Can the Change be Stopped?
Meeting people gives meaning to life. I consider myself profusely blessed to have met some of the finest people and learned from them. Chandu Thota, Vice President and Head of Engineering at Google Headquarters in Silicon Valley, is one such person whom I met rather late, but except for a wish that we could have met earlier and worked together, I have no other remorse, only a deep sense of contentment.
Chandu was introduced to me by Dr. Sunkavalli Chinnababu, a robotic cancer surgeon, who has been his childhood friend. We started with an introductory video call in early 2023 and instantly clicked with each other. Soon, we shared an idea of putting together how the world has been transformed by Internet technologies, especially the mobility of people, materials and financial transactions. After all, some people must have had these ideas in their minds and struggled to put them into action.
Amazon, for example, which changed the way trading is done in the world, was an idea of Jeff Bezos. Frustration at not being able to find a taxi made Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick think of creating Uber. How did the idea of GPS take seed in the mind of Jack Dangermond? Mukesh Ambani decided to offer free data to the entire India, and ended the era of STD calls forever. When Vijay Shekhar Sharma started Paytm, he was laughed at; vested political interests resistedthe idea of Aadhaar, and so on.
Victor Hugo, the French novelist, captured brilliantly the lives of some ordinary people in the French Revolution. He famously wrote in Les Misérables, “No army can stop an idea whose time has come.” There seems to be a system in place where certain ideas find people, who implement them and change the world from what it is to what it should become. So, what next? ChatGPT, which started as an amusement – people asking it to solve exam papers, for example – is now going to affect the way work is done, and in that process,affect the livelihood of millions of people who offer consultancy services, make presentations, write briefs, and run coaching classes.
So, I started exchanging these thoughts with Chandu, every Sunday evening for him in San Francisco, which was Monday morning for me in Hyderabad. Every meeting scheduled for an hour lasted much longer and soon, Chandu took me into the Silicon Valley world, no lesser a Wonderland than that of Alice created by Lewis Carroll. Chandu introduced me to some people who are not celebrities of the likes of Satya Nadella or Sundar Pichai but who created the basic platforms for Internet Search, Uber, Maps, Netflix, YouTube, and so on. My happiness knew no bounds when I learned that all these people were of Indian origin, had made their way to the United States as strugglers, and turned stars there.
These people have changed the way the world works, through their own work. Each of their stories is worth sharing, offering lessons to youngsters. But then, it is not easy to separate milk from water. Mundane life – personalities, professional affiliations, preferences, pride and prejudices – is no less difficult to separate from the real substance. Someone must set curd, churn it and separate out the butter. Only then will it float on water. I don’t recall whether Chandu or I suggested this first, but we decided to do this work of setting the curd and churning it to offer butter to youngsters.
Finally, when Chandu came to India for his official work in Bengaluru, he came to Hyderabad and we met in person. Maintaining a high standard of fitness, he carried no extra fat on his body; his eyes were clear and beamed his radiant soul, and his handshake was warm and strong, showing his compassion and willpower. We participated in the opening ceremony of the Cancer Awareness Run organized by Dr.Chinnababu in its VI Edition and then sat down to look into the future.
There is absolutely no doubt that the era of ignorance is ending. Whether it takes three years or eight years or a decade, it will be impossible to conduct frauds, speak lies, and profiteer from falsehood. Even now, blockchain technology can make all business contracts and sale deeds irrevocably tamper–proof, elections can be made free from malpractices, and the market cleaned up from wild speculations, but those who are currently in power are unwilling to let this happeneasily. However, this scenario will not last much longer and soon, the sunshine of transparency will rule the world.
What could be the three hallmarks of the new world? Our take is: Abundance, which we see as food and a basic pay for everyone on the planet; a world free from nutritional hunger which produces as much as half of the disease burden, by using biotechnology to fortify food grains with nutrients; and a purposeful education provided by professionals, with a guaranteed livelihood and a goodbye to the factories of unemployment that our universities have mostly turned into. And this is not our personal opinion – we both have been timid to make any opinion in our lives – but reading the signs of the way things are changing.
We discard and debunk all fears about Artificial Intelligence(AI) and propose it to give a better name – Integrated Intelligence. There is nothing artificial about AI; it is a collection of the truth as it is happening and then deciphering it. An AI-driven stock market is the most honest, an AI-driven education is perfect, and an AI-driven election is a true representation of people’s voices. The world is poor because of ignorance, meaning a lack of intelligence. The world as it is has allowed useless medicines to be developed and sold, andmeaningless diagnostics to be done while allowing environments to turn unhealthy; land continues to be hoarded by the rich and powerful; there are organized tax invasions by corporations that have become bigger than governments; and banks are being manipulated as a captive source of capital by businesses.
The question is not who will allow the world to be changed. The question is, who can stop it from changing?
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