One of the few joys of the past pandemic-inflicted months has been walking. In the face of gym closures, endless Zoom calls, OTT binges, doom scrolling and the temptations of a well-stocked fridge, I have taken to walking for hours. Last month I averaged about 150 minutes a day!
One may walk by oneself, but one never walks alone. If lucky enough, one could be walking with nature, in the company of greenery, under the great blue sky, accompanied by birdsong and like.
I believe literature heralds paradigmatic change. Two books by contemporary masters -McEwan and Ishiguro — portend, I believe, the dawning of the Age of AI. Today’s post on my blog is my take on these two books — “Machines Like Me” (2019) by Ian McEwan and “Klara And The Sun” (2021) by Kazuo Ishiguro
Literature at its best is at the vanguard of paradigmatic changes in human civilization.
Dicken’s “Hard Times” portends both the misery and the promise of the Industrial Age’s right at its onset in the early nineteenth century.
Even a poet like Wordsworth voiced a shudder at…
The Coming Age of Concierge Intelligence
I believe one of the key directions that Artificial Intelligence will develop over the next decade is what I call “Concierge Intelligence”.
Concierge Intelligence will, to my mind, go a long way towards fulfilling the initial promise of the digital age.
The impetus for the development of Concierge Intelligence will come from two areas of strife.
The Divisive Power of Social & Digital Media
In societies across the world, there is a growing realisation that Facebook, Google and its kin are critical fuelers of fissiparous tendencies.
This power to divide is a result of…
At heart, I am an optimist, but the past few months have forced me to consider the possibility of a world gone awry.
Humanity’s last major, paradigm-changing upheaval — the two World Wars — played out over four decades — the 1910s to the 1940’s — with the echoes of the disruption lasting well into the 50s and the 60s. The 50s also saw the beginnings of a new world order emerging culminating in a world of rising prosperity and globalization lasting well into the first decade of the 21st century.
At the core of the conflagration of the two…
I read Wolf Hall the first of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy based on the life of Thomas Cromwell in 2010, an Englishman born a commoner in the 16th century. Cromwell rose to great power in the court of Henry VIII before meeting a tragic end — a chopped off head as many an ambitious person did in Henry’s rein including famously one his many queens — Anne Boleyn.
I found Wolf Hall fascinating in one unique way. It was the tone of the book. Without being in the first-person singular Wolf Hall captures the complex interiority of Thomas Cromwell as he…
Reproduced below is a post I published in the first week of Jan 2009.
The great recession of 2008 was raging.
Amidst which Obama was elected US President and despite the doom and the gloom I felt a great sense of optimism.
As a result I wrote this post which predicted a world that would change for the better.
And by some measures it did and in many others it did not.
Then came the age of Trump climaxing in the continuing horror that is 2020.
Will my optimism about the future return if the Biden/Harris ticket wins?
FUsually, it takes years and decades for a novel or a collection of poetry before being classified as literature. That is so because the purists believe that a work has to stand the test of time.
Nevertheless, I would put American Dirt, the latest novel from Jeanine Cummins in that hallowed category.
Standing the test of time is right. But equally essential is to illuminate the issues of one’s own time in a profound yet emotionally resonant way.
In my book, the central issue of our time is inequality.
Inequality in human society has been around since time immemorial.
Private players like Amazon and Google will build profitable businesses that provide access to this public data. They will charge for value-added services in terms of functional analysis. Proprietary AI engines will drive this unique analysis.
While legal Big Data as a public utility will have to be anonymised, black market services will come into being that hacking and strip away the anonymity.
Story-telling is the best way to make a point. So here is a vignette from the year 2044.
It was the “firecrackers” that jolted him from his reverie. …
Among communicators, it is the belief that stories are the most useful way to convey ideas and deliver impact. Today’s post “Class Project — “Introduction” is the first of a series of posts. A series that uses the narrative technique in the hope to inspire at least a few baby boomers like me. Provoke us to get out of our post-retirement armchairs and pontifications and go out and try to make change happen,
As I sat across Prakriti, the Deputy Collector of Akola, I felt a quiet sense of accomplishment. …
Every major event has significant consequences. 9/11 shook up the world’s geopolitical matrix.
Covid19 will undoubtedly result in some paradigm-shifting consequences.
Major events do not trigger events ab initio. Instead, they accelerate and strengthen existing if incipient trends. Samuel Huntington’s concept of a clash of civilization was a severe concern among policy wonks way before the towers came down. Events like 9/11 or Covid19 are like the apocryphal straw that breaks the camel’s back.
What will be the aftermath of Covid-19?
The economic after-effects will need Governmental and socio-political action at a scale never seen before. Before Covid19 (BC?) there…
I see myself as a pursuer of the truth that within and without