Category Archives: Ideas

There are always some ideas or questions that I think in my mind, I thought it would be good to record them down

Paradigm shift from functions to aesthetics, and next?

The idea of paradigm shift was introduced to me in secondary school English lessons. We talked about how a particular sector changed dramatically in a period of time. This pattern is actually observable in the technology industry.

In the IT world, we had a paradigm shift from functions to aesthetics.

Past: From nothing to functions

In the earlier 2000s, when we first experience the power of IT on Windows 98, people were fascinated by the fact that the computers and other devices can do so many things. We replaced writing with typing, mails with emails, and we celebrated the whole range of functions that IT has brought to us. That was the paradigm shift from nothing to functions. Everyone was new to these functions and we were more than happy to have them.

Recent: From functions to aesthetics

Then we experienced time. In late 2000s and early 2010s, people got used to these functions, especially the younger generations who grew up with these functions. They did not experience the change in their lives, because emails and word processing “were already there” for them. Also, the new functions were developed but they were nothing compared to the breakthroughs during the first paradigm shift. All of these meant that there was nothing for younger generations to be excited about.

This prompted them to look for something beyond the functionalities. And surely enough, similar to any other industries, aesthetics became the focus. Therefore, we saw many software focusing on designing nice user interface and improving the user experience. These “aesthetically appealing” software quickly won over the market, despite the fact that they may be lacking in terms of functionalities.

Future: From aesthetics to …?

We come to the reality now, as of 26 March 2015, it has become the default standard to have an “aesthetically appealing” software. Otherwise, no matter how good the functions are, customers will not buy them. However, this also the period of time where customers are “expecting” aesthetics as a norm from the IT industry. If we apply the similar argument above, this could be the time where we have the chance to experience our own paradigm shift, away from aesthetics.

But what could be replacement? Are there any precedents from other industries? Real estates, pharmaceutical, automobile… all the other industries are either improving on the functions and or the aesthetics. Maybe the answer is combing the functions with aesthetics. This seems to be trend now in the watch industries where the traditional “aesthetics-focused” companies are pairing up with smart watch companies. But do we stop here? Are functions and aesthetics the ultimate goals that we want to achieve? We are nearing the time where we can get one without compromising the other, so what happens after?

Artists

Artists should lead productions, not the market researchers

Artists and business

I was shocked when I learnt that in music industry, sometimes it is the market researcher who is leading the production, rather than the artist. (The case I heard was the South Korean companies.)

There seem to be good reasons for this. From a business point of view, good producers have good understanding of the industry and the current trends to make the good decisions. And market research is extremely important for the music to be popular among the correct target audience. So the whole production should be audience-oriented, the company understands the market demand and produce the music that fits the demand.

This is so wrong.

Artists should be the leaders

It is the unique artistic expressions that give the music industry so much real value, not the demand-supply business model. Art, unlike other material products, has its intrinsic values. These values come from artists’ inspirations and hard work, and are expressed in the artworks that are created. Artists are the ones who create and express these values for the audience to enjoy. In order to create, artists should be the ones drawing inspirations and choosing what to express.

However, the reality is the reverse. The market researchers, who are not artists themselves, are trying to produce artworks as business. By analysing the target audience, they try to understand what kind of songs to sing, what kind of singers, what kind of outfits would be successful in attracting the audience. Then the artist “draw inspirations from the market researches” and “express what is demanded”. Essentially the whole flow is dictated by the business people, not artists. This deviates from the idea of artistic expressions being the work of the artists. Market researchers are meant to supplement the artists, not to exploit the artists.

Different goals

I think the underlying issue here is the goal of the music industry. Market researchers are aiming for the monetary gains. For them, the artists or even the whole industry are merely tools. Apparently some artists are buying this idea and willing to follow instructions for either the popularity or the money. But I believe for the audience and the artists, they want to have real artworks that come from the artists themselves, artworks that express the artists’ ideas and feelings. Or at least it used to be the case.

Same piece of news, different responses

Recently there is an incident of Chinese couple behaving rudely on a plane and forced the plane to make an U-turn.

This is captured on a number of news media: Washington Post, Free Malaysia TodayStomp and Stomp Facebook Page.

The most detailed account, as of now, can be found on a video at v.qq.com.

We can see that on different websites, the responses on the comment section are quite different in terms of the focus.

Washington Post: The comments on are mostly revolved around an awkward expression used in the article.

Free Malaysia Today: Debating whether this is an isolated case or it reflects the behavior of the Chinese people in general.

Stomp and Stomp Facebook Page: Mostly scolding the Chinese people in general.

The very different responses from different websites can only be explained by the segregation of the Internet communities, which I briefly discussed in my previous post. Basically people have different presumptions and life experiences, these lead to different views and stands on certain issues. Internet, instead of encouraging discussions and resolve the differences in opinions, sometimes further reinforces these one-sided mindsets and allow them to grow in “closed” communities.

This “closed community” phenomenon is most obvious on Stomp and Stomp Facebook Page, whereas on other more “open” websites, there are still some level of discussions going on.

Maybe we really need the net to be more “neutral”.

polarized society

Internet and polarized society

Update: The term echo chamber describes a concept similar to what I call the “polarized society”.

The impact of Internet on polarized society has probably been vigorously studied in the field of sociology. Nonetheless, here is my personal view on it.

Polarized society, brought by the freedom of Internet

Internet is a great tool for communication. However, I feel that it did not help ease the polarization in the society through open communication. Instead, it actually deepens the already existing polarization because people are free to choose “what they want to know” and select their preferred sources of information. With biased people, biased sources of information and the freedom to choose, it is natural that people will start to form “communities” based on their Internet browsing habits and personal opinions. Continue reading

Questioning probability – Controlled probability theory

Questioning the premise

We have been taught concepts of probability theory since young. A common probability theory statement goes like this:

“If we toss a fair coin, there are two equally likely outcomes: a head, or a tail.” This would imply that both the outcomes have 50% chance of happening. However, I would like to question this premise that chance of each outcome is 50%, i.e. a predefined constant.

Proposing an alternative theory

I propose that the probability can be controlled, given a fair environment (in this case a fair coin is used).

There are three methods that the control(manipulation) can be achieved:

1. The observable physical parameters(such as wind speed or humidity of air) can be manipulated, without being noticed by ordinary human beings.

In this method, the change in physical parameters can be very minor. Hence it would appear to ordinary human beings that the event occurs in a fair environment, but in actual fact the parameters have been manipulated to favour a certain outcome.

2. The measurable physics constants(such as gravity or speed or light) can be manipulated, without being noticed by ordinary human beings.

Similarly in this method, the manipulation can be done in a subtle manner such that the event appears to be fair but in actual fact the slight change of physics constants can be controlled to favour a certain outcome.

3. There exist non-observable parameters that can be manipulated, which have impact on observable events.

If this is true, it would be impossible for someone who has no knowledge of such parameters to know that manipulation is carried out, hence the event would appear to be fair. This would also imply that our knowledge about the observables is not complete.

It should be noted that although the nature of the three methods are different, they are not mutually exclusive, i.e. they can be combined to controlled an event.

(Attempted) Proof of the theory

The proof would involve proving the three proposed methods to control the event:

1. On controlling the observable physical parameters:

This method can be proved in the future. It is already theoretically possible to control these parameters. The only reason that this may be impractical is that ordinary human beings lack the abilities to interpret and manipulate such parameters. Hence, as soon as we can develop such abilities through evolution or artificial engineering, and we are able to take advantage of that to control the outcome of events, we can prove that this way is valid and practical.

2.On controlling the measurable physics constants:

This method is hard to prove.  Currently we lack equipments to detect minor change in physics constants. In fact, we cannot even accurately measure these constants due to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.

3. On controlling the non-observable parameters: 

This method is even harder to prove. It would require the knowledge of non-observable parameters to prove that such way exists. Even if the proof is done, it would be impossible for ordinary human beings without the required knowledge to comprehend and agree upon.

Implications of the theory

The implications, if the theory is true, is beyond imagination. It would mean that everything based on probability and statistics theory would collapse. Essentially almost everything can be controlled by those who have such ability.

Additional comments

This is one of the many interesting/crazy/random ideas that I have, you can check out here for more of them.

I am planning to develop a game, using the some of the concepts in this theory, leave a comment if you are interested to find out more about it.

This is too scary to be true.