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With the story of an amusing chess-playing robot.

150 years before we even started using the word “robot,” Wolfgang Von Kempelen created the Mechanical Turk, a chess-playing automation robot, which looked like a human attached to a Cabinet with a chessboard.

8By Karl Gottlieb von Windisch. Wikimedia.

Not only could it play Chess, but it also won most matches within half an hour. It toured the Europe and Americas playing with and defeating statesmen such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin.

For 84 years, nobody could figure out how the Turk worked. Some guessed that the pieces were pulled by strings from someone above like a puppet. Some thought if Kempelen was pushing some…


They affect almost everything you do on the Internet.

In the first weeks of Feb, the Govt of India ordered Twitter to ban accounts. Many of whom were accounts critical of the government. Twitter refused, arguing for protection of freedom of speech. The govt threatened to jail Twitter’s employees in India.

So to make sure no platform or publisher ever defies the government’s orders again, a new IT Act was announced on the 25th of Feb. The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

And these rules affect almost all of the internet you use today: social media platforms? check. Digital news media? check. OTT…


I turned 16 on April 23. And after 5 years of seeing amazing people do this, I’m so excited to share my first list of lessons I learnt.

1 Reflect as much as you react. When was the last time you sat down and did nothing? All-day long, we’re reacting to people and things. Give yourself some alone time and reflect. This is also why shower thoughts are usually so good: you aren’t reacting to anything.

2 You grow when you feel what you previously loved was stupid. My first interest in tech came through watching Technical Guruji. A year…


You should start writing.

Do you have any expertise in any field?
What is the status of your current job?
Can you sustain it?

Your expertise doesn’t matter. Live your life and read and reflect enough, you’ll have things to say. Things to think more about. Write is thinking on paper.

Your current job doesn’t matter. You write because you’ve ideas and you can’t keep them to yourself. You won’t write well enough to earn a living if you only write to earn.

But sustaining it does matter. Typing words eventually becomes boring. But it is The Practice, trust it. Like how a worker does manual labour, it is your emotional labour. Force yourself to write. It’s worth it.


Twitter Hack

Hey Twitter, what’s happening?!

Illustration by author

Remember those scam callers who pretend to be the bank’s manager, without even knowing which bank you’ve got an account in? They ask for your card details for some verification shit.

Almost nobody gets tricked into that anymore. I don't even think they're effective.

But you know what’s surprising though? The technique that was used in these scam calls is one of the many techniques that made the Twitter hack possible. At least that’s what Twitter believes as of now.

The hack has affected 130 accounts and stole $120,000 worth in BTC.

Essentially, this hack wasn’t due to a software…


World Emoji Day

How emojis 👊 became racemojis 👊🏻👊🏼👊🏽👊🏾👊🏿

Five years back, using an emoji was much simpler. Regardless of skin colour, everybody used the same yellow-coloured emojis (which looked like the Simpsons or the LEGO, or just someone suffering from jaundice)

Wasn't this fair enough because after all the internet has been equal for everyone?

The yellow colour was chosen to make emojis generic and non-realistic. So that it doesn't represent any specific skin colour.

But turned out that blacks and people of colour felt misrepresented by the yellow emoji. This defies the sole purpose of it being yellow, in the first place.

And even Apple acknowledged it…


READ ON THECIVA

Twitter hints it’s started working on a subscription based platform, which might solve the company’s revenue problems.

Illustration by author

A job listing by Twitter reveals the company’s plans for a subscription based platform. They’re recruiting web engineers to work on a “subscription-based platform”.

The internal team working on this project, codenamed “Gryphon” will work closely with Twitter’s payment and twitter.com team to build a paid platform that “can be reused by other teams in future”. This will the first time Twitter’s doing anything like this.

Twitter hasn’t still made a statement on what this platform will offer. In fact, we don’t even have a clear word on when this will release or if it will release.

But it’s clear…


Theciva

You give away so much of your personal data for free and Facebook earns massive profits off it. The Data Dividend Project pushes tech companies to pay to use or store your data. But is treating your-data-as-your-property the right approach?

data as your property means you can sell it
data as your property means you can sell it
Illustration by Dark Cube Studio on Dribbble

A former candidate for 2020 presidential elections, Andrew Yang wants big tech platforms like Facebook and Google to pay its users for collecting, storing and using data. This effectively means that if his plans are successful, Facebook will have to pay you when you upload a post or Google will have to pay you to record your search and YouTube history to target ads.

This project, named the Data Dividend Project, fights to establish “your-data-as-your-property” right and give you the ability to control its use. It’s basically like allowing someone to track what you do on the Internet and push…


OPINION-DRIVEN

An Analyst suggested Apple buy DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focused search engine. And looks like he hasn’t considered all factors. Apple most likely won’t buy DuckDuckGo but it might still be interested in creating a search engine.

Illustration by Kunal Mishra

About a week earlier analyst Toni Sacconaghi put forward a recommendation for Apple. He believes Apple can buy DuckDuckGo, a privacy centred search engine and make it the default search engine in all Apple devices. Thus finally ending its business with Google, which currently pays $7–8B to Apple to remain the same.

That analyst says so because both Apple and DuckDuckGo are super privacy-focused companies.

Note: DuckDuckGo is hereafter referred to as DDG because it’s too long to type.

You might not know about DuckDuckGo. And that’s fairly normal. Because DDG receives about 62 million queries a day. That’s huge…

Kunal Mishra

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