Friday, August 23, 2019

What risks scare or terrify us?

Since I am also a believer that natural is not necessarily better, this article was nothing new. However, the point about how different people rate different risks made me wonder, what do I regard as risky?

The first was obvious, the highest perceived risk for Nuclear Power by most people, has very low risk for me. I would be happy to live next to a nuclear power plant as I expect that the quality of life around it will not deteriorate. The likelihood of an accident is negligible. Furthermore, and this is just a hope, that should there be an accident, it would be fast and furious :)

Then there is the risk of driving or even walking down the road. I do both but always wishing for a safer option. I would love to see auto-driven vehicles take over. I would love to see only electric carts within towns and no private vehicles. This is a hope that it will happen one day, though not likely in my lifetime.

Now the risk which terrifies me. Manipulating the human brain using technology. The only personal experiences of the damage people can do to each other are related to property disputes between brothers and sisters. The passion, viciousness and self-destructiveness defies logic. Hence, it makes it easy to extrapolate to events like riots and even genocide.

I can easily imagine bots learning to create and spreading ever more effective messages which will be spread using messengers like Whatsapp. The utility of messengers is so great that they will be around like cars and roads. I don't see how the messages can be stopped except, of course, by an even worse solution like 1984.

Postscript: Saw this about the spectacle of Chidambarm's arrest just after writing about my fears

Monday, March 4, 2019

Walking around Chandigarh - still not too smart

Returning to Chandigarh after almost a year, Rose Garden is a bit of a shock. There is huge section dug up for the underpass. I assume it is meant for cars as I find it hard to comprend that this large a space could be needed for pedestrians alone. A few days later I come across this article on the same underpass calling it a waste of money.

The markets have barricades along the sidewalks. They may have been intended as a way to save pedestrian spaces but I find them a nuisance and ugly. Barricades may be useful for crowd control but hardly the tool to prevent encroachment of the sidewalks. Are we as a people so insensitive or not able to learn that we have to install such ugly and inconvenient options?

Pedestrian crossings, especially in 17 sector, are blocked by metal railings on one side or both sides. Either jump over the railing, which is becoming harder and riskier as I age, or walk along the road from an opening and cross and again walk along the road till an entry can be located.

Did anyone design or authorize this? Will that person ever accept credit for this weird solution?

At least it made me blog after a long time!