Dec 14, 2013

Afghan violence

That is correct that in any society you can find cases of violence, but when it is becoming so frequent that some refuge to religion to justify it, we should really be concerned.

By nature, people tend to minimize contradictions between their behavior and their opinions (cognitive dissonance). I am confident there are little or no grounds one can base Islamic teachings for the widespread violence against women that are happening every day in any corner of the country. It was so unjustifiable for me to hear arguments of Afghan men talking on a BBC radio program on the topic, where they were making up various accounts of hadith justifying violence against women. First of all, the reliability of any hadith in that regard would be questionable having a logical analytical mind, if we of course believe in any logic in religion. Second, any religious basis, including Islam, would be questionable legitimizing such violence. It would be also hard for one to find any biological bases in Afghan male genetics leading to such tendency of committing violence against women.

I believe in though cultural bases legitimizing violence of many kinds, including extreme cases of violence like murder, torture, sexual abuse, to less violent forms, such as street harassment, organizational gender discrimination, family gender discrimination, legal gender discrimination and so forth.

As much unacceptable as violence against women is, it is illogical to think we can change it over a night. It is deeply rooted in our culture. Merely imprisoning the perpetrators would not be a solution to eliminate violence, especially whereas in the society any perpetrator can be also seen as a victim. However, the wave of repulsion against such violence, among Afghan public diaspora, would be an awakening moment in our cultural life.

AUAF Job Fair

On the Job Fair day at AUAF Thursday afternoon, the recruiting companies had little idea what they were doing. They were advertising their products rather than recruiting, which is understandable, but not even in an informed, targeted way for the best students in the fields over the country.

If I were leading the company's recruiting team, I would take advantage of the great opportunity grabbing away the best talents in the fields through providing an idea of what it is like to working at my company, talking about the vision, mission, culture, and life. Clubs, sport teams, food, parking lot, etc. are also attractive topics to talk about. Posters, pictures, and videos would help a lot. I would also talk about why should the student wish and plan to join us after graduation and what career prospect and personal development plans would await him/her in a few years down the road working at my company. I will talk about the compensation advantages, as well.

I would not idly wait for the opportunity of students approaching my stall. For that matter, I will make my stall attractive and different from others' to grab attentions, dragging visitors to that, in a welcoming and appreciating manner. Companies should never forget that their most important asset is their employees, and so, it is vital to develop ever-creative ways to recruit new blood to the vessels of the organization.

You may say, "Oh, this is Afghanistan! We don't have to be concerned about these issues, because they would have to join our company anyway. Because they are poor, etc. etc." Well, you are partly correct. But is that really your vision for your company and for your country, Afghanistan?!

This is an open discussion and your ideas are much appreciated. I may be wrong about the specific ways to attract potential employees, as I mentioned above, but the point I want to grab the attentions to is the significance of the issue, first for our university administration to plan and coordinate better such events, and second for the companies to put more resources into this.

Dec 6, 2013

Big Data

Determining probability of occurrence of events and the temptation of finding correlations between the events have been the aspirations that statisticians have been following during centuries. To accomplish those aspirations, the underlying assumption was that a sample of a population represents that population, within some standard errors.

Big Data, an evolving phenomenon thanks to the information age, online social networks, and information systems, is going to radically change these calculations. Data on customer behavior are collected through systems such as CRM, ERP, etc. in helping businesses predict market trends. Social networking websites are also invaluable tools following customers' footprints ubiquitously. The mobile industry, rising on the ashes of cameras and computers, helps the Big Data get bigger. The to-be released Google Glass is a product generating data, ubiquitously, and has been generated out of the mere concept. The Big Data also opens concerns and debates over privacy issues.

The radical difference between the conventional statistical methodologies and the emerging, ever-growing Big Data are in the concepts of sampling populations and explaining events. Whereas statistics is unable to study the whole population, and contents itself with samples through precise measurements, the Big Data does that instantaneously, though, with less precision. On the other hand, statistics tries to explain events through clarifying positive/negative correlations and predictor-variable relations. In other words, it tries to find out the Why. The Big Data, due to its nature, is incapable of doing that, but it rather focuses on the How.

The new world of business is not a battle between ideas, but a greater war between how you implement the ideas. You don't fight the Big Data, which sounds absurd, you embrace it to win!