Algorithm: Origins of Artificial Intelligence in Islamic Golden Age

When Gmail completes your sentences or Netflix offers you recommendations for movies to watch, do you wonder where it all came from? Do you know how airplanes fly or autonomous vehicles drive on auto-pilot? What algorithms are used to make it happen? Who made these possible? Where did the word "algorithm" come from? Have you heard of Mohammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi?


The word algorithm comes from Muhammad al-Khwarizmi, the name of a Muslim mathematician and scientist who developed the concept of algorithms. He was appointed the head of the House of Wisdom (Darul Hikma) in Baghdad in 820 AD. He is also credited with the invention of Algebra (hisab al-jabr). Darul Hikma, also known as the Grand Library of Baghdad, was a major public academy and intellectual center in Baghdad during the Abbasid rule.

The House of Wisdom was founded by Caliph Haroon al-Rashid in the late 8th century that later turned into a public academy during the reign of Al-Ma'moon. It was destroyed by the Mongols in the Siege of Baghdad in 1258, leaving very little archaeological evidence.

AI Algorithms:

An algorithm is a step-by-step procedure developed for accomplishing specific tasks. In artificial intelligence (AI), algorithms help  accomplish tasks that used to require human judgment —such as flying airplanes, driving vehicles, composing emails and making recommendations for books and movies. High-powered computers help execute these algorithms at high speeds.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Google have long used AI algorithms relying on user profile data to help advertisers target potential customers.  Now, under tremendous pressure from governments and civil society, the companies operating social media platforms are attempting to use AI algorithms for censoring hate speech.

Such algorithms are designed to be self-learning. They are trained by feeding lots data and examples selected by humans to help their ability to make judgements. Success rate of these algorithms improves with more data over time.

Artificial Intelligence Applications

Muslim Contributions to Math and Science:

A recent Twitter poll by Texas-based American journalist Wes Trueblood III asked the question: “Should schools in America be forced to teach Arabic numerals as a part of their curriculum?” He was shocked to see that 90% of respondents said "No".  It was obvious that they did not know the fact that Arabic numerals are already taught in American schools because all mathematics today is based on Arabic numerals. And without mathematics, there can be no STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Most people today are unaware of how much the Islamic civilization has contributed to mathematics, science and technology.  Dick Teresi, author of 'Lost Discoveries', says it is partly attributable to the reluctance of the western scientists to acknowledge the work of Muslim scientists. The claim of Muslims as being mere "conduits" of knowledge has been rejected by Dick Teresi. Says Teresi, "Clearly, the Arabs served as a conduit, but the math laid on the doorstep of Renaissance Europe cannot be attributed solely to ancient Greece. It incorporates the accomplishments of Sumer, Babylonia, Egypt, India, China and the far reaches of the Medieval Islamic world.

Teresi describes the work done by Copernicus. Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, a Persian Muslim astronomer and mathematician, developed at least one of Copernicus's theorems, now called The Tusi Couple, three hundred years before Copernicus. Copernicus used the theorem without offering any proof or giving credit to al-Tusi. This was pointed out by Kepler, who looked at Copernicus's work before he developed his own elliptical orbits idea.

A second theorem found in Copernican system, called Urdi lemma, was developed by another Muslim scientist Mu'ayyad al-Din al-Urdi, in 1250. Again, Copernicus neither offered proof nor gave credit to al-Urdi. Columbia University's George Saliba believes Copernicus didn't credit him because Muslims were not popular in 16th century Europe, not unlike the situation today.

Tipler completely ignores the great contribution of another giant of science from the Islamic world, Ibn Haitham (Alhazen), who developed the "Scientific Method". Alhazen is also considered the father of modern optics. The ancient Greeks thought our eyes emitted rays, like a laser, which enabled us to see. The first person to explain that light enters the eye, rather than leaving it, was Ibn al-Haitham. He invented the first pin-hole camera after noticing the way light came through a hole in window shutters. The smaller the hole, the better the picture, he worked out, and set up the first Camera Obscura (from the Arab word qamara for a dark or private room). He is also credited with being the first man to shift physics from a philosophical activity to an experimental one.

The fountain pen was invented for the Sultan of Egypt in 953 after he demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes. It held ink in a reservoir and, as with modern pens, fed ink to the nib by a combination of gravity and capillary action.

The algebra as we know today came from the Muslim world. Al Khwarizmi wrote the first book on algebra. The term "algebra" was first used by him. Al Khwarizmi was born about 790 in Baghdad, Iraq, and died about 850.

The word for "Algebra" comes from the Arabic word for "al-jabr" which means "restoration of balance" in both sides of an equation. Algebra was based on previous work from Greeks, Alexandrians in Egypt, and Hindus who had preserved the work from ancient Egyptians and Babylonians.

In the ninth century, al-Khwarizmi wrote one of the first Arabic algebras with both proofs and examples. Because of his work, he is called "the Father of Algebra." Al-Khwarizmi was a Persian born in the eighth century. He converted (changed) Babylonian and Hindu numerals into a workable system that almost anyone could use. He gave the name to his math as "al-jabr" which we know as "algebra".

A Latin translation of al-Khwarizmi's book on algebra appeared in Europe in the 12th century. In the early 13th century the new algebra appeared in the writings of the famous Italian mathematician, Leonardo Fibonacci. So, algebra was brought into Europe from ancient Babylon, Egypt and India by the Arabs and then into Italy.

In his 1864 book "The History of the Intellectual Development of Europe", English-born American scientist J.W. Draper wrote that “I have to deplore the systematic manner in which the literature of Europe has contrived to put out of sight our scientific obligations to the Mohammedans. Surely they can not be much longer hidden. Injustice founded on religious rancor and national conceit cannot be perpetuated forever".

University of Al Quaraouiyine:

University of Al Quaraouiyine (also spelled al karaouine) was founded by Fatima Al Fihri in 859 CE in Fez, Morocco. It is believed to be the world's oldest continuously operating university.

Al-Fihri, born in Kairouan (Qayrawan) in what is now Tunisia, was a well-educated daughter of a wealthy merchant. Her family migrated to Fez where she started the world's oldest continuously operating university named after her place of birth.

The University started as a madrassa affiliated with a mosque. It had the basic infrastructure and systems associated with modern universities. It had a formal curriculum, administered examinations and awarded degrees. It became part of the foundation of the glory days of the Islamic Civilization.

The University currently has staff and faculty of over 1000 and it has over 8000 students enrolled. The list of its most distinguished alumni includes Ibn Khaldun, widely regarded as the forerunner of the modern disciplines of historiography, sociology, economics, and demography. Other notable alumni are Jewish philosopher Maimonides,  Muslim philosopher Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and Muslim geographer Mohammad Al-Idrisi.

The world's second oldest continuously operating university is Al Azhar in Cairo, Egypt established in 970 CE.

Universities in Europe:

University of Bologna, the oldest university in Europe, was established in 1088 CE, more than two centuries after  University of Al Quaraouiyine was founded by Fatima Al-Fihri in Fez, Morocco.

Then came Oxford University in 1096, Salamanca University in 1134, Paris University in 1160 and Cambridge University in 1209.

Brigham Young University (BYU) history professor Glenn Cooper has traced the concept of receiving a degree to Islam and is associated with completing a set curriculum. The ceremonial cap and gown used in graduation ceremonies is also a legacy of Islamic tradition.

Rise and Fall of Islamic Civilization:

Where did star names like Ain ( عين),  Betelgeuse (إبط الجوزاء ) and Cursa ( الكرسي) come from? Who named Californium and Berkelium elements of the periodic table?  Famous American scientist Dr.Neil deGrasse Tyson answered these and other questions in some recent video presentations.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator, according to Wikipedia. Since 1996, he has been the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City.

What Dr. Tyson describes as "naming rights" simply means that those who discover new things get to name them. Californians got the naming rights to some of the elements of the periodic table  while the Arabs got to name vast majority of the stars in the Cosmos. In modern western astronomy, most of the accepted star names are Arabic, a few are Greek and some are of unknown origin.

Continuing on the naming rights theme, Dr. Tyson also describes the Islamic origins of Arabic numerals, Algebra, Algorithm, Alchemy and Alcohol as products of the Islamic Golden Age of Science in 800 to 1100 AD.

The lesson Dr. Tyson draws from the rise and fall of Muslims is as follows: Islamic civilization remained dominant in sciences and mathematics as long as Muslims practiced Ijtihad to ask questions and find answers to questions. What led to their decline was Taqlid, the unquestioning faith in Revelation.

Dr. Tyson credits the great Muslim philosopher Alhazen (Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham 965-1040 AD) with inventing the modern scientific method. Alhazen questioned everything, especially the things everyone took for granted, says Dr. Tyson. Alhazen's work was lavishly funded by the Muslim Caliphs. All of it changed when Imam Al Ghazali, or Algazel, a highly influential Islamic scholar of his time, succeeded in persuading Muslims to accept Taqlid that triggered rapid decline of the Islamic world.

Dr. Tyson has used the example of the great Islamic Civilization's decline to warn Americans against repeating it. He has particularly targeted those in America who denounce Darwin's theory of evolution or reject the validity of climate science.

World Changing Inventions/Discoveries:

While the concept of universities has had the biggest impact on the world, there are several other innovations and-or discoveries by Muslims that have changed the world. A short list includes coffee, Algebra, marching band and camera. Here is a video about the top 5 Muslim inventions that changed the world:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Rise and Fall of the Islamic Civilization

Artificial Intelligence in Pakistan

Pakistani Woman Leads Global Gender Parity Campaign

Muslims Have Few Nobel Prizes

Ibn Khaldun: The Father of Modern Social Sciences

Obama Speaks to the Muslim World

Lost Discoveries by Dick Teresi

Physics of Christianity by Frank Tipler

What is Not Taught in School

How Islamic Inventors Changed the World

Jinnah's Pakistan Booms Amidst Doom and Gloom


Riaz Haq said…
Mutazilites were rationalist in the Abbasid era during the Golden Age of Islam. They were backed by Caliph Haroon Rashid. Ghazali destroyed the Mutazilite movement triggering the decline of Islamic Golden Age.

More recently in South Asian history, the mullahs of JUH who attacked Sir Syed Ahmad Khan denounced him by comparing him to Mutazilites
Riaz Haq said…
Rejection of #secular knowledge led to #Muslims’ regression: “They become people who are ignorant of the knowledge that are changing the world. They started to regress,” #Malaysia PM Dr Mahathir said in his speech on the topic of “knowledge”.| Malay Mail

ANKARA, July 25 — The academic dominance of the Muslim world has declined after its ancient scholars rejected the pursuit of secular knowledge, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

In his opening speech to the Council of Higher Education Ankara here, the prime minister said the rejection has caused the Muslim world to fall to Western colonialists and eventually weakened.

“They become people who are ignorant of the knowledge that are changing the world. They started to regress,” Dr Mahathir said in his speech on the topic of “knowledge”.

The rejection, Dr Mahathir said, came following a fatwa, or religious decree by those scholars, deeming secular knowledge such as mathematics and science as having no merit for the afterlife.

In comparison, he said that European powers had instead acquired the knowledge previously pioneered by the Muslim world and subsequently took a leap over the latter.

He also again lambasted modern Muslims for simply parroting other scholars and taking their interpretations of Islam for granted.

The prime minister also reiterated his message that religious terrorism and jihadism go against “true” Islamic teachings.

Dr Mahathir was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University following his speech.

Riaz Haq said…
Dr #Mahathir Mohammad wants ‘#Turkey , #Malaysia , #Pakistan to lead #Muslim renaissance'

Experts have welcomed visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's statement that Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan can pave the way forward for development in the Muslim world.

"The Islamic world needs a renaissance," said Huseyin Bagci, an expert in International relations at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara.

“And Prime Minister Mahathir made a right point that these countries at least start new projects which make Muslim world compatible and competitive in Islamic sciences, technology, defense, etc.,” Bagci said.

The Malaysian premier arrived in the Turkish capital Ankara on Wednesday evening to kick off his four-day official visit.

Corroborating words of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that solidarity among Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan “is necessary for the unity of the Islamic world”, Mahathir told reporters at a joint news conference Thursday that it is crucial to relieve the Muslim Ummah from being subjugated by others.

"That is why I proposed that three Muslim countries should work together. At least these three [Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan]. So that we can speak with a louder voice in terms of many areas; defense, for example,” the Malaysian premier said.

Bagci agreed saying the three countries have common values in democracy, human rights and free press.

“People relatively feel free,” he said, adding: “[However], there is stagnation in Islamic world… there can be kingdoms like in the U.K. but governments come and go which is not the case in most of the Muslim world.”

He noted that Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan stand out from the Arab world.

“It is interesting that why Prime Minister Mahathir did not mention any Arab country,” Bagci said, referring to their dismal track record in upholding human rights.

Notably, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia are among the founders of the Muslim-majority D-8 group that seeks to establish strategic relations, increased trade, and more cooperation among its members. However, the group is yet to realize its potential.

On the apparent failure of D-8, Bagci blamed “too much divisions, corruption and stagnation in Islamic world”.

“The new mechanism which Mahathir has suggested can bring together even Afghanistan and central Asian states,” he said.

Professor Sami A. Al-Arian, director of Istanbul-based Center for Islam and Global Affairs, described the ongoing visit as “historic”.

“This visit by Prime Minister Mahathir to Turkey to meet President Erdogan is historic, as the two leaders have been repeatedly and frequently democratically elected by their people,” Al-Arian said.

He said that these leaders have demonstrated over the years "political stability and economic dynamism”.

According to Al-Arian, Mahathir's visit comes at a time when the economic and political challenges faced by the two governments are “enormous in light of the looming global economic uncertainty as well as the geopolitical shifts across the Middle East because of the U.S. trade war with China, and other regional problems”.

“The U.S. sanctions against Iran and the latest tension with Turkey with regard to the S-400 air defense system, have resulted in having other regional powers, such as Turkey and Malaysia, to come closer together to restructure their relations in order to stand up to the pressure being applied against their economy and security,” he added.

Riaz Haq said…
Medieval Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun quoted on tax theory by two US Presidents: Kennedy and Reagan

Ibn Khaldun was the first major contributor to tax theory in history. He is the philosopher who shaped the minds of several rulers throughout history. More recently his impact was evident on John F. Kennedy and later on Ronald Reagan. "Our true choice is not between tax reduction on the one hand and avoidance of large federal deficits on the other. An economy stilled by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget, just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits." John F. Kennedy said that back in 1962, when he was asking for a tax decrease, a cut in tax rates across the board. But when John Kennedy said those words, he was echoing the words of Ibn Khaldun, a Muslim philosopher back in the fourteenth century, who said the following: "At the beginning of the dynasty taxation yields large revenues from small assessments. At the end of the dynasty taxation yields small revenue from large assessments….This is why we had to have the tax program as well as the budget cuts, because budget cuts, yes, would reduce government spending."

According to Ibn Khaldun, tax revenues of the ruling dynasty increase because of business prosperity, which flourishes with easy, not excessive taxes. He was therefore the first in history to lay the foundation of a theory for the optimum rate of taxation, a theory which has even affected contemporary leading advocates of supply-side economics such as Arthur Laffer and others. The well-known Laffer curve is nothing but a graphical presentation of the theory of taxation developed by Ibn Khaldun in the fourteenth century.34

"When tax assessments and imposts upon the subjects are low, the latter have the energy and desire to do things. Cultural enterprises grow and increase, because the low taxes bring satisfaction. When cultural enterprises grow, the number of individual imposts and assessments mount. In consequence, the tax revenue, which is the sum total of the individual assessments, increases";35 whereas with large tax assessments, incomes and profits are adversely affected, resulting, in the final analysis, in a decline in tax revenue. Ibn Khaldun made a strong case against any government attempt to confiscate or otherwise affect private property. Governments' arbitrary interferences in man's property result in loss of incentives, which could eventually lead to a weakening of the state. Expropriation is self-defeating for any government because it is a form of oppression, and oppression ruins society.
Riaz Haq said…
10 Interesting Facts About #Pakistan
The South Asian country has given the world the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner and the world’s highest ATM. 2 Nobel Laureates, First #Muslim woman PM, World's Largest #Irrigation System, World's First PC Virus

1. Two Pakistanis have won the Nobel Peace Prize: the late Abdus Salam, a theoretical physicist who in 1979 shared the Nobel Prize in physics for his contribution to electroweak unification theory, and Malala Yousafzai, a woman's education activist who in 2014 shared it with Kailash Satyarthi of India. Yousafzai was 17 when she was awarded the Nobel, making her the youngest-ever laureate.

2. The name Pakistan derives from two words, "Pak," which is Persian for holy, clean or pure, and "istan" derives from the Hindi word "isthan," which means a place.

3. Pakistan has six designated UNESCO World Heritage sites: the archeological ruins at Moenjodaro; the Buddhist ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and neighboring city remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol; the fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore; the monuments at Makli; Fort Rohtas; and the ancient ruins of Taxila.

4. Pakistan has the world's largest contiguous irrigation system, according to the United Nations.

5. If you play soccer – called football by most people around the world – it's likely you've put a boot into a product made in Pakistan. Workers in the country hand-sew many of the soccer balls distributed around the world, and as The Atlantic reports, roughly 40% of all soccer balls in the world are made in one Pakistani city: Sialkot.

6. The world's first PC virus was created by two Pakistani brothers. Basit Farooq Alvi and Amjad Farooq Alvi created "Brain," which was discovered in 1986 and targeted IBM PC platforms.

7. Some of the highest mountains in the world are located in Pakistan. The world's second-tallest mountain is in the country and has many names: Dapsang or Chogori locally, Mount Godwin-Austen in English and Qogir Fengin Chinese. But most people know it simply as K2, standing at 8,611 meters, or 28,251 feet.

8. The Karakoram Highway is the world's highest paved international road, according to Travel+Leisure magazine. The 800-mile highway connects Pakistan to western China, and reaches a maximum height of 15,300 feet.

9. Speaking of heights, the ATM at the world's highest elevation belongs to the National Bank of Pakistan and sits in the Khunjerab Pass, in Gilgit-Baltistan. It was established in November 2016 and is 15,397 feet above sea level.

10. The late Benazir Bhutto was the first woman to head a democratic government in a Muslim-majority country.

Riaz Haq said…
First steam turbine was invented by a #Muslim #inventor Taqi al-Din in #Egypt during #Ottoman rule in 1551, more than a century before Thomas Newcombe and James Watt invented the steam engine.

Steam engine history dates back to the 1st century AD when the “aeolipile” was described by the Hero of Alexandria for the first time. More than 1500 years later, the primitive forms of turbines driven by the power of steam were explained by Taqi al-Din in 1551 as well as Giovanni Branca in 1629. These were either small steam jacks or escapement devices. They were mainly used by inventors to demonstrate that steam power engineering shouldn’t be underestimated.


Thomas Savery: A biography of Thomas Savery with information about his engine.
Steam Engine Development: The article highlights the steam engine development covering Savery’s contributions and the atmospheric engines.
Low-Pressure Engines
The high consumption of coal which was common in Newcomen’s steam engine was reduced through innovations in engine design by James Watt. The low pressure engine’s cylinder contained heat insulation, a separate condenser, and a pumping out mechanism for condensed water. In this manner, the low pressure engine was successful in reducing fuel consumption by more than 50%.

Watt’s Low-Pressure Steam Engine: The Deutsches Museum offers some information on this early engineering marvel.
Thomas Newcomen Steam Engine
In 1712, Thomas Newcomen invented an effective and practical steam engine. The steam engine designed by him consisted of a piston or a cylinder that moved a huge piece of wood to drive the water pump. The engine did not use steam pressure to exert any pressure on the piston but it was the wooden beam that was heavier towards the main pump. It was gravity that pulled down the pump side of the wooden piece. The Newcomen beam engine remained in use for more than 50 years but they turned out to be inefficient as a lot of energy was required for the engine to run effectively. The cylinder was required to be heated as well as cooled every time, which used up most of its energy causing a huge amount of wastage.

Newcomen’s Steam Engine: The BBC provides information on the steam engine by this man with an illustration.
Thomas Newcomen’s Steam Engine: Come here to learn all about the steam engine created by Thomas Newcomen.
Ivan Polzunov and the First Two-Cylinder Steam Engine
Ivan Polzunov was a Russian inventor who in 1766 built the first steam engine in his country and the first two-cylinder engine in the world. Polzunov’s two-cylinder steam engine was more powerful than the English atmospheric engines. It had a power rating of 24 kw. Polzunov’s model of a two-cylinder steam engine is presently displayed the Barnaul Museum.

Ivan Polzunov: The article provides information on how this Russian scientist built the two-cylinder steam engine.
Two-Cylinder Steam Engine: Here’s a picture of a two-cylinder steam engine from the 1880s.
James Watt-Improved Steam Engine
Finally, it was James Watt who revolutionized the steam engine by making use of a separate condenser in the original design. He came up with a separate condenser in 1765.
Khwaja A. said…
Can you name one, just one name of pre Islamic well known Persian scientist in ANY field. I am not saying that Persian Empire was not a powerful empire for several centuries but it simply failed to produce a single world class scholar / scientist in almost 700 years of its existence. Here are names of some great Persian scholars who flourished under the true light of a man inspiring religion;

1. AVICENNA, or Abu Ali Sina. The greatest medieval physician ( he was also an astronomer, mathematician and religious scholar). His book “ the Canon of Medicine “
Was the standard Text book of Medicine all over the world till the mid 17!th century. He was the inventor of Quarantine which has saved millions of lives over the last 10 centuries.

2. AL BAIRUNI: the greatest mathematician and astronomer of his time and writer of the first authentic history of India ( he was a courtesan of the great Mahmud of Ghazni ) who mastered Sanskrit. His book “ Tarikh al Hind ( History of India ) is still a reference book on this subject. The main impetus for astronomy in the Islamic Golden Era was the need to find the proper direction of the niche in the mosques to orientate the direction to Mecca.

ALKHAWARZIMI: The inventor of Algebra. Al-Khwarizmi invented Algebra in order to solve more and more complex fractions in order to distribute inheritances according to the Qur’anic rules.

Rumi: The greatest Sufi poet who has been the most popular poet in America for the last 15 years.

Al Ghazali: one of the greatest religious mind of ALL times. Thomas Aquila’s plagiarized him wholesale without giving him any credit.

So just name one great scientist of pre Islamic Persia.
I am a very eager student for everything under the sun.
Alberto said…
It is totally, utterly ABSURD to talk about "Islamic contributions to Science" SCIENCES, by its own definition, had no Religion. You can say "Sciences from the times Islam came into the world", just like we can talk about Sciences since the airplane was born.

Hundreds and thousands of years before Mohammed was born, the distance to the moon the sun and all visible planets had already been calculated. Same with the circumference of the Earth. The annual 12 month calendar. Have you heard of the Egyptian 'mummies', preserved for thousands of years?

To be admitted to Plato's Academy in Greece, 1,000 years before Islam, the student had to pass a Geometry exam. Study Sciences in China LONG before Islam appeared. Claudius Galenus, Turkish, in English called Galen, nearly 2,000 years ago, was performing brain and eye operations.

Do defend your Religion any way you like, but do not ridicule Science and scientists.
Khwaja A. said…
Alberto: "Hundreds and thousands of years before Mohammed was born, the distance to the moon the sun and all visible planets had already been calculated. ..."

You should also know that Aristotle and his students ( so did ancient Indians ) that the Universe was permanent / eternal ??? Quran said no that it started with the Big Bang( Q 21:30 ) and was expanding ( Q 51:47 ) and it will end in the Great Crunch ( Q 21:104 ) in the end. Show us these three facts claimed in the Greek / Indian / Chinese history.

Aristotle and the Greeks had some other wrong notions which did not find its place in the Quran which appeared in the least developed part of the then extant world.

BTW, I never used the term Islamic Science EVER.
I gave the reasons for the development of Algebra by Al Khwarzimi and Adtronomy by Alberuni which is rooted in Qur’anic exhortations repeatedly. Same is true for Prof Salam’s earth shaking discoveries, ( pun intended ).

Why these greats like Avicenna, Albairuni and AlKhwarizm were not produced before the Quran started the spark of intellectual stimulation in its followers. The spark for Algebra was primarily calculating the inheritance for children, wife and sometimes parents. This was a novel idea NEVER encountered by humanity in history. As noted, the stimulus for astronomy was calculation of Qibla in far away lands where Muslims were living after freeing themselves from jahalat and pagan worship torture.
Riaz Haq said…
Medieval #Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun’s words of wisdom: “Blindly following ancient customs and traditions doesn’t mean the dead are alive but it means that the living are dead”

Riaz Haq said…

Medieval #Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun’s words of wisdom: “Blindly following ancient customs and traditions doesn’t mean the dead are alive but it means that the living are dead”
Riaz Haq said…
1000 Years Before #Darwin, #Islamic Scholars Wrote About Natural Selection. "Al-Jahiz appears to have had not just evolutionary ideas, but many ideas that could be said to be related specifically to the process of evolution by natural selection” via @vice

In the summer of 1837, Charles Darwin drew a rudimentary sketch in his notebook, lines of ink that branched out from another. This tree-like doodle would come to represent his theory of evolution by natural selection, a way to visualize how plants and animals adapt in response to their environments. On the top of the page, Darwin scrawled the words, "I think."

When many students are taught about evolution they learn about Darwin, how he observed bird beaks on the Galápagos Islands, and pieced together one of history's most significant biological puzzles.

But this narrative, focusing on a singular person's "I think," omits a long history of humans contemplating how organisms change over time. Evolutionary musings have existed before Darwin, and some professors and museums are now striving to include that neglected history in curriculums and exhibitions.

Recently, New York University professor James Higham tweeted about how he updated the lectures of his class on primate behavioral ecology, geared to upper-level undergraduates. They now "properly acknowledge Islamic scholarship in this area—especially that of Al-Jahiz (781-869 CE)," Higham wrote. "It seems clear that something like evolution by natural selection was proposed a thousand years before Darwin/Wallace." (The naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace independently proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection around the same time as Darwin.)

Higham told VICE News he wasn’t taught about Al-Jahiz in his own training; he knew of Al-Jahiz vaguely as a theologian, writer, and scholar, but not a biologist.

“I was struck by the extent to which Al-Jahiz appears to have had not just evolutionary ideas, but many ideas that could be said to be related specifically to the process of evolution by natural selection,” Higham said in an email. “This seems to have included ideas such as competition over finite resources, adaptation in response to the environment, and speciation over time as an outcome.”
Riaz Haq said…
What the Iranian scholar Albiruni said about Hindus, echoed centuries later by Vivekananda

In this excerpt from his book ‘Dharma’, Chaturvedi Badrinath examines the first ever dialogue between Islamic and Hindu thought.

Albiruni's observations on Hindus:

The Hindus believe that there is no country but theirs, no nation like theirs, no kings like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like theirs. They are haughty, foolishly vain, self-conceited, and stolid. They are by nature niggardly in communicating that which they know, and they take the greatest possible care to withhold it from men of another caste among their own people, still much more, of course, from any foreigner. According to their belief, there is no other country on earth but theirs, no other race of man but theirs, and no created beings besides them have any knowledge or science whatsoever...

...all their fanaticism is directed against those who do not belong to them – against all foreigners. They call them mlechha, ie impure, and forbid any connection with them, be it by intermarriage or any other kind of relationship, or by sitting, eating, and drinking with them, because thereby, they think, they would be polluted.


The earliest, indeed the very first, dialogue between a Muslim scientist and Hindu thought took place when Albiruni (971-1039) arrived in India in the second decade of the eleventh century in circumstances that were rather ironical. He came as a camp follower of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni (967-1030). Whereas the chief purpose of Sultan Mahmud, the king of Ghazni, was to plunder the immense wealth in the form of gold and money at some of the more famous Hindu temples, the sole aim of Albiruni was to gain from the immense riches of Indian philosophies and the sciences.

That was probably also the time when Indian sciences had, on the whole, no longer anything of theoretical importance to add to their earlier great achievements. The most creative period of science in India was over by a century or two, perhaps. None of the sources Albiruni mentions in his Ta’rikh-ul-Hind was contemporary.

Riaz Haq said…
What is ChatGPT? The AI chatbot talked up as a potential Google killer
After all, the AI chatbot seems to be slaying a great deal of search engine responses.

ChatGPT is the latest and most impressive artificially intelligent chatbot yet. It was released two weeks ago, and in just five days hit a million users. It’s being used so much that its servers have reached capacity several times.

OpenAI, the company that developed it, is already being discussed as a potential Google slayer. Why look up something on a search engine when ChatGPT can write a whole paragraph explaining the answer? (There’s even a Chrome extension that lets you do both, side by side.)

But what if we never know the secret sauce behind ChatGPT’s capabilities?

The chatbot takes advantage of a number of technical advances published in the open scientific literature in the past couple of decades. But any innovations unique to it are secret. OpenAI could well be trying to build a technical and business moat to keep others out.

What it can (and can’t do)
ChatGPT is very capable. Want a haiku on chatbots? Sure.

How about a joke about chatbots? No problem.

ChatGPT can do many other tricks. It can write computer code to a user’s specifications, draft business letters or rental contracts, compose homework essays and even pass university exams.

Just as important is what ChatGPT can’t do. For instance, it struggles to distinguish between truth and falsehood. It is also often a persuasive liar.

ChatGPT is a bit like autocomplete on your phone. Your phone is trained on a dictionary of words so it completes words. ChatGPT is trained on pretty much all of the web, and can therefore complete whole sentences – or even whole paragraphs.

However, it doesn’t understand what it’s saying, just what words are most likely to come next.

Open only by name
In the past, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have been accompanied by peer-reviewed literature.

In 2018, for example, when the Google Brain team developed the BERT neural network on which most natural language processing systems are now based (and we suspect ChatGPT is too), the methods were published in peer-reviewed scientific papers, and the code was open-sourced.

And in 2021, DeepMind’s AlphaFold 2, a protein-folding software, was Science’s Breakthrough of the Year. The software and its results were open-sourced so scientists everywhere could use them to advance biology and medicine.

Following the release of ChatGPT, we have only a short blog post describing how it works. There has been no hint of an accompanying scientific publication, or that the code will be open-sourced.

To understand why ChatGPT could be kept secret, you have to understand a little about the company behind it.

OpenAI is perhaps one of the oddest companies to emerge from Silicon Valley. It was set up as a non-profit in 2015 to promote and develop “friendly” AI in a way that “benefits humanity as a whole”. Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and other leading tech figures pledged US$1 billion (dollars) towards its goals.

Their thinking was we couldn’t trust for-profit companies to develop increasingly capable AI that aligned with humanity’s prosperity. AI therefore needed to be developed by a non-profit and, as the name suggested, in an open way.

In 2019 OpenAI transitioned into a capped for-profit company (with investors limited to a maximum return of 100 times their investment) and took a US$1 billion(dollars) investment from Microsoft so it could scale and compete with the tech giants.

It seems money got in the way of OpenAI’s initial plans for openness.

Profiting from users
On top of this, OpenAI appears to be using feedback from users to filter out the fake answers ChatGPT hallucinates.

According to its blog, OpenAI initially used reinforcement learning in ChatGPT to downrank fake and/or problematic answers using a costly hand-constructed training set.
Riaz Haq said…
Top Artificial Intelligence Companies in Pakistan
Riaz Haq said…
The Godfather of #AI Leaves #Google, Warns of #Danger Ahead. “It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things”. Google bought a company started by Dr. Hinton that led to creation #ChatGPT & Google #Bard. #technology

In the 1980s, Dr. Hinton was a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, but left the university for Canada because he said he was reluctant to take Pentagon funding. At the time, most A.I. research in the United States was funded by the Defense Department. Dr. Hinton is deeply opposed to the use of artificial intelligence on the battlefield — what he calls “robot soldiers.”

In 2012, Dr. Hinton and two of his students in Toronto, Ilya Sutskever and Alex Krishevsky, built a neural network that could analyze thousands of photos and teach itself to identify common objects, such as flowers, dogs and cars.

Google spent $44 million to acquire a company started by Dr. Hinton and his two students. And their system led to the creation of increasingly powerful technologies, including new chatbots like ChatGPT and Google Bard. Mr. Sutskever went on to become chief scientist at OpenAI. In 2018, Dr. Hinton and two other longtime collaborators received the Turing Award, often called “the Nobel Prize of computing,” for their work on neural networks.

Around the same time, Google, OpenAI and other companies began building neural networks that learned from huge amounts of digital text. Dr. Hinton thought it was a powerful way for machines to understand and generate language, but it was inferior to the way humans handled language.

Then, last year, as Google and OpenAI built systems using much larger amounts of data, his view changed. He still believed the systems were inferior to the human brain in some ways but he thought they were eclipsing human intelligence in others. “Maybe what is going on in these systems,” he said, “is actually a lot better than what is going on in the brain.”

As companies improve their A.I. systems, he believes, they become increasingly dangerous. “Look at how it was five years ago and how it is now,” he said of A.I. technology. “Take the difference and propagate it forwards. That’s scary.”

Until last year, he said, Google acted as a “proper steward” for the technology, careful not to release something that might cause harm. But now that Microsoft has augmented its Bing search engine with a chatbot — challenging Google’s core business — Google is racing to deploy the same kind of technology. The tech giants are locked in a competition that might be impossible to stop, Dr. Hinton said.

His immediate concern is that the internet will be flooded with false photos, videos and text, and the average person will “not be able to know what is true anymore.”

He is also worried that A.I. technologies will in time upend the job market. Today, chatbots like ChatGPT tend to complement human workers, but they could replace paralegals, personal assistants, translators and others who handle rote tasks. “It takes away the drudge work,” he said. “It might take away more than that.”

Down the road, he is worried that future versions of the technology pose a threat to humanity because they often learn unexpected behavior from the vast amounts of data they analyze. This becomes an issue, he said, as individuals and companies allow A.I. systems not only to generate their own computer code but actually run that code on their own. And he fears a day when truly autonomous weapons — those killer robots — become reality.

“The idea that this stuff could actually get smarter than people — a few people believed that,” he said. “But most people thought it was way off. And I thought it was way off. I thought it was 30 to 50 years or even longer away. Obviously, I no longer think that.”
Riaz Haq said…
Factbox: Governments race to regulate AI tools

April 14 (Reuters) - Rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) such as Microsoft-backed OpenAI's ChatGPT are complicating governments' efforts to agree laws governing the use of the technology.

Here are the latest steps national and international governing bodies are taking to regulate AI tools:

* Seeking input on regulations

The government is consulting Australia's main science advisory body and is considering next steps, a spokesperson for the industry and science minister said in April.

* Planning regulations

Britain's competition regulator said on Thursday it would start examining the impact of AI on consumers, businesses and the economy and whether new controls were needed.

Britain said in March it planned to split responsibility for governing AI between its regulators for human rights, health and safety, and competition, rather than creating a new body.

* Planning regulations

China's cyberspace regulator in April unveiled draft measures to manage generative AI services, saying it wanted firms to submit security assessments to authorities before they launch offerings to the public.

Beijing will support leading enterprises in building AI models that can challenge ChatGPT, its economy and information technology bureau said in February.

* Planning regulations

Members of the European Parliament reached a preliminary deal on the draft of the EU's Artificial Intelligence Act, that could pave the way for the world's first comprehensive laws governing the technology.

The draft, which will be voted by a committee of lawmakers on May 11, identified copyright protection as central to the effort to keep AI in check.

Members of European Parliament raced to update the rules to catch up with an explosion of interest in generative AI, Reuters interviews with four lawmakers and two other sources found.

The European Data Protection Board, which unites Europe's national privacy watchdogs, said in April it had set up a task force on ChatGPT, a potentially important first step towards a common policy on setting privacy rules on AI. The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) has joined in the concern about ChatGPT and other AI chatbots, calling on EU consumer protection agencies to investigate the technology and the potential harm to individuals.

Riaz Haq said…
Ethnic Appropriation? ChatGPT Creator Mira Murati is an Albanian American, Not Indian American as Reported by Indian Media - American Kahani

What’s in a name? A slippery slope, if one were to go by the way some in the Indian media went to town claiming Mira Murati, Chief Technology Officer of OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT, is an Indian American.

She is not. She is an American of Albanian origin. Although there is almost no biographical information available online, most websites identify her as an Albanian, including Albanian websites. One of them claims that the 1987-born technologist was born in Vlora, Albania.

ChatGPT has had a sensational debut last year because of its potential applications. As says, “this artificial intelligence bot can answer questions, write essays and program computers.”

The Indian media reports, however, widely quoted Murati’s recent interview with Time magazine where she expressed her concerns over its misuse, mainly using it as a peg to claim that she is an Indian American. Several leading newspapers published an Indian agency report that misreported Murati’s ethnicity.

One Indian blogger who runs “Biography Reader” even went on to claim that “she was born in a middle-class Hindu family. Her father’s name is Mr. Murati. Her mother’s name is Mrs. Murati.”


Inside OpenAI, the Architect of ChatGPT | The Circuit


Mustafa Suleyman (Syrian Muslim): the Liberal Activist Ensuring Google DeepMind Benefits All of Humanity

Mustafa Suleyman is one of the three cofounders of DeepMind, an artificial intelligence (AI) lab in London that was acquired by Google in 2014 for a reported £400 million — the search giant's largest acquisition in Europe to date.

Listen to a few of Suleyman's talks on YouTube and you'll quickly realise that he's a left-leaning activist who wants to make the world a better place for everyone as opposed to an elite few. He differs from many of today's tech founders in that he genuinely seems to care about the welfare of everyone on the planet.

The 35-year-old — affectionately known as "Moose" internally at DeepMind and among his friends — lives in Peckham, South London, with his artist fiancée. He can often be seen on Twittermaking his thoughts known on issues like homelessness, diversity, and inequality, and also once retweeted Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

DeepMind may be owned by one of the largest companies in the world but Suleyman strongly believes capitalism is failing society in a number of areas. He explained this during a talk at a Google event in 2017.
Riaz Haq said…
Evolution of AI’s Significance in Pakistan

The hype around Artificial Intelligence (AI) has increased over the past decade, but in Pakistan, this began gaining momentum around 2017 onward. It began with a few opinion pieces in institutional publications calling for the securitisation of AI against “hybrid war” to proper governmental initiatives by two different political governments. Near the very end of its tenure in mid-2018, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) government led then by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, inaugurated a National Centre for Artificial Intelligence (NCAI) at the National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST), followed by a Rs 1.1bn budgetary allocation for select universities (mostly in Punjab and Islamabad, one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Sindh each); most importantly, NUST was declared as the headquarters from where these research and development (R&D) efforts on AI would be coordinated.

A month later (May 2018), the succeeding federal government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), led by then Prime Minister Imran Khan, approved the Digital Pakistan Policy. This was the first high-level government policy to lay out a plan to set up innovation centres in different thematic areas across the provincial capitals and minor/auxiliary cities, which included AI as a special focus area. The year concluded with the President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi, himself a former PTI leader, ambitiously declaring his own Presidential Initiative for Artificial Intelligence & Computing (PIAIC).

On the practical side, it is a rudderless policy driven more by utopian ideals instead of factual appreciation of strengths and weaknesses.

Two years later (during the PTI government) in 2020, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) took the lead in setting up a Centre of Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC). The next year (2021), PAF also inaugurated a Cyber Security Academy within Air University, during which the Air Force’s C4I lead also announced the intent to set up an Air Force Cyber Command.

Shortly after the deposition of the PTI government by the incumbent Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance in the first half of 2022, the budget was approved to set up a Sino-Pak Centre for Artificial Intelligence (SPCAI) at the Pak-Austria Fachhochschule: Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (PAF-IAST) in Haripur, which purportedly collaborates through linkages with academia and industries in Austria and China. Also, in the same year, the Pakistan Army announced the inauguration of its Cyber Command, which reportedly consists of two divisions, one of which (the Army Centre of Emerging Technologies) is reasonably believed to include AI in its focus areas.

The incumbent PDM government, through the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, had reportedly constituted a 15-member National Task Force (NTF) on Artificial Intelligence with the purported objective of supporting national development, even before the draft policy was published. The dichotomy is mind-boggling since MoITT has the primary mandate of supervising ICT-related initiatives.

Ignoring the Elephants in the Room

The authors of the draft National AI Policy are surprisingly oblivious or intentionally ignorant of major obstacles to its proper appreciation and implementation (adoption).
Riaz Haq said…
Turkish-American artist Refik Anadol using AI for art.

What would a machine dream about after seeing the collection of The Museum of Modern Art? For Unsupervised, artist Refik Anadol (b. 1985) uses artificial intelligence to interpret and transform more than 200 years of art at MoMA. Known for his groundbreaking media works and public installations, Anadol has created digital artworks that unfold in real time, continuously generating new and otherworldly forms that envelop viewers in a large-scale installation.

Unsupervised is a meditation on technology, creativity, and modern art. Anadol trained a sophisticated machine-learning model to interpret the publicly available data of MoMA’s collection. As the model “walks” through its conception of this vast range of works, it reimagines the history of modern art and dreams about what might have been—and what might be to come. In turn, Anadol incorporates site-specific input from the environment of the Museum’s Gund Lobby—changes in light, movement, acoustics, and the weather outside—to affect the continuously shifting imagery and sound.

AI is often used to classify, process, and generate realistic representations of the world. In contrast, Unsupervised is visionary: it explores fantasy, hallucination, and irrationality, creating an alternate understanding of art-making itself. The installation is based on works that are encoded on the blockchain, a distributed digital ledger, which stands as a public record of Anadol’s art. “I am trying to find ways to connect memories with the future,” the artist has said, “and to make the invisible visible.”

Organized by Michelle Kuo, The Marlene Hess Curator of Painting and Sculpture, and Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture and Design and Director of Research and Development, with Lydia Mullin, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture.

With thanks to Refik Anadol Studio (Alex Morozov, Carrie He, Christian Burke, Daniel Seungmin Lee, Dave Hunt, Efsun Erkılıç, Imaginary Friends, Kerim Karaoglu, Linda Berke, Mert Cobanov, Pelin Kivrak, Ho Man Leung, Kyle McLean, Nidhi Parsana, Raman K. Mustafa, Rishabh Chakrabarty, Simon Burke, Toby Heinemann, Yufan Xie), Casey Reas, Sean Moss-Pultz, and Michael Nguyễn.

Visitors to Refik Anadol: Unsupervised have an opportunity to commemorate their experience with a free, blockchain-based memento, available via QR code on the second floor outside the Marron Atrium. Please note that mementos are being minted in limited editions of 5,000.

Popular posts from this blog

Pakistani Women's Growing Particpation in Workforce

Project Azm: Pakistan to Develop 5th Generation Fighter Plane

Pakistan's Saadia Zahidi Leads World Economic Forum's Gender Parity Effort