The Criminal Hackathon

Attended the Stanford HealthAI 2019 hackathon last weekend. This was an a very stimulating event and I learned a lot.

(An aside, I got a new phone after ditching my pixel II. But I think my typo problem is mainly with google’s keyboard and not their phone. This iPhone Xs is visibly slower at everything than my one year old pixel II, loading web, download speed, any task, it feels a decade older for some reason. But! I can type on the Mac keyboard as fast as I can move my fingers and it comes out right. It came to me as a shock because I also had Gboard installed and the last paragraph was very painfully typed on that.)

Anyways, back to hackathon, which was a blast! Generally speaking, if investors were to analyze innovation and entrepreneurship, the criminal investigation techniques is a concise way to describe it. There are three elements:

1) motive

2) means

3) opportunity

The hackathon is 3. Myself and the other attendees presumably are the means. Commitment requires the additional ingredients of motive and the act itself.

The business of health seems to be a vast sprawling monstrosity that span sciences, technologies, species, markets, and politics. What drives it? Who’s in control? Who has reliable information? It depends who’s asking and why.

The motive is tricky. There seem to be the following types of entities:

  • Providers (docs, hospitals, clinics)
  • Insurance (ppo, hmo, Medicare, Medicaid, …)
  • Providers’ providers (Pharmacological makes, Medical equipment maker)
  • Regulatory agencies, state and federal.
  • People <– customers of the health industry, pay for health related service.
  • Scientists and their surrounding industry (university, grant giving orgs, peer reviewed publications…)

Hope I didn’t miss any one.

I am a consumer, part of People. But I got to sit with two MD’s and work through the business cases among a lot of scientists and entrepreneurs. The keynote speakers gave very touching perspectives from their own practices.

One doc reminisced regrets of curing hair loss patient to grow half a head of hair, it made life worse for her (!) another doc exasperated that all his smarts and youth are wasted, in his capacity as a doctor at hospital, on keeping patient alive and paying. These are very wise and deep lessons that I take from hackathon with glee.

I definitely learned a ton in a small space of time.

That’s not right

I’m watching AFV S23E22 finale, available on Disney+, where a black child just won the grand prize for being recorded crying after realizing he accidentally took a restaurant cup. The short video shows him begging his mother to take him back before the police shows up.

I cannot believe in 2020 Disney would allow an episode to show like this. That is absolutely not funny that a black child is so fearful of police for even a minor misdemeanor. Because these years, we are a lot of black people being killed by white cops on TV without administering due process of the law. That such fear can and most likely is real, and that it drives a child to tears, is not funny.

I am offended. This is terrible. Why would anyone in their right mind laugh at that ?! Disney oughta be ashamed of itself for showing something like this in this context.

Free Play is all You Need

Little dragon really loved to play. His parents allows him to play both in the water and in the clouds. He loved belly flopping into the water making huge waves. He loved flying head first into a cloud and then summersaulting to break it into many small pieces. He does it 100 times a day because it was just so fun.

One decade, a town was experiencing terrible draught. No crop grew for many years. It became so dry that grass doesn’t even grow. The sheep and cows has nothing to eat and made no wool or milk. The town finally decided to send a brave young man to seek the help of a dragon. The young man braved the long travel to arrive at ocean’s edge and asked the ocean to bring a dragon king for him to speak to.

The ocean looked at the scrawny young man who came with no offerings, it looked at the young man’s small town with no temple to welcome dragon, and it looked at the small number of animals and people impacted by the draught, and the ocean said to the young man, “mmmmn, okay I’ll bring you a dragon.”

The ocean brought the little dragon who loved to play. The little dragon asked what the young man wanted. He explained that his people needs the dragon to produce rain for his town so that they don’t starve from the draught. The little dragon thought a little bit and said “okay, can you wait here for a moment?” And ran off with no explanation.

He got home and cried in nervousness to his father: “oh dad! I spent all my time playing when I should have been working on my dragon ways. I don’t know what to do when they need a real dragon.

“What do you mean?” Said his father, “you are a real dragon!”

Little dragon whimpered: “no I’m not big dragon, I’m just little dragon… all I know is how to play in the water…”

“O-M-G,” said his dad, “oh son, my poor boy, you are a real dragon. Your sneeze and tear is a huge storm for people. And if you don’t sneeze or cry when you need water, just play like you normally do, that’s rain for them too.”

“Oh!” Said the little dragon, wiping his tears, “oh…”

He went back to the little man, still tearing, and to his bewildered surprise, said, “okay, let’s go.”

The little dragon sneezed as soon as he got to the town, the draught has removed much of the nearby ground cover and huge dust storms were blowing. But the sneeze rain lasted a good six hours of rain.

“Oh no, it’s too much water! The land is not protected by vegetation, so the heavy rain is causing mudslides!” Yelled the young man, “can we take a break from this rain?”

“Sure, said the little dragon,” still sneezing and tearing. He looks around and find a a large dried lakebed. So he goes over and sheds the rest of his tear into the lake.”

After a few days, the land awakens from the rain, but the sun does not shine as brightly as it used to. Nearby factories have polluted the air so much that there is a constant smog looming over the town.

“Can you make that smog go away and rain again?” Asked the young man.

“Sure!” This time the little dragon knew just what to do. He flew into the smog, summersaulting 100 times, just as he did in play, and broke up the smog. The irritating acidic cloud made him cry more into the lake… the environment is so badly damaged, he thought, I’m going to have to do something about this, he thought to himself. Then he splashed and played in the lake he has created, and rained on the town again. The plants and livestock and people of the town was enlivened by the little dragons rain. They too came out side to play in the water.

The town was saved. The young man thanked the little dragon. On this day, the little dragon learned: All a real dragon need is play.

Forced Control

So… If one were to have control over ones children, what would one wish for? A few things come to mind. You probably want them to have along and meaningful life. High and steady quality of life. Educated and learned so that they could face what you did not fathom they would face. You want hem o live the good life. Some people wish their children are nice people in addition to good people. This includes a lot of things, like not tripping siblings, not pulling chair from under classmates, cleaning up a mess on the side walk just out of the niceness of their person, to things like not being part of a Nazi party, maybe not killing, maybe not causing other people to kill, not hacking computer accounts or networks, not lying or deceiving, not taking property from others unjustly, having no excess powers,… etc. Along these lines.

Honestly, in this day and age, it’s hard to decide what one wants. There are a lot of (apparently) bad and (apparently)nasty(not nice) people who have (apparently) exceedingly high quality of life, learned, and definitely doing very meaningful things. The paradox of orthodoxies arise. Many schools of thoughts regarding what a truly good life should look like from many many aspects of life.

The old ones are still around.

New ones may talk about it like math equastion: being characterizable by certain bounds within which one is good: minimum income, minimum number of sex partners, minimum degree, maximum calories per day, minimum steps, networth, number of kids, donations to charity, amount of social activity and the depth of social relationships, diversity of income and investments, etc… So many views…

If one maintains those metrics, one is good.

For people who think about it, this may be an open problem or it may be a closed book.

It is interesting to think about one in a while. But honestly, it always seems too great a problem when you try to solve it, and it alway seems like the world’s most urgent problem when you encounter nastiness and badness.

So, if we refer to the Moral Hierarchy, one can see that we can perhaps distinguish our desire for nice and good behavior in my own weakness. This does not mean that we necessarily require that we, ourselves, are Strong(within out strength) in a nice/good way. Case in point, let’s have nukes to enforce world peace.

But, in the same breath, to keep peace with the pc-monitor, it is quite conceivable that a practically implementable stable society everyone has largely symmetrical strengths and weaknesses. Meaning, in the real world, if you want others to be nice to you you pretty much have to be nice back.