Age of Algorithm

Amazingly, in a span of a few years the internet has evolved from a high tech curiosity to a basic element of modern life. Every day, everywhere, billions turn to the internet for downloading and uploading pages and images among several other things. Over the years, the internet has grown exponentially. Undoubtedly, it is still growing constantly. It has not only revolutionized the world.  But it has also transformed the every sphere of life- be it communication, financial transaction, research, and education to name a few. It has completely changed just about everything- the way- we think, find information and how we shop and most importantly pay securely.

As the wired enthusiasts navigate the online world, surf pages and upload pictures and textual matters, little did they know that the whole thing is deciphered by revolving around the algorithm/s. How to search information with Google search engine and how to find friends on Facebook, all are governed by algorithm/s. It is important to note, the algorithm is not a newbie like this digital world. It is a mathematical term and is centuries old. It generally means a set of instructions to solve a problem. In relation to the internet, it is a sophisticated, fast and accurate tool which delivers results effectively and efficiently.

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The algorithms handle this complex and complicated data, interpret, interrelate and interosculate in such a way that useful information is available in a jiffy. It does not take very long to line up all the possible results. It helps us stretch our imagination to figure out what actually we are looking for.

The algorithm/s can be called- the brain of the internet, which encrypts our personal information and data to help us to navigate this complex online world. It is the lifeline of Google search engine, e-commerce portal, online music and everything digital. The algorithm/s gets to work to display more than one hundred billion searches every month. Definitely, it is becoming one of the most important tool/s to manage the scale of operations, speed of execution and complexity of human nature. It maps the behavior of the consumers on the basis of their past search, thereby keeps an eye on their needs and wants and accordingly sort their preferences and choices. Hence, it anticipates and influences, human behavior. It also gauges the difficulties faced by the user while surfing. It is a mathematical term which has a name (Algorithm) but has many identities vis a vis to internet- tool, software, code, program or set of instructions. Whatsoever it is, there is a lot surfing on them. And did you realize, this is what you are using right now? Thanks to Algorithm!!

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What you search:  An algorithm monitors your interests, habits, keywords and throws up the best options. The online buying portal will have a different homepage for different buyers on the basis of the preference and choice of a particular consumer.

What you read: Depending on what you read you will be pushed a lot more on the topic on LinkedIn.

Recommendations: You will get recommendations on the basis of what you generally buy. If you are a book lover, most likely you will get a must read 500 books list from an e- commerce portal.

Understands you online: An Algorithm picks up information from images, text, videos whenever you visit Facebook, YouTube, e-commerce portal, etc. and then it tries to understand what you want and require. Therefore, it also anticipates your future online actions.

Isn’t this wired world amazing and  interesting but complex.

 

 

 

Sad or Glad

This summertime, our family reunion was in Bali. It was a reunion of three generations. I find it  quite interesting how different generations have a different perspective on parenting, marriage, life and everything in between.

We had been planning everything for a few months and when it was finally time to board the plane, we were beyond excited.  During our flight, we were reminiscing about my siblings and of course sibling rivalry. As usual, there is always a nostalgia about sibling rivalry. I was also curious to meet my long lost cousins, their families and most importantly,  people from third generations who are equally excited to join in. Throughout, I  kept myself hydrated  so that I look good and  feel good when I get there and frankly, it really worked.

I fully agree with and support my father’s decision. Bali, with its serene natural beauty and pristine beaches  against the backdrop of ancient temples, is the perfect place for family reunions. The locals are really friendly and the food, simply fantastic!  The past and the present blend seamlessly here. Natural attractions, apart, this place will keep everyone engaged with a slew of activities.

We were the first ones to reach and check in the grand villa. The feeling was simply surreal. Embraced by the charm of the clear sky and the lush green garden, it felt like THE ideal place to be. Not only were the surrounding breathtaking, the amenities in the villa also exceeded our expectations. A 24-hour butler, driver, Balinese massage, swimming pool and (most importantly) good WI-Fi – what else could one need. Bali is the  perfect place to catch up and unwind.

With families arriving every few hours, the place was packed by the evening. A delightful cacophony of shouts of joy could be heard all around and people of all types filled the villa. There were chubby and cute babies; tall and lean to short and stout kids; geeks to jocks; married to unmarried adults and healthy to not so healthy oldies. We talked about the good old days, sibling rivalry and also about how my father  favored me no matter what as I was the youngest in the family.

I was meeting the families of a few distant cousins for the first time. First, I had the impression that it would be awkward to meet them after so many years but I was wrong. They all knew me and  I knew them well. Although, with the passage of time, there was a profound change in all of us. After catching up for a few hours, we all called it a day. Everyone was looking forward to the enjoyment of the next day.

But, the next day, what I noticed left me thinking. Absolute silence had descended into the room. Except for a few, most of the people were busy on their devices. They watched with rapt attention as they updated their status on Facebook, uploaded pictures on Instagram and watched videos on  YouTube.  The little ones were left alone on their own. One thing immediately struck me: are these devices new sibling in the house? Then by all odds, there will be a  sibling rivalry here too. I felt bad for those little ones who were too young to handle themselves, let alone this new sibling and its rivalry. No doubt, the omnipresence of technology is taking us slowly but surely away from the families.

However, when we all greeted each other and the day really began, the dampening thought slipped from my mind.We took the caravan to the beach with a picnic basket (all credits go to our butler for that fantastic spread).

Bali offers incredible activities for everyone, including both kids and adults. We all tested our courage as we soared through the sky on a parasail and  the others  showed their adventurous side as they snorkeled and surfed. The older people took solace in the traditional Balinese massage. Ladies were busy haggling for sarongs and hats. Making of sand dunes was the favorite of the little ones. As the sun was going down, the blue sky along with the ocean was changing hues. We then witnessed a  picture perfect spectacular sunset.

As the night fell, there was an unbelievable buzz in the air, which was a perfect accompaniment to the booze and the breeze. The place was same, but not the atmosphere. Under the stars, the place was humming with the thumping of drums, tapping of feet and clicking of glasses. We came back recharged and relaxed. It was a  day full of amusement and exhilaration.

I wish we could have had more of this amusement. But, like a whole lot of other things, this fun-filled reunion came to an end. It was time  to pack the suitcases and say goodbye. The bags were  filled with  sand chafed linen and   souvenirs for family and  friends back home. Everyone departed with a heavy heart but  promised to meet again. As always, it was a memorable extravaganza.

New Normal

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The news of the launch of  Apple’s smart watch took me to the days of yore. Well,  not to be a  braggart, but my parents mentioned me frequently, as a kid, I was  smart. Oh yes, on my 10th birthday, my loving parents decided to gift me a wristwatch. It was a prized possession and  a thoughtful gift, an essential device to see and tell time. It was the apple of my eyes. Back then, they were available in all sorts of vibrant colors in all  shapes,  sizes and brands.  Little did I know, one day that humble wristwatch will become smart too. There was a natural curiosity to trace the history of  the wristwatch. It is evolved from a piece of jewelry worn only by women to a wristlet to quartz to the smart watch. But, one thing I can say  for sure, I have become smarter with the arrival of the smart watch, but this watch needs many upgrades to stay smart.