Can the Change be Stopped?

by | Nov 1, 2023

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 tamperproof, 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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12 Comments

  1. My sense is that the world will have to change drastically. I like the comment that AI could be a great leveler of knowledge disparity. However, it would not be able to swing people in one direction because it aggregates from the diversity of opinions and knowledge available all across the internet.

    Having said that, the bigger future issue is how the current state of things is destroying the planet at an unprecedented speed. One thousand species go extinct every day, compared to the natural rate of only one species going extinct at the same time. This is Pralay already set in motion.

    People experiencing poverty would suffer most from climate disasters because they cannot afford to move from where they are. I would be happy to get educated about the technologies that would help save this planet. I would be happy to get educated about what technologies are coming up and what efforts are being made to mitigate this crisis. Any pointers would be great.

  2. An interesting post!
    A reflection on the past would help us mentally reconnect with many wonderful individuals, at different stages in our lives, who would have left a deep imprint on our minds.
    Thank you for sharing Arun ji.

  3. Fascinating blog Prof Tiwariji !

    Going through your interactions with learned persons has been an enriching experience !!

  4. Sir,

    समानि व आकूति: समाना हृदयानि व: |
    समानमस्तु वो मनो यथा व: सुसहसति ॥

    यह ऋग्वेद का अंतिम श्लोक है। इसमें कहा गया है – आपके निष्कर्ष एक जैसे हों, आपके दिल एक जैसे हों ताकि हर कोई समाज में एक ही विशेष बुराई/बीमारी को समान तीव्रता से महसूस करे। दुर्भाग्य से सभी लोग एक ही समस्या को उस तीव्रता में महसूस नहीं करते जैसा कि हम एक व्यक्ति के रूप में महसूस कर सकते हैं। इसके कारण उस समस्या को हल करने के लिए सामूहिक प्रयासों की कमी रहती है।

    मेरी राय में यही जेनरेटिव एआई की शक्ति है।आखिरकार यह पूरी दुनिया को एक तर्कसंगत तरीके से सोचने पर मजबूर कर देगी।

  5. This blog motivated me to enumerate the advantages of artificial intelligence. First and foremost is Reduction in Human Error and risk mitigation. Then comes 24×7 Availability and Digital assistance and Unbiased Decisions.

    Of course, AI will Perform Repetitive Jobs and do Pattern Identification to improve quality of service. I have been working in medical AI for a few years and I can say that in Radiology AI has already brought in a qualitative change.

    Besides diagnostics, AI is also contributing with applications ranging from diagnosis and treatment to drug discovery and clinical trials. AI-powered tools can help doctors and researchers analyse patient data, identify potential health risks, and develop personalized treatment plans.

    Change is inevitable but it will surely be for the good of everybody.

  6. I accept the fact that AI will be the mother tools of every efficient and effective computing workforce in this global society.
    All I can say is that let AI merge with RI to make this world a better and safe place in solving our educational and economical problems that we have been facing for the past decades.

  7. Even I got myself questioning my views abut AI and its place in our lives. Reality is sinking ..hard to stop what is inevitable.

  8. As Heraclitus said “change is the only constant in life”, change is all around us. Every thing in life can be transformative.
    I believe artificial intelligence should aid human beings, our progress, but not replace us. AI has already cost us jobs, and people are trying to catch up in what is already an unfair race. AI should help in human progress, not make it a fight about survival.
    As much as Artificial Intelligence could make living easier, better, it needs to be strictly regulated.

  9. Wonderful blog. Both you and Mr Chandu Thota are looking angelic. Who can deny that technology is bringing a digital transformation to the world? Google has been the biggest game changer. Its mail, search engine, and maps have changed the world irreversibly.

    Artificial intelligence is a progressive technology and there are numerous benefits of AI in various industries. Apps based on AI technology are already trending in different fields. By using AI, different industries and sectors will streamline operations and make them efficient. By introducing the technology to your business, you will enable you to reap the benefits of AI. Many businesses and companies are already leveraging it.

    I would be at a peril if we kept education away from AI any longer. Artificial Intelligence can be most beneficial in the education sector. With Artificial Intelligence, it is possible to redesign and reform the whole education system and techniques of teaching. Not only institutions but also students can benefit from AI-based applications. Most importantly Artificial Intelligence would cater to the requirements of students having special needs.

    The question here is who will bell the cat?

  10. “Change is life and is inevitable” is what we have learned to accept as it paves way for a wonderful living without the lingering doubts and crossed fingers.
    Yes, change is disruptive. Those with vested interests should not be allowed to stop the emerging world of ‘Artificial Intelligence’
    Deepavali is around the corner and let us all celebrate the festival of lights and welcome the new changes to our living with AI.
    Greetings to all.

  11. AI driven decisions leading to Decision Intelligence.

  12. Thanks for sharing Prof!

    You are absolutely right – Change is the constant in life. It is unstoppable.

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