break boundaries, you are born to

Breaking boundaries; come to hear of it in all parks of life. For argument sake lets agree on one common definition – in any discipline an individual goes beyond their current capacity, he/she has broken a personal boundary. e.g. an athlete may break a personal record or a benchmark record but both are breaking boundaries in my book.

Let’s look at some great examples of our history that fueled the evolution of human race (truly). Invention of fire and wheel were two big inventions of past. Transportation and Press were two greatest vehicles for information and people exchange that transformed societies. Internet and Telecommunication just shrunk the world in terms of Space and Time (very very crucial to where we find ourselves in todays world). In between there have been events of huge importance like race to moon – in 60s human race broke a huge boundary of reaching an intergalactic body (Moon) and since than we have been exploring other planets, satellites and galaxies (far far away in our universe).

Like you, i also believe that we will outdo ourselves in coming times in every possible way. My conviction in human races ability comes from my belief in how we are wired (genetically). Nature has built us like an open hardware and software – so that we can plug extensions, enhance our firmware and possibly create a new human species (be in-charge of our evolution). If you dont believe me ask yourselves following questions:

– why are kids of next generation smarter?

– when you look into the starry sky, why do you feel inquisite?

– why does status-quo feel boring?

You could argue that since nature created us with a bunch of limitations – our sense of color, our ability to distinguish frequencies (audible) and our ability to sense a certain spectrum limited by the five senses and than further limited by the limitation of these senses. One of the important part of our body that has not been proven to have any limitations is what we have between the ears – Brain. Its a fantastic computer, it is designed such a way that it can accept data from any source and make sense out of it. (various experiments around the world vis a vis extending, substituting senses have proven).

here is a great Ted talk on Next Species:
and here is one from MIT on practical technology evolution:

I think we were born to believe that we can outdo ourselves, nature designed us in a way that we continue to look for “Upgrades” … and i think its time that we believe it and live it in day to day life.

stories and artificial intelligence

As a young soul I was always fascinated by stories, stories of Rama and Arjuna, stories of freedom fighters and stories of superheroes (guess we all have been fans of larger than life heroes). It was always fascinating to hear about the superpowers that these heroes possessed, how they were able to overcome the odds and how they had a personal story – a wonderful journeys of their own ups and downs. As a kid it was almost as if I wanted to live their lives, always felt connected to their emotions.

As I grew up, to my surprise, I had my own stories to narrate – about my own journey – about my life at school, college with friends and now at various workplaces. It is fascinating that as human beings we have the power to build and narrate incidents, draw conclusions, share experiences and in the process emotionally involve the listener in our own world.

Stories are a wonderful tool, but when the same tool is to be used in a professional setup – advertisements, campaign ideas or business presentations – it becomes a difficult skill to master. It sounds ironical but true. The fundamental reason (to me) lies in the fact that stories are supposed to have souls and as professionals our decisions are driven by logic and rationale. It becomes difficult to turn a logical, rationale conversation into a story system – I have been challenged (and continue to be).

To overcome the challenge is possible. You could learn from inspirational leaders like Steve Jobs who had mastered the art of Story telling in a professional context, all the greats from advertising have been telling beautiful stories about the brands they work with.  Here is a great example:

This campaign completely nails the point – I personally love it for the fact that this is very bollywoodish in its over the top communication.

The reason we struggle with storytelling is the same as that of mastering intelligence. In other words, we have built machines with artificial intelligence. We have been able to teach computers how to make reason based decisions, in fact, we have been doing that for decades. However, we are not able to teach a computer non-rationale thinking? the reaction/emotion that humans have to situations without real rules, reasons or thinking.

I believe the day we would be able to create a machine that can narrate stories, conceive new worlds, imagine conditions that influence Human experiences – we would truly master intelligence.

Computing has seen advancement, we are marching towards a more complex neural network of data based machine learning and intelligence – sample IBM Watson, Wolfram knowledge engine and so on, these systems are bringing immense power of decision making to machines. IBM Watson can respond to a question in the same way a human would i.e. it knows what it knows and it knows what it doesn’t know. However, none of these systems are close to or close enough to a point when these machine could create Stories!

While we are some time away from creating artificially intelligent story telling system – there are ways in which machines are (already) becoming important part of our stories.

Here is a great example:

I am sure as we learn to master the art of story telling ourselves, we will be able to create machines that are truly human. I am an optimist, am exploring that everyday in the work that I do, experiences that I create and experiments that I build.