Bayt Al-Hikma, the House of Wisdom (Artistic Depiction)

Did you know that the word “algebra” comes from the title of the early 9th century textbook Ilm al-jabr wa l-muqābala “The Science of Restoring and Balancing” written by the Persian mathematician and astronomer al-Khwarizmi?

Far from being an isolated development, this academic work took place during a period of scientific flourishing in the Islamic Golden Age.

What factors led to the development of scholarship and knowledge in 9th century Baghdad? What role did Islam play? What is the legacy of this era? If you want to learn more, read the rest of this article.

Introduction

The story commonly told…


How to Avoid Bias in CS Performance Reviews

Photo by Stephen Dawson on Unsplash

As a customer service team leader or quality manager, you work hard to gather data and review your agents’ performance using your rigorous QA scorecard. You’re not superhuman, so you try your best to evaluate 1–3% of all conversations. This performance data informs employee feedback and impacts decisions around compensation and promotions, so it’s imperative that it is objective and representative.

In the following sections, we’ll share specific examples of how data biases can lead to misleading performance reviews.

Kudos to Carla or Karl?

You’re preparing for your coaching sessions with your new agents Carla and Karl. As you review the scorecard data, you see…


Birthday parties these days …

When I wrote about turning 20 5 years ago, I had no idea how every single aspect of that celebration would take a radically different form in just under 5 years.

Back then, I was interning at Facebook and celebrated by watching fireworks at Pier 39 with other interns from the Bay Area. We had a great time and I was just getting used to having the perk of my birthday always being an American holiday and having people hyped about it.

This year, after four months of mainly staying home in Boston with limited in person social contacts, many…


Finding new opportunities to attain individual and collective piety during a virtual-first, decentralized Ramadan

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Just like that, Ramadan 1441 / 2020 started. Unlike previous years filled with the buzz and logistics of organizing iftars, Itikafs, fundraisers and coordinating shared rides to the mosque, the holy month of Ramadan 1441 finds many of us confined at home.

A natural feeling can be one of sadness and nostalgia. As I sit and remember the various ways I celebrated Ramadan in Abidjan, Lagos, San Francisco, Boston over the last two decades, I have to acknowledge that in my lifetime there has never really been a Ramadan like this one.

All the…


The morning of August 12th 2019 started no differently than any other. As usual, I woke up for the second time (first time being for morning prayer), at 8:40 am and, as every smartphone-addicted millennial, checked my phone to see missed notifications on Messenger, WhatsApp and so on. In one WhatsApp group made of 11 friends from 11th grade, I saw the screenshot: “DJ Arafat is dead. The King of Couper-Décaler died, victim of a road accident yesterday night in Abidjan. ‘’ I was shocked.

The night before, I had seen that he was involved in a motorbike accident and…


On unleashing innovation and human capital towards social and environmental impact

Artificial Intelligence meets Tech for Good

Recent increase in computing power, availability of data and technical talent have contributed to the third wave of AI. Scientists and engineers, attracted by high salaries, challenging technical problems and motivated by ambitions of changing the world gathered within the research departments of large technology companies.

In these environments full of bright peers, computing resources and an innovative culture, many projects such as deep learning for breast cancer detection are developed and support the narrative that progress in AI is obviously in the…


Is this the future of public service accountability ?

The Sela Platform was initially conceived to be used in the context of project verification in the Niger Delta. It was created to improve transparency and accountability between public service beneficiaries and those acting on their behalf. It is composed of three main modules.

The first module is a web application where project funders can create, read, update, delete projects. The second module is a conversational interface engaging with evaluation agents to understand the real time status of projects. It takes input from contractors and evaluation agents. …


Sela was founded with the premise that talent is universally distributed but opportunities and access to capital are getting increasingly concentrated. Our work attempts to provide opportunities to people located in emerging markets and empower them in sustainably building their communities and owning that process via distributed ledger technology. There are several reasons why we focus on emerging markets, two examples being that most young people are located there, and that India, Africa and Latin America will have the fastest growing populations in the 21st century. …


During the spring semester of my sophomore year, I decided to take a class about the psychology of gender and race. In this class, we explored the process by which people choose to identify with a specific gender and race and how it shapes the way they dress, behave, choose a career and so on. In addition to case-studies and readings, we had class discussions where students shared their experience. …


Looking forward to beginning a new decade insha’Allah

Twenty. Today, July 4th 2015 as I am turning twenty, America is turning 239. I would have never imagined beginning a new decade in such circumstances but my destiny wanted me to start my third decade in Silicon Valley, the heart of innovations which have shaped and will continue to shape almost every aspect of human condition for the better, hopefully. While riding the Caltrain on my way to see the fireworks with friends, I can’t help but behold the great work done by the pioneers of this nation who made this enormous piece of land inhabitable by man. …

Hassan Kané

Musings of a curious mind …

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