Of living in simulation and AI !

His nose was clogged, and a stream of sweat passed down from his temples, he had been recuperating for 3 weeks now, from those impostor bacteria or virus hosting themselves in his body, and his body calling upon them for illegal trespassing.

The house of cards, was moving along, in its own political glory and an incoming house shifting was due this weekend, along with couple of social calls and a concert with Morrissey. His friends were Morrissey fan, and he kind of became one eventually.

There was this single streak of light, shining through the heavy curtains, which found its own path and illuminated his self.

There were notifications of stock market movings, of whatsapp notifications and he thought to himself what have we done to ourselves with life becoming endless small manoeuvre of clearing notifications , with a short attention span, and clutching over small metal rectangles for most of our waking life. As it was mentioned in simulation argument by University of Maryland, theoretical physicist. Aren’t we already in a simulation ? [1]

And if you come to think of it, it was 2/3 of your waking life delving over world news, keeping up with trends , meeting your friends, judging ones not your friends, and love feelings for your girlfriends, spouses and kids. It was other 1/3 of daily life that intrigued him, when everyone went down to sleep. Thats where all those waking alpha waves, beta waves and delta waves started emitting from your brain cells, and all would dream. It was like a common thread running across everyone’s life. I think neil gaiman was a genius basing his graphic novel on this.[2]

Then there were ones who dreamt of going into space, to mars by 2030, betting on artificial intelligence, thats like that, the amount of stuff that computers did for us and is doing of us is overwhelming. And to imagine in 10-20years as futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts , AI would have a life of their own, what they won’t have is concsciousness.[3]

And in pursuit of this he had been delving in world of machine learning and artificial intelligence for quite a while now. Getting his basics cleared up with all those mathematical algorithms with heavy duty statistics and linear algebra. and trying to find its decent implication on his current project ideas and may be a future company based on it.

You see it is inevitable, he looked back in his iPhone 7, to see what latest notification it held for him, he moved around bit and bought pack of groundnuts to keep him company. Ever since he lost his old iPhone to the fairies in Isle of skye. (https://arunabhmishra.wordpress.com/2016/06/28/the-lazarus-effect/)

Remembering it seemed to be from another world, although it had been a mere 4-5 months, thats how one gets woven in his daily life of ambitions , careers and responsibilities.
He had promised himself to finish off his last two lectures from machine learning class, and in guilt he stopped jotting this down.

[1] http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html

[2] https://www.goodreads.com/series/40372-the-sandman

[3] http://futurism.com/images/the-dawn-of-the-singularity/

[4] http://cs229.stanford.edu/

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Foreign native digressions

He was hesitant to go inside, it had started to get too nostalgic in there. A calm yet shrieking silence prevailed around post marriage ceremony, only challenged by the faint but constant hub dub of an electric generator. There were few cars coming and going , their harsh headlights tearing through the darkness. From his childhood days, he hated the lacklustre, the unceremonious wrapping up of an event. Guest departing, tents getting wrapped up , long haul trolleys taking away the furnitures and lights. The place which was teeming with laughs and smiles, of heavy perfumes and ittar, would be as desolate and quite as morgue.  He remembered that a similar sight would conjure up after college festivals and events.

– Probably thats what happens when one dies – packing up ! But as they say cest la vie (such is life).

But there was not much digression on cest-la-vie, for the latest blinding light was of his friend’s car. Thus ended his brief moment of epiphany, and thanks to apple’s smartphone ( and a pinch of right hemisphere), he saved some of it in words.

 Little did he know that ditto same feeling would impunge his first week  after his vacation in India. Singapore felt too dull, like a saltless cuisine , after his India trip. The hum-drum, the halla, the liveliness was in stark contrast to this nation’s systematic inertia. He missed his homeland.
Today :
The ennui at office reminded him to similar bored feeling during his school days. It was like revisiting the same monotonous routine after eons, yet he was able to pinpoint the same old ennui of school days.   The sad part was that everyone seemed oblivious to the fact , no one was complaining. May be it was classic case of stuck in ‘Maya’ as they describe in Hindu scriptures. But this corporate ‘maya’ was strangling him. A throbbing monotonicity was building up in his brain challenging him to ‘turn on, tune in and drop out’.
Rewind to 19 days back 
2 Feb
He was flummoxed at the ensuing crowd, and the majestic evening scenery at the vast banks of Ganges.  Although only 1 hour before he was proclaiming my gonna-be-atheist attitude to an old friend, yet the whole scenery of the Kumbh Mela captivated and enthralled him. He had read somewhere that Kumbh’s attendance exceeds over 50 millions devotees. !!
– Fucking big number!!
So far this vacation had been a calm composite one. He had expected India to surprise him after 13 months abroad, but it didn’t.  Things move too slow in this part of the world.  Only thing out of place was his initial  urge to get down from taxi and start dusting New Delhi’s flyover railings. The dust has been overwhelming. It took him some time to grow accustomed to Indian capital, and by the time he got down near Akshardham Temple, his original self had been returning. It was good to see advertisement hoardings in Hindi. Some familiar and some new faces on print ads. Someone reading this might reduce the feeling to oh-yet-another-foreign-return-banter. But truth has been told. Delhi had disappointed him lately, and it was his first time that he was more than glad to leave Delhi, without hanging around for few days.
Moving across towns and cities of Uttar Pradesh, which might as well be least developed state of India, with reins in hands of goons and dons, there seemed to be no respite in sight. Owing to recent happenings (read Delhi gang rape ) the Indian within him had been tortured, and was now raring to come out to do something. He was quickly shuffling through stacks of ideas to an extent that he had started romancing with an idea of writing civil services exams, but leaving the perfect-Singapore life needed some more weights on the scale.
The sun was high, and there was a some breeze that one encounters during winter end in India. It was serene and the flannel shirt provided a much needed sheer. His mind was largely blank, and he was enumerating an acquaintance he made in high-court-city of east UP. How he is pursuing a goal to become a IAS officer? To which came an expected reply, “it’s useless, the unlimited power corrupts the officers”.
14 Feb
Fast forward to Varanasi. The traffic was going berserk and random. It would have flabbergasted NNT. A particular gust of dust cloud blinded him beneath his rimmed glasses. He was recuperating with the dust, when a truck horn jolted him and responded with a cuss. In spite of all the bodily unpleasantness, his heart was at peace. His soul was at ease. It had been …some 395 days… since he had last came here, and he had missed these blaring horns… the humdrum, the liveliness… the random bovines on roads, and the extreme motion which would have looked like a vigrous brownian motion from a great height. Singapore seemed like a distant utopia, he read someone blaring out on Singaporeans, hating their kiasu spirit et al, in last month’s GQ issue.
“I should now really get that power goggles for driving here”, he thought, finally clearing the dust off his eyes.  (Btw still need to get hands on that last copy of his mother’s novel  “heat & dust”). A different feeling had dawned when he met his college friends after ages, few after what…5 years…his mind was like…dude is this it? But then by that time effects of Shiva’s Prasad also had started empowering his thinking.
Near Dasaswamedh ghat there was infinite queue of juntaa and faith,thanks to Kumbh mela. All for, ten seconds of ‘darshan’ of deity. Although having been brought up in the religious capital, logically his emotions were not justified. But few years away from this religious capital of India, had instilled seeds of doubt, rather questions  in his mind. Now he had started dissecting religious beliefs with a logical reasoning, and quite often they had been defeated with logic. Yet the faith is one thing which has defeated many atheists and non-believers. (And then ofcourse there was ongoing MahaKumbh)
Image
Buying books at his favourite book store near Assi Ghat, he lamented yet another aspect being missed , the literary and artistic upper hand of the city. Being a bibliophile buying a book in ‘x’ dollars would fetch 4 books in equivalent INR , and much better ones than those available back in videsh…    (to be continued)

Agnosticism ?

The nostalgia was so thick and heavy, that he had wiped his face off it. He was back to his swinging chair, and lukewarm water, and sore throat. He wanted to become a writer after almost satisfying his left hemisphere with electrical engineering masters. Thankfully his mind was not very keen of getting in four years of life-loss. He romanticized with the idea of academic career, but it looked very mundane and boring to him, and he gave up on it even before he had finished his masters. Oscar Wilde had murmured in his ears, “Anything that is worth learning can be learned outside school.” His mother also warned him once.

-why do you want to get degrees and degrees on your CV, a classmate of mine got degrees in 3-4 disciplines, yeah he might be brainy but to what avail. It was more of soul-searching for him in course books, and academic corridors.  Don’t try to be that.

 It was logical, getting a degree is not an answer to  “i still haven’t found what i am looking for”.  To speak the truth he wanted to write. Write as classical as Joyce, as emotional as Ishiguro, as sarcastic as DBC Pierre and Upmanyu Chatterjee, as epic as Tolkien, and yet have his own style and panache. These would become his idols; or rather they already were his idols. Ever since when he was ten,  deep sea adventure of Jules Verne enthralled him, he was smitten by magic of words, first it was crush, then it evolved into beautiful love, a lifelong relationship.

It would immensely please his grandmother, that little boy was reading Hindu religious books, well truth be told, the boy was enthralled by the story the books provided, the epic stories of kings, gods and demons were way too interesting. In the same spirit he would delve in biblical stories, and make his teachers at catholic school happy. The moment the story got over, he could not fathom the way religion ruled onto people mind and heart. He experimented with devout religiousness and when he did not like it, he altogether shunned it. Religion was like a love-hate relationship for him, and so he anointed himself as agnostic rather than an atheist.

Quite often his dinner table remarks on old texts and religion came as surprise and shock to his more religious friends. He had his own deep concept of some power, and the current existing religious concepts were just like a story, or some alien conspiracy theory as mentioned in the documentary he was watching this weekend. Yet the mythology intrigued him, and he would like to search for similarities between Hinduism, Greek, roman, Christianity and Islam, rather than focusing on differences which everyone did inadvertently or otherwise. Imagine by john Lennon should have been his war cry. (He also cursed his word processor, which pointed out every now and then, that the name of religions should be in Caps.)

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