Click this blog to see a list of the various posts I’ve written — including on the brain, AI, education, and entrepreneurship.

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Picture of me in Khorog, Tajikistan

Thanks for visiting! I started this blog a few years ago, but only started writing more regularly in late 2020 when I took a sabbatical from full-time work.

Below is a list of the blogs I’ve written so far. I enjoy connecting and learning from others so reach out on linkedin or twitter or share your comments, questions, suggestions here. Thanks!

Brain & Artificial Intelligence

- The Brain: A Primer for the Novice (Blog Series on Neuroscience and AI) - Conversational AI…


A brief tour of neuroscience, brain research, AI, and interesting related topics.

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I have been reading and doing a bit of research on the brain and cognitive science for a few weeks now. I have no background in this area, and, yes it really is brain surgery. Its an extraordinarily vast field (unsurprising, understatement), but I was still surprised by how much I didn’t know that I didn’t even know.

Understanding more about the human brain is fascinating for so many reasons:

  • Behavioral — why do we do what we do? how to make sense of tragic man-made behaviors in…


In a world of wealth and growing prosperity, where do we go from here?

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Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World” by Rutger Bregman is an enjoyable a quick read about the opportunity to shape our ideal world and future. He also did a related TED Talk that I highly recommend watching. Although I had previously seen the viral clip, I didn’t realize the author was the same individual who gave a searing speech at Davos a few years ago till I came across Trevor Noah’s Daily Show segment with Bregman after reading the book.

Bregman


Market size and opportunity for conversational AI technology.

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Image Credit: SpaceX

What Problems Does Conversational AI Solve?

Conversational AI is the broad term used for the class of machine learning technologies and products associated with interpreting or emulating conversational dialogs. A big application here is intelligent agents: chatbots or voicebots that aim to generate human-like conversations so that users can interact naturally via text (typing) or by audio (speaking) to interact with the bot/service and accomplish some sort of task.

Specific applications range from customer support chatbots you’ve used on websites, intelligent virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa, or industry specific applications like personal finance chatbots, recruiting chatbots, restaurant…


An exploration of voicebots, chatbots, intelligent virtual assistants, and the latest machine learning technologies behind conversational AI.

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Elvis Image Source, Original Song Link.

The idea of speaking to an intelligent agent and having a human-like conversation has intrigued and captivated the imagination for decades.

In recent years, Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa have started to fulfill some of the promise of having a virtual assistant attend to basic tasks and simple information retrieval. However, when it comes to business applications the results have been less impressive. Text-based chatbots emerged with a limited range of success and true voice-based agents didn’t fare much better than the old-style…


Key ideas behind building organizations that innovate.

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Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries” by Safi Bachall discusses ways in which organizations can nurture innovation to solve big and ambitious problems. The key premise of the book is that organizational structure matters more than culture:

Leaders who order their employees to be more innovative without first investing in organizational fitness are like casual joggers who order their bodies to run a marathon.

The book distinguishes loonshots from franchises: franchises are the mainstay of an organization — in a corporation a cash-cow such…


Insights and thoughts from Naval Ravikant’s Almanack

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Image Credit Kal Visuals

“The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness” is a short read of the various musing, thoughts, and tweetstorms of investor Naval Ravikant assembled by Eric Jorgenson.

Making Money

Ravikant’s famous tweetstorm on wealth summarizes many of his beliefs and insights. It’s worth a quick read. Some of the key points about “getting rich”:

  • Know what to do, who to do it with, and when to do it.
  • Give society what it wants but does not yet know how to get. At scale.
  • Pick an industry where you can play long-term games


How it works and what it means for biology and science.

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Source: Nature

I started writing this on the day of the announcement but got distracted and did not finish. As part of New Year’s plan to finish my blogs :) — I’m finishing this one now — but in reality there are now MANY great blogs and videos explaining AlphaFold2 (see resources below).

What happened?

Deepmind has claimed to have solved the 50 year old grand challenge of predicting protein folding shapes simply from the constituent amino acid sequences. They produced their own video that frames the problem and their solution quite well.

What is protein folding?


Infinite Powers: A fun reminder of the power and elegance of calculus in understanding the physical universe.

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Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe” by Steven Strogatz is a fun and interesting read about the history and basic foundations of calculus and its applications in the real world.

The fact that the universe’s behavior can be predicted through math equations is remarkable. Its a fact we accept readily today, but it is quite astounding and magical to revel in the history of how such understanding of physical phenomena were discovered and understood through math. …


The Myths, Challenges and Opportunities in Africa

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Having recently read about China and its history, I was interested to learn more about Africa and the going forward expectations of the vibrant continent of 1.2B people.

Although I’m US born and — therefore practically by definition poorly exposed to world history — my parents were born and raised in East Africa and I have traveled for work or fun to Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Egypt and Morocco and have some familiarity with those parts of the continent. …

Zubair Talib

Loves Technology, Startups, and Tacos.

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