Sunday, November 01, 2015

What do you want to do today

Numbers, shapes and colours are all God given. In the quest for science, we have chanced upon these properties of the divine. Besides these, we can also say that we discovered music and dance also. We are constantly changing these art forms to evolve new methods of inquiry. Or simply put, we carve for new experiences. We are in a participatory universe continually co-creating new possibilities. We are surrounded by potential. Both inside and outside. But in this race to control, we have caused a lot of damage to nature. So much so that, the effects of such rampant thoughtless acts are causing phenomenon like global warming and El Nino. The common thread that underlies human discovery and inventions is the urge to control everything. Not realizing that too much of control, really restricts the freedom. The freedom to be what we aspire to be. The freedom to express ourselves the way we intend to. The freedom to share our experience with others.

One of our inventions – the computer is also created to simply obey instructions. We do not want any independent thinking from machines. Now, with artificial intelligence, we can say that computers have started to think. Yes, deep down, it’s nothing other than an algorithm. Created by humans for consumption by humans. Computers are eerily accurate and boredom or tirelessness do not dawn upon them. They are highly rational. Now we are trying to apply computing to arts. Can a computer ever be able to appreciate a painting or a sunset ? Surely, not the way we do. However objectively speaking, they may be able to emulate a human emotion, without feeling it. Or if God is experiencing the world from the computer’s perspective, we really do not know what kind of experience will it be. Will a computer become aware ? A discipline such as machine learning is advancing the computer towards awareness. But this awareness won’t be anything like human awareness.

Virtual reality is picking up. Facebook bought Oculus Rift, a company that has a virtual reality device that can augment our sense of the world, thus providing us a more fuller experience. Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo! once told the story of a small boy who had a penny with him and didn’t know what to do with it. Should he share with his brother, should he put it in the piggy bank ? Finally he decides to take a ride on a roller coaster. This story proves that in the days to come, we will be looking for better experiences. And unlike false methods like depending on external stimulants (drugs), to get a high, we are staring at products that can really stimulate us. You know the difference between 3-D, 4-D, 5-D TV. Well, as we go higher, our enjoyment of the environment goes higher. Virtual and Augmented reality are going to steal the show of the future and unleash some real great experiences that we will treasure and share with others.

So what happens to insights through things like predictive analytics. Well, they will be there, but everything will revolve around how the results are presented. You see, we love stories. And the tools which paint a story of insights, is surely going to win in the future. Instead of showing a chart, we will be able to storify the insight and thus making it more relevant and useful. The onus of this will be with the data that we work with. The more data (N=all) the better. But data should be clean and in context of the question being posed by the user. Co-relations are great, but at times, we would want to know the causation also. In the future, this will also be narrated as a tale that gives us meaning. People will produce more and possess less. The activity would be important because doing it right can only guarantee a good outcome. The journey or the way, will be more important than the goal as we make room for God to have as much of variety in the experiences that come across our way.

To that unforgettable moment …


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