Any more wild ideas?

My dad was living in Indonesia. He had bought me a digital camera, and on my birthday, I took pics with it, and sent them to him the very next day. He wrote back to me, saying that this is indeed a wonder of technology that I can share the experiences of your birthday just the next day, even though I am so far away. He then recounted a story he had heard of his father's wedding. This grandfather (my great-grand father) had arranged for a "bioscope" show in their village for his son's wedding (being a big landowner and all that). The simple villagers were amazed at the viewing and were heard to remark that "this is not human doings, it has to involve magic somehow!"

Imagine what they would say about the technology that we take for granted today. GPS navigation systems in cars, 3-inch long devices that let you talk around the world, play games, make payments, read books, listen to music, take pictures! These things are probably beyond the wildest imagination of a commoner of a 100 years ago. So today when I was having a conversation with two friends about what would be "improbable" or "wild" technology by my standards, it set me thinking. And blogging.

Here are some ideas off the top of my head (Its possible a lot of these are being researched currently and may already be in the pipeline for the near future, and I just don't know about it!)

  • A chip implanted in the brain that you could just upload information to (a la Matrix).
  • ESP-like non-verbal communication between people (maybe using the same implants used in the above idea)
  • Teleportation, a la Star Trek (Beam me up, Scotty!)
  • A visual overlay provided by some external device that would give you information about the objects, place or people you are looking at (a la Terminator, or "Psycohistorical Crisis")
I guess all of these have been inspired by movies and sci-fi books. Anyone else with any original ideas? Please post them! I shall include them in this list (with attributions, of course)


Why should I care?

A friend asked me recently why I have not posted anything on my blog about the reservation issue that is making headlines everywhere these days. I said that I did not want to talk about sensitive issues like this, because most of my posts tend to rub people the wrong way anyway :) But I thought about it, and felt that there are some things I do want to say.

First of all, how has this reservation and quota system affected me? Not much, I would say. I did not aspire to get into any premier engineering or management institutions, and what I did get into, I got in quite easily. So for me, it did not matter then. What has remained as a lasting impression about the reservation issue the last time there was an agitation against it is this: I was in class 9 when the last agitation happened and our schools were closed for a month or so because of the unrest. I knew what the issue was and how it would effect everyone, but as it turned out I did not end up getting effected by it.

Well this time it is a bit different. I have a job in a big company, and the chances are slim to none that I will try and get admitted to another educational institution. So does this issue effect me? Of course it does! Here's how. During the last agitation circa 1990, India was pretty much a closed economy. Today we work closely with the rest of the world. Information flows in and out of the country at the speed of thought and we can no longer imagine that our skeletons will stay in the closet.

Well then, how long before employers and clients and business partners all over the world figure out that these wonderfully hyped institutions like the IITs are actually letting in sub-standard students? And how long before they view every Indian programmer or businessman with suspicion, wondering if they came in through these "quotas"? After all, they have no idea that a Mishra is a Brahmin and a Das is not! And how long before these issues color the perception of the outside world about the competence of the Indian workforce? I am part of this workforce, so of course this affects me. And if affects you, too. So if all of you who have cushy software jobs don't want your employers to wrap up shop and move to China in the next five years, then better sit up and take notice!

ETA: Well, the deed's been done. What now?