This is Nitin Pai's cyberspace.

What I’m up to now: pursuits, talks, engagements.
Contact: @acorn

I’m interested in coffee, philosophy, sharp objects, public policy, tech and stationery.

You are in the structured section of my domain where I have my blog posts, newspaper columns, updates on my teaching and research, and other things you had always been warned about.

⭐ My book is out! Here’s more.

The Nitopadesha Front Cover

▸ I have recently been writing about: ☼ information ageliberal democracygeopoliticseconomicsCovid-19philosophy and everything else

▸ In these columns: ☼ MintDebates with my DaughtersSakalThe PrintThe HinduPragatiPax Indica

▸ Other stuff ☼ Raw Notes

The Acorn
Estd 2003
Recent posts:

“The castes are anti-national”
Caste poses a dilemma for public policy. One the one hand, caste-aware policy perpetuates caste. On the other, caste-agnostic policy permits bias and discrimination to go on unchecked. | 22nd May 2023

The UN needs structural reform to stay relevant
Unless political balance within the United Nations reflects current reality, the organisation will only get more marginalised. | 7th May 2023

We have a historic opportunity to shape the world order of the information age
India has an interest in cooperating with other liberal democracies for information freedom across the planet. | 1st May 2023

What we should do about AI now
To protect cognitive autonomy governments should mandate labeling of AI-generated information goods | 10th Apr 2023

Defending a free and open information order
The battle to defend the Internet is looking a lot like the battle to preserve liberal democracy | 10th Apr 2023

We mustn’t let young minds live in constant fear of an apocalypse
To save the world, first stop scaring the mickey out of children | 28th Mar 2023

Why the powerful must read books
And why citizens must hold the feet of the powerful to the fire | 16th Mar 2023

Rethink local government
There is a wide(ening?) gap between the promise of decentralisation and the reality of panchayats & municipal bodies. | 13th Mar 2023

English is an Indian language
Appropriating the language serves India's interests better than rejecting it as a foreign one | 27th Feb 2023

India & the US must cooperate to create a global information order
Summary of my speech to a US Senate delegation | 24th Feb 2023

Geoeconomic Competition in the Indo-Pacific: Trade, Technology, and Information Warfare
My lecture at College of Defence Management's session on "Great Power rivalry in the Indo-Pacific" | 16th Feb 2023

When does an Indian grow up?
Paternalistic social attitudes towards young adults and multiple minimum legal ages put the demographic dividend at risk. | 13th Feb 2023

Why the UAE supported Adani
The strategic importance of Haifa port is a factor in the UAE's calculations | 9th Feb 2023

China is the new Pakistan
Pakistan was the bad boy of international politics in the 1990s and 2000s. China has taken the place now. | 9th Feb 2023

“We have a beep for that!”
Design, organisation and behaviour are three vertices of good public infrastructure. Improving one can improve overall outcomes but improving all three is necessary if we desire sustainable changes. | 30th Jan 2023

An excerpt from the Nitopadesha on citizenship
On Republic Day. This is an unedited excerpt from the Epilogue to the First Book of *The Nitopadesha* on the essence of citizenship. | 26th Jan 2023

Web 3.0 and the Fediverse: new impetus and old challenges
Overcoming strong network effects and uncertain business models. | 16th Jan 2023

2022 - The Year in Fiction
A list of 41 works of fiction that I read or re-read and 17 that I am yet to finish; rated and classified. | 22nd Dec 2022

Technological power must be deconcentrated
A few powerful individuals, a few large corporations or a few big countries should not be allowed to have unchecked influence over the future of humanity. | 19th Dec 2022

Deterring China requires us to change Xi’s cost-benefit calculations
Unless it feels the pain, China will be tempted to raise the tempo of transgressions in the coming years. New Delhi must deliver that pain in stronger doses until Beijing comes around. | 18th Dec 2022

Effective altruism is a useful way to give back to society
The philosophy is sensible, but the EA cult has lost its way under the sway of long-termism | 21st Nov 2022

Preventing potholes from forming is the real answer
Filling in potholes is merely first-aid; the real treatment is coordinate road works and punish vandalism | 17th Nov 2022

If it is a polycrisis, then there is hope
Unlike linear, deterministic systems, complex systems are characterised by emergence...things might suddenly fall into place and start to cascade. | 7th Nov 2022

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