Friday, November 7, 2014

A Higher Intelligence

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As our world gets more automated and connected, there is an increase in the number of future forecasts on how technology will play a role in our lives.  One of the key topics that I have noticed come up recently, has to do with Automated Hypothesis.  It is being hailed as the next vital tool that will provide marketers with a newer way of thinking and testing products and services with various consumers groups. This new phenomenon of consumer analytics is estimated to provide further impetus to innovation, especially for personal technology companies around the world.  However, while reading about this, I couldn’t help but think about the advanced computer systems in several fictional stories and movies that include The Terminator, The Matrix, X-Men and The Avengers (Ultron).  One of the commonalities that runs across each of them, is where intelligent machines that monitor and study human behaviour, eventually decide that in order to save the world they must eradicate humans completely, for only then can perfect order be restored. 

In each of those stories, in varying degrees, the prime outcome is that human civilization as we know it nearly comes to an end, where machines rule the planet and human cities lie in ruins.  This apocalyptic theory, which is also prophesized by many religious groups, point to a time in the not so distant future, perhaps in the next 300 to 500 years, where machines are far more advanced and are completely wired into every part of our habitats, transport and maybe to an extent even ourselves. 

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From one angle, I do find this theory plausible, where future machines may grow smarter and eventually turn against their human creators.  However, on the other hand, I cannot help but feel that this notion that people will lose control or that machines will rise up against them will come to pass.  Primarily because these doomsday prophecies fail to take into account the gradual spiritual shift that is being seen across the world.  While there are still global conflicts that continue rage, I would say that a deep stir is occurring, where many nations and leaders are genuinely looking at more diplomatic solutions to problems with the use of words rather than missiles.  Further, being more connected in today’s world, has allowed more people to become informed, thereby, allowing them to make more rational and concrete decisions towards communal disputes, national problems and environmental issues.  More importantly, the victories that they achieve are amplified around the world to other communities, which serve as a catalyst to motivate them in to action. Plus, within the emerging nations themselves over recent years, the voter turnout has risen, the reach of NGO’s has increased and citizens groups are pushing their governments to have more engagements with neighbouring nations to quickly resolve conflicts that have been burning for decades. At the same time, there are a growing number of religious leaders, the world over, who are espousing that their followers reach out towards other groups, in order to build bridges of trust and understanding with them.

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Humanity no doubt has a long way to go, but the wheels are set in motion and the consciousness of people in many countries is changing at a rate that has hitherto, never been seen before.  In all of this it is crucial to realize the positive role that technology has played so far. Hence, looking into the future, my guess is that intelligent computers and robots will understand this aspect and instead of extermination, look at how they can add greater value towards enhancing human civilization.  Further, newer and untold inventions are yet to come to life. More so, when they do, will they provide people with the necessary means to craft a new era of higher intelligence and higher living for all of humanity. Next Take please! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Rivalry Of Brilliance

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There is a wise and popular saying that goes “it take two to Tango!” A further look at its meaning, reveals that in order for a great goal to be achieved, it would take two very distinct people to make it happen.  Only having one of them alone, will not see that kind of change occur without the other being present. While, most people may associate that term to relate to family members, couples or even friends; I often think of it from the point of view of innovation.  By that I allude to the fact of where the work of two rivals, merge and mingle together to create a new rhythm in the way their offerings influence the lives of people around them.  One of the prime examples of this, was displayed in the love hate relationship between the two men responsible for changing the way computers and personal devices were made available to us and how we use them. 

SteveJobs and Bill Gates had two very different approaches to both design and innovative thinking.  While, they were often critical of each other’s ways, neither could deny the inventive steps each one took to transform an industry that has set humanity on a new course of personal enjoyment and future discovery.  Each was born with a steadfast view of how technology could influence and support people in their daily lives.  Jobs was a maverick futurist, who sought to amaze the world each time with great but ‘access restricted’ products, which he felt would unite and push humanity forward.  Gates on the other hand, believed more in collaboration and in sharing ideas, which could allow companies and people to democratically have their say in the way technology and its future use would evolve. 

From the early 1980’s till the early 2000’s it appeared that Gates had chosen the right path.  More so, newer firms such as Google adopted this strategy and continued to carry it forward with its market innovation called Android.  However, post the advent of the 2000’s era, slowly but surely, Jobs, who was largely dismissed as narrow minded inventor, proved once and for all that even the closed ecosystem of consumer product innovation could work as well.  Apple’s offerings that now include the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and services like iTunes and iCloud, have given users a parallel (and superior) experience to what was and is available in the market.  Microsoft, on the other hand, gave the world a great operating system (Windows), web services and a neat gaming experience (Xbox).  But putting aside each firm’s offerings, what made the relationship between Jobs and Gates so unique was their deep determination to prove the other wrong.  Their mockery of each other at various points throughout the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s, spurred each one to try and outdo the other.  Their competitive drive made the world a much smarter, efficient and connected place, where innovation is king and the blockades against technological possibility are far removed. 

Had these two men been born at different times, the world would have progressed at a much slower rate. Hence, it would appear that more divine forces were at play.  The coincidences of them being born in the same year and reaching their prime in the same place, when the world of technology was set to take off, would clearly show that the universe itself, used them as change catalysts. 

For in short, Jobs and Gates came, saw, danced, dazzled and left behind a legacy that future generations will no doubt draw inspiration from and perhaps label as the greatest rivalry in the search for excellence!  Next Take please!

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

News Of The World!

My Photograph
The radio crackled as he drove down South Street Highway towards the bay area.  Having wanted to get away from home for a while, he decided to visit and sit by the Hampton shoreline during the evening and reflect on his thoughts.  Life was looking bright for him and he smiled thinking of the television anchor job he would be interviewing for tomorrow morning.  He also reflected on what the Human Resource manager had told him.  The network was looking at someone who could also suggest and implement a fresh approach to their news telling given the cut throat completion they were up against.  Just then, the Top 40 music countdown ended and a special announcement was introduced.  He was reaching for the volume knob to turn it down, when the announcer’s voice caught his attention. He paused and decided to let it play on.

Announcer: Good evening ladies and gentlemen!  It is with great anticipation that we here wish to get your views on a topic that has been doing the rounds across many homes and offices lately.  Our listeners are curious to know if the “News of the World” or the content that all of you see across newspapers and television channels is far too inclined towards only showcasing negative happenings and occurrences.  Further, many of the people that we have spoken with, share the same sentiment that the news we see, read or hear is only concentrated on everything that’s wrong with the world, with each channel and publication house competing to see who can outdo the other with more sensationalism and disturbing imagery. 

Sadly, many of our listeners feel that there is virtually no attention given to the positive things happening in our country or across the globe.  In fact, hardly any mention is made of political parties, communities and people who have transformed something negative into something positive.  These sometimes small and subtle changes are what many of our listeners feel would give people, who are facing similar circumstances, hope and inspiration to peacefully work for a positive transformation. 

What we then ask is your view!  Do you feel that the media should change its approach and give equal weightage to positive news? Or is this merely a baseless argument, which has no merit whatsoever? Do let us know your thoughts, for only your voice can truly decide what makes the “News of the World!”

My Photograph
Looking out over the bay, he thought carefully for a few minutes and smiled even more brightly than before. “Yes that’s it. That’s the new angle the channel needs. Maybe it’s time they changed their focus and adopted something that could really touch the hearts of people and give everyone the answers to overcome the challenges they are currently facing. While it’s important to keep everyone informed of the occurrences around them, it is equally important to have them see how wonderful life can be and know how others have made it so” he thought.   

Tomorrow was a new day and he looked forward to the promise that it held. Next Take please!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Copy Cat Inc.

Courtesy: Srinivasan Krishna Moorthy
He shuffled his feet and looked nervous sitting in the chair that he was in.  I had forgotten about those large spectacle frames that he now wore as well as just how skinny he really was. Come to think of it, he was just ten years old right now and so much of life still lay ahead of him.  He also had a deep frown on his face that just didn’t seem to suit the good natured boy, who I knew, existed underneath.  

“Why don’t you smile more? You seem to have such a sweet face and those dimples of yours are a gift you ought to utilize?” I said.

He stopped and stared at me.  “How do you know about my dimples?” he asked quite aloud.  I could sense that he was getting quite frightened. 

“I just do. But please don’t feel so shy I just want to talk to you” I said.

I looked at him again and asked “Do you love who you are?” 

He stared back.  He looked down for a few moments and then replied in a low voice saying “No.”

I waited for him to look up again and then began with the topic I wanted to share.  “I understand your feelings but why don’t you tell me why you don’t love who you are.”

He seemed nervous but spoke quite quickly “Well for starters I’m not very smart, I haven’t done well in school and even though I try not to hurt people they hurt me in so many ways.” He paused and with a great deal of effort continued. “The kids think I’m a freak because I’m different and always exclude me from everything.  Girls don’t like me because I’m not handsome enough. I don’t feel I’m worth all that much. I really wish I could be like some of the more popular kids I know. Or better yet I just wish I could be someone else…. someone important then maybe people would love me. And maybe…..maybe I could feel happy with who I am.”  He glanced out the window and then turned back to me.

“I see.” I said.  “It’s clear that you do have low self-esteem but I think it’s important for you to realize that you shouldn’t dismiss who you are.  You need to give yourself time to develop and grow.”  I paused for a second and then continued.  “If you try to be someone else and not aim to explore and find out who you are then it’s clear you’ve been sold on what so many others have bought into, which is being a member of Copy Cat Inc.” 

“What’s Copy Cat Inc.?” he asked. 

“Well think of Copy Cat Inc. as an organization that most people apply to working for their whole lives, either knowingly or unknowingly.  It is essentially a place where people, both children and adults copy partially or completely, the behaviour, manner or physical likeness of others, who they regard as being superior to themselves.  They think that such imitation would also make them as superior or successful, though it doesn’t stop there.  Many adults try to emulate or copy the work others have done such as songs, books, business presentations, movies, activities etc.  They do this because they feel inferior about themselves or are so inspired by something someone else has done that they deeply desire to have their own version of that person’s output.  Sometimes, it could just be sheer laziness and them not wanting to make the effort do things of their own.  It’s sad, really, because they never try to run their own race and find out just what their own life is capable of achieving and what unique sets of masterpieces their life can create.  More so, because they see other people or groups praising one particular individual either through attention, love or even fanaticism….sorry I mean almost like angry fan craze, it can make those who feel marginalized by the rest, want to imitate that perceived outlook of success.  But don’t ever do that.  Stay true to who you are.  It’s hard but the way to do that is to run your own race and measure your success against what you feel makes you happy and complete. It is true at your age you need to please many others such as family and friends but never let go or forget about what matters most to you. Most of all remember that those people throughout history, who strove with a deep sense of curiosity and passion to be all they wanted to be, while also observing things in other people and their environment that could help them discover more about themselves and use those discoveries to achieve further greatness, are always remembered.  Aim to be yourself and you will see that in the long run, that is the only way to be!”

“The famous writer Oscar Wilde is remembered for many wise words but it is his quote on the self that I personally love, which is: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken!”  A simple meaning but one that quite a few people never grasp or are ever able to achieve.” I said while smiling and looking at him.

Courtesy: Prapti Doshi Moorthy
He too looked at me and said finally “Ok I will try to see who I can become but will you be there to remind of this lesson that you’ve taught me from time to time?”

“Absolutely! I will always be there.  Never doubt that.” I said.  I crossed over from my desk and gave him a hug.  “At all times, you need to remember that you must always fight hard to be yourself and not a member of Copy Cat Inc.” 

“And how will I find you from here on?” he said smiling back.  Those dimples did add a real extra element to his smile.

“Anytime you want to find me look no further than the mirror you see each morning.  I’ve been there right from the start and I will continue to do so, if you let me!”

Next Take please!