Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”
This life is annoying. It causes trouble and makes thing difficult. Problems are everywhere but their solutions need you to be attentive, spend energy, and make efforts. I don’t think that life just works out for anyone; if anything, it becomes more complicated over time to decline into chaos.
Why is that?
Murphy’s Law (pop culture reference — Nolan’s Interstellar) might be a trite conversation, but it is a fundamental part of one of the great forces of our universe affecting everything that we do. This force fuels many issues which we face and leads our world away from the structure into disarray. …
Zeal Khurrana has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old ends his hour-long Burgundy subway commute to Jilipest one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.
One winter November night, as Zeal steps off the train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening takes an unexpected turn. As he is walking toward the stairs, a teenage boy approaches him and pulls out a knife.
“Give me your money.”
“Okay. Here you go.” Zeal hands over his wallet to the kid pointing the knife at him with a shivering hand.
As the teen begins to walk away, Zeal says “Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you’re going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm.” …
Artificial Intelligence, the science of empowering machines with human-like intelligence, has sparked an inevitable debate of Artificial Intelligence vs Human Intelligence and wild predictions about the future. Thanks to rapid advancements in AI over the last decade, computers have become extremely good at diagnosing diseases, recommending movies and songs, and suggesting replies to emails. To add to this, they are even outplaying humans at complicated strategy games like Go, generating life-like images of imaginary people, and even understanding emotions based on the tone of your speech!
Yet despite having achieved all these majestic feats, AI still has glaring weaknesses.
Artificially Intelligent systems can be confused with ease by putting them in a situation which they have not experienced before. A self-driving car gets baffled by a situation that even a novice human driver could handle easily. A Deep Learning system designed and trained to perform one task (say identifying cats) has to be laboriously trained all over again to do something else (identifying dogs). In the process of re-training, some expertise displayed by the system in the original task is prone to lose. Scientists working with AI have termed this problem ‘Catastrophic Forgetting’. …
The radio told the news of the beautiful sunny day, in some alien, incomprehensible language as Malta’s cab zoomed past the holy river of Burg on her way back home from the hospital. Recuperating from her drunken escapade, she sat in the backseat and looked at the mighty Burg imagining herself as a fish, never having to worry about languages again for all the fishes must speak the same tongue.
When Keita had to shutter down his workshop and move away from the town of Burgundy, his girlfriend, Malta, was left shattered. Both of them had been inseparable — they grew up next doors, learned to play Ney together, studied at the same school, went to the same college and took the same classes where they fell in love — (they even dated the same person once but let us leave that story for another time!) — until it was only Malta who was left.
To fend off the despair and the loneliness, Malta did what any sane person would do and found solace in alcohol. She started with ‘just-one’ bottle after work, to make up for a lost romantic evening but soon spiraled down to an insane place where it was impossible to keep track of how many drinks has she downed and how many days has it been since her lover left town. The people who drink (a lot!) might empathize with Malta losing count of her drinks because it is hardly a job for one, and she was all she had. …
In a small town of Burgundy, lived two watchmakers, Zen and Keita. Both of them inherited the art of making fine watches from their ancestors, and also many customers who thronged both their stores and phoned them regularly with new orders.
Over the years, however, something changed. Zen prospered while Keita became poorer and poorer. Eventually, Keita had to close his shop and leave the town to find work elsewhere. The whole Burgundy town was saddened for Keita’s family had served them with beautiful watches for years.
The watches made by both Zen and Keita consisted of about one thousand parts each. Keita put his watches together in such a way that if he had one partly assembled and had to put it down — to answer the phone, or entertain a customer — it fell to pieces. When he came back to it, Keita would have to start all over again. The more his customers phoned him or visited him, the harder it became for him to find enough uninterrupted time to finish a watch. …
Your family connections? Your network of friends and acquaintances? Charm? Luck? Education? Hard work? Interest? Ability? Intelligence?
To the old cynical ones in the world of work, the first several seem to have dominance. Only the younger ones are left with the illusion or delusion that their personal ability born out of being educated, their intelligence quotient, and industry showcased in their field of interests have anything to do with it. And the very, very, very cynical would have us believe that these illusions are merely the symptoms of being young.
We have too often seen the son become the Managing Director and the new son-in-law, yesterday the clerk, soar to board membership. And we all too often have known that the son and the son-in-law not only had no aptitude in the first place but, with no fear of discipline, acted more carelessly for the firm than the worst employee. These familial connections depend on the accident of where one is born — an accident rather than a condemnation to involuntary lineage. …
It is impossible to avoid a certain degree of myopia while writing any narrative of humanity; after all, we are living that narrative. The hindsight bias makes some of the most unexpected cultural shifts inescapable and random noise can give birth to smooth sweeping trends over a long duration.
We have to step back from the subject under inquiry to develop a view of the history unencumbered by the present noise. We can not judge the value of action until we have observed its effects, and the biographies of living can never contemplate the influence of their legacies.
For this reason, among so many others, we have to be careful of the in-progress narratives occurring over a long time span. And one such narrative taking shape right now is called The Fourth Industrial Revolution. …
That particular night was biting cold. The whole park was lit up with fairy lights shivering under the mild wind. The bells, the candy canes, and the ribbons seemed like weirdly shaped moons hanging over the soft glowing fire. And the most beautiful Christmas tree stood next to the fire. From a distance, the tree must have looked like some wise old man watching over the happy gathering with his back towards the fire.
There were kids, brothers, sisters, and friends — all of them very young — with their Christmas hats on, singing their carols, and making merry. The ate popcorns and candies, laughed and spilled juices on their fine shimmering dresses, and played catch and toppled an awful lot on the wet grass. …