Vinod, recently on your 23rd birthday, you asked me what advice I had for you as you entered adulthood. I believed I had a few life lessons that I should impart to Varun and you, but at the moment you asked me, my thoughts were not coherent enough to articulate. But, I recall I did talk about a few half-baked ideas which I am not sure made an impression on you. Over the following weeks I let your question sit in my mind and wrote down ideas as they came to me. The act of writing has helped to clarify…


Photo Credit: sydney Rae on Unsplash

I mentor entrepreneurs who are focused on social impact. In a recent round-table, startup CEOs shared challenges they were facing. These were typical of the difficulties startup CEOs face. I want to write about two of the challenges that were discussed the most.

One entrepreneur felt that her suppliers did not trust her but had failed to resolve the issue. Another entrepreneur felt that her employees were not motivated to pay attention to the small details that make for a better customer experience. While these appear to be unrelated problems, deeper analysis suggests the same underlying principle. I will use…


Photo by Alessandro Bianchi on Unsplash

The COVID–19 pandemic has surprised us all with the speed at which it has become a global phenomenon, ravaged national economies, and caused widespread suffering. For the first time in a long time, most of the world is caught up in the same calamity. It has tested the ability of nations to respond to a major crisis and most have been found wanting. The vulnerability of rich, powerful, technologically advanced countries like the USA and UK has been a huge surprise. Poor political leadership is certainly to blame, but there are other structural factors that can explain the failures.

Humans…


Types and sources of data bias

The huge success of machine learning (ML) applications in the past decade — in image recognition, recommendation systems, e-commerce and online advertising — has inspired its adoption in domains such as social justice, employment screening, and in smart interactive interfaces such as Siri, Alexa, and the like. Along with the proliferation of these applications, there has been an alarming rise in reports of gender, race and other types of bias in these systems. A widely discussed report in the periodical Propublica claimed serious bias against African Americans in a tool to score criminal defendants for recidivism risk [1]. Amazon shut…


From way up above under clear skies, the island of Bali resembles a tropical fish swimming eastward. A scooped-out piece of land near the Blue Lagoon Beach is its mouth, the snout is its Easternmost front. Batur Lake is its eye, and its caudal fin is the land where the coastal road ends just below West Bali National Park almost touching the island of Java. On our flight, as it descended from the South, much of the land was obscured by cottony clouds. The blue skies showed no hints of thunder showers that often arrive stealthily and then disappear abruptly…


Recently I was approached to help design the curriculum for a master’s degree program in data science. I accepted this invitation with alacrity since I have recruited several data scientists and have strong opinions about gaps in their education.

Data science is a broad discipline and data scientists’ job descriptions are varied. But I am going to force them into two distinct categories. The first category is the algorithmists. These are the data scientists who design and implement algorithms, develop software libraries for machine learning and data mining, design and implement data pipelines. These are people who implemented say TensorFlow…

Prabhakar Krishnamurthy

Twitter: @pkmurthy1308

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