Turning 30 had seemed to me then, when I contemplated it from a safe 18 years of age  – a very big deal; a downhill from here on kind of a rite of passage. But today on turning 34 – it seems particularly juvenile in comparison! I had hoped this will be 34 years of experience and wisdom; I look at my life and realize that this may in fact not be so. I am no wiser than I was when I was not 34. But ah that was then and this is now – I look fwd to my 34th year of my life with expectations and cheer. For one I learnt today that Cisco bought Web Ex – that kind of takes away from my earlier prediction that Google would buy it. But good to see the network giant move into the applications space. It looks to me suspiciously like an upstream acquisition to me; a lot like a news paper buying a forest to guarantee wood pulp except that it is more like a forest buying a news paper to ensure more of its woods get used (cut!). I am terribly sorry about that horribly mixed and environmentally unfriendly metaphor; but I am getting older and am not getting wiser or at least as wise as I would have hoped!
If all goes well I should do another 36 years on this planet and if things get better; those years will have less global warming and the nuclear fears would have been under control. Hopefully the world will be a better place. I had once opined that the 21st century would be one of cynics, there would be so much information overload and there would be so much multi tasking – most people would go thru life with certain pre dispositions so strong – that they often would not look at options. A lot of it – I thought was because we started the year 2000 with a scare that was not; people I think stopped believing from then on. But then on this century has also seen such incongruous niceties as the corporate NGO and grants from computer billionaires for a better world. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Google.org come to mind and show that at the same time as we had Enron and others – we have also had do gooders.
So what has all that gotta do with my 34th birthday – nothing really; I was once again looking at this time and day and thinking about all that we have to marvel at. Another thing that happened today was the release of the digitally enhanced film version of the graphic novel by Frank Miller – 300. The number comprises the brave; hardy and committed soldiers of Sparta who came up one night to fight the marauding hordes of Xerxes the King of Persia at the narrow pass of Thermopylae about 480 years before Christ in ancient Greece under King Leonidas. The movie as any retelling of history must – has caused quite a furor with Google bombs being set off! I have not seen the movie – but in this time and age of the internet; I did get a fair idea of the visuals and the storyline from the studios web site. And the visuals are mind blowing and heralds a new way of film based story telling where reality is virtual and the imageries are a dreamscape of the mind! I think I am going to see many more movies like that and video games and computer generated animatronics around life and existence as I grow older.
And I look forward to the brave new world that takes shape amongst us; I read Aldous Huxley’s vision of it when I was younger – about when I was 12. That is the kind of an age when these things leave quite an impression on you – especially a book as impressive as The Brave New World. At 34 – I look back and still think that this book was the first (or at least best ever) attempt at seeing the future for what it would be! I think a lot of the future is going to be about computers and electronic machinery; these are going to be a large and larger part of our lives. Even mechanical devices like cars will be more and more dependant on integrated circuit based processors as they already are today. Human beings are that much more going to be about clear cut ones and zeroes; decisions will be a rather bit more – how shall we say – less about the humans than about the costs and mechanisms and the processes and the outcomes. It is already so as any one who has worked in the outsourcing business will tell you. In the future as I can see it – the children grow up faster and the end of innocence is earlier than when I was younger. Oh so much for growing old in a world where computers rule! Viva la future!

About Soumya
A technology enthusiast, forever enamored by all that it hath wrought and of course here is an attempt at making sense of it all and perhaps simplifying it!

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