Smile Charitable Trust Blog

  • Capitalism vs. Imperialism!

    Mar 3, 2019 by Bikash Mohanty

    I have always told Thomas that he will make a great teacher or a keynote speaker. He has it in him. He is gifted. Some people talk a lot, but those talks do not create interest in many; and others when talk…people just turn silent listener naturally. Whenever Thomas talks, I listen. Apparently, his parents were teachers, because of that; he has wealth of knowledge on worldly topics. Now; who is Thomas? Thomas is my colleague and we had some interesting discussions during one of the lunch sessions. These are captured here for purely purpose of awareness. Topic of our discussion was capitalism vs. imperialism .

    Many people believe  capitalism  and  imperialism  are the same thing, or at least closely related. ... While  capitalism  is based on voluntary exchange that benefits all parties involved,  imperialism  is based on exploitation and the exercise of political power, generally backed by a military force. Imperialism is policy or ideology of extending a nation's rule over foreign nations, often by military force or by gaining political and economic control of other areas. It was common around the world throughout recorded history, but diminishing in the late 20th century. In recent times, it has been considered morally reprehensible and prohibited by international law. Therefore, the term is used in international propaganda to denounce an opponent's foreign policy. HOWEVER, IN ACTUAL; IT HAS NEVER DIMINISHED, nor showing any signs of being diminished.

    Likewise; the concept of environmental determinism served as a moral justification for the domination of certain territories and peoples. The environmental determinist school of thought held that the environment in which certain people lived determined those persons' behaviours; and this validated their domination. For example, the Western world saw people living in tropical environments as "less civilized", therefore justifying colonial control as a civilizing mission. Across the three major waves of European colonialism (the first in the Americas, the second in Asia and the last in Africa), environmental determinism served to place categorically indigenous people in a racial hierarchy. This takes two forms, orientalism and topicality.

    Some geographic scholars under colonizing empires divided the world into climatic zones. These scholars believed that Northern Europe and the Mid-Atlantic temperate climate produced a hard-working, moral, and upstanding human being. In contrast, tropical climates allegedly yielded lazy attitudes, sexual promiscuity, exotic culture, and moral degeneracy. The people of these climates were believed to be in need of guidance and intervention from a European empire to aid in the governing of a more evolved social structure; they were seen as incapable of such a feat. Similarly, orientalism could promote a view of a people based on their geographical location. These were designed believes to support the growth of imperialism. They are far from the truth. At least I do not consider them being true at all. I mean current global political position; will support my logic that these believes were formed in some medieval era to allow certain selfish plans to take shape.

    It is said that in a century from now there will be ‘vastly fewer languages, about FOUR’ . This will probably happen because of globalisation. As people migrate to new areas, cultures will become fragmented. Lesser-known cultures and their unique languages will struggle to survive, leaving widely spoken languages such as English, Spanish, French and Chinese to swallow them up and in turn wipe them out. This has already happened in some places because of colonisation, such as America, Indian-Subcontinent, Africa and Australia, for example, where most native languages are extinct or about to die out. Ghana, for example, as there are more than 60 ethnic groups present in the country, each having their own language and dialect. Ghana has listed more than 70 languages, which were being used by every group in the country, up to 40-50 years ago. English is the official language of Ghana today despite the numerous native languages that the Ghanaian people have. It is the language officially used in the government, in business communications, and in education as a medium of instruction.

    One powerful & imperialistic country (1) from the west; use certain language films and their film industry as a tool to promote their culture, dominating over other countries. Film industry is used as an ideological medium of mass communication; where it influences the movie industries around the world essentially. This process as-planned affects the movie industries in Asia, Africa and rest of the world; to adopt the life style, dressing, language, food-habits, religion, accent or even given names of new born babies. Despite many other countries have developed their own film industries to suit the local audience; external influence, style of production, storylines and set designs are still seen in such films; It can be said that certain film industry has come to dominate the way of thinking of filmmakers and the audiences across the world.

    A good example of this is the Bollywood in India. Bollywood is a name of Indian movie industry. In the early Indian films (before 1970s-80s), the audience enjoy the melodious songs, family drama, moral stories and the dance numbers; which most complemented the screenplay in the movies. However, the influence of EXTERNAL FILM/MOVIE INDUSTRY has brought to a new trend in the costume and settings of such films. The Bollywood began to touch more on the love scenes, sex scenes, organised crime scenes, terrorism, war scenes; where odds are shown as celebratory/fashionable/desirable activities one can aim for.  Bollywood movies now depicts scenes which taught us to dance rhumbas and sambas; scenes that taught us to kill and steal; scenes that taught us to utter “Hi” and “Gee”; scenes that taught us devilry and divorce and scenes that took us to smokes, jinks and drinks. It seems that Bollywood relies too much on the EXTERNAL ideas, where it going to diminish the real and traditional cultural identity of India.

    With the popularity of EXTERNAL movies around the world, many game creators in game industry for profits have done the imitation and transformation of actors in the movie into game. The children play computer games on the Internet and some of these games are violent which in turn tends to promote violence among children. Children are easily influence by what they see and do in the game and are not mature enough to weigh what is right and what is wrong. This unfortunately, may lead them to practise harmful behaviour in real life. Other than that, the possible cultural & lifestyle impacts cannot also be ignored. It is heavy.

    Over the last four thousand years, imperialism from East Asia (2) and their expansion has been a central feature of the modern history of East Asia. Since the recovery of their strength in the late 20th century, the imperialism issues involved have been of concern to their very neighbors in the eastern world. All are concerned with the extremism. Moreover, this extremism has reached most parts of Africa and some part of Eastern Europe as well, not purely limiting itself to ASIA.

    Like the NO 1 IMPERIALISM QUEST from the West in the 19th century ; NO 2 IMPERIALISM QUEST from East Asia in 21st century ; is industrializing and producing its own aggressive, bourgeois middle-class enamoured with nationalism. It is not cut off from foreign markets like Germany was due to colonialism, but in a twist the international bodies and structures are designed around a geostrategic situation now decades out of date. Imperialism power from East Asia wants to tear these down…and that begs the question if the era of no wars between Great Powers is ending.

    Imperialism in East Asia burn much hotter than in the West; defense budgets are rising, and most importantly, they are near-peer modern nations all capable of making nuclear weapons if push came to shove. Hence the “scariness” of this power battle is more pronounced in Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Indian sub-continent because East Asian imperial ambitions carry the very real risk of near-peer, open warfare with much higher casualties than the “feudal” small wars caused by the other imperial enthusiast from the West. If the long Great Power truce is broken, it will likely be in East Asia and will likely involve the most powerful countries from East Asia. That is scary, and that is what worries people more about Asian imperialism compared to Western led imperialism. With the 1978 economic reform, the East Asian country has increased its political stance, its influence and its power abroad. On one side, it remains deeply neutral and not involving in any conflict, and the land borders are stable; on the other side it has increased its influence, while using military and economic wealth and claims to island territories that have caused anxiety in neighbors to the east, such as the Philippines, India, Nepal, Tibet, Mangolia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Burma, South Korea and Japan (and perhaps many more).

    So; like movie industry and planned “feudal” small wars used by imperialism enthusiast from the West (NO 1); what tools does the NO 2 IMPERIALISM e nthusiast from East Asia in 21st century uses/are using?

    The imperialism enthusiast from East Asia ; to bend other states to its will, without having to fire a single shot, uses sovereign debt as the tool. As the opium was exported to China to trick them centuries ago, the easy loans the imperialism enthusiast from East Asia offers are addictive. In addition, because it chooses its financing projects according to their long-term strategic value, they may yield short-term returns that are insufficient for countries to repay their debts. This gives the East Asian country added leverage, which it can use, say, to force borrowers to swap debt for equity, thereby expanding it’s global footprint by trapping a growing number of countries in debt servitude. Several other countries, from Argentina to Namibia to Laos, have been ensnared in these debt traps, forcing them to confront agonizing choices in order to stave off default. Kenya’s crushing debt now threatens to turn its busy port of Mombasa — the gateway to East Africa. Who made the East Asian country capable of lending sovereign debts? It is our laziness and us. For almost a century now; we stopped our manufacturing, exports and have become dependent on this country to supply us with cheap products. This is the repercussion.

    In exchange for financing and building the infrastructure that poorer countries need, imperialism enthusiast from East Asia demands favourable access to their natural assets, from mineral resources to ports. To strengthen its position further, East Asian country has encouraged its companies to bid for outright purchase of strategic ports where possible. The Mediterranean port of Piraeus, which was acquired for $436 million from cash-strapped Greece last year, will serve as the BRI’s “dragon head” in Europe. By wielding its financial influence in this manner, imperialism enthusiast from East Asia seeks to kill two birds with one stone. First, it wants to address overcapacity at home by boosting exports. Second, it hopes to advance its strategic interests, including expanding its diplomatic influence, securing natural resources, promoting the international use of its currency and gaining a relative advantage over other powers.

    Empires are built on trade. History has been witness of this fact. This tradition has not changed, only traded commodities have changed in centuries of this practice. During the expansion of Rome, some cities completely switched their cultural identity and even moved in order to join the growing Roman state. The British Empire in its latest stages self-consciously expanded into new protectorates in order to create new trading opportunities.

    WHY ARE WE CONCERNED? We should be. Because; we are losing our identity. We are all becoming something else. We are becoming dependent, We are losing our culture, no of languages are diminishing, the world is becoming a violent place, human sustainability is doubtful and there is concentration of power in the current times still, as they were centuries ago. HOW HAVE WE MADE PROGRESS? What is the use of technological advancements (AI, ML, IoT, DL, Block Chain, and Robotics); when collective sustainability is under threat? It feels as if; technological advancements are indirectly supporting imperialism.

    SOLUTION? I shall tell you first; soon as I comprehend. How does one at an individual level try to influence such huge predicament? There are few perhaps. However, noted one is: increase education, promote self-sufficiency, buy local products and services, remain less dependent on others, take care of own nature and natural resources, have reasonable growth plans, stay united, invest on people, rather than IRRATIONAL economic progress and there is absolutely no need engage in the power battle blindly. Mahatma Gandhi called for a different approach (Make your own, reject products from external sources. We can at least stop fuelling powers acting against us. That is the first step). Singapore, Switzerland, New Zealand, India and Costa Rica are doing it differently. They are inward focussed. They believe in their capabilities and know they are not dependent on others or provoke others unnecessarily. Take a look.

    Memories and stories are possessions we can share with your future generation, our friends and family, the people in our yoga class or at work. It is important to live our life and make memories along the way. It is important to share our life with others. It is important to cherish these moments. My conversation with Thomas will be of course discussed many years later, when my grandchildren will read this very blog and ask me the question “Is this how it used to be in 2019, GrandPa?”

    Now, that is it. How is Sunday treating us all? Pretty good so far, for me. Got up early, made some eggs, having a Nespresso machine at home is always a bliss, listened to some good music while reading reddit, and now it's time to go for a run and see where the day takes us. From the discussion topic memories; remembered that I bought my first ever car in this life; today….many years ago, in Australia. It was a black Toyota RAV4. I also remember a very popular music then, which I played in the car, as I started the engine. Here it is. Please enjoy rest of your Sunday. Have a restful afternoon and God Bless 

  • Celibacy can be finest phases of our life

    Feb 9, 2019 by Bikash Mohanty

    Someone asked me recently if I was single. “Always!” I cackled. Well, this question is thrown at me, every now and then. Fascinating! ;) I was thinking about it yesterday; after my best friend sent me few of his beautiful creations (piano recordings), together with that some mannish counsels…that I must go out often, check out my surroundings, explore the city, than sitting at home and writing blogs, in a romantic Saturday evening when snow is chucking down outside. I know he is concerned. I am lucky to have friends in my life, who make my life experience very contented.

    This February 2019 marks seven years since I had any physical/intimate contact with an opposite gender (Girls, females, Women :) of course. These are the only option for me still, if we wonder). During these seven years; womenfolk who visited my home are wives/GFs of some of my close friends; who visited me only with their respective husbands/BFs or I visited them in return to attend functions and event at their place.

    I was telling this to one of our senior family members, who was recently regulated by the physician to stop certain type of greasy food and reduce his level of work. He confessed to me that life is boring, when one has to live within such boundaries, with restrictions as to what to eat, what not to eat, where to go and where not to go. I altered the topic by whispering to him “Actually I didn’t tell you, but I had gained a great deal of wealth 6-7 years ago”. His face lit up instantly. He enquired, what is that, how much, how so, from where? I added; I had started to live alone because I didn’t have a choice. I had started to eat less, eat very regular food, became vegetarian, and became a teetotaller etc. in last 7 years; because neither did I have interest nor I had appetite for it. What felt like a depraved phase 7 years ago; feels like a HEAVENLY-blessing-in-disguise today. That is the great deal I have won 6-7 years ago. I still maintain these simple life-style and I am perfectly gratified within my life with whatever I have got.  Today; only thing I worry at times is about the health of some elderly family members. That’s all. My life is beautiful as it is. All my basic essentials have been take care, exquisitely. I can’t thank enough to the universe for that. There we go; you feel restricted without a choice and therefore unhappy. And here I am, I was forced myself to those restrictions with my own choice and today I feel liberated, free and satisfied. He smiled. Obviously it takes some time. This feeling didn’t land for me, on the day 1. I told him he was restricted with sugar about 15 years ago, but as a young boy, I restricted myself from sugar without a reason at that point in time. And now after 15 years, I am liberated from sugar and I don’t have any urge at all towards it. J

    The pressure to be in a relationship, to have sex regularly, can be, as I discovered, overwhelming at times. To resist is an affront. Everyone without a reason feels that celibacy can be a problem, whereas I see it as a strength. And funnily; none of these two believes have any logical edge over the other. Only difference I guess is, what is depicted louder. My depictions are always calibrated, as you know. I am a Libran after all. So…

    At time, I feel that I am waiting. I wanted to meet that rare person whom I could totally trust, who was as exciting as my fantasies and most importantly I can fall in love with. I was also waiting to come to terms with my emotional baggage, finish my CA/MBA studies, which have been long offloaded. Initially, I thought I would be single for a few months, but as the years went by I realised that I would be happy on my own forever. I felt frustrated at times, but it didn't make me want to have sex with just anyone. I am proud that is the case STILL. That’s an achievement for me. I have never attempted and yet I still know that I am a sexual being. Unfortunately not for any INA, MINA, DIKA, but for only a special, noble and exciting person, if it has to possible ever again …that I shall hold joint couple status. I also feel, that I have made my requirements/standards pretty tall, why not! I have nurtured myself to be able to deserve that. Kidding. Without it, it’s again those confusions, compromises, which I have no tolerance right now. Sorry, hey. J

    I am perfectly happy being in my own company for the first time in my grown-up life. My senses felt truly alive and relaxed. I didn't feel lonely; I just enjoy life without the complications of having another person around me, right now. I go to the cinemas, shopping, holidays, to restaurants, take a stroll, and go to the gym; all by myself. Furthermore during these solo-activities; I notice many interesting girls but I don’t want anything to happen between us. It would have broken my dream. Yes, my dream! What is my dream?! Yes my dream; I am still a man you know, totally, that status has not changed in last 7 years.

    Like; we have different type of vegetarians in the society; we have different types of marital statuses in the society these days. Irony is; these different types of statuses were popped up only in last 15-20 years. Previously; we had only one or maximum two different marital statuses, whether in west or in the eastern part of the globe. Life was simple. Now we have freedom, hence we have liberty to make it more confusing. You see! We are making progress, for the betterment of the human race. Really?

    I can assure us; that this is not the final list of marital statuses. I have not gone into impotence, gayism, lesbianism etc. This is only a small subset. List can still continue endlessly. Do you really think it is an easy job to motivate ourselves to marry or marry again after a bad experience? Trust me; I don’t think a particular gender type is responsible for this confusion. Every time my parents, friends, relatives spoke to me about marriage; I asked them “Tell me, why should I. Please convince me that I shall have a better life after marriage, than what I have already today, given that we have so much of confusion with marital statuses as mentioned above” . I am still waiting for a convincible, sincere answer. 

    I see; some kind of restlessness in everyone all in sudden; as if we are all trying to prove something to someone. Some are trying to prove that they are very western but it is not working. Some are trying to adopt a false accent, but failing miserably. Some are posting a lot of selfies in the social media in their bid to prove that they are very happy. Some are posting their achievements, where they eat, how they drank alcohol, their makeup, their shoes, their hair cut, their figure, their kids, their kids’accievements, their holidays, their house, their car, their cloths and god knows their toilet as well. All of them are busy trying to prove something, every day, every minute, every second. How are these useful to anyone, for the God shake ?!!! How all those postings going to solve global warming? How those useless postings going to solve all the issues we have got: Corruption, Bribary, Food shortage, Global warming, Natural calamities, Extream weather, deadly diseases (for which there is no treatment)?  We are living for others. Where are 20 years ago and before we lived for a purpose. That was the difference, hence there was peace before. Who cares about marriage right now ? I mean, genuinely of course. Very few. We discovered them rarely by chance. Purpose of marriage is now lost, in our mind. I dont need an answer. Please ask and answer yourself...:)

    When I am an old man looking back on my life I lived, I will remember my time of celibacy as one of my happiest/finest phases in life. It was so important to me, and so misunderstood by society. I want people to understand that being celibate can be as nourishing and fulfilling as being in a relationship.

    My relationship status became the favourite subject for discussion. Was I a gay? Was I frigid? Because I travel so much, do I have wives in each of those countries I travel and what not! But having to insist that I was happy being celibate made me uncomfortable now. I don’t even try. I just smile stupidly. Let them make out whatever they can. One has gone a step further; he said: he is hearing that I have a western born wife, which happened apparently while I am doing all these extensive travel for work around the world for last 4-5 years. I enquired where he got that. He said; a common friend told him, who apparently lives in the USA. I told him, it is not true. He insisted but that we better clarify this from the friend in the USA and because of the time-zone difference we must stay away till midnight UK time to speak to this guy in the USA. I told him politely; I must go to bed by 10:00pm and I don’t need to clarify anything, as I know it is untrue. Furthermore, even the GOD can’t prove that what you heard. Knowing that the GOD cannot prove that, if I stay awake, then I will look foolish.  I went to bed on time but he stayed awake to speak to his fiend in the USA. And he told me in the morning that the friend in the USA, apparently heard this from someone else, whom none of us in the UK knew. I laughed off. Friend of mine questioned why I was laughing. I told him, I have become more famous. So many people, all over the world are talking about me and they have interest in my personal life. It’s like those baseless gossips during transfer window of the English Premier Leagues. Pundits speculate that different players are going to join different clubs. But at the end of the transfer window, final outcomes look very different, in comparison to those early forecasts. Anyways! : )

    Science tells us that touch releases oxytocin, the hormone which activates a feeling of wellbeing and relieves stress. Touch makes the emotional receptors of our brain light up; some scientists believe it can make people trust each other more. Touch makes the emotional receptors of our brain light up. I can’t remember when anyone touched me in any more than a friendly or professional way, at least in last 7 years. I’ve always felt hugely embarrassed by people on the street with signs offering “FREE HUGS”, and the idea of ‘cuddle parties’. Yet it’s a sign that many people are prepared to act on the human need for being touched. If you’re lucky enough to be in a good relationship, and wonder why this single friend is nervous to go back to a relationship status; please ask yourself when you last had any physical intimacy – not necessarily sexual.

    I don’t entirely belief in American philosophy that “Happy Wife = Happy Life”. Not so blindly. Wife is happy at the cost of what? What if one has unreasonable expectations to be happy. I have seen cases. This can’t be taken so literally. They should be considered case by case basis. Every sensible soul can put effort and make some reasonable allowance for harmony in family life.

    I also don’t think; gender equality is about giving concession to one type of gender endlessly; for the fact that they have been supressed for thousands of years. Equality is about the ability of both genders to work together, respectfully towards a better life, in a better world. Either it has to work like this or the very definition of equality has to change. This generation can’t be responsible for the suppression/inequality which existed for thousands of years.  It should not be a forceful choice on one gender type; rather should be a decision through acceptance, comprehension and hence willingness. That’s how it will be long-term.

    Like they say; once you resign from a job, you should not reconsider your decision and stay back; - similarly one can’t make peace with the past. Past is only used for experience and knowledge. We humans are built with emotions, feelings and those in essence drive our life graph. Don’t they also say that “You are what you are thinking”? It becomes essential then we only think positive things. If past offers that, then good enough, else we only attempt for positive emotions, positive feelings; from present or future. Right? Logical.

    There is no generalisation in the characterisation of marriage. Whether it is a boy or a girl or their parents or their siblings or their family members; are all different from each other. They are expected to be like that. I like pink or red colour on girls, other boys like black colour on girls; and the girls themselves like only white colour for them. What do we do? How do we solve this? Should we add this to the list above? No; we must choose based on factors, which are mutually compensating for both boy and the girl both. To ignore the conflict is one hell of a wise thing to do. That’s how it works. What’s the point in selecting an extremely contrasting option and expecting harmony out of it, at a later date?

    In spite of all these discussion points; my ideal life still remains “to be in a happy relationship with one person, and my passion is fuelled just by the thought that one day this might happen”. When I don’t know, I don’t care. That’d be such an absolute (special) experience I guess, even if for a short period (hope it lasts forever); should be much heavier than combined ordinary experiences for life long. We must wait for the special/absolute experience. Because? Common! Because we are special or absolute ourselves, otherwise why would we expect? We have plenty of patience to wait. Don’t we?

    My son is my biggest wealth and achievement. Any conditional attempt to separate us, is not going to work with me. God has not created an absolute experience in this world, which can entice me to stay away from my son or my parents. I exist to love for my son and take care of my parents. Whether I marry or not; this fact will remain stagnant. Just making it clear. Don’t tell me later, that I didn’t warn.

    Weekend is just around the corner. For those friends in Australia, NZ, and Japan; weekend has kicked off already. Tow? Nacho phir!!! That’s what weekends are for…to relax…to eat…to rest…to dance...to talk…to love…to get love back and what not! I wish you all of that and in plenty…this weekend and always. Subham, Good Morning, Buenos Bias & Bonjour.

  • Do we need only AI or IoT or ML or BlockChain or all of them together?

    Feb 2, 2019 by Bikash Mohanty

    Few interesting articles I had read recently about Machine-Joking . Humans had some achievement in outlining what would create humour. Can machines do that using AI with the help of ML? Nah, it's not been completely codified. As even full-time stand-up comedians would confess, there is no magic formula to produce the unspoiled joke. Much of what makes us laugh depends on subtle elements such as context or body language of the comedian himself. Sometimes even we humans don't know why a joke is comical!!! What is comical for one person may not be amusing for others. The same joke told by two people might produce different reactions. A joke is fun, and a witticism can be subjective. So, how can we teach AI to create jokes if we ourselves don't grip the reasons why a joke is funny? AI, which inclines to emphasise on a very slender range of tasks, is poorly equipped to spot the wide range of elements involved in humour, let alone know what they mean. Lack of context is one area that makes it more difficult for algorithms or codification.

    Take a look at some of the machine generated one-liners jokes:

    • I like my coffee like I like my war: cold. 
    • You know what really pushes my buttons? That guy that's in control of me.
    • And like my Alexa at home told me a joke “What is the favourite crisp flavour of the pilot, answer is “Plane””.

    That in principle defines deficiencies of machine controlled, code based undertakings. The system learns to think from data. It is based on the trends and patterns from the data that the AI makes decisions. The decisions have to be logical and defined. AI is just basically an efficient decision making machine. It is can be taught to think but it cannot create thought beyond the patterns and trends from the data it receives.

    The purpose of creating the AI systems is for optimization and efficiency. If they are liable to the same issues as humans, then they are not required . An AI that can make a joke is like an AI that can make mistakes; not just conscious mistakes or errors but unconscious mistakes that are not errors. That defeats the purpose of AI. Incidentally it’s one of the things that makes humans standout i.e. we do mistakes and we learn from our mistakes. And really that is where art comes from. AI was built to be perfect, to have one that can do jokes is to purposely build a flawed one. But can it automatically learn from the mistakes like we humans do? How long that learning process takes for it to be perfect, where it does not make any more mistakes? Are these learnings for one machine can benefit other machine or every machine has to go through its own learning cycle? Or there will be a huge global data lake (Data Ocean may be); where all machine can take their intelligent feed from, to be at same level as other machines? How long that stabilization process takes, for machines to take over humans? That’s the fear we are living today, right? J

    AI has its place, but there are just some lines it cannot cross. This is not just because the system cannot learn it, rather it is because the system has to be anti-intelligent to achieve it. Anti-intelligence will take AI away from its standout edge. And  if an AI can make a choice whether to be intelligent or stupid, then the world is in trouble ; what humans have not achieved in thousands of years will be achieved in days! (The total destruction of the planet). It is possible, but better not explored. What we need for that is for AI to have a really good model of the world, which it doesn't have at the moment. Maybe this knowledge would include knowing about feelings, human feelings, animal feelings, cause and effect in all/most sense possible.

    Now; let’s see cases where they absolutely make senses.

    Today Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning (AI | ML | DL | IoT) are at the heart of digital transformation by enabling organizations to leverage their growing wealth of big data to optimize key business outcomes and propagate operational used cases.

    When the Internet became conventional, a lot of business models were unsettled. Companies had to transform themselves or vanish and we were privy to many examples such as bookstores, retailers, DVD sellers etc. Something similar is about to happen with AI in the next few decades. But with a big dissimilarity: AI is not going to be a new industry, it is going to be in every industry. It's going to be in every application, in every process imaginable, and in every aspect of our lives, almost unsparingly. It won’t just remain contented with the business world, and will increasingly encroach on other areas like culture and art, just as much. It's our responsibility to make sure that this new revolution turns out right, our number one priority should be to make intelligent & cognitive capabilities available to everyone. Much like the ease of creating a web app today because the tools and technologies underlying the web are easy to use, have open-source, and are usually free. In addition, learning resources are readily available for free or at a throwaway price. Of course, this is not about transitioning everyone to jobs that will involve AI, rather this is about making sure that all those who have the potential to create value with AI are able to do so freely. This is about ensuring that no human potential goes to waste. And that is possible; first by creating awareness, encouraging discussions, creating knowledge, mass-circulate the knowledge, creating alternative occupations/opportunities for those who are affected and then finally landing the prospect – a sustained and step by step approach, with the collaboration of government and private sectors. Definitely; not like the landing of Brit-exit poll, without any preparation, without creating proper awareness and public knowledge. Otherwise, the outcome will be the same…lack of acceptance. We are engaged in debating where Brit-Exit was good or bad. We should actually debate, whether the way it was introduced was good or bad. Same applies here.

    First thing first; let’s start with some of the most commonly used acronyms and their definitions:

    • Artificial Intelligence (AI) - is the overarching discipline that covers anything related to making machines smart. Whether it’s a robot, a refrigerator, a car, or a software application, if we are making them smart, then it’s AI.
    • Machine Learning (ML) - is commonly used alongside AI but they are not the same thing. ML is a subset of AI. ML refers to systems that can learn by themselves. Systems that get smarter and smarter over time without human intervention.
    • Deep Learning (DL) – It is ML but applied to large data sets.
    • Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) - Refers to models of human neural networks that are designed to help computers learn. There are many techniques and approaches to ML. One of those approaches is artificial neural networks (ANN), sometimes just called neural networks. A good example of this is Amazon’s recommendation engine. Amazon uses artificial neural networks to generate recommendations for its customers. Amazon suggests products by showing us “customers who viewed this item also viewed” and “customers who bought this item also bought”. Amazon assimilates data from all its users browsing experiences and uses that information to make effective product recommendations.
    • Natural Language Processing (NLP) - Refers to systems that can understand language. NLP is the processing of the text to understand meaning.
    • Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) - Refers to the use of computer hardware and software-based techniques to identify and process human voice i.e. processing of speech to text. Because humans speak with colloquialisms and abbreviations it takes extensive computer analysis of natural language to drive accurate outputs.

     

    There we go:

    • ASR and NLP fall under AI.
    • ML and NLP have some overlap as ML is often used for NLP tasks.
    • ASR also overlaps with ML. It has historically been a driving force behind many machine learning techniques.
    • Most AI work now involves ML because intelligent behaviour requires considerable knowledge, and learning is the easiest way to get that knowledge.
    • Data Analytics, Predictive Analytics and Prescriptive Analytics are different applications of Artificial intelligence.

    That is the relationship between AI & ML. The image below captures the relationship between AI, ML, and DL.

    AI involves machines that can perform tasks that are characteristic of human intelligence . While this is rather general, it includes things like planning, understanding language, recognizing objects and sounds, learning, and problem solving.

    We can put AI in two categories, general and narrow. General AI would have all of the characteristics of human intelligence, including the capacities mentioned above. Narrow AI exhibits some facet(s) of human intelligence, and can do that facet extremely well, but is lacking in other areas. A machine that’s great at recognizing images, but nothing else, would be an example of narrow AI.

    At its core, machine learning (ML) is simply a way of achieving AI. We can get AI without using machine learning, but this would require building millions of lines of codes with complex rules and decision-trees. So instead of hard coding software routines with specific instructions to accomplish a particular task, machine learning is a way of “training” an algorithm so that it can learn how. “Training” involves feeding huge amounts of data to the algorithm and allowing the algorithm to adjust itself and improve. It reminds me for the Man & Fish story: “Give a Man a Fish, and we Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and we Feed Him for a Lifetime”. To give an example, machine learning has been used to make drastic improvements to computer vision (the ability of a machine to recognize an object in an image or video). We gather hundreds of thousands or even millions of pictures and then have humans tag them. For example, the humans might tag pictures that have a cat in them versus those that do not. Then, the algorithm tries to build a model that can accurately tag a picture as containing a cat or not as well as a human. Once the accuracy level is high enough, the machine has now “learned” what a cat looks like. I would imagine, a tag proposal from Facebook is built on same/similar principle.

    Deep learning is one of many approaches to machine learning . Other approaches include decision tree learning, inductive logic programming, clustering, reinforcement learning, and Bayesian networks, among others. Deep learning was inspired by the structure and function of the brain, namely the interconnecting of many neurons. Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) are algorithms that mimic the biological structure of the brain. In ANNs, there are “neurons” which have discrete layers and connections to other “neurons”. Each layer picks out a specific feature to learn, such as curves/edges in image recognition. It’s this layering that gives deep learning its name, depth is created by using multiple layers as opposed to a single layer.

    AI and IoT are Indivisibly Entangled :==>

    Relationship between AI and IoT is much like the connection between the human brain & body.

    Our bodies collect sensory input such as sight, sound, and touch. Our brains take that data and makes sense of it, turning light into recognizable objects and turning sounds into understandable speech. Our brains then make decisions, sending signals back out to the body to command movements like picking up an object or speaking.

    All of the connected sensors that make up the Internet of Things are like our bodies, they provide the raw data of what’s going on in the world. Artificial intelligence is like our brain, making sense of that data and deciding what actions to perform. And the connected devices of IoT are again like our bodies or body parts, carrying out physical actions or communicating to others.

    Unleashing Each Other’s Potential  :

    The value and the promises of both AI and IoT are being realized because of one another. Machine learning (ML) and Deep learning (DL) have led to huge leaps for AI in recent years. As mentioned above, machine learning and deep learning require massive amounts of data to work, and this data is being collected by the billions of sensors that are continuing to come online in the Internet of Things.  IoT makes better AI. Improving AI will also drive adoption of the Internet of Things, creating a virtuous cycle in which both areas will accelerate drastically. That’s because  AI makes IoT useful.

    • On the industrial side , AI can be applied to predict when machines will need maintenance or analyse manufacturing processes to make big efficiency gains, saving millions of dollars.
    • On the consumer side , rather than having to adapt to technology, technology can adapt to us. Instead of clicking, typing, and searching, we can simply ask a machine for what we need. We might ask for information like the weather or for an action like preparing the house for bedtime (turning down the thermostat, locking the doors, turning off the lights, etc.). (Remember Hive Home in the UK using IoT platform to deliver this? Or even Amazon Alexa using ASR technology to make this happen)

    Blockchain solutions  :

    Blockchain is redefining how trusted transactions ought to be carried out. The internet is itself highly vulnerable and Blockchain is out with the solution to address it. One problem that Blockchain solves of AI and IoT is the security fault lines. Most IoT devices are connected to each other via public networks and it is needless to say how vulnerable public networks really are. Blockchain solves this problem by linear and permanent indexed records which can be created. Globally general public can reference them without censorship. They can also smoothen the commerce process by providing a payment mechanism as well as communication channel. The public is the authority and not any centralized entity as is the case with the banks. Any kind of hacking and tampering with the data like taking control of device and records is impossible due to the way blocks are stored and guarded in a specific database in the Blockchain system. Every IoT device is a point of vulnerability and the risks are still higher as even AI is involved in making decisions for users. Hence Blockchain can be used to provide a secure, scalable and verifiable platform that has invincible security implementations.

     

    Process flow  :

    Internet of things (IoT) (Sensors to record task statistics, with BlockChain solutions) ==>   BigData (Capability to store large volume of data, whether from sensors or from systems) ==>  Machine Learning (ML) / Deep Learning (DL) (Decision Options for AI based on pattern of data and statistics, derived from BigData) ==> Artificial Intelligence (AI) (The decision maker, who decided based on best-case scenarios).

    Conclusion: 

    The common thread in all these technology is DATA. DATA is the one linking all of these technologies. Data has to be acquired, has to be transmitted back and forth, has to be stored, has to be analysed, data patterns have to be explored and data authentication and ledger has to be maintained. These different technologies comes at various different steps in this value chain. Not necessary that all technologies have to come together, some may and some may not — based on the actual requirement of the use case.

    These revolutionary technologies, are expected to change our routine life; just as introduction of computers did, introduction of internet did, and introduction of mobile/smart phones devices did. A considerate collaboration is required, from both government and private sectors; to bring out cost-effectiveness for industrialisation, alternative choices for those who would be affected and further technological advancement to make it a sustained reality. It is not crucial yet for these technologies to be tried out with urgency. Planning/assessment can certainly be done to check, whether any real-benefit can be achieved. If there is benefit, then investment must be made in line with “considerate collaboration” we talked above. The current impression of it being reachable to large corporations only; that it required a lot of investment to get it realised; and it is going to take away lot of human engagements; must change through better awareness and perhaps economies of scale. It’s happening…for sure. My favourite areas where I would like to see application of these technologies are: for revitalization of agriculture industry; to combat global warming/extreme weathers and finally in the pharmaceutical industries to find cures for deadly diseases. And yours ?

  • Subjectivity Vs. Objectivity!

    Sep 23, 2018 by Bikash Mohanty

    What is the difference between subjectivity and Objectivity; Papa? He enquired. Bloody hell; how do you explain this to this a child? I offered an example. I said; often people ask me “What is the first thing I do, when I arrive at London home?!”. The objective answer to that is: “I put my kettle on, make myself a cup of black tea…as you know that’s absolute truth.” And subjective answer would, Papa? That is if I said same thing but indirectly...If I shall say “It depends…it depends what kind of mood I am in…what is the weather like…what is there at home…etc etc etc…like if it sounds more like an opinion and less like an answer”. I further added; I take my ear away if I hear the word “It depends…”. So use it with caution, my son…if you want me to listen to you. Both of us LOLly.

    Patience is the ability to withstand something difficult or irritating without a loss of composure. The opposite of patience might be frustration, irritation. Perseverance is the determination to stick to something and stay on course in spite of obstacles. The opposite might be apathy . As little children, we usually want to get our way.  When we see a bright shiny new object, we get fixated on it.  If we do not get it, we usually bug our parents until our persistence breaks down their defences and we finally get what we want.  As adults, we face challenges and difficulties that threaten to break our spirits.  Without perseverance , we may not overcome them.  There are similarities and differences between persistence and perseverance . The similarities include determination, not giving up, and willingness to take on challenges.  However, there are subtle differences between the two concepts such as the objective, the duration of the situation, and the effect of the process.

    How can one be objective Papa?! The first thing one need to do, to ensure objectivity is to have patience…to observe intensely and then action. Without patience, we do things for which we might have to repent in the future. However, if we were patient…just like that little tortoise, we shall always win the race. But in football, they say, “Speed is everything”; Papa. Yeah that is one type of performance where you play the opponent…speed is required when you compare. Nevertheless, another type of performance is when you only pay attention to the ball and play; you do not care who your opponent is; just as Ronaldinho played, Maradona played or Messi plays.

    A man found a cocoon of a butterfly, with a very small opening in it. For several hours, he sat and watched as a butterfly struggled to force its body through the tiny hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. He peered into the hole and saw that the butterfly appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could — it could go no further. Wanting to help, the man took a pair of scissors and gently snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon.

    The butterfly emerged immediately and easily. But, to his surprise, the man saw that it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man expected the wings to expand to support the body, but that did not happen. The butterfly was never able to fly; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its short life crawling around with shriveled wings and a swollen body.

    What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the small opening of the cocoon was nature’s way of forcing fluid from its body into its wings. This way, the butterfly would be ready for flight once it achieved freedom from the cocoon.

    If you knew that you would become a butterfly at the right time, how differently might you react? Your desperation to help can encourage you to take shortcuts, to avoid necessarily painful learning experiences, and to end up killing the very one or thing you are trying to help.

    He said; I get it Papa. What is the morale of the story, I asked? “One must remember that struggle is needed to form something incredibly striking and beautiful and one should be patient during the struggle; he added” .   J Will you remember it always, I enquired? Of course, I will, he nodded. I asked how long will you remember?  Not sure, for long time. That is a subjective answer you know, I said. What would be an objective answer then, he asked. I told him, the answer in that case should be “I shall remember these until I pass it on to my kids”. We smiled and wished each other Goodnight.

    I also wanted to wish you all beautiful people there a good night of sleep and lot of sweet dreams. Winter is just round the corner and in no time...the sound of jingle bells and illustrations of the sparking lights will appear across street and in the neighbourhood. A lot to look forward to…

  • Happiness – a new measure of progress!

    Jan 7, 2018 by Bikash Mohanty

    I always wondered how my Dentist is able to spend time talking to me on worldly topics; after every appointment for a good length, for him being such a sought-after professional. To which he explained “I am Danish”. So?! – I enquired. He said “hygge”; is central to the happiness of all Danes. It means cosiness, it means intimacy, and it means warmth — and that’s all he is doing, does with all his patients.

    He explained further: Work later than 5:30 and the office is a morgue. Work at the weekend and the Danes think you are mad. The idea is that families have time to play and eat together at the end of the day, every day. He believes that the high level of meat, confectionary, and coffee consumption in Denmark is directly linked to hygge. “Hygge is about being kind to yourself — giving yourself a treat, and giving yourself, and each other, a break from the demands of healthy living”. The home is “hygge headquarters”. They also have the most living space per capita in Europe.

    Danes speak passionately about their tax system, despite it claiming on an average more than 45% of their income. In fact, Danes are frequently touted as some of the happiest people on the planet. How is this possible given that the Danish government requisitions such a large portion of the population’s earnings? My dentist explained; this is how people of Denmark, worked together with their government & law-makers to ensure “spending more time at work and earning more money does not essentially mean more money in individual pockets”. Higher incomes are taxed very highly.   This certainly takes away the justification for earning more. In stead people spend time at home, together with friends and families.

    An article from Oxford Students read; In a country like the UK where there is much more a culture of looking out for ourselves, our family, and perhaps our business, rather than society as a whole, it seems unlikely that rates of tax comparable to those in Denmark will ever gain considerable support. For us in the UK; ‘tax’ has very negative connotations and is often considered a burden rather than an investment. This is sad given the convincing evidence that the Nordic model of high taxation, despite reducing people’s monthly income, can lead to a much greater overall satisfaction with life. Danes are frequently touted as some of the happiest people on the planet. And the UK has a reputation for poor work-life balance and days full of hurry and worry.

    Ambition is not necessarily a positive attribute and can even be considered embarrassing in Denmark. There is less of a drive for constant promotion and material gains. Danes care much more about how they feel on the inside. They do not measure their worth by their house, car or salary, but rather by how happy they are.

    It is largely Danish culture that allows the country to balance happiness and high taxes so masterfully. Ingrained feelings of anti-elitism and social responsibility, as well as trust in the government, mean that Danes have the motivation to work despite much of their income never reaching their pockets. Many directly experience the benefits of high levels of government spending, perhaps by being funded through university or given training and help to find a new job when they become unemployed. When Danes first begin paying tax, therefore, most have already seen the advantages of the system and as a result understand that their contribution is worthwhile.

    Happiness is becoming a core concern for the people who pass the laws shaping the circumstances of our lives. In recent years, happiness, well-being and quality of life have made a powerful imprint on policy-making. The United Nations passed a resolution inviting countries to start measuring the happiness of their populations. Similarly, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development now includes life satisfaction as a parameter for the development of the member countries, and OECD Secretary General Ángel Gurría declares that "Improving the quality of our lives should be the ultimate target of public policies."

    These ambitions reflect the growing awareness among people, politicians and scientists that economic progress is no longer a satisfactory indicator for the progress of a society.Despite economic growth, we see massive economic anxiety. We see countries such as the United States and South Korea having achieved tremendous growth in the past decades, but failing to convert wealth into well-being for the people. Denmark is by no means a perfect utopia, and the country faces challenges and issues like any other country. But Denmark can truly be a source of inspiration in how countries can increase quality of life.

    That’s all I wanted to pass on to you lovely comrades. Hope the end of 1st week of the New Year has been invigorating. A lot more is on its way. Are we prepared to grab? They say “Urdu” language is exotic. I don’t know, I don’t understand much, only few words only. But they sound exotic. Listen to this song…and? What you think? Have a good night. Subh-ratri, Sabah Khair. Until later…

  • HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018 (Equality, Competition, Normality & Moderation)

    Dec 30, 2017 by Bikash Mohanty

    There is no way to avoid the fact that all things must come to an end. When reading a book, we can’t begin the next chapter until we finish the previous one. Like-wise. There is nothing to fear when a cycle is complete. One year comes to a close and the opportunities of the next one appear.  The caterpillar gives way to the magic of the butterfly. Imagine what we want to bring into life and what we might be willing to set aside to make room for the future to unfold better. That is all. That is all we can do at this juncture.

    How can anyone be hopeful in such uncertain times? Why not? They say, change is just a part of life. Different people have different ways to anticipate and apprehend change. For me; I hope 2018 brings following changes all around. And you? Thought about it?

    • EQUALITY: That; we stop chasing equality between men and women. I feel, that is a political propaganda forced upon us to create division and benefit certain groups in the society. Instead we (men and women) shall respect one another's strength and build a world around it. Equality does not mean – men and women to be exactly same. Its not possible. Equality means equal opportunity, equal regards, equal respect, but not sameness of action. If we focus on wrong thing (to be exactly same) we shall only invite give-take relationship, even at home. Feelings, love, sympathy, care like qualities will evaporate from our reach.  There will be business-like-dealings; both outside and at home. I cant imagine that! Can you? But then who cares? What we inspire, that we transpire. In our technologically advanced society, we don’t need a man to do physical/outdoor activities only and women to take care of the home/children. Both can do almost everything except for giving birth. I have male friends, who chose to stay at home and take care of kids, while allowing their wife to prosper in their respective career. I do have similar example in my family too.  They did that because; it was the most sensible thing to do. In these examples; man and woman are not bothered with their sexuality. They are only working towards a common objective “F A M I L Y” and betterment of it. The more compulsive we are with the sexuality; we start stepping on our opposite sex and create troubles. My maid servant at London home works at various households from 08:30am until 10:00pm in the night. She is perfect in every aspect of domestic household work. But she does not have interest to clean or cook at her own home. Why? Because; by working at other’s house she earns money and money allows her to be free, have freedom. Freedom & self-esteem are the highest significance one can wish for, much more than wealth in today’s world. What happens with her family life? Who cares? She does not. Why should we bother? Increased population world-wide is creating a serious threat to our sustainability right now. Time has come when couples without any children will be soon rewarded at work or by the government/society. And when that happens; we CAN-NOT identify ourselves with our womanhood or manhood anymore. We simply have to live as a piece of life, that’s all. Marriage will happen, when there is a strict physical, psychological and emotional need; definitely not due to social/economical/family pressure. It is time for us to appreciate the uprising and change our attitude towards this. If not; time will surge ahead…only we shall stay back with the past…alone.
    • COMPETITION: Does money make us happy? Conventional wisdom says that after achieving a basic living standard, which varies by country, religion and by region, more money does not result in proportionately greater happiness. In 2018 Bhutan is introducing an ambitious initiative to offer a more visionary answer to this perennial question. For more than six decades Bhutan has followed a development policy inspired by the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH). GNH promotes society’s happiness through a balanced, sustainable, inclusive and equitable development model. I hope all countries should take inspiration from this initiative; rather than racing to occupy NO 1 spot in world-power ranking, at the cost of the mother-earth (Pollution, Population, Global warming, Sustainability, Water scarcity, increased-agricultural-land conversion, lack of vegetation, declining agriculture, food scarcity and …what not); we should prioritize mindful living and live less for others by participating in the 24x7 competition or showcasing our status in the social media platforms.
    • NORMALITY: The more and more we try to be special, the further and further we go from being special. So much suffering and mental illness have come from this desire to be special. So instead of deriving perverse pleasure from the fact that somebody does not have what we have, if we genuinely make the effort to become one with everything, then this internal struggle will completely go away. If we recognize our uniqueness and also every other being’s uniqueness, we can neither become less nor more than anyone else. More than anything; this attitude is important for our own well-being and health. Every cell in our body, including our brain cells, are taken over by hormones which compel and propel us in certain direction where it finds comfort. It takes enormous intelligence of a person to rise beyond those illusions. Otherwise the illusions will soon become coexisting reality that will be hard to get rid of.
    • MODERATION with SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE: Few days ago I was listing to this inspirational speech of my best friend at the “Tech Bhubaneswar” to a gathering of 600+ young techies. I learnt something about a neurochemical called “Dopamine”. Have you heard about it before? Social media affects the brain in the same way that a warm hug does. You know how you get a rush after completing a good workout or when you’ve wowed by your boss with a winning boardroom presentation? That rush of happiness and contentment is thanks to dopamine, a neurochemical known as the “reward molecule” that’s released after certain human actions or behaviors, such as exercising, or setting and achieving a goal. While physical activity is most commonly linked to dopamine’s release, one form of modern-day, sedentary behavior now gets some credit, too. According to a study of Australian consumers by San Francisco-based media-buying firm RadiumOne, social media usage is a dopamine gold mine. “Every time we post, share, ‘like,’ comment or send an invitation online, we are creating an expectation,” according to the study. “We feel a sense of belonging and advance our concept of self through sharing.” I did bit of a research and guess what I found? Having too much dopamine in the wrong place can make us psychotic. Therefore high amounts of dopamine can cause depression, Inability to handle stress, fatigue, mood swings, Inability to concentrate, ADHD, forgetfulness, failure to finish tasks, euphoria, aggression and intense sexual feelings. Sound familiar? if yes, correction needed to our usage pattern of social media.

    2017 has been the best year for me personally in last 10 years. I travelled so much (3 times to India, Weekly to France, Twice to Switzerland, Twice to Spain); Work-satisfaction; recognization at work; Welfare of good friends (Glad that everything materialized for them after 10 years of hard work); holiday with best friends; Association with positive/like-minded people; and the sister is expecting her second child before end of 2017 and many more! Nope; I wont say that I had all and only positive developments. I had my own share of miseries as well. Absolute normal. But let them be gone-by gone. Who cares about them right now?! ;)

    I must apologise, for not being able to post a blog in long time. I was missing my inspiration. We all do different things… because of different inspirations and my inspiration for writing had taken a massive setback in Feb 2017 time. Good news is we never stay in a status forever. I don’t believe when some say they have attained nirvana. It’s all good now. We are back in track. We shall interact through this medium more regularly going forward. J I feel good, when I do.

    New Year Resolution? To cut down on my work a bit. I am doing way too much. So much so that, I am unable to catch up regularly with friends and family members. I feel bad. It is important. I hope I will be able to do that more in 2018. My little son has a lot of recommendation that I have to take care of as well. I started coffee in December 2017 having stopped it for close to 3 years. I am stopping it again as we bid adieu to 2017. It’s not my cup-of-coffee. My body can’t handle it. I shall be completing 3+ years as being a vegetarian and a teetotaller on 31st December 2017. I am enjoying that part of it and it shall continue into the NY. Enough of it. I am not a machine. I can only do so much. What is yours? Anything exciting ?

    Our bottled up optimism is ready to be savoured ALMOST. 2018 is about to break in. It might not contain stability. But it holds joy. Let’s open it! Let’s find out what the future has in store for us… shall we? Let’s welcome 2018 in Swag style? Wishing you and yours a safe and truely pleasurable New Year's Eve and every succcess in 2018. Love you all. Take very good care of yourself and let’s connect again in the New Year.  Goodnight, Subh-ratri and Sabah-Khair.

  • Mirror reflects an object in front; Mind it!

    Sep 25, 2017 by Bikash Mohanty

    They say; as soon as we move one step up from the bottom, our effectiveness depends on our ability to reach others through the spoken and written word. Steve Jobs was the most captivating communicator on the world stage in the recent times.  Some said he was very precise, often referred to statistics and numbers.  Others said; he was a brilliant storyteller and was less flattering. I personally found his sentences were full of positive wordings such as “Amazing”. “Magnificent” and “Will Change forever…like never before” etc; which made him “magnetic,” “captivating,” and “appealing”.

    But; who prepares those brilliant statistics and numbers Steve Jobs showed in his presentations? That must be his team of accountants. What is the relevance of these numbers and statistics to the prospective customers really? Those are relevant because we humans have finite minds. We can not muddle through with large set of data or information and still be able to make sense of it. We hire accountants to help us aggregate those large data sets and present us with bottom-lines. 

    God does not need accountants in the heaven. That is because; God is infinite, Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence. God is capable of taking account of each and every life on the earth surface individually. Just Imagine. Good. Fair enough. Why is this comparison with God? That is because when we came into this world, we found God has filled it with everything purposefully; that we need to live happily and sufficiently. As if that was not enough; we started to invest and invent more to make our lives more comfortable. As a result - Are we more comfortable? Satisfied? Happy? Are we?

    The solution for one problem with the help of technology; is giving rise to another problem. Instead of taking care personally we are sending SMS or giving a call on important occasions which were attended personally in olden days. With the use of same internet children are getting addicted to online games and their physical activities and exercises are becoming considerably less. The same social networks are creating rivalry between best friends and couples are getting divorced. The same aviation & military technology is giving health problems for their workers and creating serious environmental threats. With the heavy usage of fertilizers soil is losing its natural fertility and several varieties of plants, animals, creatures have become extinct. Technology has shifted our focus, changed our attitude towards others and made us careless towards the nature. Even after so much of advancement; some of the critical illnesses are incurable, yet growing; thanks to the lifestyle & environmental changes.  Rivers are drying; Sea levels are rising; recent devastating and frequent earthquakes, might give the impression that earthquake activities are increasing.  There are frequent hurricanes in some countries and season-shifts in others. For example; in my state in India, there is no more winter. It seems to have gone completely. As a child; I remember, we used to experience all six seasons distinctively and adequately.

    Everyone wants to be happy. Some of us seek happiness through our families, in natural and healthy living, in successful careers, active social lives, fine gourmet foods, gambling, or through sports and exercise. Others experience happiness in politics, the arts, academia, or in hobbies ranging from mechanics and computer science to drama, philanthropy, welfare work, and literally thousands of other activities that comprise man's unending quest for pleasure. Millions of people find their happiness in liquor, mood elevators, tranquilizers, or other drugs.  

    Each day doctors and scientists discover more about how the human mind and body work. Yet with this abundance of scientific knowledge and space-age technology, which vastly outstrips that of all previous generations, is modern man really any happier than his predecessors?   I doubt; and you?

    The basic problem in our search for happiness is that our sources of pleasure are all limited. What many people consider our most basic and fundamental pleasures - eating and sex-can only occupy a few moments of each day. Our bodies constantly thwart our plans for enjoyment. After all, we can only eat so much before becoming ill. Even sex has its limits as well.

    So; what do we do?  We must accept our finiteness, live in the present and live with each other, together.  As a mirror reflects an object, as a still lake reflects the sky: we must ensue what we speak or act, is for good for all. For goodness will always cast back goodness and harm will always cast back harm. With that thought in mind; i wish you all Good Night, Subh Ratri & Sabah Khair.  Have a wonderful week ahead. Love you all.

  • Tukur Tukur from God-Ji!

    Dec 26, 2016 by Bikash Mohanty

    What is the trickiest part in transforming our life to a more comfortable one ? Is it expensive to purchase exhilaration? Is exhilaration a distant reality?  How far do we need to travel to catch hold of exhilaration? What it takes? Too much? Too long? Too far? Someone asked me to help find him a job. When I did and tried to organize an interview; he got bit greedy by then, and asked me: “if you imagine I am working for Google, earning £X and you are Apple; how would you entice me?” I wanted to answer but thought there is no point. I smiled and told him, I believe he is wise. I am only doing what he has requested me i.e. to find him a job. Rest all is his choice.

    Often I am criticised for speaking less. I was speaking a lot before. I guess, maturity has take over. When I was younger; I used to get disheartened with my Dad’s approach. He used to observe  in silence and not warn me of a matter, which could cause me some loss/pain. When I questioned why; he would often answer “You never asked me; so I didn’t tell you!”. Now I am able to understand the wiseness in his approach.  I proudly copy everything, everyone’s approach shamelessly; as long as it is good. Dad’s approach was good. So?

    In Mahabharata; two sides fought an epic war. 100 brothers and their allies fought against 5 brothers and their limited army sources. While Kauravas were guided by Shakuni (their maternal uncle); Pandavas were guided by Lord Srikrishna. Shakuni guided Kauravas to take over other states, employ distortion to build the kingdom and if required kill anyone (FAMILY Members to that matter) for their own benefit. And by doing all these; Shakuni taught Kauravas that; they will have an empire, in which Duryadhan will be the Emperor.

    And Lord Krishna? Lord Krishna guided Pandavas to only perform KARM, righteous KARM, Virtuous Karm and forget about the end result. He taught them that; end result is a by-product of performing righteous actions. Righteous actions can be small, small as anything normal; eating food, drinking water, sleeping 8 hours to sustain a life full of good health. Lord Krishna advised Pandavas to be kind, to give, to forgive, to donate, to respect, to inspire, to be compassionate, to not use distort and just perform duty in every single day-to-day situation, as honestly as possible.

    Business coaching of current times; suggests us; to caste tunnel vision, to dream big, to be flexible, to compromise, to prefer short-termism. These were essentially the teachings of Shakuni. The question in the second paragraph above “ How would you entice me? ” is from the same school of thoughts. No; we don’t need to entice ANYBODY. The choice is not upon us, but on the other party to select between doing “Right” and “Wrong”.

    Some people take inspiration from simple honesty alone. Some people take inspiration from profit/more money/wealth. Fair enough. Wealth can be achieved through innovation and wealth can also be achieved through manipulation.   Aiming wealth is not a bad thing at all; but the means of attaining it; makes all that difference.  Manipulation demands impatience and innovation always has plenty of time for instinctive turnout. No? Yes.

    If I have to put this senescence ( how would you entice me? ”) differently - I’d perhaps ask, “ How do you think the role can inspire me? ” The message from this question is that we are open to listen/apprehend/think and the message from the original question “how would you entice me?” is that we are not very open, we are conditionally available, we can be little manipulative and we are flexible to be enticed by any means.  That does not give me a good feeling about the person. Does it? So why bother enticing him at the first place ?

    What is the point of all these analysis above? New Year is just around the corner and we have an opportunity to set a New Year resolution. Shall we?

    Belated Merry Christmas BTW. How was yours? Mine was wonderful. Spoke to all my life-lines early in the morning; got little sad by speaking to some of other life-lines, with my inability to curate their attitude towards life in general, wish I was. I simply want them to be peaceful. Then came the biggest news – what a day to bring it on, from the one of my best friends; and finally an evening with happy bunch of friends. Perfect. Great food, great company and great feelings within as well.  Jigar ka tukda is far away in India. Every cell of my body craved a little hug from him. But then wiseness from God delivered straight into my ears. “Be happy with what you got. Unrestrained senses and desire for sense objects due to attachment are the root causes of all the sufferings.. Desire for sense objects comes from attachment to sense objects, and anger comes from unfulfilled desires. Delusion arises from anger. The mind is bewildered by delusion.”. I have plenty of little kids around me all evening…I saw Rishi in all of them.... and they reciprocated nicely too. It was a deal between mind and heart.

    Wiseness from Godji se yaad aya; ke tukur tukur karke Godji kafi kuch; hamesha kuch na kuch; mere kaan mein kehte rehtein hein; perhaps in your ears too. Can you hear? Pay attention – and now? Can you hear tukur tukur? Goodnight, Sabah Khair and Subh-Ratri.  Love you all. Merry Christmas.

  • Sing a Song; while driving most Powerful Car!

    Nov 27, 2016 by Bikash Mohanty

    Suddenly realised I have not been able to move the pen with my mind, for last few weeks. Life has been such. All these sudden realizations! Suddenly realized a month and half ago that I have turned 40. That’s exciting. Oh God what an achievement!; Finally… What a feeling! Good friend and a famous Astrologer from the USA wrote to me on my birthday:  Over the past few years, you saw a side of life that was anything but soft and refined. You were under a barrage of difficult planetary aspects that tested your strength and resolve as far back as July 2009. The coming year will not be a rerun of past years. In fact, it will prove in high contrast the wonder of life, proving that no matter how hard things have been, things can change and go from dark black to brilliant, shiny white”.

    Crikey! How scary is that…to acknowledge that piece of absolute truth she wrote. I’ll tell you, Astrology works. Even then, I told her “What are you talking about – hardship? In my life?”. She smiled and said: “Yeah, Right! That’s why you are my friend, a Libran...is famous for all that!”. I don’t want to remember past or any past hardship. Let gone by gone. We are here…Zindegi Aaa raho hoon mein. I got back to my old rituals, travelling to a new place all by myself, on my birthday. I travelled to south of france this year and my god; what an experience it was!

    On the same token; often I am asked, “If I am missing something in life”. I smile; to remember that funny video of the monk below and say with a kiddie accent of my little son “Oh yeah”. Interest builds up from other side…”What is that?…WHAT IS THAT?”. I reply “PROBLEMS”. I am missing problems in my life right now. And I am in no mood to buy these anymore. FULL STOP. Full stop is a complete statement in its own rights.

    The attacking cricket batman from India; Virender Sehwag is one of the most lovable cricketers of our generation. Both his attitude of dominating the bowlers and his antics on the field of play make him the champion cricketer that he is. Sehwag made the headlines few years ago; for singing while taking strike at the crease. Recently, in an interview, Sehwag said that: singing songs actually keeps him calm at the crease. He went on to say that when he's short of runs, he would sing devotional 'bhajans' but when the runs are flowing, he would sing Bollywood songs like 'Chitiya Kalaiyaan'. Cool; hey ?

    If we pay attention; we are a lone army, most of the time…IN THE CURRENT TIMES at least, when the world has turned capitalistic and greedy say perhaps in last 20 years. Everyone want something from us and if we are unable to give in; they try to attack us, either virtually, or emotionally or physically. These were a rarity in the past but quite a sure shot reality these days…. Agree, Give in to the demand and keep giving in – everyone is happy. If you fail; life will be made miserable. Should we worry? NOPE, NOT AT ALL.  How then we survive?

    That’s what the brilliant Shewag has worked out and that what my favourite monk says below. If I combine their individual statements; it becomes: SING A SONG WHILE DRIVING THE MOST POWERFUL CAR IN THE WORLD . If we did that; we are safe and rocking. J Do we want to rock?

    Football/Cricket/Rugby are not the most popular game these days. FEAR game is. Just imposing fear makes a lot of business; whether locally, internationally, politically or professionally or personally; either through terrorist organizations or through secular organization or through religions or through whatever it is; who cares? We experience these depending in our level of involvement in the stages I mentioned above.

    I often come across in professional environment; people raise voice; shout; to make their point heard. I smile. Always smile. That gives them a shock. What? Still smiling. Yes, that’s right. I am still smiling. A statement with a bigger volume is never received better nor considered accepted. So why? If we pay attention; we shall discover this game of fear is being played…mentally. People who raise voice or short are more scared, insecure and indecisive; as a matter of fact. But as long as; we are capable of riding the most powerful car I mentioned above; we will never be affected. NEVER. Trust me.

    Time is changing. Previously only few people drove powerful cars. Now; we are moving into an era, it will be in capacity of every one to drive the most powerful car. I see it coming. Very soon. Guess what; it is very affordable, and almost zero running cost. All we need is appetite and time to feed ourselves with KNOWLEDGE. That’s it. Knowledge is not equal to education. Knowledge is way high up in terms of its tangibility, with respect to education. Education however can be one of the mediums to achieve knowledge.

    A friend tells me; I change too much too often; I should not do that. I shall loose my originality. That’s his opinion. I am very thankful, he cares for me. Love you. But what I believe is; I need to change. I will not be happy if I did not change. Change is like food for me. Often I mentioned; mere zindegi ki tamboo; teen bamboo pe khada hey…Evolution (Change); Experience (Life experience) and Celebration. E2C. There are three pillars that supports my lifeline; Evolution (Change), Experience (life experience) and Celebration.  And they will continue to be my pillars, my lifeline, and my values for the rest of the life. Why I am saying this? Because; I do pick up good things from others and implement them in my life. And singing while dealing with fear is what I adopted in my life; thanks to Virendra Shewag.

    I am satisfied with very simple food. Rice/Roti; Daal and Spinach/Okra is my most favourite food. I can eat them for lunch & dinner for rest of my life. Son asks me; “Papa; are you not bored?”. No; I am not; I reply. I can afford to have very celebratory meal every day. But it depends what satisfies me more. And Green vegetables, daal and two chapattis give me that satisfaction, which none of the extensive food trials in my life ever offered. So; point is very clear. I know what I need. NEED is different from WANT. WANT is indecisive; NEED is clear. I want to be in this stage of knowing my needs, which triggers my satisfaction, without being biased externally.

    We talked about quite a lot of things today; the most powerful car in the world, difference between need and want, about singing a song while facing fear, about what is missing in life, difference between knowledge and education; and about the fear game and what not!

    Although I’d love to continue; I shall write only this much for today; before it becomes too much. I am conscious of the fact that it is Sunday and we all have a lot to do…fun stuff, right?

    Virendra Shewag se yaad aya; I am singing right now, MANTALLY. Am I facing fear right now? Not really…ummm a little bit may be. Yesterday I ran 10K, today I am attempting the same again. Worried if it is achievable…. it is a doubtful mind merely, more appropriately, than really fearful.  So this is what I am singing since I woke up this morning. My boyhood favourites and with this; I wish you all a wonderful weekend and week ahead. Love you all, bye for now.

  • Happy Diwali (Deepavali)

    Oct 30, 2016 by Bikash Mohanty

    There is something about Diwali; which is different from other Hindu festivals. Diwali is special. Diwali is about Celebration, Diwali is about celebrating together, Diwali is about preparing together, Diwali is about sharing with our friends, families &  society. Diwali is about carrying happiness in mind, Diwali is about food, Diwali is about colours, Diwali is about lights, Diwali is about acknowledgement of Victory; of Good over Bad.

    Diwali is the day to recognize; by observing these elements (togetherness, celebration, Sharing); we can transform our life, everyday; all day. Happy Diwali (Deepavali).