As she stood up in the African Savannah for the first time, she felt her limitations. From the perch of the tree, she could see further but now she has a different perspective. A perspective that limits her from seeing further but then she could walk, run and be eaten by the big cats. Limitation is beautiful but it has a cost.
Being limited allows one to explore within specified boundaries. The idea of being limited allowed her to erect walls around her and be safe, but was she? For some, limitation set geographical boundaries and for others, limits on…
At the edge of civilization
Beyond yesterday’s wars and tomorrow’s pandemics
I stood gazing at the myths and mysteries
I was overrun by ignorance
Traveling in space and time
Thoughtless, emotionless and paralyzed
I could only look back but not feel
I was overrun by ignorance
There were signs but they were not flashy
There were noises but they were not comprehensible
There were equations but they did not explain
I was overrun by ignorance
I erected crumbling edifices and egos
I surfed on passing waves and fads
I marketed wares and filled warehouses
I was overrun…
The definition of human has stayed static for a million years, a bi-pedal animal with narrow objectives — food and sex, in the grand tradition of the animal kingdom that broke away from plants to become mobile. Their domination of the distressed blue planet, however, was total. Unlike their predecessors who killed for food, they killed for fun. And, they killed their own kind, anything that looked like them and everything else. Unlike other animals that had pure two factor objective functions, the quirky human brain afforded a third, the ability to destroy just for the sake of it.
Ever since they arrived on the tiny speck of the Milky Way, humans have been challenged. They struggled against the elements of nature and predators of all kind. With a feeble body and delicate architecture that were no match to the status-quo, they were the most unlikely to survive. Except for the quirky organ they carried on top of their shoulders, they would have been long gone. And they almost did as they were reduced to a few thousand samples just a mere 75K years ago.
Humans survived and thrived, thanks largely to their brain that expanded with every challenge…
Humans are simple. At birth they are given approximately 27K days, to do what they would like to do. They can accomplish this with as few as 170K avocados, enough to power their entire bodies, including their energy hungry brains. Of course, initial conditions matter. If one does not have access to a few avocados every day, then her allocation of hours declines and her brain becomes largely occupied with acquiring the minimum energy requirements. This is the case for nearly 15% of the population — a billion humans spread around the world. …
It is puzzling. Any biological system accumulates so much pain and disutility that life continues to be the most enigmatic construct in logic. The only viable explanation has to be Physics based such as the unavoidability of such systems because of monotonically increasing entropy. However, given the free put option held by all life, it is unclear why it sustains beyond the short window of optimal exercise. The uncertainty in expected disutility is not sufficiently high to force a delay in this decision.
Fermi’s paradox looms over high statistical probabilities of a universe full of life. If pain is the…
Less than 70,000 years ago, a mere 5000 homo sapiens huddled together to survive a nasty eruption. They rose from this bottleneck to spread their genes to every nook and corner of the blue planet. For the next 60,000 years, until the advent of agriculture, they lived with dangers all around them and in a low probability of reaching the next moment. For most of their history, humans lived in the present. They could not store food or information, they could not codify thoughts and emotions, they could not predict the weather or the approaching tiger, and they could not…
The leader of the Senate has a tough mathematical problem. Luckily, he is experienced and trained in the theory of probabilities. He can impute probabilities of victories in senate races and optimally issue what he calls, “hall passes.” It may already be obvious to him that he could only give a maximum of 3 hall passes and they have to be distributed in such a way that his chance of maintaining his status after the election is maximized.
It is a mathematical optimization problem. Issue the first pass to the extreme North-East where the senator with such integrity has already…
Humans, just like any other animal, manage a simple objective function with two factors: energy and gene perpetuation, or more simply food and sex. These two factors compete for resources that can be proxied generally by the limited allocation of time afforded to each individual. Maximizing utility then simplifies into assuring sufficient food while successfully perpetuating genes, before she runs out of time.
An individual operating in a large theater had substantial risks. Fifty thousand years ago in Africa, the possible theater was all humanoids in the continent. Accumulation of food required hunting in collaboration with others and the expedition…
For dictators, emperors, and autocratic rulers, the selection of the future domicile, after they lose power, is a critical decision. Often a portfolio of crimes is committed by these actors while in power, some of which could be severe enough to warrant jail time or worse. They may also have illegally accumulated assets within their current country. So, the future domicile decision needs to be optimized by minimizing the probability of extradition while maximizing the chance of holding onto illegal assets. History may provide useful guidance in this regard for those struggling with these types of decisions presently.
Gill Eapen is the founder and CEO of Decision Options ®, Mr. Eapen has over 30 years of experience in strategy, finance, engineering, and general management