About Me

I am a Senior Fellow at Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) where I work on technology-policy with a focus on algorithmic decision making, surveillance, data rights, and privacy. Previously I was a researcher at TU Darmstadt where I worked on applied cryptography, privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) and Internet infrastructure security.

Recent Blog Posts

Finding delicious food in Japan

A couple of friends asked me for thoughts on finding great food in Japan. My observations may not apply to Hokkaidō, Tōhoku and Okinawa, which I did not visit yet.

  1. The average food quality in Japan is quite high, be it Tokyo or one of the smaller towns and cities. The average sushi in Japan seemed superior to the best sushi I have had in Germany. The best sushi I had in Japan was also much cheaper than the ones in Germany. When key ingredients are sourced nearby, the prices drop.

  2. Sit-down restaurants are not the only places you can find delicious food in Japan. Hole in the wall shops and food stalls (yatai) are great options. You can find rows of yatai in Fukuoka or stand-alone ones in different places. Some food stalls excel in one dish. Tamagoyaki (Japanese omelet) from a food-stall run by an elderly Japanese near Ōji station in Tokyo was my favourite.

  3. Japanese restaurants specialise in specific genres of food. Prefer a sushi-only place or an Okonomiyaki place over one that offers many different kinds of food.

Void. That is all there is

Climbing up the spiral staircases of Notre Dame de Paris used to be a special experience 1. What made the climb on those narrow and steep staircases special? The view. The chimeras looking over Paris. The Eiffel Tour and Sacré-Cœur Basilica in the distance.

  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20220310220700/https://www.notredamedeparis.fr/visiter/voir-la-cathedrale/↩︎


We make many decisions during our lifetime. Some more consequential than others. Some that rely on too few choices. Some where we are overloaded with choices.

There are times when we make a decision and move on. Then there are others when we go back to a decision and regret the road not taken. To decide, what kind of choices do we have?

There is more to AI than data-hungry AI

The European Union is regulating artificial intelligence (AI) systems under incorrect assumptions that could result in undesirable outcomes. The EU is assuming more data is always useful to AI and incentivising “big data” approach.

AI is not restricted to data-hungry techniques. There are several alternative techniques that rely on less data, require less computation and less memory. They are more in line with the principle of data minimisation in the GDPR. The Commission should take a smarter approach and incentivise AI techniques that require less data, that benefit society and that assists with climate change mitigation.

More data is not always useful for AI

While waiting

We spend much of our life waiting. We wait for someone. We wait for something.

We often wait. But, not all waits are made the same. Waiting for the train that we take every weekday morning is not the same as waiting for a friend to arrive. We know how long we have to wait for the train to arrive. At least approximately. We may not know when the friend will arrive if they are already late.

There are other times when the wait is longer. When you are waiting to receive the reviews for the first academic article you submitted to a conference or journal. When you wait for the approval of a visa application and don’t know whether it will be approved. We know how long we need to wait and yet, we are anxious.

In Agnès Varda’s film Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962), we see Cléo wait 90 minutes[^1] for her medical test results. She suspects that she might have cancer. In the beginning, we see her wait anxiously. She asks the opinion of a tarot card reader, shops with her assistant, practices a song with a composer who comes to her apartment and has a superficial afternoon chat with her lover.