Saturday, April 1, 2017

This weekend - Hacking, Running & Some Reading

This weekend is interesting. Apart from being the April Fool day, Government of India has organised the largest Hackathon , Smart India Hackathon 2017with over 10000 participants in across 26 cities. The team I am mentoring is led by Akash and team name is Adyuga. Akash & his team is studying engineering in Andhra Pradesh. They will code 36 hours nonstop to build their solution. Please encourage all participants! All the best folks

Apart from Hackathon, if you are in Bangalore, tomorrow morning at Cubbon Park Assisted Living for Autistic Adults (ALFAA) is organizing Stride for Autism - 10K & 5K run. Try to make it for the cause.

Changing gear, here is my reco for weekend reading - short one this time but worth reading.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Law of Software Inertia

Newton's law of inertia is equally applicable in Software. Buggy code remains buggy or good remains good until some external forces acted on it. Had multiple opportunities to act as the external force.

What is your experience?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Will Technology Kill Us?

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning & Robotics will change the way we live within next 10 - 15 years. It was impossible to imagine 10 - 15 years back for most of us that life will be around likes of Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Amonzon, Flipkart. Same way it was impossible to think that you can get a cab in your doorstep just by clicking few buttons on Ola and Uber. 

Information technology & innovation is 
Image result for automation in immigration check in USchanging our life faster than we can think. Technology is growing exponentially. Challenge in front of humanity is how do we cope up with such rapid pace. Or is there a need to slow down the pace of development. The way technology eliminated typewriter, PCO, yellow page, celluloid camera the same way technology is now eliminating mechanical & routine jobs. Call center jobs are being replaced by bots. Drones is replacing delivery boys. Even once crowded pass control system (immigration check) in US is now automated & human officer comes only if someone needs help. These changes are profound and have someway or other impact our life. Interestingly, this is not just happening in west - we live in a flat world. Even in country like India thousands of job will get eliminated soon. One more example here. Here is a detailed report from McKinsey on Where machines could replace humans—and where they can’t (yet).  While some of these appear syfy,  these are reality. And, it is not just limiting to automation. The progress in machine learning (ability of computer systems to lean without being programmed for that) & artificial intelligence (AI) is unparallel. From Self Driven Car (popularly known as google car) to automatically ordering grocery based on based on what is there in your refrigerator and your previous order history is not far away. We are unknowingly living in a world that we never dreamt of. 

So, is there anything that we need to do or be worried about. At this point we probably don't know. There are significant pitfalls of automation and these advancement. Read this Atlantic article by American author Nicholas Carr on putting our knowledge in the hands of machine - "All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines". But for sure we need to figure out a symbiotic relationship with these advancement. Futurologist Ray Kurzweil thinks Humans will be hybrids by 2030.That means our brains will be able to connect directly to the cloud, where there will be thousands of computers, and those computers will augment our existing intelligence. Are we heading for a Human Operating System?Entrepreneur and innovator Elon Musk Says Humans Need to Merge With Machines to Remain Relevant

Lets get prepared. I leave you with one more good weekend read - Don’t replace people. Augment them.

Let me know if you like it?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Why I Hope to Die at 75 by Ezekiel J. Emanuel

This is how it goes ... 

"Seventy-five. That’s how long I want to live: 75 years. This preference drives my daughters crazy. It drives my brothers crazy. My loving friends think I am crazy. They think that I can’t mean what I say; that I haven’t thought clearly about this, because there is so much in the world to see and do. To convince me of my errors, they enumerate the myriad people I know who are over 75 and doing quite well. They are certain that as I get closer to 75, I will push the desired age back to 80, then 85, maybe even 90.

I am sure of my position. Doubtless, death is a loss. It deprives us of experiences and milestones, of time spent with our spouse and children. In short, it deprives us of all the things we value.  ... "

This is how the The Atlantic article “Why I Hope to Die at 75” by Ezekiel J. Emanuel  Goes. Ezekiel J. Emanuel an American Clinical Bioethics and Head of the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. Interesting and thought provoking article.

I mailed this to several friends and colleagues. Few of them responded –

One response goes like this  ...
I agree on the philosophy. This is my philosophy too. I need to share this with my wife. She will be able to relate some of my statements (at home) to this"
Another one ... 
Thank you Das Babu. Nice timing. This topic had come to my mind and I was more thinking of 70 rather than 75. My father's side, most people died at 74-76. My Mom's side people have lived longer but with a painful life (with all kinds of ailments). Also last few years of all folks in my father's side were painful so I thought if I could demand early boarding at 70, I will spare my children the pain. This topic came because of a nice article I read in NY Times on question of saving for children. If I assume that I live for another ... (assuming 70 as goal post), and my investment performance slows down... I should be living behind at least 4 times my current net worth. My question next is what will my kids do with that kind of wealth? I have given them both a good education and both have started earning more than I earned in their age. If they continue to take my advice on investment, they themselves would be doing fairly well. So what should I do with my money is the dilemma … "(My friend pointed me the 2nd article below)
 If you are here thus far without pain, read these 2 articles. 

BTW, Babu in the 2nd note above indicates something. Did you get that?
Please leave a note below.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What is the best language ...

What is the best language to teach kids computer programming? Thanks for responding in advance!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Love for Likes

We just came back from a fantastic family vacation  - Paris, Lucern and Rome. Much needed & all 4 of us thoroughly enjoyed the trip . But that's not what I want to tell you today!

During our vacation, even though we were (three of us - my son is not yet a digital native w.r.t WhatsApp and Facebook)  in WhatsApp, we blackout Facebook. Once we got back home my wife uploaded the vacation pictures in Facebook. And magic begins. "Like" messages started flowing like a Seine river. Some of them with comments. Happiness I observed was much more than the actual trip! Momentarily for a day she was little upset because one of her friend didn't press that precious like button. The moment that like came in the joy was stupendous.

I am still figuring out what magic "like" has. But if you are active in Facebook and your friends post picture don't wait just hammer that "like" button. Your hammering  gives enormous joy & happiness to your friend (and money to Facebook).

Keep liking because WE ALL LOVE IT!

Monday, May 19, 2014

That's Why I love You

This is what I wrote to Arup da (da : elder brother in Assamese)  this morning. Arup da (Dr Arup Misra) is one of them who have influenced me in my life so far. I am compiling the list of people who have influenced me in someway or other in my journey so far. I am indebted to them - will publish this list some day.
With Absar da and Arup da
If you write or have written computer programs then you probably know what is syntax and semantic error. All most all IDE (integrated development environment – an editor where one writes software code), helps with syntax error – it highlights wrong syntax. Syntax error is like spelling mistake. Computer program can’t have syntax error – computer doesn't understand wrongly spelled words or statement. Likewise, most of the text editors, like Microsoft Word, highlights wrongly spelt word (e.g. :  wrongle). Similarly, like IDE, text editor also doesn’t understand semantic errors.  E.g. the following Python program is perfectly correct

def add(a,b):
    print (a*b)
add (2,5)

But it should have been (a + b) instead of (a * b).  Similarly, if you write she is a naughtily boy in Microsoft Word it doesn't complain. Or if you write I was in the book lunch program this morning it doesn't complain. Today we are so dependent on the editors or IDEs that we ignore such nuances. (I do make such mistake even when I'm careful -:(

So, how do we handle this problem? First option is to have an editor which can understand semantics or context. Lot going on in this space but nothing very concrete is available that I’m aware off. Second option, you need Arup da to point out such errors. Very meticulous in what he does. He has helped me multiple times in pointing out semantic errors. Arup da has also helped & guided me in several other things – those are for some other time. So, I wrote to him today “that's why I love you.”