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Showing posts from March, 2018

Working Out Movie

The best way to keep up with what is trending on Netflix is to combine it with my workout. Recently, I watched Secret Superstar this way over a couple of days. There is much to like about the movie for a variety of reasons not to mention the one song that stuck like an earworm for days. To my desi self raised on a mix of Hindustani and Western classical music with a fair share of songs from old Bengali and Hindi movies thrown in, this tune was about musical umami. There was a little bit of everything I am familiar with in perfect balance. It carried me to a slower pace, an older time closer to the India I was familiar with it.

But most unfortunately, there were some triggers there too. The abusive father of the main character; his reign of terror in the house brought back memories I would much rather forget. It made me wonder if our domestic help I knew from age ten to the time I left India was still alive, if at some point she stopped being beaten and bruised all over by her delinquen…

Lo and Behold

Watched Lo and Behold today and there was a lot to ponder about. It's hard to go a week without reading something about AI taking us over much like in episodes of Black Mirror. This documentary traverses the path from the beginning of the internet in UCLA in 1969 to the present with a variety of experts weighing in on what the future holds.

I found this simple explanation Elon Musk provided in the movie very helpful in clarifying where the problem with AI lies

“I think that the biggest risk is not that the AI will develop a will of its own but rather that it will follow the will of people that establish its utility function.” 

He goes on to illustrate his point with an example

“If it is not well thought out—even if its intent is benign—it could have quite a bad outcome. If you were a hedge fund or private equity fund and you said, ‘Well, all I want my AI to do is maximize the value of my portfolio,’ then the AI could decide, well, the best way to do that is to short consumer stocks, g…

The Proverbial Canary

There won't be a Toys R Us because millennials are not having babies. I personally know of several members of that generation who are choosing not to take off as adults. At my place of work we did a millennial trend study that confirmed much of what we casually observe of this generation. They either live with their parents or share a place with an assortment of roommates because those are cheaper options. Neither is conducive to family building or long term relationships. The partners come and go along with the changing patchwork of gigs that form their income stream. There is no desire to own anything of substantial value and to that end not much desire for professional stability or advancement. 

If there are only three bills to pay each month and that too shared with five other people there is really no need to work too hard. If this becomes the pre-dominant lifestyle of choice for young people going forward, the implications extend well beyond toy stores. The desire to own tang…

Unrelated Rage

A childhood friend of J's wrote an essay in the local news paper about why he was walking out of school today. I have known of this kid for many years though we never met. Reading his essay made me cry. The pain felt raw and real in his words; he was able to inflict it upon the reader. While being in awe of this young person for being such a powerful writer, I was ashamed to be among the millions of adults who have failed our collective kids. He had not minced words in calling us out. 

How do I now deal with this toxic mix of grief, rage and shame that hits me every time I read something about this topic ? I don't discuss with other parents who for their part don't bring it up either. We find our safe space in such forced amnesia by implied consent. Today at school as tributes were read for the victims, our kids cried. Yet, we go about our days like nothing changed. We discuss plans for summer, their driver's license test, how they were grounded for staying out past cur…

Second Chance

We will call him A. He turns thirteen in a few weeks and came into my life some five years ago. The first meeting is etched in memory. In my mind it is age he will forever be. A was a child then and young man taller than me already. Much has changed in both our lives this half decade I have known him. There was room in my heart for a second child but as I grew older and the dreams of a motherhood encore started to fade, that room turned cold and unwilling to receive love. Then I met A. Something about him made me want to rewind the clock. Try being a mother to another child and not repeat the mistakes I made and continue to make with J. 

The two kids have a lot in common but A is his own man too. He brings challenges I never experienced before and new rewards to make up for it. He forces me to be a better version of myself and I want to believe the improvements that follow help J out too. A makes me keenly aware of the value of time in a child's life. I was lucky to have met him wh…