Critical thinking for data scientists and hackers

I emphasize decision-making biases in my lectures on data science and hacking. Here are a few moot points.

A hacker knows the hacker attitude.

The Hacker Attitude

1. The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved.
2. No problem should ever have to be solved twice.
3. Boredom and drudgery are evil.
4. Freedom is good.
5. Attitude is no substitute for competence.

Basic Hacking Skills

1. Learn how to program.
2. Get one of the open-source Unixes and learn to use and run it.
3. Learn how to use the World Wide Web and write HTML.
4. If you don’t have functional English, learn it.

Status in the Hacker Culture

1. Write open-source software
2. Help test and debug open-source software
3. Publish useful information
4. Help keep the infrastructure working
5. Serve the hacker culture itself

A data scientist knows the definition of data science and he knows some cheat sheets to write code

Cheat Sheets

a data scientist is simply a person who can write code in a few languages (primarily R, Python and SQL) for data querying, manipulation , aggregation, and visualization using enough statistical knowledge to give back actionable insights to the business for making decisions.

Since this rather practical definition of a data scientist is reinforced by the accompanying words on a job website for “data scientists” , ergo, here are some tools for learning the primary languages in data science- Python, R and SQL.

Coding in Python

Cognitive Biases

A hacker knows the cognitive biases that impair his decision making

A cognitive bias refers to a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations may be drawn in an illogical fashion.[1] Individuals create their own “subjective social reality” from their perception of the input.[2] An individual’s construction of social reality, not theobjective input, may dictate their behaviour in the social world.[3] Thus, cognitive biases may sometimes lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality.


Among the “cold” biases,

  • some are due to ignoring relevant information (e.g. neglect of probability)
  • some involve a decision or judgement being affected by irrelevant information (for example the framing effect where the same problem receives different responses depending on how it is described; or the distinction bias where choices presented together have different outcomes than those presented separately)
  • others give excessive weight to an unimportant but salient feature of the problem (e.g., anchoring)


Logical Fallacies

A hacker knows how to recognize  the logical fallacies  that are used to counter his scientific and systematic research

A fallacy is an incorrect argument in logic and rhetoric which undermines an argument’s logical validity or more generally an argument’s logical soundness.

A logical fallacy is a flaw in reasoning. Logical fallacies are like tricks or illusions of thought, and they’re often very sneakily used by politicians and the media

ad hominem

You attacked your opponent’s character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine their argument. Ad hominem attacks can take the form of overtly attacking somebody


Basic Math

Some basic math always helps you be  a better hacker. It is critical to be  data scientist.

This can make it easy

Basic Statistics

Exploratory Data Analysis

This can be intimidating

Machine Learning

Machine learning helps give you a day job. Hackers with higher salaries generally have more choices to direct their energies.


Now- lets get more interesting

A hacker is educated and well rounded to understand Politics, Economics, Society, Technology, Legal and Environmental terms as well as their intersection for a country or an organization. He also understands the term regulatory arbitrage as well understand how law enforcement and financial regulators work.

The PESTLE Analysis is a framework used to scan the organization’s external macro environment. The letters stand for Political, Economic Socio-cultural, Technological, Legal and Environmental. Some approaches will add in extra factors, such as International, or remove some to reduce it to PEST


I repeat from the hacker’s attitude.


1. The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved. andNo problem should ever have to be solved twice.

Lastly I believe hackers need to take care of their health and have a moral ethos that is unwavering.

Yoga for Geeks

Of the three proofs–logos, pathos, and ethos–ethos is associated with the character of the speaker or writer. People are persuaded by people they trust, even if the argument is not terribly strong. Conversely, if the argument is strong, but the reader does not trust the writer or does not like the writer, the appeal to logic alone will seldom persuade. Therefore, it is essential to consider ethos.

Aristotle said that ethos consists of three sub parts: (1) good moral character, (2) good sense, (3) good will. If the writer or speaker can project an image of good moral character, then the audience will think that he or she can be trusted because the person has a conscience that will keep him or her on the up and up.


Lastly hackers have a great sense of humour and humility and a mock insult culture that thrives on intellectual freedom


Author: Ajay Ohri

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