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Monday, June 12, 2017

Blockchain and its end-user applications

I have thought over blockchain a lot and I think it has huge amount of capacity to do disrupt the industry. Initially when I first heard about it I could not grasp the enormity of it because for me as an end-user, trust was not a factor that affected my personal browsing habits on day to day basis. The fact that the service worked and could be relied upon to do it's task was sufficient for me. So the decentralized applications made little sense to me.

The blockchain hyperledger is huge but that is not because of it's capacity to create encrypted hashes and link them into blockchain as ledger. That is just a new back-end frontier which would become common and core soon. The REAL potential of blockchain lies in it's ability to create peers which is not just about decentralization of data but also decentralization and power and thus decentralization of money in way that makes marketing sense to consumers.

I would try to put some use-cases of Blockchain Technology:-

  1. Imagine you have a business of manufacturing toothbrush. Apparently salesmen have the best margins on the toothbrush you manufacture  and thus there are many people who would like to sell the toothbrush to consumers.  You would require a marketing inventory and sales CRM that would enable the salesman and different vendors to sell your toothbrush. The problem with this kind of inventory is it stops at you and your vendors. What if the vendor is actually a distributor who sells your product to another vendor or what if a completely new salesman wants to sell your product? Enabling multiple peers to access the sales manufacturing data and allowing them compete between each other in a non-breakable blockchain hyperledger would help businesses scale to millions of salesmen without worrying about being cheated by sales people.

    The basic idea is to involve a third party into your business without having to worry about the power sharing between the institutions thus enabling peer to peer dedicated contribution.
  2. IOT based self repairing smart devices.
    Smart devices can run software that interacts with the blockchain. It interacts with a service provider according to pre-negotiated contract terms and conditions as defined in the hyperledger. When a failure occurs within the device, an internal sensor which indicates the failure, generates a request for service transaction on the blockchain. This transaction informs the service provider about the nature of the failure, identifying the specific device. The service provider can respond to the service request in a timely manner. Upon completion, the sensor reading indicates the completion of the repair and can release payment to the service provider on the blockchain. This is extremely important in huge automated manufacturing plants. As of now they require audit of the plant by several company officials to trace if all the equipment are working properly. It would be also extremely useful in hardware malfunctions.
  3. Banking
    Bitcoin has certainly gained a lot of popularity because of encrypted transfer of money but that is just scratching the surface when it comes to blockchain's application in banking sector.  Let us assume you have 200 INR in your wallet. Theoretically you can lend that money to different people and earn interest over it. You could also distribute it to multiple people. As the amount you have is very low it does not make sense to create your money lending platform. That is the primary reason why banks exist. Although the hashing algorithm used in blockchain would enable to send , receive and lend cash in unbreakable blockchain  thus making the end-user ignore the worries of power sharing required between the lender and donor. (Already adopted in US, Indian laws currently ban this type of system)

    Thoughts to ponder :- Real value in rural areas where farmers and local people get fooled when it comes to money. Bank Branches are also far away from villages thus it would mean zero or no competition.
  4. Research Journal
    I have already covered the fact how power sharing arrangement in different peers could help a business (seen in 1) but it could also help create a very fair reward based structure on completing on certain task in the role that's been assigned to a person. That is fair gamification of entire process.
Here is video by Siraj Raval which explains the concepts of blockchain properly. He also explains the application of blockchain in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.  

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

dibbiyon me dhoop bhar kar koi ghar lata hain kya?

Coke ke hain yeh tote kanastar
usme me se boonde chura kar,
koi ghar lata hain kya?
dibbiyon me dhoop bhar kar koi ghar lata hain kya?

hasti hi ab bhi koi ladki, ab tumhe aise chidhakar
Kya kabhi shaam aati hain tumko batakar?
Zindagi hain do pal ki kaifayat, masoomo ki dard sehkar
dibbiyon me dhoop bhar kar koi ghar lata hain kya?

Jis kue main hum gire hain, uss kue me naav kya hain?
in pattiyon ki nazakat koi sun pata hain kya?
khwaab hain aise jo bante, pal do pal ki khurafat
dibbiyon me dhoop bhar kar ghar lata hain kya? 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Why entrepreneurship is best way to go forward for a CS graduate

A lot of my friends are in computer science and there are a lot of them who are not but want to learn programming and get into software development so that they can hack the plethora of high paying white collar jobs out there. The government and and the industry seems to be happy about it and are fueling this environment with more venture fund and government funds. Sure, the number of different applications in which software can easily and dramatically increase productivity is practically unlimited, so each additional worker in the tech industry always has important problems to solve, and the other software engineers are occupied with their own problems. So everything should work out great in future, right? More jobs and more demand? Apparently not so. Let's take better look.

Most of the pass-outs are being placed in startups. This whole startup eco-system is being fueled on bets by venture firms. If the market does not scale to profits, the venture funds would cut the funding. Most of the startups are not actually creating big enough impact and will-soon be replaced by freemium version of same application or drown itself in it's own pool of marketing expenditure. There is excess of e-commerce websites, excess of payment gateways, excess of CMS solutions, excess of sales CRMs and excess of many other applications that are crowding the market. The founders would sellout and be happy and rich, the venture firms would loose some money but hey! they are rich. The most affected segment would be the employees that would have to hunt for other new jobs. Theses new jobs may not be as cushioning as the old ones and some may have to start from scratch all over again on a new technology.

You may say that there are going to be new jobs in new segments and thus getting other jobs is not going to be that difficult. Unfortunately not so, In software industry almost all of the economic value can be captured by a small number of highly talented people, because there are a small number of very difficult problems with the potential to dramatically increase productivity across many applications (ex. Quora only has 100-130 employees, wikipedia has 70 employees for scaling up and development and many more) and the rest of the problems are easy and have much less economic value. Thus the number of high paying jobs that would be created is relatively very small.

So where does the silver lining lie? Actually all of what I said above when taken from an angle of entrepreneurship means that there is huge chunks of opportunity lying out there for people to take up. Take it from this stand point -
1.) The large venture firms are investing into over-crowded platforms and thus missing out on the real opportunity present.  Their vision is being clouded by ego and competition.
2.) To create huge impact, you do not need lot of people. You can use, online tools available and yet scale the product quickly and impressively.

So the idea is to do projects which would re-imagine the future much less than re-engineer it. 

Some more Ideas.

"An idea a day, makes a man healthy, wealthy and happy :-P "

Idea #1
Creating a messenger chatbot which would take the subtitle files of a movie/series. And then based on the characters of the series, it would ask which character would you like the messenger bot to train on. It would train on that data (subtitle files) using machine learning and then you can chat with your favourite character.

Tech Stack: Messenger Chatbot (Python, flask) , Web Interface - Flask , api.ai api's or tensorflow+scikit-learn+pandas

Idea #2
Watch videos with your friends online. You need to enter a video url of youtube and wait it to buffer on all the workstations connected. A small popup window would appear of your friend, which would show up the video of him. Thus you and your friends could react to same video, capture each other's emotions, and release that reaction on youtube for the world to watch.

Tech Stack : Rails 5 (ActionCable , Redis) , Chrome Extension (maybe?)

Idea #3
Create a mobile application which enables personalized education case scenario. The mobile application would be a channel for indirect communication between teachers and students.

Tech Stack : Flask (To build APIs) , Android Developer Studio 




Sunday, March 5, 2017

Instantaneous Systems in Future (Applications of AI, ML and DA)

A lot has been already talked about AI, Machine Learning and Data at a superficial level. There is very little clarity among people that how it would affect our day to day lives. Most people I know have the impression of AI as a Robot that has near human intelligence and would take over the planet earth. This particular use case (although highly exciting) is a rare possibility in future.  In this article I would list the possible use cases of AI, Machine Learning and Data Analysis.

Use Case 1: Cooking food
In the current scenario, we think of what we would like to eat, go to grocery store, pick the right recipe ingredients and then go home and cook the food. This is way too tiring.

Future Case Scenario:-
There is an app which knows and understands your tastes very well. You need to select your mood, and based on the data it has from millions of consumers, it would suggest which food you would like to eat, along with an estimated price for the ingredients. You tap the food, the self driving cars come to your house, delivering the grocery. They put it in a chef-robot-machine which knows how to cook that particular dish very well (from an algorithm) and you can enjoy the food you love. Further customisation could be done for the robot by the mobile application in your pocket.

You can get a personalised experience, 100% quality assurance and very quick results based on the algorithms controlling the robot.

Use Case 2: Education AI
In the current scenario, a teacher comes to the class, and teaches to class with the help of blackboard, or some PowerPoint Presentation at maximum. The students are merely brick in the walls.

Future Case Scenario:-
Every student opens the mobile application on their mobile phones/tablets. The student gets huge variety of courses, along with reviews from industries and professors doing research. After committing to a particular course, students would be grouped and assigned a physical classroom. The learning process would be completely personalised. The mobile application would control assignments, in class exercises and submission of assignments (using photographs). The teacher would give the evaluation to the mobile application and the algorithm would compute the actionable insights for each and every student. All the actionable insights would be categorised and separate sessions would be held to work on those actionable insights. There would be no exams to evaluate knowledge, instead there would be peer-to-peer feedback to understand co-cooperativeness,  projects to understand vision and creativity and finally continuous human-jamming sessions to understand the thinking of students and help them in achieving their goals. To ensure a student has learnt something properly, interviews(vivas) and a small written test would be held which could be given at any time, according to the student's convenience.
Most of this is about re-imagining workflow but again at each of the crucial junctions, it need machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Use Case 3: Energy
I have already written an article where I talked about internet of things in much clearer sense in my article written over here , http://www.vaibhavgeek.tech/2012/04/vision-electronic-cloud.html


Friday, February 17, 2017

A new Forte

Since childhood we are all surrounded by all sort of media around us. It serves as a great influence on moulding our minds. Given the fact that my english grammar has become completely horrible and I can't even construct sentences with correct grammar, leaves me no other choice apart from venturing into a new field althogether that is :- making short films.

I have most certainly spent last two days trying to cook up a script which glorifies and comics the situations in college life. It was kind of difficult task which makes me appreciate people who make videos a lot more. I wouldn't care much if the film gets less number of views but I would kind of regret if the film turns out a nuisance. Creating an intertwined story and keep the audience engaged at every frame of your video is extremely challenging. I think movies made Raju Kumar Hirani do this very well that they never bore their audience. Each movie plot has subplot which are coherently linked together in this amazing sequence.

 I will post the video of making, the complete film over here in some time. Keep tight. :-)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

What next?

This blog has been a place for me to organise my thoughts properly and post about events of my life. This is the first weekend after 3 weekends that I have not been travelling or staying awake whole night and writing code. I finally have some time to organise my thoughts properly. There are three technology sectors that are said to have high importance, they are largely :-

  1. IOT (Internet of things)
  2. Blockchain 
  3. Artificial Intelligence (including data analysis)
It is interesting how all of these combined, would lead to complete automation of industries which is slightly disastrous and exciting at the same time. Now like all technologies, they have to be groomed and properly nurtured by industries to take effect.

IOT- Energy
AI - Education
Blockchain - Payment Systems

To be completely honest, instead of building things over a weekend. I want to build something more serious while doing projects in these fields.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Selected by FbStart Programme

I will receive 40,000 $ in services and tools which are provided by facebook and its' partners. Isn't it super cool!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Blockchain based research journal

I have written this presentation for iHack Hackathon. It is a basic web application which leverages Blockchain technology to increase the pace of innovation. Questions in comments section are highly appreciated. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Understanding ed-tech startup space #2

In this debacle I would concentrate more on basic idea of learning. I won't be comparing the intent of learning (say, Online Test Prep or skills connect startup).I think this is a part which each edtech sector startup asks itself is how to stimulate learning to the target audience. In case, where target audience is between classes 4-10th grades, the accepted approach is usually to use games for each topic to make learning more addictive. In higher classes and skill development scenario, the approach is more tilted towards using demonstrative videos / lecture videos to help the learner learn. There are also very few domain specific websites which allow users to learn computer algorithms in a highly addictive manner but they cater only to programming audience.

Most of the educational websites have certain amount of traffic but that does not mean they are for sure the best approach, at the same time also stating the fact that just because it's done does not mean they must have approached things in a wrong way.

Nonetheless, I would like to give few points :-

  1. Ed-Tech startups are not working at all on Artificial Intelligence (completely automated and personalised learning system) that helps learners learn better. 
  2. Startups need to understand the current segment very carefully before proposing a change. You can't shift things in a night. Change would happen gradually only and a strategic approach is needed that would propose change in current system rather than create a new system altogether. (My opinion is biased) 
  3. Public-Private relations hold a major key. You need to make that work out in your benefit.
I would be adding more to this article, after I complete my research on various education startups and how they tried to simulate learning to their target audience. For now, I would like to sign of on a note saying that don't try something new just because it is something new. In my next article I would focus on the demand-supply of college education with industry. So definitely keep tight.  :-) 


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Understanding ed-tech startup space #1

I find it amazing how companies like Facebook, Google and Tesla have scaled without spending a lot of money on marketing. They used strategies to understand their market, their market niches and evolved the product around that, thus eliminating the need to market themselves.

There are lot of applications and services which offer first month free, free rides and bumper sales but yet have failed to evolve as a successful business in terms of profitability.  One of the biggest reason for that is they do not completely understand their channels of reaching out to people and thus end up lacking the focus towards the area where consumers are present. They fail their understanding of the term "target audience".

One of the most classic examples of this kind of failure is TATA Nano. They branded themselves as common man's car in interviews given by Ratan Tata himself. Cars are status symbols and henceforth nobody wanted to buy a "common man's car".  Had they understood the sentiments of their target audience, this sort of debacle could have been very well avoided.

Indeed this what apple is amazingly good at. When you look at their products you wouldn't find the specifications to be great for the price the product is sold at but they just "feel" awesome. They look "cool" because of the slimness and lightness. That is apparently what the consumers wanted, a laptop that had right feel and looked great in terms of design and class.

Now, let's come to education segment of startups. Now this is where things get little tricky. Here the consumer is not the purchaser of the service, especially startups aimed at the benefit of early career stages.Most decisions are taken by parents or schools for that matter. Naturally the crowd shifts towards the more popular culture where more opportunities are present. Unfortunately that crowd contains quite a bulk of students who get demoralised towards their passion and end up not pursuing them with focused rigour which they would have otherwise. Now this is what I have termed "herd grazing education problem". It is indeed a major problem in our system.
(I will discuss the problem of demand and supply of markets and its effect on education sector in my next article. Here I am just pointing out the likes and dislikes of students and the freedom they have to pursue them)

The old-school solution for this segment of problem?  - (1)
Improving career awareness and diversity of options present by conducting talks, seminars and journeys of professionals from all aspects of industry domains. Covering as much diversity as possible in terms of possible career options.

The startup solution for this segment of problem?
Do the same over internet (via mobile app / website).