Unchartered Territories ahead: Role of Culture and Human value systems

September 22, 2017

Famous futurist Gerd Leonhard in his book, Technology Vs Humanity says:

“As AIs (Artificial Intelligence) gradually then suddenly become scientists, programmers, doctors, and journalists, meaningful work opportunities could become so scarce that very few of us would snag a job-as-we-know-it today. At the same time, most items on the lower steps of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs–such as food, water, and shelter–will become increasingly cheaper. Machines will be doing most of the hard work, making the provision of services such as transportation, banking, food, and media vastly cheaper. We may be heading towards the uncharted territory of economic abundance on the one hand, but the end of working for a living on the other. We will eventually need to separate money from occupation, and that shift will challenge some very central assumptions about how we define our own values and identities”.

He is not the only one to state that we would have jobless growth or we would have abundance of food but no jobs. Vivek Wadhwa, in his presentations and book ‘The Driver in the Driverless Car’ continues to state similar thing – we will have abundance of water and clean energy at very affordable prices even in the poorest parts of the world. But these developments would not create new jobs. We are heading towards jobless growth.

Almost every futurist has given predictions on these lines. And we don’t have to wait to long for these predictions to come true. We are already experiencing many of these things around us. Clean energy is getting available at lower prices, food productions all the over the world is touching record high, farming is happening in the dessert areas. Though few things are confined to developed parts of the world but with the exponential growth in technology and supply chain, we will see the gains of these abundance reaching every corner of the human population in less than 10 years.

The technology developments are reducing dependence on human power. The repetitive jobs are being consumed by machines and AI powered bots. When we call up most the service providers (AT&T, Comcast etc) most of the time we end up talking to AI powered software. Businesses are going to deploy more and more such software, algorithms and robots to carry out these jobs at 10X efficiency at 10 times lower cost of humans.

This also means that businesses would see huge growth in their profits. Rich will become richer and poor will become poor. The inequality will grow even further. Today 62 people in the world have wealth equal to bottom 3.5 billion people.! Just pause and digest this great discrepancy that exist today. Imagine what would happen in coming days !!

And then add a scenario that millions of people will not have jobs.

What will be social challenges? How will social structure look like, how will governance work? We don’t have answers to these questions. But one thing is pretty sure, that social fabric would be guided by the individual character, motivation and values. If we don’t have people with strong human values, with no foundation of cultural systems and strong sense of community, there would be anarchy. People would not know how to put their time to use. There would be full stomachs but empty minds. There would be material abundance but no meaning to life. People would have transcended today’s so-called definition of happiness as they would have achieved most of it – food, shelter, comfort – all material values. Now they would need more than that – which is ‘meaning’ or purpose of life. These full stomach-empty minds-souls would need to be channelized for the right purpose.

In such a situation, there would be a need to help people find meaning. Many researches have shown that people find the meaning to life from social acceptance, contribution to something more than ‘self’ and having a sense of belonging. People flock to social and cultural organisations to connect with one or some of these elements. People look for leaders and societies that can help them connect with ‘higher self. Thus, the work of social and spiritual organization becomes even more important. It would become even more important to institutionalize the system of inculcating these values.

-Sachin Dabir

 

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‘India’s daughter’ – Why I question Leslee Udwin’s intentions and why I feel Govt did a right thing.

March 7, 2015

I have watched the documentary ( on BBC 4) and I have also watched the interview of Leslee Udwin on NDTV. After watching both, I believe that what Govt of India did was a right thing. The worse thing in this saga is the controversy created by media. Look at the headlines in the two leading news agencies in India – Times of India and NDTV. Same news, same day, how these channels are spinning the headlines. After watching and reading these news I felt really disgusted about the way these channels were sensationalising whole issue.

NDTV Times

Whether you watch the documentary or not, either ways, you would come to the same conclusion that it was not done in right spirit and intentions were not  to ‘study of rape incidence’ but to create publicity gathering documentary with the aim of making money.

Lets take first scenarios where you have not watched the documentary, but have seen Leslee’s interview. You would realise that she has ‘managed’ to get the clearance through questionable means.

Example 1) The jail authorities had cleared the documentary for non commercial purpose. She managed to convince them that every documentary has a small commercial value (this is her own admission) hence they should add the word for the purpose of clarity. It is very clear from the way publicity is generated that she ‘managed’ to get this word in the revised letter hiding the real intention of generating huge profits (through big publicity). To get these ‘permissions’ she was working through local ‘agents’ to ‘deal’ with jail authorities,

Example 2) She was supposed to show entire footage to the jail authorities. She very cleverly showed the non essential part – the shooting of the surroundings etc of few hours (!) to the committee on first day, they got (predictably) bored and decided to see the real part – the interviews with the rapists – next day. That never happened. She avoided showing the interview by hiding behind the technicalities, because her real intentions were not clean.

Jail authorities have sent the letter that she had violated the permission given and she should not release the documentary. Her stand and approach (from the interview) has been very confrontationist. She is seen daring the Indian government to stop its screening by telling that there would be protests in the world. Her attitude smacks of arrogance coming out of ‘I am superior’ kind of traits.

She proclaims that the documentary was supposed to be her gift to India. My question is why she never thought of making a documentary on the similar subject closer her home town – Birmingham, UK. There are more heinous crimes against young girls being committed for last 15 years and the society is silent. Should she not be gifting a documentary to her hometown? Read the rot in the British society and the extent of problems they have “Call for national debate on Muslim sex grooming” 

Now lets consider you have seen the documentary and her interview too.

If this documentary was supposed to be study of society and problems of rape in Indian society, I did not come out with any new information or new angle than what has been extensively reported in the media, except for the interview of the rapist. Was there a need to re-state those incidences?

Was this documentary made to create sensation by giving platform to the rapist? The documentary ends up giving an impression that every rapist would start making the bucks ( media has reported that the rapist’s family was paid Rs.40,000/ – after intense negotiations) through such documentaries.

Why was the rapist shown in normal cloths than the jail cloths. As per the jail rule no inmate is allowed to use cloths other than those provided by the jail. Again, here, has she seemed to have ‘managed’ to work around the system through her local ‘agents’

Whether we agree or not, as per the Indian judicial norms the victim’s name is not supposed to be reported in rape cases. Why has she taken liberty with Indian law by stating the name so many times?

No wonder, if the jail authorities had seen the footage, they would have objected to it and it seems she wanted to hide these things from them.

Under these circumstances government has to take a stand to make sure that Indian laws and processes be followed and no one should be allowed to play with it. If there were shortcomings or system was compromised in the earlier time, it needs to be corrected.

Having said that, it is true that we have to get our act together, faster. We should have expedited the clearing of such case faster, we should have done much more with the ‘Nirbhaya fund’. I do not recommend only the laws to create safety of women – because in this statement it is assumed that women are weak and they need protection – I am of firm opinion that women have immense power – we as a society need to learn to respect them and accept their equal contribution in building society.


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