We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Intuition vs Intelligence

"Indians are very good at intuition, they do many things by intuition and not by intelligence. I learned to derive simplicity of user interfaces in my products from my Indian experience". A very strong Steve Jobs statement made me think hard on the difference between intuition and intelligence.

And as I thought more on that, it occurred to me, he is so correct. Intuition could be also termed as in a lay man's terms, "the common sense". Take an example of "the complex way in which Indian drive on the roads". No doubt there are tons of road accidents, however over a period of time, people learn to drive a pattern and learn to cope up. Indian democracy since its inception is always cited as one of the miracles on the earth. It has still survived inspite of severe predictions in terms of its fallout and this country getting into all kind of chaos. I can go and and on, citing examples.

What is Intelligence then? Intelligence in my thinking is a formalized intuition. For example. if you try to observe the way traffic flows at a busy interjunction in India where a casual look would showcase absolute chaos. A prolonged look will help you derive a pattern. If you look at the eyes of the motorists and how they signal each other, if you look at the necks of the motorists, the way they nod signalling each other. These all are patterns that you can observe. So if you try to derive a formula out of this chaos, I am sure after a while you will be able to find a pattern in this chaos too. Defining this pattern is nothing but intelligence.

Why is it that in-spite of third class education, third class services, third class politicians and third class governance India still survives? Indian youth still hopes high? Its because of this same intuition. The problems arrive when this intuition does not get converted into intelligence.

A good question to ask is, what converts the intuition into intelligence? In my understanding many times formalism and frameworks are responsible for that job. For example a good education system converts your intuition into a world class intelligence. However, since India lacks all these formalism on almost all fronts, India is a country in shambles the way we see it today. What does western world offers? It offers Intelligence. What does western society teach, they convey an idea of formalism which results into intelligence. That is why our most intelligent people are seen flocking western world, in search of fellow intelligent members who would help them prosper. That is why India can not produce a Nobel prize, where as only handful prize winners in existing Indian society are American residents. (Amartya Sen for example), because India simply does not offer the intellectual growth that is needed, it offers intuitional growth, which most of us witness and observe in our daily lives. Indians lives on their intuitions.

Great that Steve Jobs witnessed it so prominently in his 7 month stay in India. And great that this actually resulted into a better world with so many products he integrated and built.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Technology and Animals

What if your pets / other animals started indicating what they want to you, in an explicit manner? Would that help? This thought occurred to me while having a look at a painfully overloaded bull pulling a bullock cart during one of the religious processions in India.

Why do people make animals work like slaves beyond any means? A good question to ask is, will people stop cruelty towards animals such as exposing animals to huge workloads, excessive noise pollution that happens during festivals in India related such things.

Another interesting thought is, will the pet animals become more friendly if one can understand their body language in more explicit way. For example, your dog wags his tail as a sign of some affection. Would it be better to understand what is on his mind? Now, to understand this question another question to understand is, does a dog really has a mind? Now if we are some how able to transform an animals emotions into an understandable form? Will that help us communicate better or build more complexities in our relations? For example. many people in America keep pets as a sole reason because pets provide you unconditional love without expectations to return it back to you. Human relations are complex. If you have a girlfriend, she would want your attention in terms of spending your time with her, be emotionally available to her, pamper her etc etc. A dog does not expect all these things in an explicit manner, now its a different matter altogether if he might be really expecting these things, but not able to communicate it effectively, so the expectation stays dormant. However, some analysis says, since he is always there for you when you are back home, he loves you unconditionally without expectations. If you have a wife / girlfriend with whom you would do such behaviour chances are that she would divorce / break up with you soon, because she is a human and have definite expectations from you.

So if we are able to build such a devise by which these animals are able to express their emotions, would it complicate humans relationship with them? Like your dog would then be able to say, "Why didn't you not return home today, when I wanted you to return to take for a walk :)". This is an interesting question.

Now turning back to the bull story, even if we had such an expressive device I do not feel it would help to stop cruelty towards these animals, who suffer in muteness, because these acts are committed by selfish people who are just interested in making most out of their resources. An animal is just one of the resource for them. When humans are treated so pathetically at many working places (for example barbaric acts committed during slavery period in Africa), did their committers stop because these people protested? No, in fact they committed even more atrocacies like rape, murders to teach these people better psychological lessons to live under a constant threat. So my stake is even if we were able to form such expressive device, it will not be of any help, because these acts are committed for a purpose of greed, which is very difficult to control.

So I feel these atrocacies on animals will continue and poor animals would continue to suffer in silence.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lemelson-MIT Prize

Improving the World Through Invention

The $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize recognizes individuals who translate their ideas into inventions and innovations that improve the world in which we live.

Dubbed the "Oscar for Inventors," the Lemelson-MIT Prize is awarded to outstanding mid-career inventors, who have developed a patented product or process of significant value to society, which has been adopted for practical use, or has a high probability of being adopted. By recognizing and funding younger, mid-career inventors, the prize is designed to spur inventive careers and provide role models for future generations of inventors.

Lemelson-MIT Prize Objectives

The Lemelson-MIT Prize seeks to highlight the pivotal role inventive activity plays in the achievement of positive social, cultural and economic goals. The objectives of the Lemelson-MIT Prize are to:

recognize and reward America’s outstanding mid-career inventors
encourage broad dissemination of invention(s) to achieve maximum impact
celebrate individuals who enhance economic opportunity and community well-being through their inventive work
foster continued inventive work that creates opportunities and overcomes challenges
increase awareness of the work of inventors and the potential for commercialization and wider adoption of their inventions
promote role models who can inspire young people to pursue creative lives and careers

More here...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Steve Jobs - The genius

Steve Jobs passed away. I read this news with a great shock. The man who ushered an era of animation and the touch has gone forever.

A brief look at his life explains the motivation he drew. He was raised in the campus in Stanford. Many a successful American Technology Entrepreneurs were raised in the vicinity of Stanford. Would Steve Jobs be the same man, had he had missed this opportunity? Being raised in a charged environment at the peak of silicon valley's knowledge mecca, produces its own effects. It imbibes the entrepreneurial spirit, for which silicon valley is known for. It exposes one to the geniuses and their visionary thoughts.

Why can't India produce a Steve Jobs with such a brilliant population? Who is to blame? When technology is considered a distinct child whose existence is being felt just in last couple of years. How can we produce Technological marvels, and the visionaries of technology? Why America stands at the forefront of technology?

I believe there are many Steve Jobs amongst us, however they are lost permanently by the nonsense that goes around in India because of vested Interests of a few people such as politicians and corrupt section of society, which wants to keep India chained to the shackles of caste, religion, and poverty.

Interestingly Steve Jobs was not much famous for his philanthropic efforts, though he emerged from a very poor family background. Bill Gates who was born family rich, is on opposite end. He is turning out to be the biggest philanthropist.

Rest in Peace Steve. You changed the lives of people on this planet in a lot of different ways. Your legacy will never die.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Religion, Science and poverty in India

While reading the book "The God delusion", by Richard Dawkins an interesting thought came to my mind. Why is religion so much prevalent in India? What is the relation between poverty and religion? And what is the relation between Science and religion?

Well, a little bit of thinking made things clear. Religion could be described as the moral code using which a person is supposed to live his life. Now, GOD is considered a superpower who writes these moral codes which ordinary humans are required to follow. Now, this brings us to the position of GOD and science.

Early European scientists were made to retract their statements such as Earth revolves around Sun. Universe was created out of big bang, because it contradicted with the views and dictates of the church. Science was born to analyze why the nature behaves the way it behaves and various mysteries surrounding it, while Church in Europe was adamant in Gods hand in creation of this universe. Thus religion supported and spread a belief system, that Gods creations are not to be questioned. He is the ultimate superpower and should be worshiped.

India's poor have a lot to do with these above said facts. India had always been a fanatically religious country. It is still believed as a land of spirituality. Why are there so many poor people in India? Is religion to blame to some extent? Poor people because of lack of education, such as basic science etc. keep on believing in doctrines of the priests, and many religious leaders, now since they lack a scientific knowledge to question things around, their hold on beliefs such as superpowers and supernatural activities stays strong. Result is they can not come beyond this myopic world and their growth stays limited.

I often wonder. Instead of having so many temples, only if India had had so many basic scientific knowledge centers, this country would have gone so much ahead. There seems to end to the unending nonsense in the name of religion and resultant poverty that arises out of it.