The Next Phase
State of my Union: December, 2014
My generation has borne witness to the awesome technological transformation that took the world by storm in the past two decades. When Bill Gates famously declared that his dream was to bring a desktop computer to every home, he would never have imagined that in another 30 years an average person would interact with a multitude of tiny computers on any given day. Today’s technology is ripe for innovation. Now, it is time for our younger generation to be awed by the inventions and discoveries that would catapult the relationship of mankind and technology to new heights. Technology in its all-pervasive nature gives me the confidence that, if channelized in the right way, it can impact the lives of millions of people.
After many years of trying to understand computer as a science, I started to realize my lack of academic rigor in the process of learning. Ah!, learning, it’s almost an endangered art now. While I adore Google as a company, I still yearn for the period in life when there was no Google to help me out with every single thing. Google has, to a great extent, subdued our abilities to “learn” new things. Before the Google era, whenever I had a challenge, a lot of research had to be done to get to the bottom of it – reading a lot of books, talking to experts, teachers, friends etc. By the end of that quest, one would not only have found an answer to the question, but would also be an expert in that area. For better or worse, Google has overpowered this beautiful phase in the journey for knowledge forever. Now, if you need an answer to something, you just Google it. In 2014 I made a conscious decision to “not look up”, and to say the least, it was hard. This realization was a dominant precursor in my decision to pursue higher studies. Where the goal is not to “get things done”, but to enjoy the beauty of research and experimentation.
As someone who has been following the technology space for more than a decade now, the interface between humans and machines is due for an overhaul. As Apple Inc. made the touch interface ubiquitous, I dream of a world where Brain Computer Interface (BCI) is the de facto standard for human computer interaction. When transference of an idea into a computer understandable format is required, it is best done via a BCI. Imagine a world where an engineer can transform an idea into a working design, an architect being able to convert his vision into a building blueprint, and where the differently abled leads a normal life by naturalizing the interaction with their computer aid. The consequence is true Artificial Intelligence, a system that has human intuition and a computers processing power. The existence of such a world is not too far off. Recent developments in the field of AI and machine learning shows promising signs to the prospect of such a dream.
Despite having a settled life, I resigned from my job of 6 years to pursue academic rigor. My next phase is one that of learning, not as a means to an end, but as a journey to amass knowledge and wisdom. Yes, this is a risky endeavour, but one that is necessary to orient myself as an AI researcher. I have the work cut out for me: learn, research, contribute, repeat.