The QIM: a Measure of Fairness in Servicing

In a previous episode, we discussed the components of QIM, as well as some ways to interpret, measure and perform the decomposition empirically. I suppose it is high time to write out more formally the model.

As common sense dictates, a service of interest, in the context of Fairness analysis, is any system, machine, human or a mixture of both–collectively the Service. There will be an ever present environment, a context, within which the system physically, legally and morally resides–collectively the Situation. The Consumers of this service and a Metric computable from observations. service has a fixed duration of interest to each of its Consumers.

The question QIM tried to answer is: under the Situation, does said Service provide equal service, as measured by Metric, to its Consumers during relevant Durations?

This seems positively silly thing to write about. It is obvious that the local taco shop in my neighborhood does not provide me with the same service as other visitors–those that can order animal guts, brain, ear, tongue, and intestinr stew in Spanish, and enjoy it, where as I, a non-spanish-speaking vegitarian who has never had that type of food cannot order it and choose not to appreciate it at all. The Situation and Metric for this simple neighborhood taco shop seems absurdly difficult to define for it to be a useful exercise. (There are also a homeomorphic Cantonese food, amongst many other foods, for which I cannot say or eat)

As with all human matter, one would expect some compromise when the mind corners itself. For me, this answer is effort. In the course of servicing it’s customers, I would be made happier knowing equal effort was made to service me as was made to service my Spanish speaking neighbors. Why? You ask? Seems like a peculiarly pernicious thing to ask for the pain of your server when the inability to enjoy the food is due entirely to me the Consumer, the service(this, btw is not common, realistically in discrimination situations, the server’s taste is not… so innocent imho), the disadvantaged Consumer seems at fault! To this I must answer, but I paid the same as my neighbors (probably also not true, I had to pay more, but for argument sake, and without any loss, let’s say I paid exactly same price as they) the restaurant should, as a matter of fairness in service, give me the same respect as they give to your other customers. The ingredients and materials you use to prepare the food, the man-hour, the natural gas, the plates they are served on, the dilligence and persistence in the mind and body to produce the final product, these must be no less fore than for my Spanish-speaking neighbors.

In one respect, this approach is useful. Ultimately the effort a Service makes is something under their fuller control than the outcome of the service.
This does not make me happy as I will never enjoy beef tongue, eating it or otherwise, but that is not something the server can affect.

(I’ll surely regret this. I recall a time, maybe a decade ago, on this blog where I said I’ll never floss until the day I cleaned my other end with similarly intrusive externalities… I floss now.)

This does not make me happy as I will never enjoy beef tongue. In a second respect, this demand is made partly out of respect for money. For money to maintain it’s integrity, it’s value, demands must be made at it’s expenditure. For if the money buys me less, then money is worth less to me. Out of my, the Consumer’s, respect for money based market economy Situation, I demand that it buys your expense and exertion. In a different situation, for example as a vegetarian, I may wish to demand that no cow is harmed in making of cow tongue soup, but that is not the more generally applicable economic-driven Situation I am currently addressing.

(And further, often these are stated terms of service using expressions such as “performance in good faith” and “fullfillment by all reasonable/commercial efforts”. Here my stipulation is that the performance will be both in good faith towards accomplishing the service and also not only reasonable, but also equal effort among Customers.)

Therefore, QIM can be applied to this effort based Metric of Service as well.


Seems like there is a Trek Discovery season II. Wonder what’s left in season I though. So far the folks are still growing into their characters. Captan is stealing the show a bit, honestly, the development of Michael is… rather supernatural. For a human minority, I kind of wanted to see her succeed as a human… but she does I suppose, reintroducing herself to the new security chief…

Picard facepalm to Sarek getting caught preferring Spock over Michael.

Generalization Initialization

I’ve been talking to coworkers about recent batch of papers claiming deep neural networks can or cannot generalize effectively.

I feel I do not have the same respect for this problem as my coworkers. I do not fear it as they do.

Let’s see, how bad could this be?

I suppose an example of this problem is learning to identify a cat. The robot may find out through reinforcement learning that a cat is best identified by scaring it suddenly and hearing surprised meow. So few mute cat exists that accuracy is negligibly decreased by this overfitting. The obvious problem with this is that there are mute cats and Hollywood will make a movie about the one that was used to defeat the AI that overpowered its human creators.

(And the reverse could be true as well, for example toy dogs finding out that scaring children into crying fit is the best way to detect a child from adult)

The intelligent reader will quickly point out that there are plenty of things covered in deepnets-101 that prevents that from happening. (Well maybe not necessarily for reinforcement learning, but straight up deep nets has nice regularizers)

What else could happen? Was there a meme around the internet about the indistinguishability of dogs and fried chicken? The fear is that Cortana would grab the dog and microwave it when you ask it to reheat the leftover from KFC. The generalization in this case is too general—it found anything that could resemble a dog instead of just the dogs. And this was just a meme, not sure if it could withstand serious answers.

More sophisticated problems, often jokingly put on display, are the mistakes that mentally ill people display. Well, mentally ill people and geniuses. The AI could make framing errors: throwing a person into a pool to clean some dirt off of his shoulder. The solution is not within reasonable framing of the problem. But it could be chosen due to the wrong type of generalization.

There is also a problem of leakage. For example, a learning system could overfit training data consisting of FBI profile so much that it is more of a determiner for whether FBI has investigated a person instead of determiner for true crimes. Failure to truly generalize to other populations for whom FBI never collected information is caused by the learning system picking up bias and errors of the whole FBI system consisting of many error-capable humans. The theory, at least for today’s systems, is that it is at least as bad as the human it learns from.

This now indeed seems to be a very interesting problem to consider. But there may not be a one-stop-shop solution to all of AI’s problems. Generalization is probably just one of many things we must solve for in future systems. This is great opportunity for scientific advancement and development of specializations, such as Robopsychology, and psychohistory, and…

But for real.

Mysterious Circumstances

I’ve departed from work under very mysterious and inexplicable circumstances. Just before the Christmas break I was scheduled to work on highly visible project at the company. I wonder if my departure had something to do with my very recent blog post giving president Trump’s engineers as an example of superior group than software engineers? Perhaps someone felt a simile between software engineers to prostitutes was antagonizing to female software engineers? (Technically, that would be due to unconscious bias of the offendee IMHO.)

I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t want to be caught dead employing a unionizer. The company’s hip iconic and meteoric growth persona could be marred beyond recognition by such a scandalous employee! And as shareholder, I probably don’t want a unionizer employer either. It would get in the way of things.

(Don’t mock me a FOB, many many coworkers and leaders mgiht be, but not I. Your coworker and the media of this place would have you believe me that it’s needed but never shouldn’t or needn’t happening here in CA. One helpful friend literally, in these words said:”They’d blacklist you, you know that right? If you complain about unfairness they put you on a list and you will never find a job in the silicon valley again” Although that was a good decade and half ago… andI didn’t believe him then, but now… See here, and here, while they are not exactly anti-union efforts, these tech companies, as decided in out of courts, definitely are messing with selective employment and blacklisting of some candidates for reasons other than their skill fitness! Oh, ahh, my poor SIP, the consequent thought: hey, if they want to do that, Unions would really get in the way of these acts. Unions can detect these things and act to prevent them from happening to the extent they have, and to obtain more just, more remunerative remedies for all affected when it does happen.)

I mean my kids play date canceled by her friends’ parents, my new neighbor starts yelling at me for very very very minor stuff. Five checkout counters at the library, three free, and the people behind me insist on rushing us to use ours. I feel like I’ve been misunderstood by Californian karma for my blog post. I feel so unwelcome here all the sudden.

Honestly though, just because his party aggressively targeted Bay Area industry to tax and pillage, it doesn’t mean we can’t stay within bounds of legality and challenge the administration rationally.

Just because he can be crude, angry, discriminating and unreasoning, it doesn’t mean we have to be. Two wrongs doesn’t make a right. The case against the administration can be made a lot more effectively than they have been made so far.

And it is against California law to unfairly treat employees because of their politics. It is a protected class!

Anyways, all my posts are published long after I write them, so by the time you see this, I may not be here any more. I may be hacked and lose my access to computers all together… I may be in bankruptcy and foreclosures… I might have gone to the west and bought my farm, I applaud you if you hear these primitive mixed metaphors.

I wish the best for everyone still, and seriously hope that we can engage in civilized and legal conversation about politics–even in difficult and poor circumstances.

Finale of Discovery

“…principles are all we have!” declared Michael in the heat of debate with admirer Cromwell about whether or not to blow Qo’nos. What a sharp contrast to “…hope is all we have” exclamation from Star Wars movie.

Yeoh’s costume, btw, reminds me of war lords she’s played in Chinese Wuxia movies. She wears it well.

Sigh, I’d hate to see Philippa summon Michael to see her one last time on her deathbed some years later in the watchers world… like when soong summoned data to bid farewell.

Wow, Ash leaves Michael so that Vog can returns to L’real and take control of Klingon home world… wow what a bitter bitter story for this tortured body and relationships… mind warping to think of the emotions…

And tos theme… I can hardly bear the anticipation…

Everyone is Great Except..

So, just saw an Asian lady blatantly snapping several picture of screen of a laptop unbeknownst to it’s owner sitting back facing her in the Palo Alto Philz. She later she opens her amera app again d skes yet ore phtos. Another person of a different “profile” approached me and engaged in a “normal” “Silicon Valley”ish convo, he dropped a name that is remarkably similar to a strangely named variable that I had moments ago typed on my laptop in an attempt to name an explosion of genius. My laptop is obviously radio silent. So, I can only assume the same has happened to me. But honestly, size 11 Ubuntu font on a 15” UHD display (8-10megapixels about 300 ppi) ought have been very hard to snap… but that’s digressive.

The federal government is shutdown right now over the Mexico wall. Maybe that’s why all these foreign agents are operating in overdrive?

But it’s all good though. Consider the human cell, well, any eukaryotic cell, they have DNA’s, mRNA’s and tRNA’s… And they’re all floating around in their world like we float around in our world. Some RNA’s make copies of DNA’s, and some RNA’s take DNA information and does something with it. It all works because everything floats around and can interact and copy from canon DNA.

But the one thing though… Even in a primitive system like the cell, there’s this thing called the nucleus which is segregated from other things to prevent writes to DNA. I think our society should mimic this and prevent writes to information devices.

The trespass on my chattle is actionable in the United States when it causes harm. So you can look, you can mimic, but don’t mutate. (Btw, this is not a release of any copyrights I have over any thing, past present or future. Just abstractly discussing human acts upon information.)

A completely random examples, I’m not sure I know why I thought of it, if my compute suddenly lock up, mid-expression, as I bang out prototypo code furiously, due to knowing action of a second party, and I lose the use of it for a while, that is by definition tresspass of chattle, I was dispossessed of its use. The loss in that moment of inspiration is vast, the delay of work, the mental anguish, consequent actions causing harm to me(like this time) are all fair game by the law of this land. If the second party changes some memory or stored information unbeknownst to me(and without my permission), then that also tresspasses on my property. In this vein, it seems that the conception of privacy, and it’s enforcement, can be partially grounded in the need for private property and property law.

Although privacy seems to be a fundamentally different kind of property than physical or intellectual, it is information property. Information is real, you know it when you see or otherwise become aware of it. Information exists objectively and its quality, quantity and changes can all be measured like physical objects(e.g. your information gain is my loss of privacy)

Information property entirely encompasses intellectual property and many other informational property. It has become increasingly practical to both protect and tresspass upon information property. I hope the courts of America will explore this notion in the cases to come.

Honestly, some days I think I may just be mentally ill, worrying about another party constantly hacking my electronic devices. There was some old news….. here–apparently, making many typographic mistakes is a sign of sick mental mind. You cannot imagine how many corrections I had to make while typing this blog entry on my Pixel 2. (And even more glaring once upon an n-th review)

All those suspicions about law enforcement hacking the cellular network, company security commandeering my computer to protect company IP or secrets, competitors and entrenpenurs hacking to gain competitive advantage, sadistic voyeurs satiating themselves….. What if all that is my imagination trying to compensate for my real lack of effort, talent or capacity? What if I simply type really badly and made all this trouble for myself?

How can I know for myself what I am to this world?

But, at least, in case all this is imaginary, we have a new idea for a future where we have legal protection on our ownership of information property.