Stories about google

Living in online filter bubbles

On December 4, 2009, Google’s corporate blog released a post that did not receive much fanfare or attention but made sweeping changes in the landscape of the internet bringing about a paradigm shift in its nature. The post’s headline said ‘Personalized Search for Everyone’. This meant that since the very next day, Google would use 57 signals to guess our identity and produce search results on that basis. A race to know as much as possible about you has commenced amongst not just Google but all internet giants. Behind the sites we visit, there is a huge new market of ...

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Will reforming the guardianship law lead to real change in Saudi Arabia?

The start of the month heralded the upturning of yet another one of Saudi Arabia’s archaic laws restricting its female citizens. By finally allowing adult women to apply for passports and to travel autonomously for the first time in the kingdom’s history, the government appears to have conceded to the international pressure that followed a series of escape attempts made by Saudi women fleeing domestic violence and abuse of the ‘guardianship’ system. This is the newest addition to a series of emancipation measures – among which was a sexual harassment law and giving women the permission to drive, both of ...

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The Great Hack: The ‘great data robbery’ of our time

About a year ago, I wrote a piece about how data had been manipulated via Facebook to affect the US elections. I wrote about how our digital data was in our control and we can’t blame Facebook for targeted ads. Towards the end of it, I also predicted that Facebook would get away with a slap on the wrist while nothing would happen to Cambridge Analytica, because technically, they hadn’t done anything illegal and there was no evidence of any wrongdoing. Last month, Facebook got fined $5 billion for their role in misusing customer data. Last year, Facebook revenues were ...

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Trevor Noah’s comparison of Imran Khan and Donald Trump was mind-blowingly shallow

Trevor Noah is a funny man. In 2015, he replaced Jon Stewart as the host of The Daily Show – a highly reputable satirical show on politics. Previously, Noah had been very successful as a stand-up comedian, and had reportedly been Stewart’s first choice as the leading host of the show. But when it comes to Pakistan, the two men could not be further apart. Stewart’s Daily Show was known for its wide array of well-researched pieces, and even his comedic bits gave the impression that he knew what he was talking about. He was never all jokes and no ...

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In the US-China trade war, Pakistan and the global economy will be the casualties

The year 2017 ended on a positive note, with some major economies leading the “broadest synchronised global upsurge since 2010”, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Markets reacted positively to the improved global economic outlook, giving rise to a flare of optimism in the investor community. Halfway through 2018, however, and the global economic scenario now paints a different picture. China just lost its spot to Japan for the second largest stock market in the world, amid rising tension over the trade war concerns between the two major superpowers. Donald Trump seems to be on board to fulfil his promise ...

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5 reasons why ‘Homo Deus’ will get under your skin and make you question humanity’s future

If you are lucky, you may come across a book that challenges your assumptions, upends your convictions, and knocks down your indoctrination. If you are really lucky, then the said book may present an alternative and limitless world view of possibilities, generating a warm fuzzy feeling within; perhaps because your assumptions have been challenged, convictions upended, and indoctrination knocked down. I can safely say this has happened to me recently. After several years of sporadic reading of contemporary fiction, creative non-fiction and general non-fiction, I finally had the pleasure of reading Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah ...

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Have you heard about the “Chinese” dish called Chicken Manchurian? Because people in China haven’t!

Pakistan is known for its desi-flavour infused Chinese dishes. Chicken Manchurian is a popular dish in Pakistan but funnily enough, people living in China have never heard of it, let alone consume it. This came as a surprise to me when I was visiting Beijing, China for a documentary shoot. My hosts from China Central Television took great care of my needs, including my meals and accommodation. At the end of the first day, when we were sitting in a halal restaurant in Beijing, my hosts asked me if I had a specific dish I wanted to have for my dinner. Since ...

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We care about Muslims in the US but not minorities in Pakistan?

In what was arguably the upset of the century, Hillary Clinton was defeated by Donald Trump in the US presidential elections last year. Almost everyone was convinced that the greatest democracy in the world would, for the first time in its history, elect a woman as head of state. Pakistan – a long-term US ally in the ‘war against terrorism’ – was monitoring the situation closely. The country’s most revered commentators started off by joining in the chorus of making fun of the fact that Trump, a business tycoon, was even in the race, conveniently ignoring that most, if not all, of our politicians are ...

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Should the internet be the one teaching our children about ‘the birds and the bees’?

You know they say that ‘hormonal teenagers’ is a cliché? And do you know what they say about clichés?  They say that most clichés are true. And they are.  And hormonal teenagers are the truest clichés in the universe. Psychology and medical science tell us now more than ever; if there was ever a time to accept this cliché and all the baggage that comes with it, it’s now. More parents, logically, should accept that between the ages of 13 to 18, young adolescents go through various surges of hormones in their bodies and sexual arousal is also a part of this physiological development. Logically, more parents should help ...

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Does the National Action Plan not apply to Pakistani Ahmadis?

A recent report by the Hudson Institute paints a damning portrait of Pakistan as a country where its Ahmadi community is arrested for propagating their faith, has its places of worship destroyed over allegations of blasphemy, has its businesses and products boycotted, and its deceased’s’ graves desecrated with impunity. This is a Pakistan where police officers are frequently complicit to violence against Ahmadis, the school curriculum panders to prejudice, and it feels like every few weeks new names are added to the list of Ahmadis murdered at the hands of misguided psychopaths who are brainwashed and influenced by Pakistan’s irresponsible, vast ...

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