technology

Contrast

I learned today that there’s a computer out there called Watson who is actively reading through millions of medical research papers/articles/doctor’s-notes to find out solutions to problems that even human researchers would find difficult to tackle.

And I’m sitting here, in my bachelor pad thinking, “what the fuck am I going to do for dinner today?”

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How real is real?

I was talking to my grandma the other day when I got an email saying my booking for a one-on-one ‘intimate’ experience has been confirmed. So I took a moment and thought to myself, “it doesn’t get much worse than this. On second thought, at least its not a mail from work”. So my natural reaction was to hit the spam button before reading it just like how I deal with all the other problems in my life. But it also had an attachment with a name that I usually use as my username. This creeped me out a little. So I opened the mail. It said, with my ticket, I would be able to watch a concert on my phone, live, in VR. I confirmed it was spam but it got me thinking. How real is real? How much ‘immersiveness’ do we really need to be able to say, “wow! that really felt like real life”? I mean, TV is getting real, movies are getting real, reality TV is…wait that piece of shit is still garbage. People like it when actors show a little humour even during the sad scenes. This, I think is a step closer to reality. Same goes with virtual reality. A ‘true’ virtual reality experience however, would take a few more years of development. There is however, a problem with this whole thing. This tech is tailored to satisfy the average customer and will keep on adapting with that motive. I am not saying that all immersive tech is evolving this way. I am only talking about those used in the entertainment industry. Let me explain.

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There was a study done in the field of psycho-acoustics where people were made to listen to recorded sounds of a forest they hadn’t been to. The test was conducted in a controlled environment using high quality speakers. The aim of the experiment was to identify the type of surround-sound tech that people liked the most. So the sounds were played back a number of times, each time using different surround sound technologies. They were also made to listen to a version where the played back audio was perceived to be closest to the actual environment (with minimum special effects). It was found that people preferred the slightly exaggerated version over the close-to-original version. This is what I am slightly concerned about. Despite having the tech capable of replicating the actual experience, we still prefer to go for the artificially modified versions of it. Does this imply that you need to make the reality ‘realer’ to make it feel real? Or do people prefer distorted realities over actual ones? I can imagine a future(not that far from now) where people would be exposed to these ‘fake’ realities even before experiencing the real thing. For example, an AR experience of a jungle where you can go on a trek, run around, scare birds, eat a snake, you know, all that good stuff.  I am interested to know how the future generation would react when they experience the real thing for the first time in real life. Pretty sure there will be quite a lot of disappointment because they couldn’t do it while sitting on their couch, eating leftover pizza(like me).

 

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Not quite, but almost there

 

The idiot box?

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Look into my eyes! Worship me!

The idiot box. That’s what they called the TV when it started to ruin people’s lives. They believed that it created dumb people. Maybe in some cases it did. I always thought of the TV as a doorway, a medium of communication that transcended all boundaries. There is no denying the fact that it helped spread knowledge. It might have been biased knowledge but still it did something. It invoked curiosity in people. I don’t know if TV was the result of evolution or if the TV affected evolution in some way. I know for sure that it has affected people’s lives. It has tremendously affected mine.

Having said all this, I have to acknowledge the fact that I don’t watch TV anymore. In fact I kind of hate cable. I am very happy with the internet. I get to watch, listen, read whatever I want, whenever I want. Here’s the problem- sometimes it sucks.

I read a magazine the other day. I hadn’t read any print magazine for a very long time. As I read it I thought to myself,” Everything here is very well thought out, neatly laid out and properly researched. This is frikkin great!”. I don’t get the same feeling when I read about something on the internet. The search results are tailored to satisfy me. The results I get are the ones that I want. Not the ones that I need. We’ve all internet-diagnosed ourselves with cancer at some point in life. However, it depends on how much I am willing to delve into the research. There is no hiding from the truth after all. I am also curious about radio. There is something cool about the randomness. There is something cool about the presentation, the radio edits, etc. I sure as hell don’t miss buying cassettes and CDs. It was a whole different experience though.

I think there is something strange about the way people take in information depending upon how it is presented. The other day, I saw an ad for an app. It said,” Don’t like reading the long boring news articles? Well now you can read every top story in 60 words or less!”. What the fuck has the world come to?