feel miserable,” says Nicholas Petrie, a senior faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership.

Overthinking can trap the brain in a worry cycle. When ruminating become as natural as breathing, you need to quickly deal with it and find a solution to it.

“When an unpleasant event puts us in a despondent mood, it’s easier to recall other times when we’ve felt terrible. That can set the stage for a ruminator to work herself into a downward spiral,” writes Amy Maclin of Real Simple.

How to defeat this pattern of thinking and win your life back

Chronic worrying is not permanent. It’s a mental habit that can be broken. You can train your brain to look at life from a different perspective.

To overcome overthinking, Pittman recommends you replace the thought. “Telling yourself to not to have a certain thought is not the way to not have the thought,” she says.”You need to replace the thought.” What if she were to tell you to stop thinking about pink elephants? What are you going to think about? That’s right: pink elephants. If you don’t want to think about a pink elephant, conjure up an image of, say, a tortoise. “Maybe there’s a big tortoise holding a rose in its mouth as it crawls,” says Pittman. “You’re not thinking about pink elephants now.”

Talk yourself out of it by noticing when you’re stuck in your head. You can tame your overthinking habit if you can start taking a grip on your self-talk — that inner voice that provides a running monologue throughout the day and even into the night.

“You can cultivate a little psychological distance by generating other interpretations of the situation, which makes your negative thoughts less believable,” says Bruce Hubbard, the director of the Cognitive Health Group and an adjunct assistant professor of psychology and education at Columbia University. This is called cognitive restructuring.

Ask yourself — What’s the probability that what I’m scared of will actually happen? If the probability is low, what are some more likely outcomes?

If it’s a problem you keep ruminating about, rephrase the issue to reflect the positive outcome you’re looking for,” suggests Nolen-Hoeksema.

“Instead of “I’m stuck in my career,” tell yourself or better still write, “I want a job where I feel more engaged.” Then make a plan to expand your skills, network, and look for opportunities for a better career.

Find a constructive way of processing any worries or negative thoughts, says Honey. “Write your thoughts down in a journal every night before bed or first thing in the morning — they don’t have to be in any order. Do a ‘brain dump’ of everything on your mind onto the page. Sometimes that can afford a sense of relief, ” recommends Honey Langcaster-James, a psychologist.

You can also control your ruminating habit by connecting with your senses. Begin to notice what you can hear, see, smell, taste, and feel.

The idea is to reconnect with your immediate world and everything around you. When you begin to notice, you spend less time in your head.

You can also notice your overthinking habit and talk yourself out of it. Becoming self-aware can help you take control.

“Pay a little more attention,” says Carbonell. “Say something like: I’m feeling kind of anxious and uncomfortable. Where am I? Am I all in my head? Maybe I should go take a walk around the block and see what happens.”

Recognise your brain is in overdrive or ruminating mode, and then try to snap out of it immediately. Or better still, distract yourself and redirect your attention to something else that requires focus.

“If you need to interrupt and replace hundreds of times a day, it will stop fast, probably within a day,” says Dr Margaret Weherenberg, a psychologist and author of The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques. “Even if the switch is simply to return attention to the task at hand, it should be a decision to change ruminative thoughts.”

It takes practice, but with time, you will be able to easily recognise when you are worrying unnecessarily, and choose instead, to do something in real life rather than spending a lot of time in your head.

For example, convert, “I can’t believe this happened” to “What can I do to prevent it from happening again?” or convert “I don’t have good friends!” to “What steps could I take to deepen the friendships I have and find new ones?” recommends Ryan Howes, PhD.

Don’t get lost in thoughts about what you could have, would have, and should have done differently. Mental stress can seriously impact your quality of life.

An overactive mind can make life miserable. Learning how to stop spending time in your head is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

Like all habits, changing your destructive thought patterns can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. With practice, you can train your brain to perceive things differently and reduce the stress of overthinking.

If overthinking is ruining your life, and if you think you may be spiralling into depression because of your thoughts, it pays to get professional help.

Rohingyas: Malaysia, Turkey and Pakistan

Rohingyas and Malaysia

Malaysia is a Muslim Majority Nation with Islam as the Official Relegion. On the world stage Malaysia alongwith Pakistan and Turkey are trying to become leaders of Ummah OIC Muslim World, but when it comes to providing Asylum to Rohingya and other Muslims fleeing the Middle East - They want none of it. They are not ready to accept any of the Rohingya Muslims. Why is India expected to take care of the Rohingyas ? It's a malacious campaign by Muslims and supported by the pseudo secular lobby for pure vote bank politics. We have too many of the Bangladeshis to worry about and we should understand that they are all Security Threat. Already the demographic composition of the  border district's of West Bengal Assam has changed. The State Machinery hardly has the wherewithal to even address the issues.

CHINA: Li Keqiang urges investment in water infrastructure


On Monday, Premier Li Keqiang sat down with other top officials to discuss one of China’s most pressing challenges – water scarcity.

Li was blunt that this is a big problem (

“Water resource shortages and uneven distribution in time and space make up one of the major bottlenecks that hinder China’s economic and social development, especially in northern and western regions.”He then rattled off some of the major concerns:“Water ecological restoration is very challenging in North China due to serious groundwater overdraft and loss.”“Persistent drought in some southern provinces also makes urgent demands to intensify water conservancy construction to solve water shortages.”The government’s solution?

You guessed it – build more infrastructure.

In particular, Li urged colleagues to speed up work on projects related to the country’s South-to-North Water Diversion Project that brings water from the Yangtze River to northern China.

And there’s one more reason Li is pushing water conservancy projects:“[They] will assist in coping with downward economic pressure, drive effective investment, maintain steady economic growth and create jobs, the Premier said.”

Get smart: As the economy slows, the government is eager to boost infrastructure investment. But officials are trying to keep those investments confined to productive projects.

READ MORE 李克强主持召开南水北调后续工程工作会议 Premier stresses water conservancy construction

November 19, 2019

Punjab and Sikh Gurus

When Indira Gandhi ruled 18 states, Punjab wasn’t in those 18.

Now when Modi is ruling 19 states, Punjab isn’t in those .

When British ruled all over India Punjab was the last one to come under that rule and immediately started struggle for freedom.

In the freedom struggle against British, the contribution of Punjabis is more than 80%.

When Mughal ruled India and converted Hindus to Islam, one and only one Punjab stood against them and Guru Teg Bahadur Ji ( 9th Guru & father of Guru Gobind Singh ji ) laid down his life at Chandni Chowk in Delhi for their support
& Guru Gobind Singh sacrificed all his four sons of the age of 7,9,14 & 17 years against the conversion to Islam. His Elder two sons (Sahibzade) sacrificed their lives in war against Mughals at Chamkaur Sahib(Pb) & younger two sons (Sahibzade) were bricked alive at Sirhand (Pb) by the  Mughal ruler of that State.

Even when Sikander conquered all, only King Porus of Punjab dared to stop him.

I salute to the river land -  Punjab.
Today is Birthday of one of the greatest emperors in Indian history, Sher-E-Punjab,Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Blinded in one eye, injured in one arm, yet built up the great Sikh empire.

United the disparate Sikhs into a kingdom and built an empire that covered Punjab, Kashmir, Ladakh, the entire North West.

Served by able men like Hari Singh Nalwa, Dewan Mokam Chand, Veer Singh Dhillon, Zorawar Singh.

Also built a modern army, even recruited European officers to bring in the latest techniques of warfare. That’s why British Rulers couldn’t annex Punjab until he was alive. Because of him, Punjab was the last State which came under British rule in 1849.

But alas no one teaches about his legacy in India. 🇮🇳

Because of him, Punjab was the most literate state at that time. Even though he recruited European officers he ensured they followed a strict code of conduct, no beef, no smoking and no alcohol.

*As a matter of fact, Ranjit Singh banned cow slaughter in his empire.*

A devout Sikh, who never differentiated on religion. Both his court and army had equal number of Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims - a true secular king.
His finance minister was a Hindu Brahmin, his Prime Minister was a Dogra, his foreign minister a Muslim.
He also renovated the Golden Temple, gave it the gold plates, and gave equal amount of gold to then Hindus and Muslims too, for renovation of their shrines and temples.

Built Gurudwaras at Patna and Nanded, in honor of Guru Gobind Singh, both of which are considered among the Panch Takth.

A great warrior, an equally able and wise ruler, a truly great human being too.

Ranjit Singh is the only king in the history of world to have conquered Afghans, which even modern militaries of USA and Russia couldn’t achieve, and eventually blocked entry of Mughals.

My request to all, please do share this information with as many as you can, especially to the younger generation, as a humble tribute to this great emperor on his Birthday.


November 18, 2019

Neglected and decaying, the original ‘Arthashastra’ may soon be lost forever

3 min read . Updated: 17 Nov 2019, 11:19 PM ISTM. RaghuramThis palm-leaf document is currently housed in Mysuru's cash-strapped Oriental Research InstituteThe Arthashastra is one of the oldest books on governance, military strategy, politics, economics, justice, and the duties of rulers


ArthashastraOriental Research InstituteKautilya

Mysuru: In a room without an air conditioner or a dehumidifier in Mysuru, an age-old manuscript lies locked, withering and uncared for. This palm-leaf document, housed in the city’s cash-strapped Oriental Research Institute (ORI), is the original manuscript of Kautilya’s Arthashastra.

“It is just kept in a cushioned box and wrapped in a cloth," said S.A. Krishnaiah, a member of the institute’s committee. “You feel proud when you see it, but that’s quickly overcome by pain at how little it is cared for."

The Arthashastra, written in Sanskrit and dating back to the time of the Mauryan Empire, is one of the oldest books on governance, military strategy, politics, economics, justice, and the duties of rulers.

Scholars say it was composed around the second century BCE. Its author, Kautilya—also known as Chanakya— was prime minister to Chandragupta, the first of the Mauryan rulers. After the decline of the Mauryan Empire, the document was lost.

Rudrapatna Shamashastri, a Sanskrit scholar and librarian, discovered the original Arthashastra in 1905 among the mounds of palm leaf documents lying in the institute, which was founded by Mysore’s Wodeyar kings in 1891. The institute has been part of the University of Mysore from 1916, and is home to about 70,000 rare palm-leaf manuscripts.

Shamashastri transcribed the Arthashastra onto fresh palm leaves and published it in 1909. He translated it to English in 1915.

Until the re-discovery of the document, the British Raj believed India’s ideas on governance and military administration were drawn from the Greeks. The Arthashastra also dethroned Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, a 16th-century work, as the world’s oldest treatise on political philosophy.

“It has survived from the second century, but now the palm leaves are falling to pieces," said Krishnaiah.

The ORI has been strapped for funds and care for years. In 2012, the US government announced a grant of $50,000 for the upkeep of the building as the roof was leaking. The Ford Foundation donated dehumidifiers and air-conditioners, but these have fallen into disrepair.

Oriental Research Institute in Mysuru (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

“Without air-conditioning, dehumidifiers and regular coating with citronella oil, the original palm leaves on which the Arthashastrawas inscribed will be lost to us," lamented Krishnaiah.

S. Jagannath, a research scholar who has used ORI resources for decades, said there were two fires sparked by faulty wiring at the institute in 1996 and 1998. “The Arthashastra and about 70,000 other historic documents and manuscripts could have been reduced to ashes," he said.

Directors have improved infrastructure—changing the wiring, shifting the book depot, painting and dust proofing—but preserving the fragile documents was not addressed properly, say research scholars who use the institute. They say that ORI does not get enough funding to manage manuscripts, hire more experts and maintain the building.

Dr. Shivarajappa, director of ORI, said: “A lot of work has to be taken up to revive the original document of the Arthashastra. We have sent a proposal to the government for a grant of ₹3.5 crore. I have also asked the vice-chancellor to give ORI more staff with expertise in maintaining and documenting ancient manuscripts. I led a team of experts to Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune and learnt latest techniques to maintain old documents."

The institute gets about 5,000 visitors a year, including scholars and students from around the world.

Dr. Hemantha Kumar, vice-chancellor of the University of Mysore, said they will increase funding for ORI. “Funds have been earmarked for the Arthashastra. ORI has also been given freedom to make fresh proposals for digitalization of the Arthashastra. The size of funds allocated for ORI and especially Arthashastra is dynamic and based on the need," he said.

Prof. L.N. Swamy, senior faculty of history at the University of Mysore and a former official of the Karnataka archaeology department said the Arthashastra has been digitized and can be accessed by any scholar or student, but the original is extremely fragile. He saw it 30 years ago in the ORI. “Palm leaves have a longer life than other materials, and manuscriptologists of the past knew how to extend the lifespan. But even they recopied the documents every few decades to preserve them, just as Shamashastri did," he explained.

Krishnaiah and other scholars say the original should be saved even if there are copies. “Palm leaves can survive more than 1,000 years with or without treatment, but air-conditioners, dehumidifiers and coating with citronella oil is needed to extend their life," Krishnaiah said. “If there is anything to be done to protect the document from further deterioration, it has to start immediately and done scientifically."

M. Raghuram is a Mangaluru-based journalist who was assigned by Mint to report this story

November 17, 2019

AI washing


Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios


Zealous marketing departments, capital-hungry startup founders and overeager reporters are casting the futuristic sheen of artificial intelligence over many products that are actually driven by simple statistics — or hidden people.

Why it matters: This "AI washing" threatens to overinflate expectations for the technology, undermining public trust and potentially setting up the booming field for a backlash.

The big picture: The tech industry has always been infatuated with the buzzword du jour. Before AI landed in this role, it belonged to "big data." Before that, everyone was "in the cloud" or "mobile first." Even earlier, it was "Web 2.0" and "social software."

About three years ago, every company became an "AI company," says Frank Chen, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, a leading Silicon Valley VC firm.Now, investing in a purported AI startup requires detective skills, says Chen: "We have to figure out the difference between 'machine learning that can deliver real competitive differentiation' and 'fake ML that is a marketing gloss over linear regressions or a big team in the Philippines transcribing speech manually.'"

Plenty of companies rely on one or the other of those tactics, which straddle the line between attractive branding and misdirection.

For hard tasks, like transcribing audio or scanning documents, humans often step in when AI algorithms fail. Take, for example, a company that raised nearly $30 million to automate app design — but was secretly making apps using human developers overseas.For easier jobs, "AI" may in fact be a shiny term for basic statistics. If you can swap in "data analytics" for "AI" in a company's marketing materials, the company is probably not using AI.

"It's really tempting if you're a CEO of a tech startup to AI-wash because you know you're going to get funding," says Brandon Purcell, a principal analyst at Forrester.

The cycle continues because nobody wants to miss out on investing in — or being — the next Google or Facebook.CEOs demand that their companies "use AI," without regard for how or whether it's necessary, says Svetlana Sicular, research VP at Gartner.

The tech sector's fake-it-till-you-make-it attitude plays into the problem.

Many AI systems are slow to improve and require a good deal of human hand-holding at first, says Andrew Ng, founder of, a startup that helps other companies implement AI."But problems arise when the difficulty of moving to higher levels of automation is underestimated, either by the company or by the broader community," Ng tells Axios. "Or when the degree of automation at a given moment is misrepresented."

The confusion and deception get an assist from the fuzzy definition of AI. It covers everything from state-of-the-art deep learning, which powers most autonomous cars, to 1970s-era "expert systems" that are essentially huge sets of human-coded rules.

Yes, but: The term isn't going anywhere. So a cautious consumer, investor or CEO has to pay extra-close attention to anything waving the AI banner to determine whether it's a groundbreaking innovation — or just three kids in a trenchcoat.