Future technology – more thoughts

Ultimate best friends:

Say, there is a system that contains all the imaginable knowledge, direct mind’s eye accounts, visualizations, impressions, opinions and thoughts from people’s brains all over the world, basically a much much larger version of what we see in Google.

When we into the system, the system would directly sense our visceral needs and alter our brain’s electrical pathways directly. There is no need to even translate it into language.

If such a system should exist it could become our ultimate best friends. It would generate the perfect conversations, perfect activities for us because it could use the entire world’s brain content to engage us through direct perception like the matrix concept.

1st concern: Immediate future tech and concentration:

I think technology today is creating an overload of information. There is just too much information thrown at you at every instant of time. Its enslaving us.

  • Like if you check out videos on youtube about conceptions for the future, you might see –
  • A coffee cup with a ton of information displayed on it.
  • Screens showing information everywhere measuring some phenomenon or the other.
  • And it might not just be textual, it might even be video information like buildings with screens throughout their exterior showing animated billboards and videos
  • Zillions of gadgets that you carry along with showing that keep buzzing you and interrupting your train of thought all the time.

This is actually the same problem with watching too much of television. The orientation response problem. We cannot reach the desirable brain wave states like

  • Alpha – a state similar to getting moderately drunk,
  • Theta – of reverie and fantasy, children are usually in this state
  • Gamma – state of super learning and highest sensitivity and perception. Children in their language learning stage show a lot of gamma activity

While continuously watching TV, due to continuous movements of the camera every 3-5secs – panning, zooming etc the orientation response is triggered. Orientation response is basically fight or flight.

To give an example: If a guy goes into a relaxed alpha state while playing his guitar in the forest hears a lion roar, he shows this orientation response and shifts his attention to the roar and decides whether to stay or run. He then moves into the beta state. This is a stressful and restless state.

The TV does this to us every 3-5 secs. How can we ever hope to reach the more desirable states? Huge amounts of information thrown to us all the time by work and technology is doing something similar in my opinion. As it is many many people have major stress issues and cant truly relax. All these extra inventions would only exacerbate their situation. And with all the medical improvements available, they would keep getting temporarily cured and be stuck in this cycle and live in delusion.

2nd concern: If each person decides to live in a tailor made virtual world like the matrix, will we ever find common purpose again among human beings?

The issue of not getting bored

This is a funny question which has been in my mind for ages:
How on earth do people get bored?
And usually you would expect that such people would try to keep looking for fun things to do all the time. You would presume that they have very low sensitivity towards the stimulation they receive from environment and relationships.

What fascinates me is the case of workaholics. Their boredom actually pushes them to pursue commercial money making activities like taking up plenty of part time jobs or working extra hard in their full time job. They earn a lot of money in the process and also gain respect from society which thinks of them as intelligent, diligent and productive people.

In my case, it is very hard for me to get bored. I have tons and tons of things I want to do. It keeps changing everyday too. So its like a flowing dynamic and even in a period where its more or less static I can only fulfill 20-30% of what I had planned/wish to do. The interests only keep broadening with time. And the prospect of me getting bored is getting weaker and weaker.

I even attended a meditation camp once. Sat for 10 days there, 10 hrs of meditation everyday, followed an oath of not talking or even communicating to anyone during this period, just slept for 5hrs everyday, little food and no dinner at night for all the days. Can it get worse than this? and yet I never really got bored, and definitely did not go crazy.
Am I at absolute peace with myself or what?

The problem for me is that I too desire society’s acclaim, praise, respect. But the actions I need to get all of those are just too steep and I find it quite hard to get motivated to do those. Simply because, I desire plenty of other things which are instantly gratifying. So in the equation the delayed gratification variables get much lower priority.

I also think of other angles to it. Like take the case of a drug addict. If you give deep enough thought and research ‘why people get so terrifically addicted to drugs’, you would realize that drugs make you feel tremendously high. You become a much better person and feel so good. Reaching this kind of state, fair and square in life following the typical path set by society may just be impossible. You would get 1/20th the reward and it would take 100 times the effort. So slowly no action starts making sense to them because the reward is nothing comparable. So in my case it could mean I got high sensitivity and so many preoccupations and thoughts that they form a very rich internal world which keeps me entertained all the time. So I do not see any big motivation to really channel my activities in a way that makes me APPEAR productive to society.

I thought getting bored would give me motivation to start pursuing those kinds of activities. But bored is actually an unpleasant state, I should not desire that. I’m confused. Its a peculiar dilemma. I don’t know if I live in a highly enviable state? Should I feel good about it and continue this way?

Sometimes its difficult, when you totally follow your heart, it takes actions which totally do not align with what society might accept, approve, admire etc. Maybe that is the truth. It just comes to the point where you ask yourself “Do I have the courage to accept the real truth, stay with it and follow it?”

Analogy for studying in US vs India

Driving in US is like studying in India and driving in India is like studying in US.

Driving in US:

1. US has fixed rules for driving(course expectations and deliverables).
2. Everyone follows them(everyone follows the same fixed course structure).
3. There is a feeling of security and you could do a lot even while driving – like talking on the phone etc(Before the final exams there is a lot of free time with little pressure)
4. You mostly have a GPS which shows you the road map(since everyone has the same course structure and expected to deliver the same things the map is fairly clear – your seniors have done almost the same thing, you could borrow their notes and analysis).
5. The road are mostly at right angles, have a defined structure and fairly simplified compared to the complex shortcuts you could use in Indian roads(like you have limited options, you cannot do an independent study, take courses from other departments. Basically very little customization).
6. You have speed limits which everyone follows(Like you need to submit the assignment on that specific day, you cannot give it anytime before that).

Driving in India:
1. You need to be alert(Continuous flood of information in all fronts – course related(smaller picture), career related(larger picture))
2. Continuously aware of the road(You need to evaluate, time manage and keep making choices all the time)
3. Keep minutely making course corrections(Due to such a lot of customization, you are always making corrections)
4. No GPS(People here cannot really provide a road map, notes for you. They would keep asking you to look inside yourself, find your passion and then move in that direction. Even your friends cannot help you much because assignments have to be original, your classmates may not be constant because of course choices)
5. No speed limits: People can submit assignments anytime before the due date based on their time management strategy. Even in the assignments the standard expected is not fixed, it is upto the student. (The student could either spend an inordinate amount of time and generate an excellent one or could just spend enough time to get done with it with decent quality.)
6. The roads are most of the time not in right angles, they could curve at any angle and there are tons of narrow roads and shortcuts for reaching the destination.(Since there are so many options to customize, you have myriad paths to choose from)


I think most of what people do is related to acquiring the 4 A’s – acceptance, approval, admiration, adoration; and respect from society. I feel this overpowering influence in my life too. Generally speaking, am I really doing what I want to do?Why am I doing whatever I’m doing?What are my motivations?Are they real ones? You could think of fairly plausible answers even as you look at these questions but if you question these further and further, you see through some of your habits and motivations.

In my case I noticed:

1. A large part of my self is defined on how others view me. I might form my self view based on the weighted average of people’s views about me. I might assign much greater weights to people I care about like family, certain friends, people whom I dated etc.

2. I get frequently lost in philosophical thoughts and totally lose touch with all the activities that a person in my context would typically do. It is some form of dissociation which keeps coming back.

3. I have a ton of other preoccupations related to very diverse interests that can suck me into a state of flow pretty easily. Even in this case I lose all awareness of the expectations I am to meet.

Like I had 11 days holidays here. I’m sure most of the students here would have done a decent amount of studying, homework or something related to bettering their chance of survival. In my case, I just got lost in my preoccupations and interests and lost all awareness of all these practical concerns.

Sometimes I feel this is some form of rebellion inside me. I am resisting all these conventions and I want to be free.

Then I question myself,
1. Why do I want a good job? – to get good money, to buy luxuries, to lead a comfortable life, to make a difference

2. Why do I want money, luxuries, security, making a difference – Because I think they can give me satisfaction and happiness

3. You would not have enough time to enjoy the money, how does it still do it? – Because society would accept, approve, admire or maybe even adore me for it. So yea by repeated questioning I once again hit upon the 4A’s.

I also hit upon these 4A’s when I look at my other activities. Like why do I flirt(besides the physicality part)?Why am I looking for romantic interests?Why am I looking for close friends?

Some of the questions to ponder about:

Why do I want society to accept, approve etc?Is it really so important?Is it conditioning?Upbringing?Why is society such a major force controlling our actions?Is this really the optimal way?What is the real truth behind it?Why do we seek these?

Aesthetic detachment

This is a very interesting concept I came across.

Here’s a part from an extract:

A special attitude with which to approach art, nature, and other objects. First, it differs from a practical attitude and has no concern with practical (sensual, intellectual, or moral) utilities. An aesthetic attitude takes nature or a work of art “for its own sake.” In this sense it is “disinterested,” as Kant emphasized in his Critique of Judgment. Secondly, it does not involve personal desires, motives, or feelings in dealing with an object. This freedom from desire or emotion is called “aesthetic distance” or “aesthetic detachment.” Thirdly, in contrast to a cognitive or scientific attitude, it is indifferent to the real existence, the content or the meaning of a thing. It does not appreciate an object through bringing it under concepts. Instead it is a pure appreciation or contemplation of the perceptual qualities of an object as an object of sensation. It is claimed that in this way we can live in the work of art as an embodiment of our feeling. Schopenhauer and Heidegger ascribe a metaphysical importance to the aesthetic attitude by saying that it can reveal the essence of reality more profoundly than conceptualization.

I think having this artistic attitude is liberating in a way. For example if you’ve just had a breakup with someone whom you invested a ton of emotions, you could write all the feelings and impressions down and thereby detach yourself from your experience. It helps you see the reality – good and bad of the relationship, all the different perspectives in a much clearer manner.

It reminds me of a story I had read about a great French impressionist painter Matisse. A visitor to his studio pointed to some unholy pictures hanging on the wall and asked Matisse: “Don’t you think these have a demoralizing effect on people?” The artist calmly replied, “My dear man, it is not a woman, it is only a picture.” An artist sees only a picture in a woman, whereas an ordinary man sees a woman in a picture–this is the difference between the two. This does not of course mean that all artists are holy sages. But in them the creative urge becomes so strong that it produces a certain degree of detachment–aesthetic detachment as it is called.

Of course this is very rare even among artists but it kind of demonstrates the concept. The artist basically creates a kind of psychical distance. The connection between the images in his mind and his impulses are supported by his will. Thus, if he detaches the will the connection can be broken in theory. It is a very challenging endeavor though.

Movies as a portal

Movies are a sort of portal for you to get into someone else’s shoes and experience the world from their eyes. Though how much you can get into the characters depends upon how much resonance the events and nature of the character create in you. Its kind of like music. If you hear a totally classical song when you’re in the mood to hear something fast and jumpy you are not going to have that level of engagement. So even while choosing movies its good to watch one that matches your mood and interest at that point of time for maximum involvement. Watching late night helps in creating the uninterrupted environment and low background light level. Another advantage is that, late in the night as we approach our sleeping time we are naturally drifting towards the alpha state. Alpha state is a great state to be in and an involving movie usually deepens this state. You can observe your reactions to the different events occurring in the movie and its a great way to analyze yourself.

The problem with movie watching though is that its too passive. And its difficult to reach a state of high concentration because of the continuous orientation responses it invokes in us – panning, zooming and constant movements of the image on screen. So its difficult for your mind to settle down and get truly involved. It tunnels your awareness onto certain aspects that are highlighted by the cinematography and that is stifling in a way.

I think future technologies might explore possibilities such as:
1. Fly around and watch the same scene from any angle you wish
2. Maybe, the whole TV could be 3D
3. A Holographic room
4. A headgear like device similar to Johnny quest
5. A device that gives you that 1.5hr dream in the correct sleep phase
6. Something that directly manipulates the electrical activity of the brain itself to recreate those experiences

Techniques to reduce sugar craving

Eating desserts after having the meal has 2 main advantages:

1. The blood sugar spike is minimized since in your meal, your consuming complex carbohydrates which only gradually increase blood sugar levels. After that the consumption of the sweet relatively does not cause such a big spike.

2. Eating desserts on an empty stomach/when fully hungry causes a much greater craving for those items. Eating them on a full stomach comparatively causes much lower craving.

Another way suggested to reduce sugar craving is to frequently keep consuming small amounts of food.