From Correlation to Causation through stories and math

Correlation and causation are two concepts that people often mixup in their minds. I must admit that I myself have been guilty about this, and it unlikely that I would ever entirely grow out of it as it is wired deeply into our psychology. Let me use this article to briefly emphasise what the concepts of correlation and causation means, some interesting stories that have emerged from people misunderstanding these concepts and an algorithm that attempts to find causal relationship using correlation information. Here is a story that I heard a professor of mine, Prof. Dr. Ernst-Jan Camiel Wit, tell us during a lecture. There was a school that was involved in a study to see if providing free mid-day meals to students, which they could choose to be subscribed to this or not. At the end of the study, both the students who subscribed to it and did not where tested for different health indicators. It was observed that the students who chose to have meals from the programme had poorer health

A look into Hire the Author

Although I have never met Jeevan Thomas Koshy in person, I had befriended his elder brother, Kiran Mathew Koshy, during my college years. Kiran was in the final year of his bachelor's program while I joined for my first year and we lived on the same floor of the same hostel building. Recently, I came to know that Jeevan had started working on a project on his own named Hire the Author, and I had a chance to take a look into it, as well as, have a conversation with him.

His idea is that there may be many people online who would want to be hired, and there are people who want to hire them based on the content that they produced. Initially, I thought the project was just another redundant tool that emails, online forums, and phones have already solved. However, he gave me one interesting example that made me love what he has done.

The example that he gave me was a case where someone saw an answer on StackOverflow and wants more help from the author of the answer, but the author wants to charge for any personal consultation that he/she provides. In such a case, providing one's email address or phone number can cause problems in the long run wherein the client could pester the developer. I could relate to this as something like this had happened to me in the past.

As a developer, I find the idea simple and elegant. A developer can set up a profile on the platform and mark it on the calendar when he/she has some time to spare for a conversation. The client has to pay for getting that time slot assigned for them and they can have a conversation from their platform itself. No contact information needs to be shared between the client and the customer, and no one can contact each other outside of the time slot.

Click here to view my profile on HireTheAuthor

There is also an option to subscribe for one-on-one personalised mentoring. Here, a client can chat with the developer for a period of one month after subscribing to it. The developer can limit the number of people he/she wishes to mentor in any month as well. I have kept it at the default value of 5 for now.

I have just set up my profile on the platform. For now, I am not going to mark my calendar free. I have enough work at MathWorks and I need the rest of my time to be reserved for leisure. In the future, if I really do want to get into freelancing, I think I will go with this platform.


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