My thoughts run free here...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Enthiran - Robots have feelings?

A few weeks back I had gone out with my parents to watch Enthiran. The movie was, of course, really wonderful, fantastic and excellent in all aspects! At first the concept that a humanoid has feelings boggled me. I simply couldn't come to accept it but since it was just a movie, I didn't really care about it.

Although now, thinking about it makes me realize that it is possible. For this, I started thinking of how do feelings arise. How do feelings come about? A machine only has knowledge stored in its memory. It has a "brain" that consists of intellect, memory and the questioning capability (meaning it is able to learn from experience). What is this brain made of? It is nothing but wires, connections and electrical impulses flowing through the machine that makes it move and so on.

Now looking at the human brain, it also has memory, intellect, the questioning/learning capability AND one more thing: ego. This ego is the notion of "I"-ness. A robot may not have the awareness of "I", meaning itself. But we humans have this self-awareness. We look at things and objects around us and are able to say, "this watch is mine" or "this is my hair". But a robot does not do this. The robot does not have ego.

However, somehow this ego is born in this robot called Chitti when it starts to recognize something or someone as belonging to him. Chitti starts to identify certain things as belonging to him and therefore, desires start arising in him. 

When the notion of "I" is born, desires arise. It is very natural for all of us. And once desires arise, emotions take place too. When you acquire a desired object, you are happy. When someone else gets it instead of you, you are jealous. When someone or something is an obstacle between you and the desired object you are angry. When you lose the desired object, you are sad. So now we can see clearly, that when desires arise in us, so do the emotions. 

Since our brain is also nothing but neurons (in place of wires) with connections and electrical impulses (just like the robot's "brain"), it is also possible for humanoids to have emotions and the notion of "I".

One wonderful movie that portrays whatever has been discussed in this post is "I Robot". It is a wonderful movie and I personally like it more than Enthiran.
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Friday, November 5, 2010

Tapping on the Unknown Factor

It has been so long since I've made a post in this blog. Therefore, I would like to start today, especially when it is such an auspicious day like Deepavali. There are many stories behind Deepavali. The general theme of them all, however, is the inevitable victory of good over evil. This assumes that there are two opposing poles called good and evil. This is a wrong assumption because evil is just the absence of goodness. So in essence, there is only goodness, but when it is absent in someone or something, we call it evil. 

There is a wonderful short story I came across from one of my friend's email. It says: 

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil (Adharmic) -  It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good (Dharmic)-  It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed." 
Therefore, victory of good over evil simply means the victory of Dharma over Adharma. By deeply analysing the above story for just today, just for a few minutes, let us all try to recognise the "evil" in us, and let us try to uproot it. Let us make a promise to ourselves today that by the next Deepavali I would try to conquer one of my "evil" qualities. Be it anger, jealousy, false pride or laziness. Anything. Let us make this promise quietly to ourselves and change ourselves for better. If there is no "evil" in you, then let us try to cultivate one of the good values like truth, generosity, compassion or humility. 
The one who protects Dharma, that Dharma will protect him. The equation works like this. When you protect Dharma, meaning when you do Dharmic actions, you earn merits or punya. More punya can counter the sins or paapa you gathered so far. So during dire times, the punya that you have earned by doing Dharmic actions will save you. This is what it means by "dharmo rakshati rakshata".

Such being the value of Deepavali festival, I hope you now realize that you can actually wish anyone a Happy Deepavali, be it someone of another race, religion or nationality. This is because the value of this festival applies to everyone. And as we celebrate the festival today with our family in any way possible, just remember Ishwara who is the reason behind all your happiness. Pray to Him, get His blessings and live Happily! :)

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