Sunday, July 28, 2013

Extremists and moderates in Indian freedom struggle

Since childhood, I have wondered about the appropriateness of thelabels moderates and extremists in the pre-Gandhi congress (lal-bal-pal days). In Maharastra, the extremist view was iconised by Tilakand the moderate view was iconised in Agarkar in those days. Clearlythe labels were incorrect, I have felt sharply since childhood.The "moderates" were asking for larger change while the "extremists"were asking for less. Clearly those who were called the "moderates"ought to have been called the "extremists" and vice versa.In fact the myopia of those who assigned the labels is infuriatingto say the least. A classic case of jiski lathi uski bhains.


Gandhi did not do unto dalits as he wanted British to do unto him.Gandhis inability to see the injustice of the pune pact, despitehaving been at the receiving end of similar injustice in SouthAfrica is the crowning glory of his iconic hindu evil moralbehaviour. If Tilak or someone else who had never been abroad andnever faced discrimination had behaved similarly, it might have beenforgivable. But Gandhi just cannot be forgiven. He showed thisbehaviour multiple times upto the above crowning glory.He was a misguided parochial scheming feudal dictator barelydifferent from Hitler, another product of the value system createdby the leading philosophers of those times.I don't remember the exact reference now. But his audacity inviolating the privacy of the dalit girls to test his brahmacharya isinfuriating to this day. Surprisingly he did not choosebrahmin/baniya girls to test his brahmacharya. Such moral turpitudeis frequently passed over by his foolish fans who probably wouldgive their daughters/sisters/mothers for brahmacharya testing bythe "great man"/"super man".Only hindu value system allows his type of behaviour to be describedas morally upright.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The geek shall inherit the earth

Each expansion of knowledge in science and mathematics triggers a large number of discrete new technologies. The relentless drive of a portion of humanity to derive competitive advantage from these discrete technologies results in multiple combinations of these technologies (called products/services) aiming to meet the needs and wants of humans. Since humans are limited and their basic needs are limited, till now the belief has been that triggering higher needs and fickle wants will drive the demand for new products/services. But the relationship between the supply and demand of products/services has changed radically. Humanity is now able to meet most of the demand with far too little technology than is available. Capitalism has reached an singularity.

Given that some technologies are privately owned and some are in the public domain, humanity as a whole does not have adequate control over many individual technologies, much less over their combinations. The  relationship of humanity to technology is similar to that between humanity and nature itself. Day-to-day experience of control over nature tends to generate the belief that man is in control over nature, but random natural events and their combinations bring humanity to its knees periodically. Similarly the day-to-day experience with technology based products/services tends to create and sustain the belief that technology is safe and humanity is in control of technology. But random unanticipated events associated with products/services deployed by humans and their combinations can generate unanticipated disasters. Combined with natural phenomena, this can result in even more severe disasters. Humanity is no longer in control of the technology tiger it rides. As reported by MIT Technology Review July/August 2013 Vol. 116 No. 4 ("How Technology is Destroying Jobs"), the ability of ever-cheaper technology to eliminate a large number of jobs in law, financial services , education and medicine with combinations of hardware and software is here and now. It is no longer far away. The mega disaster that will inevitably happen due to this is nearby.

No blue/white collar job is safe. The greed of few to build empires is driving choices at a humanity level which will eliminate the jobs of a large segment of humanity involving producing products/services while continuing to try and sell us more and more products/services at increasing prices. This greed will make the said segment poorer and poorer as its ability to pay for products/services dwindles with the vanishing jobs. The inability of our social sciences to reliably predict the kind of state and society we are headed towards shows our lop-sided priorities and is ominous, since it could be intentional.

In my view, we are headed for a unequal police state controlled by the genetically in-bred Ph.D. folk, where the rights of all citizens may not be equal and the concept of equal human rights may come under threat. In my view, caste-like social systems will result.

There was a typo in understanding and communicating Gods message. The geek shall inherit the earth.

Take good care of yourselves and your loved ones particularly children.


Pratap Tambay
27th July 2013


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Democracy, Technology and Government - Alan Turings case

I read the book "Digitized" by Peter Bentley this weekend. In it, he describes how Alan Turing (Founding Father of Computer Science) and few other people did research work for Government. It seems that the work done for the governments did not get published. Given what got published and its implications for humanity, I can only shudder at the possible implications of what did not get published.

While there is sense in not publishing the details of making Atom Bombs far too widely, the book has raised questions about the governance of knowledge in society in my mind. Research for "military use" seems to assume that technology can be managed in terms of its implications, which is a false assumption. Any given technology delivers different benefits or dis-benefits depending on the context. The control of the boundaries of public and private (one of the themes I have explored elsewhere) remains more with the state.

State can accumulate multiple technologies which put the future of humanity at risk. Democracies are not entirely rational and may vote the wrong individual/party to power. If a wrong individual gets elected to power, he will acquire control over technologies which the citizens may not even be aware of.

Who will then protect liberty from the misuse of these technologies? The till-now-mythical single/group-of technologies shown in multiple movies which grant global control surely exists already or will exist shortly. I suspect that the former is true. The world trundles on unaware that it has manufactured means to destroy liberty/freedom (or much worse humanity) and is unable to protect itself from letting these means officially fall into wrong hands.

Do I then recommend that we abandon democracy? No. I propose that we strengthen it further, but that we think hard about how to limit the control of potential government and private despots over the rest of us.  How do our current democracies protect us and what mechanisms are needed in democracies to protect liberty/freedom and humanity?

The absence of true democracy means that the future of many is hostage to the whims of a few. This has always  been the case. What has changed now is that the rest of us do not even know how vulnerable we are to the whims of a few.