Talk the Walk
Not a walk in the park anymore
'Spyware' unleashed on unsuspecting individuals globally is a political hot potato these days.But in India snooping devices of the flying horse a la Pegasus variety or a more earthbound quadruped are simply a monumental waste of taxpayer's money.
Yes,the title is a deliberate reading of the idiom backwards.No uber technology is required to gather information secretly ,we Indians strut it all out in our decibel declarations in public now.
Mobiles upturned the public profile of Indians like nothing before.From a deadpan visage in public to a 'mobile' face---with flashing eyes and quicksilver expressions---most Hindustanis could graduate summa cum laude for their 'abhinay' from a dance school.And brought up on dramatic dialogues from Bollywood, the 'Aam Aadmi' and 'Aam Aurat' are able to converse with stentorian voices leaving no choice to people around to listen in or carry earmuffs.
It is not a walk in the park anymore---in more ways than one!! One can not hoof around the park to find a haven of quiet amidst nature. It feels as if one is listening to public confessions on the trot. It is a perpetual 'roadshow '.
These mobile aficionados of all ages pour their joy, anger, sorrow or plain gossip with bravura. To hear the range of their topics which vary with age and the cards dealt to the individual by fate ,is a revelation.Sometimes the narrative is as spicy as the 'Indian magic masala' chips!
Covid and its cohorts cavorting around the globe having brought active social life to a crawl, humans are more than ever dependent on their devices to seek connectivity with each other. In the current battle of hide and seek between the Corona virus and the human hosts, social distancing has forced us to hunker down in our homes. WFH(work from home)or online teaching would've been unthinkable without our able digital gadgets.
'Nomo' (no mobile)is a valid syndrome.Like the mask on the bridge of the nose ( quite a few use it more as a chin base!), the mobile in hand is all pervasive. A pale imitation of our Indian Gods and Goddesses with their impressive array of hand-held objects.
A mobile, despite being a treasured gadget that has empowered the less privileged in most of India, highlights the stark inequality in digital power and knowledge.From a simple basic device to diamond -encrusted customised mobiles for the uber rich, to futuristic devices like Google glasses or even chips under the skin high-tech has given it many avatars.
Those of us who have seen a curve from telephone exchanges, to landline, to cordless et al , the current scene looks a bit surreal. 'Future Shock' envisaged by Alvin Toffler way back in 1970 is here and now for the old generation.
A host of heavyweight thinkers and scientists like Ray Kurtzweil, Yuval Noah Harare, Stephen Hawking, Nick Bostrom to Elon Musk have talked of the perils of unbridled growth of AI.Not only are humans seeking connectivity, even the gadgets are forming a network through IoT(Internet of Things).AI is exponentially transforming mobile technology. With Artificial Intelligence gaining ground steadily what's the fate of our natural intelligence! Homo Sapiens may lose their agency to machines as some futurologists fear in not too distant a future.
AI enabled rogue robots in an apocalyptic breakout could actually lead to 'deus ex machina' becoming a nightmarish reality. The 'deus' in this case would not be a saviour but a dark force with satanic intentions of eliminating its human creator.
Ironically,Homo Sapiens would have pressed the self-destruct button through a 'Super Intelligence' unleashed by runaway high tech. So perhaps now is the time to flip the title to its right order, be warned and 'Walk the Talk'!