What’s google thinking about you?

We’ve all seen some of google’s auto-completes on our screens and thought to ourselves, does google know me better than I know myself?!? Well, the auto-completes for ‘how much does a’ … ‘ cost’? have been put together and some of the results are hilarious, yet ironic. Here’s my favorite ones:

Russia – to fly a MIG?, Pakistan – weddings, Canada – passport, S. Korea – Rhinoplasty, Angola – Food, Mauritania – Slaves, UAE – Ferrari, Brazil – Prostitutes



Wiring Kindness

Today has been an interesting day in our household. On my way back from work my brother called me to say his wallet had gone missing. It wasn’t the biggest surprise to me as it was in his pocket and he was in train which was packed in peak hours. And I guess it happens sometimes – Lucky he didn’t have much cash in the wallet, still he had lots of cards to block, renew and replace.

We were only just fretting over getting this done that my brother got a notification on his Instagram, that he had been tagged in a photo. Shockingly, it was picture of his wallet and he was tagged by a girl he had never heard or seen before. She said he should contact her and take the wallet off her. Turns out he had dropped his wallet while he was on the train and this kind lady had found it there and then looked for my brother on Instagram from his name and photo ID. My brother messaged her and he couldn’t have been more thankful, and later this week they will meet to have his wallet returned.

This episode gave me a reality check of how technology has changed our lives and it make me think why we talk so much about how is has made our lives complicated, occupied and inhumane – sometimes I think we lack a sense of positivity and we forget to think about all the great things it makes us capable of doing. Even if the lady had found the wallet, there was no way of her contacting my brother unless she went to his university and got his details, which would have meant so much effort and time. I think technology has amplified our habits, capabilities and it is helping us reach our potentials, while we still learn to completely and effectively incorporate it into our lives. So the people who are kind, have greater opportunities to do something good with their increased accessibility and connectivity and people who are not, they wouldn’t be any different without technology either.

Today I am proud to be born in this era of technological advancements.

The Techno-Culture

If luddites were alive now they would be stunned by what ‘lives’ look like and mean in this day and age. That’s probably why we don’t have many luddite-likes these days. The technology has evolved at an incremental pace and by Moarse Theorum, this is only going to increase in the future, so those of us with that luddite-side to us should probably prepare for scarier times. Earlier, I had a conversation with my friend who happens to have that luddite-self to her and some very interesting things came up which made me think.

Out of everything else that shapes our world and ‘culture’, I think social media comes under most scrutiny as it affects our social lives directly in ways so obvious to us, however the technology doesn’t limit its impact on our culture there by any means. I see that we have taken a while to completely understand what social media serves for us. I hardly think it was supposed to BE our social life. It serves a greater good for impression and connections management. This opens up the never ending and never concluding debate of how good or bad this is for us and I find myself split between the two ofcourse, but not for a second doubting how technology has done wonders to make us the most progressive (in some sense) than we have ever been in our kind.

Surely, there’s trade for quantity over quality. Now we can do so much, experience so much but what we actually take away from the experience is probably now limited. Although, that makes complete sense. The more of what you have, the less you value it and ofcourse technology does consume a part of our attention all the time. For better or for worse, I think social media and technology is beyond just an innovation and has now set values and culture for the Y-generation and this is only going to increase.

My take on the matter remains less sceptical. However, the way you incorporate technology in your life does determine it all. I believe the social media is not a substitute or form of social ‘life’, infact it is only a tool to supplement your social life and a tool for ease of staying in touch and managing your impression. This ideas is not new either as fretting over aesthetics and beauty is not a new idea for anyone and neither is that of impression management. With powerful systems handling our social media, there’s only one thing that’s changed, the information. The ‘quantity’ of information. So, now you can say more, store more, show more, know more and the down side is probably that the ‘noise’ in the system takes away from the quality we experience. If we learn to make it complement, not a substitute for our social interactions, it really wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. However, the ever increasing numbers of depressed people, irresponsible use of technology and social media and society of control and spectacle, do worry me. Guess, everything comes with pros and cons & just because it seems like an efficient lifestyle, we don’t always need that in every department of our lives.

I am sharing this video because it raised some thought provoking ideas in my mind (Thanks S).

Changing Spectacle? Or the Image?


At times, it is unsettling to think what goes on in many parts of the world today. Exploitation of the poor, starvation, greed of the nations, massacre? It won’t be wrong for me to suggest that most people think that world used to be a better place than it is today. But it got me thinking, what is it that has truly changed? Were the poor never exploited before? Were there no starving children like in Africa? Or any massacre like the one in Burma? Was there no conflict between the powerful and the powerless?

Gazing through the window of history, I realized it wasn’t the first time these things had happened. There was genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and forests and homes brought down in Ecuador’s exploitation for oil after the 1970s. So, what was it that had changed? It would be a safe bet to attribute this to the flow of information which has become more and more fluid through the years.

The rise of broadcasting and social media has perhaps lubricated how easily we find out about what goes on in other parts of the world, both positive and negative things. So, may be the world hasn’t become a worse off place, we’ve just started seeing more clearly and quickly. That is why it’s called the age of information and they say awareness is the first step towards solving the problem!

But the problem of exploitation presents itself alongside. As the media becomes so powerful, one is bombarded with so much of information, all of which might not be true and sometimes manipulative? Being critical of what we do or do not listen to becomes inevitably important.

Let this abundant information empower us into knowing more and doing more!

Image Courtesy: Sundish Ejaz

The Digital Community: ‘Community’, Really?


Sitting across the lecture room a thought very intriguing sprung on to me. The lecture entailed a story of how the new digital, information or knowledge age has diminished the geographical and physical limitations to what people call their community. This made me think of new alternative factors that people based their sense of longing and community on the basis of. What was it that people now meant community was, if it wasn’t your area, town or nation?

The sense of community people found amongst them is now, perhaps based on similar interests, needs, mutually beneficial relationships and ideas. It all sounds very welcoming and productive- You only relate to people and things who share common interests and goals in life and are beneficial to you in some way.

But I thought about what this has done to the society in general? The most obvious impact was less tolerance of people towards anything that’s undesirable. As we can now find things better and more relevant to our interests, why settle for something unpleasing? This would all be okay, until it is applied to the way communities- made of people with hearts and heads- interact with each other. If you could find anyone with similar interests, does that mean the value of human relationships in general would be undermined? This also explains why the world has become so materialistic. With growing ‘digital community’ your longing depends lesser and lesser on emotions, feelings and humanistic factors. People are drawn more towards ‘information’ that people can share and have in common. But is this ‘de-sensitized community’ able to thrive in both the health and the sickness? The boom and the recession? The happiness and the sadness? The failure and the success? If community is bonded by sharing of relevant information, what happens when an individual – with heart and head – becomes unable to be a part of that information system? 

This scenario might seem a bit extreme, as the community we live in is not purely digital- but it is moving towards one, with every technological revolution that replaces the physical with digital and sensation with information.