How All Systems Red by Martha Wells dispelled my fear of sentient machines

Many Science fiction books and movies feature sentient robots or Artificial Intelligence that has evolved to gain consciousness. These stories often end up in a man versus machine theme. The robots may crave power and think they are superior to the fragile humans and decide to kill them off. Or they may enslave humans in a matrix to use us as a source of their power supply. They may even decide to end some humans for the sake of preserving humanity as a whole.

There is differing opinion on how close we are to Artificial Sentience or Machine Consciousness. Continue reading

My Reading Slump in the Time of Corona

Like many others, I’ve been having a hard time reading this year. Trying to keep up with the news, being anxious about the state of the world, taking precautions like washing hands and obsessing over cleanliness in general leaves you physically and mentally drained.

Also, I just could not bring myself to read books and gush about them during a pandemic. It would be similar to Nero fiddling when Rome burned. Not that I have the power of an emperor to make a difference to the situation, but it still felt that way. Continue reading

Book Review: On Immunity – Eula Biss

This book is a collection of essays from the author’s perspective as a doctor’s daughter and a mother. It informs the reader about immunity, viruses, history of some diseases, clinical trials and vaccination. It also explains the concept of herd immunity and the process involved in finding a vaccine for a disease. All these are very relevant to the current crisis of coronavirus. Continue reading

7 Tips to get through the Coronavirus Lockdown

Many countries are currently enforcing restrictions on mass movements to curb the spread of coronavirus. Some have a nation-wide lockdown as a preventive measure. All non-essential businesses are shut down and people who can’t work from home are to be given leave. Only the essential service workers are allowed to go out. Police monitor the streets and people who roam around unnecessarily can be imprisoned. Continue reading

Revisiting the Pale Blue Dot

Today, February 14, 2020, is a very special day. It marks the 30th anniversary of the “Pale Blue Dot” image. This is a picture of Earth taken by NASA’s Voyager-1 after passing Neptune on its way out of the solar system. In this image, Earth appears as a speck of pale blue light. You could even say it looks like a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

Continue reading

Common ways people fool themselves

We all lie to ourselves. We all fool ourselves. In lieu of April fool’s day, let me summarize some ways in which people fool themselves and how to get out of that. I’m not going to talk about psychology or rational theories on how cognitive biases work. This is just a layman’s view based on day to day life. Here goes:

  • Harbouring self-sabotaging thoughts

No one is perfectly capable of assessing their ability and self-worth. While some people overestimate their competence, others constantly Continue reading

Need For Diverse Fictional Role Models

When I was a child, like everyone else, I was also constantly changing my answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Self-help books often claim that we are only limited by our imagination and dreams. They say that we can achieve anything we dream if we put in the required effort. The thing is, while we are limited by our dreams, our dreams are often limited by our exposure. This is the reason why career fairs are often conducted in schools to help the students choose their career path and thereby choose their college degree wisely. Continue reading

Shortness of Life

We spend our life pretending that we will live forever. Death is something that we assume is always years away. We know we are all going to die eventually, but we always ignore this fact. When a loved one dies, it hits us hard and we regret the many things that we wanted to do with them or for them. We regret not having spent quality time with them and not having been in touch with them frequently because we were “busy”. We remember the fight we had eons ago and wished we had apologized or didn’t make a big deal out of the conflict. We regret not expressing our love. Continue reading

Maturity

Struggles are tools that can make you stronger when wielded properly. Whether you are in a difficult situation or tolerating a difficult person, every challenge you face has the potential to transform you into a better version of yourself.

I don’t mean that you shall learn to fight back when you are exposed to problems. I’m not talking about becoming fierce and Continue reading

Unexpected Perks of Writing

Writing is a character building activity. I used to think it was merely to express oneself. I reasoned that unlike reading, writing cannot teach me anything. To my surprise, I learnt a lot after I started blogging and that did not just pertain to the topics I was writing about,  grammar, punctuation, writing style and blogging etiquette. Here’s how writing will make you a better person: Continue reading

Cherish Your Competition

Who doesn’t have a competitor? Whether you’re a student, a 9-5 job worker, an entrepreneur or an artist, there is always at least one person whose skill is just about your level, who you want to beat.

If you don’t find such a person in any aspect of your life that you want to improve on, you probably need to shift to another place. Continue reading

Why we need Literature

In the education industry, there has been too much glorification of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Lately, Arts is also joining the picture and the focus is called STEAM. However, literature is still underrated.

I see many parents who force their child to concentrate on Maths, Physics and Chemistry (MPC) from their middle school because these subjects are important to get into the engineering stream. Continue reading

The Day I turned Egalitarian

I was born a feminist. Before someone misinterprets this term and calls me a man-hating feminazi, let me clarify what feminism actually stands for. It means that men and women should be treated equally. We never say women are superior or better than men. We just want everyone to be treated equally without regards to their gender. Continue reading