Worldwide Suicide

Last week my FB page was hit with RIP messages about Anthony Bourdain, a man that I’ve never met (and unfortunately never will now), but who I have been following on his travels around the world in the quest of great food. On the surface, Mr. Bourdain had everything going for him with a stable job, doing the thing that he must have loved the most, envious to some people. However, it is what lurks under the surface that can drive you to what drove this man at age sixty-one to commit suicide.

What drives a person to Suicide, I asked myself? Is it a lack of money, friends, despair at losing a loved one or just being negative about the general outlook towards life? The answer, however, cannot be a standard one. Circumstances change from each person, the wants from life alter and the signs are often ignored by those even around the person. Helplines do what they are supposed to, and while I have never been through such a phase in my life fortunately, the thinker in me would attribute that support groups can do their job only if the victim themselves felt the need to ask for help.

But do they ask for help? The stark answer is no. They feel that they have no other option but to end life. And hence, begins the great debate of ‘if’s, when’s maybe’s and but’s’. However, the argument is the same – the victim felt  that there was no other way out and this is brought about by the pressures of society, the pressures to get educated, find a “good” job, find a good life partner, get married by a certain age, have children at a certain age, the number of children, getting children settled, judging people by how much they earn, spend, save, how they dress, walk, look, what they eat, the amount they eat, their weight, height, personality and the list goes on. Yes, society truly is demanding.

But who comprises society?

People like you and me. That’s right – YOU and ME.

Someone, sometime in life (including me) have all been guilty of passing judgment upon someone who just couldn’t help being or acting the way they were. Hopefully for us, that person was not driven to suicide because of our actions. But before we pass judgement upon others, let’s take some time and think about what the other person may be going through and if we cannot be there for that person (because let’s face it, all of us, including I, are self-centered at least to a certain extent), let’s not make life worse for them.

And if you can help, listen to what they want to say. Do not judge them or preach advice that you would want them to follow. Say your piece, but let them decide.

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Future Automated Vehicle

In 1978, when John Travolta sang about tweaking up his car in Grease, the most futuristic fittings were fuel injection cutoffs and chrome plated rods. Throw in an automatic gearbox and you would really have a car that seemed to have come straight out of Back to the Future.  Cars have certainly come a long way from when the Ford Model T rolled off its production line, with on board computers tracking every component of the vehicle and now even can diagnose issues and even repair or inform the car company about the problem.

But can they evolve even further?

Presenting the FAV or Future Automated Vehicle, a concept vehicle which may or may not ever see the light of day, commercially at least. However, as a work of fiction, it seems to be on par with travel to the moon.

Firstly, the FAV would be the size of a regular SUV or MUV, so there goes the tiny Japanese or Korean workhorses out of the window. The paint would be self-healing so also the body, so you can say goodbye to regular touchups at your local garage. I guess nanotech might help achieve such fictional body works, but who knows what the science nerds have in their developmental store! If it can heal itself, could the FAV also change color depending upon your mood? Now that’s certainly a thought to carry forward.

Speaking of mood mapping, the interior of the FAV would do just that. It would delve into the mind of the driver, so much so that it would make Siri or Alexa seem like kindergarten versions of itself.

The FAV would act as a personal assistant, screening through your smartphone and directing you to your dentist appointment or to pick flowers for your wife on your anniversary that you forgot, until the onboard FAV system reminded you of. In fact, if you would try to get avoid such situations that have been keyed into your digital organizer, the FAV would override human intervention and automatically drive you to the location.

Gauging your mood, the FAV would play the type of music best suited, rock when you are happy, heavy metal for those days you want to beat up your boss or client and love songs on those rainy days. There would be no turning stalks or headlight switches. The FAV would gauge your thoughts and automatically signal left or right turns in advance, also switching on the headlights when it sensed that you needed it on. And don’t even try to ‘accidentally’ try and wreck the FAV to claim insurance. The vehicle would sense the destructive mode you were on and stall in neutral. Drunk driving would be a thing of the past, with the FAV either acting non-cooperative and stall itself or override the human intervention and drive you home. However, it might also alert your loved ones at home that the party animal is on their way back, so you could either have a nice strong cup of coffee brewing when you got home or an irritated spouse!

Speaking about irritating, the FAV would eliminate unwanted honking, especially between another FAV. It would gauge your mood and send across a message to the vehicle ahead, that would be relayed on the other vehicles entertainment system. So depending on what you are thinking, the messages could be sarcastic comment about their driving, angry comments involving their parents or funny comments revolving around their physical skills. And if that’s not enough, the FAV would also send a back message to the other driver’s smartphone which they can use as feedback!

Nothing is too tough for the FAV. Weather it is generating a toll pass while approaching the booth (wireless through your smart wallet) or figuring out which street or floor would have vacant parking (through geocentric maps), the FAV would do all this at a drop of a hat. But what about maintenance? Capable of diagnosing issues is something that even cars today do, however, the FAV goes one step ahead with repairing itself and sending a copy of the treatment to a cloud based server for future reference. Leaping forward, the onboard 3D printer would print the new part and replace the same also. Goodbye greasy mechanics. We would only have suited programmers sitting on some tax haven island going through the schematics of the vehicle.

With a vehicle like this, comes the urge to carjack, right? Wrong!

The FAV can only be handled by its owner, the owner’s family, or someone the who has been given authority to use it after recording the statement made by the owner, that too taking into consideration pupil dilation, temperature, and gestures of the decision maker, thus eliminating car knapping. If the FAV doesn’t sense all it right with the orders, it will take matters into its own engine and trap the perpetrator in the vehicle before calling for backup.

Fancy owning a FAV now?

Well, it might have not even reached the thought stage of the major auto companies, however, it has caused your light bulb to activate.

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The Holy Rhapsody

What is a Rhapsody?

According to experts, it is an effusively enthusiastic or ecstatic expression of feeling, an epic poem, or part of a poem.

And as I sat in office one day listening to Freddie Mercury, the late front man of the British Rock group, Queen belting out their operatic masterpiece, Bohemian Rhapsody my mind latched onto another classic situation. In history, few things exist that can be even more epic that the final hours of Jesus Christ. I don’t know if the multi-talented Freddie Mercury actually wrote the lyrics of his song keeping in mind this great man or it was just coincidence. But if spun around the song really has the potential to tell the tale of the man who died for our sins (in an operatic environment that is!)

In the hope of not being branded a heretic, my disclaimer is that the following is taken in with an open mind and a light hearted attitude!

Jesus: To his Disciples

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I’m easy come, easy go
A little high, little low
Anyway the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me, to me

Judas Iscariot: Confessing to his mother about killing Jesus (metaphorically)

Mama, just killed a man
Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he’s dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away
Mama, ooo
Didn’t mean to make you cry
If I’m not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters

Jesus: To his Disciples and Mother Mary

Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine
Body’s aching all the time
Goodbye everybody I’ve got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth
Mama, ooo (anyway the wind blows)
I don’t want to die
I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all

The High Priests and the Elders: Condemning Jesus

I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning very very frightening me
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo Figaro – magnifico

Jesus: In his defense

But I’m just a poor boy and nobody loves me

Disciples: Trying to fight to save Jesus from persecution
He’s just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity
Easy come easy go will you let me go

Heretics condemning Jesus
Bismillah! No we will not let you go – let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go – let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go let me go
Will not let you go let me go (never)
Never let you go let me go
Never let me go ooo
No, no, no, no, no, no, no

Judas: in a fit of madness
Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me
For me
For me

Jesus: To the Roman people who let him down

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
So you think you can love me and leave me to die
Oh, can’t do this to me
Just gotta get out just gotta get right outta here

Ooh yeah, ooh yeah
Nothing really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters nothing really matters to me

Anyway the wind blows

 

So, would you still see the song in the way it was reported to be about a man fighting his demons after committing an accidental murder or see it in this modern avatar to an age old tale?

Is technology killing our creativity?

Chances are that by the time you finish reading this article, Alexia would have replaced the local D.J at your Saturday hangout space. Such is the speed at which technology is moving. I correct myself, it is not moving, it is streaking across our time line at the speed of light. And with this development of technology comes the issue of taking over one of the few human attributes that we previously though could not be replicated – Creativity.

The past generations so far have been getting smarter. Rewind eighty odd years back to the time when the first computer was invented. Although as large as a room and capable of severely limited functions, the first operational computer was still alien technology to what the people in those days had seen. This was evolution brought about by the human brain. The current computer or the computer chip, the brain of the super computer can be as small as a grain of salt. Artificial intelligence can today do everything, from booking your holiday to read this article on your handheld reader. This again is the human brain at its creative best. But as we go further, what is in store for us?

Picture this. While reading a book, we had to envision the locales the author spent untold hours of time setting the story in. However, in current times, all we need to do is ask Google and the image of that place is projected on your screen along with temperatures, hotels and even an option to book a trip there. Out goes the creative part of the brain, the way you envisioned the place, the location of the structure that the author envisioned. In fact, Google 360, gives you a ground level view of the immediate surrounding or a birds eye view if needed. All this done at the click of a button.

So while a part of our community is getting smarter and even more creative the majority of human being are beginning to rely on visual aids to transport them to what is being projected by the written word.

Moving forward, we could one day reach this scenario – and this is where it gets scary!

Imagine an Artificial Intelligence so powerful and evolved that can do all the things a human being can, that too without the intervention of any human. The A.I, (let’s call it Al), will scan social media and OTT platforms like Netflix and HULU to figure out the viewership trends and stories that viewers are looking out for. Next, Al would write the entire script, sharing it with production houses, which are also run by Al type entities. Al would then draw up a list of potential actors and cast then into the roles, all without the use of a casting couch (this would draw a huge applause from most people) based on their past roles, award nominations, fitment with the story line and available dates. Negotiation would be done with the actor’s personal A.I assistants and contracts drawn up and virtually signed. The movie shoot would be the only human involvement, hopefully, for the lack of creative skill on the part of the Al. However, if some gung-ho programmer took on the challenge of creating a creatively inclined Al to shoot the film then the creative skill of human kind would be killed.

Editing and post production are anyways predominately being done by machines, so this would not be much of a task for Al to spearhead. Al would create digital distribution and media hype, using the social media sites, news feeds and reserve tickets for the preview show. All this either with no human intervention or minimal support.

Imagine this across creative playing fields such as music and art; we humans would be the ones headed towards extinction. Music albums cut by faceless bands or better still, Al bands morphing images of people across the globe to come up with the unique look, that would not fit with any actual living person!

And with the built in human capability of learning from failures, Al would develop into a force that cannot be stopped (maybe the Avengers defeating Thanos looks a brighter possibility than defeating Al). What would this spell for future human beings? For starters we would be a society of button pushers or screen swipers, which we have alarmingly already begun to head towards.

So while a small percentage of ultra-intelligent humans would still exist, refining Al to take over the world, majority of humans would remain slaves to technology, ultimately forgetting that creativity is something that should come naturally to us.

Hope that better sense prevails and there is a line (this one can be virtual, hopefully) drawn between artificial involvement and human domination.