Sunday, April 10, 2016

Etcetra - 1

A while back i stumbled upon this word "aficionado" while watching the movie "Django Unchained". Christoph Waltz who play Dr Schultz uses this word after freeing Django in the opening scene. He looks at the rest of the slaves and says any astronomy aficionados , north is that way. That is the beauty of Quinton Tarantino. He is the epitome of mashability. Bringing two different worlds in the same place. I am a big fan of Tarantino. I am yet to watch his Hateful 8. Must watch it for at-least Samuel Jackson's dialogue delivery and the spaghetti western theme of the film. It was shot in 70 mm film. Ennio Morricone won the Oscar of best Music. I love watching the oscar ceremonies. The emotion, the wit , the inspiring speech after the acceptance .... it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Every aspect of film making is appreciated and recognized. One thing that i have observed is ... it is art that is taking technology forward. Everytime they want to experiment new abstract ideas they push the boundaries of technology to achieve them. Art might be abstract but that is what shows the way. So dream big ... 

Friday, June 19, 2015

MOOC : The new face of pedagogy

Pedagogy i.e the art of teaching has evolved ever since the Gurukul days.  Some prominent and observable changes are

  1. Medium of Delivery 
  2. Teacher Student Ratio 
  3. Technology 
  4. Student Attention Span 
  5. Evaluation
With the advent of technology, teaching has reached a whole new platform. World is flat and millions of students can learn from all corners of the world seamlessly at the same time. Though the factor of personal touch is missing , this is the new norm.

I have a personal experience of living through this evolution. As a kid i have had a Gurukul kinda experience. At school and college my curriculum evolved from a chalk and talk to a Powerpoint , smart board and tele presence mode. Over the past few years i have been embracing this new mode called MOOC ( Massive Open Online Courses). This is truly groundbreaking. I can sign up for any course of my choice conducted by eminent professors from various esteemed institutions at my will and collaborate with students from across the globe , imbibe new ideas and complete a course at no cost.

Yesterday's fiction has become today's reality. This reminds me of a scene in the movie Matrix. Trinity is in a dire need to fly a helicopter but has no prior experience or training. She calls Tank to load the helicopter flying program. Within minutes she is able to fly the helicopter. When this is scaled up to today's real world, it just takes a few months to become and expert in some unknown field with the help of MOOC.

The best part of it is accessibility to lectures from pioneers in the field. This is a disruptive idea considering the  situation of current educational system but change is good. I feel MOOC cannot totally disrupt traditional pedagogy but can definitely create a huge impact. One of the handicaps is it can reach only those with access to good internet connectivity but measures are being taken to make the globe interconnected.
Happy MOOCKING !!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Lego Kolu

Kolu is a traditional South Indian festival where toys are displayed on steps during the navarathri season. Toys are mostly deities ( Gods and Goddesses) arranged in steps. It is a part of some age old tradition to display all this at home, invite guests, make some of them sing and distribute goodies. On the flip side there are lot of things that happen behind the scene. All the toys are stacked and stored in lofts, wrapped in clothes, well protected for use in the next season. They do occupy considerable amount of space, they are heavy and not reusable.

I was watching this documentary "Inside Lego". I was amazed by how innovative ideas can be constructed using these lego blocks. So this idea struck me ..." What if we have a "LEGO KOLU" ?
I am not sure if we can construct all the deities we need using lego but if there is a considerable demand i am sure lego can do some amount of customization. Lego blocks do not occupy much space, they can be dismantled very easily. The kind of toys that can be made using lego is endless.
It might take considerable effort in making Indian deities during Kolu but that will definitely be more interesting.

Kids can take this as a project during their holidays. Adults can build and display the toys of their choice instead of buying and displaying what is available. Maintaining will also be easy. Kolu will not be the same anymore. The creative quotient will improve among families. Of course those toymakers who sweat during that season to make the traditional toys will become jobless. I am sure they will be able to find a different profession by then or use lego and get more innovative ...
What say ? Just a thought... 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What if the CEO of a Company is an Artificial Intelligence Software ?

With the advent of Machine Learning and smart devices we are not far from the day machines will be used for decision making. Will that be any effective ? So i was think about this scenario when a machine ( AI Application) takes over as the CEO of a company. What would happen ?

Assuming the application is Male ( This is just for the voice) or I think people can choose from a list of options. He would be pervasive ... Everybody in the company just needs to download the app to gain access to the CEO. Decision making is data driven so to get directions they need to just enter the data to get their new goals ... An executive assistant will still be required to feed the data ... CEOs will not be needing an office with expensive items ... No golf sessions ... Board meetings will be different ... No travel expenses ... Only application hardware cost and server maintenance .. Assuming there is a one time cost involved in writing the algorithm and constructing the application ...

The world would be a different place altogether ...  not sure how the firing policy will work ... every tenure of a CEO can be a new version/flavor/avatar of the application ...

Looking at the economic perspective ... we are replacing men by machines ... so there will be job loss... CEO salary will not be as high as it used to be ... no annual bonus ...

So will we be better off ? 

Friday, September 05, 2014

India's Ben Stiller

The first thing that stuck me after seeing this face was ... Is Ben stiller acting in a hindi serial ? Seriously this guy looks like his indian twin. His name is Arav Chowdhary , an actor in many popular hindi serials. Unlike Ben, Arav is a very serious character artist. 

Ben Stiller on the contrast is a comedian. 

How on earth could they look similar, do a similar profession (Acting) yet live in different countries? 

This is good fodder for many story writers ...  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Stochastically Deterministic

The other day i was reading about these unmanned / automatic / driverless cars. They are supposed to run without any human intervention.  Thats an awesome idea. We will not see any drunk and drive accidents, machines can multiplex i.e text and drive ... World will not be the same. But every great invention comes with a price. Apparently the insurance industry has raised eyebrows on how to account for insurance in that scenario. The whole insurance and risk management industry strives on the random behavior of humans and their outcomes. So if machines take over , then the question of randomness is ruled out. Sometimes these randomness or the stochastic nature of events make things more interesting. With more and more predictability when we think we have brought order to the world we have actually not .... What say ?? 

Friday, August 15, 2014


Probably the awesomest tamil film i have seen in years.  I felt every thing was original in the movie. The director is a very young guy and this happens to be his second movie but what a piece of work.
The famous director Mani Ratnam once said " An Artist is someone who expresses his thoughts and feelings in his own way" This director's screenplay and story telling is case in point for the quote.

THe movie cannot be characterised into a specific genre but every frame entertained me . My favorite scene was the one where the villan gets ready for a sambavam to uncover the rat in his team. He stands in front of all the deities  and prays for a while.
I am not sure what the director was trying to convey but i was spellbound after seeing the scene. Every character has done full justice to the assigned role. Set in Madurai , the film captures many elements of life in and around the place. I could see shades of Quintin Tarantino like storytelling and BGM  in this movie. The BGM was very unique with a mix of classical and contemporary tunes.

It is nice to see young directors taking bold risks in new ventures like this. I feel this a one pathbreaking film in the history of Tamil Cinema. Hats off to the crew.