Today information is available at the speed of thought so we can’t help but instantly like or share and move on! In this engaging talk, writer and human rights activist, Sisonke Msimang tells us the value of a story is not in what it says but in what it does…
Here’s an excerpt or simply watch it below (12-13 min).
‘So firstly, the world would be a better place, I think, if audiences were more curious and more skeptical and asked more questions about the social context that created those stories that they love so much. Secondly, the world would be a better place if audiences recognized that storytelling is intellectual work. And I think it would be important for audiences to demand more buttons on their favorite websites, buttons for example that say, “If you liked this story, click here to support a cause your storyteller believes in.” Or “click here to contribute to your storyteller’s next big idea.” Often, we are committed to the platforms, but not necessarily to the storytellers themselves. And then lastly, I think that audiences can make the world a better place by switching off their phones, by stepping away from their screens and stepping out into the real world beyond what feels safe.’
A 44-year old homeless man in Thailand with hardly a penny in his pocket, quietly returns a cash and card stuffed designer wallet to 30-year old business man, who overwhelmed by his honesty offers him a job and house. Cheers to both men! You can read that story here…
In a similar vein, this project for fundraising is aimed at helping the homeless, thanks to the creative efforts of photographer, Horia Manolache…who is clicking the homeless not just as they are, but as they may well be in an alternate reality where they are successful and happy. He has helped many in this process with proceeds of his photo book given to changing how the homeless are seen. You can support his project here….
The Big Issue is the world’s most widely circulated magazine that was birthed in UK. Inspired by Street News, a magazine sold by the homeless in US, it offers homeless people in UK, long time unemployed people, people marginalized by society and just about anyone whose life is blighted by poverty, an opportunity to move away from the streets by earning a legit income by selling this magazine and working themselves out of homelessness.
It kvells in the fact, it’s ‘a handup, not a handout’. Vendors BUY copies for £1.25 and sell for £2.50. They are working, not begging.
Started in 1991, the magazine 25 years later is synonymous with challenging, independent journalism and popular for securing exclusive interviews with the most elusive of superstars. It currently circulates around 100,000 copies a week.
The Big Issue Vendors are allocated a pitch or location, normally around a tube or train station and first issued with a number of free copies of the magazine. Last year alone more than £5 million was put into the pockets of the vendors, releasing them from dependence on handouts and providing a decent alternative to begging.
And the buck doesn’t stop there. The Big Issue Foundation, charity arm of The Big Issue supports vendors in gaining control of their lives by tackling the many issues that lead to homelessness and offers a smorgasbord of services.
Created as a business solution to a social problem, The Big Issue has inspired other street papers in more than 120 countries, leading a global self-help revolution. There are 9 Big Issue projects by the same name today in Australia, France, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Malawi, South Africa, Taiwan, Zambia.
Meet the man who started it all, John Bird who himself homeless at age of 5, was last year made a life peer at the House of Lords, appointed Member of Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his ‘services to homeless people’ and awarded the Beacon Fellowship Prize for his tireless energy and originality in raising awareness of homelessness and supporting homeless communities worldwide.
In his editorial, John pulls no punches when he says, “I’m trying to invent a philosophy of dismantling poverty, rather than keeping the poor comfortable” and exhorts any buyer to always TAKE the copy of the magazine since “it is a bloody good read and our sellers are working and need your custom”. Ne’er truer said!
Bhaskar Dutta is a writer and IT specialist based in London.
If you are sanguine about the opportunities and challenges of AI (artificial intelligence) in an evolving market (or, already sick to the back teeth on how ubiquitous AI is in today’s workplace) this statistic of Harvard Business Review can make you pause awhile and wonder what the world is coming to…
“Executives and experts from IT and communications sectors are bullish about the potential of artificial intelligence, on a survey by The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software & Society. 45% of respondents said the first AI machine would sit on a corporate board of directors by 2025. 75% predicted that 30% of corporate audits would be performed by an AI by that time. And 78% said that driverless cars would represent at least 10% of the vehicles on U.S. roads.”
In this report, Erik Brynjolfsson, Director, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and a prolific author says; “Now comes the second machine age. Computers and other digital advances are doing for mental power – the ability to use our brains to understand and shape our environments – what the steam engine and its descendants did for muscle power.”
It adds, “These changes will impact people around the world. Inventions previously seen only in science fiction, such as artificial intelligence, connected devices and 3D printing, will enable us to connect and invent in ways we never have before. Businesses will automate complicated tasks, reduce production costs and reach new markets. Continued growth in internet access will further accelerate change. In Sub-Saharan Africa and other underdeveloped regions, connectivity has the potential to redefine global trade, lift people out of poverty and topple political regimes. And for many of us, seemingly simple software innovations will transform our daily routines. These changes are not without their challenges; as technology improves the lives of many, we hope to help prepare people to understand and address concerns on privacy, security and job disruption…”
Feel free to grab this intriguing report as it sums up deep shifts happening around us and the timelines for it. That said, the next question is, where does all that leave you and me and in turn, reason for this humble post.
As a manager, if most of your day goes in administrative work, say monitoring or reporting and as a worker, you’re building/sorting/fixing/teaching or ‘strutting your stuff’, depending on your level of support, AI can automate it at best or at worst, soon master basic to intermediate levels and work longer hours and cheaper…so, unless you’re way up the ladder, work advance support or regarded an expert, you may be happy to hear, what is likely to see you through the next decade or two, is a little more creativity, empathy and judgment skill!
If that sounds too easy to be true (make no mistake, it may not be that easy) listen to Tim Leberecht, author of ‘The Business Romantic: Give Everything, Quantify Nothing, and Create Something Greater Than Yourself’ who here asks that in this day and age of artificial intelligence, big data and digitization of everything, are we losing sight of the importance of the emotional and social aspects of our work?
In closing and in tune to this sentiment, ‘we measure our lives in coffee spoons’, it may come to pass that in the near-to-far future, when AI takes over the technical aspects of life, we might see ourselves as a version of AI or Altruistic Intelligence, responsible for taking us to guiding stars and distant shores…
Bhaskar Dutta is a writer and IT specialist based in London.
We may have recently heard the term black moon and with the irrational fears surrounding the word ‘black’ some people connected it falsely with end of the world prophecies. In truth black moon is commonly a term used to refer to the second new moon that occurs in a month, just like blue moon is commonly a term to denote the second full moon in a calendar month. In this definition both blue moon and black moon would occur once in every 2.5 years.
There are some other ways of defining ‘blue moon’ and ‘black moon’ too. Astronomers often call the third or extra full moon of a season the blue moon. Simply put there would be thirteen full moons in a year and one of them is a ‘blue moon’ to occur periodically. In case of the ‘black moon’, the absence of a full moon or a new moon in a month is also sometimes referred to as a ‘black moon’ and this usually happens in February once in 19 years or so which makes it a much rarer phenomena comparatively.
So, is any of these ‘black moons’ a sign of doom and gloom? Of course not. Just like ‘blood moon’ or any date, month, year combinations – all these phenomena are merely associated with natural phenomena appearing within our calendars. Similarly dates and their frequencies such as 9.9.9 portals of September, or the numerical significance of any special dates are all dependent on the way we have designed our calendars through the ages in combination with the numerical frequencies. As they are based on our calendars they cannot denote the end of the world, simply because calendars are designed by human civilizations from time to time and these human civilizations are not the entire universe. This is the reason why the Mayan calendar’s prophecy was misunderstood by some people as ‘the end of the world’, while it was merely associated with their specific calendar.
Dates and frequencies of moons, eclipses and other celestial events can have a personal or group significance to many of us simply because of our belief and resonance with the same. The way these symbols manifest in our life has more to do with our interpretation, than with these events themselves. The new moon has usually been a symbol of new beginnings that usually follow endings. Similarly the full moons are symbols of awareness. This stems from the fact that the moon appears partially to us,appears full and does not appear at all during the new moon phase. The new moon is not necessarily a sign of negativity. If you believe in the positive the meaning of new moon and the associated ‘black moon’ will also transform to positive for you. Our mind ultimately is the creator of the matrix of life.
Black too can be seen as simply those things we cannot view with our limited human vision. It is not a negative or fearful color but a symbol of mystery and intuition.
As far as ‘end of the world’ theories go it is necessary not to focus on the fears and to remember that endings are usually beginnings in disguise, while infinity is our inner truth. It is wise to meditate, follow intuition and to live a positive life instead of focusing on ‘end of the world’ theories set in ignorance.
Swati Prakash is a spiritual author and can be followed on www.amazon.com/author/swatiprakash
Microsoft recently shared an executive summary on 10 futuristic jobs that says what careers our kids can hope to have in another ten years or so.
With increasing applications of artificial intelligence around the word today from robotized factories, self-driving cars, delivery drones to smarter systems, automated terminals, labor saving devices, some argue that technology is making jobs obsolete, skills redundant and retaining a big workforce no longer cost effective! Taken to one logical extreme, this is often cited as a ‘threat of machines’ but that is not necessarily true.
If anything, scientific advances have shown that technical and mechanical evolution offers more creative opportunities and when ethically applied improves the quality of life brought about by a spirit of discovery.
Skeptical? This TED talk then on what jobs we will lose to machines and ones we won’t will surely intrigue you.
As one author put it, ‘Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up, cause they’re looking for ideas!
Got any ideas? Tweet @mediapositivity
Bhaskar Dutta is a writer and IT specialist based in London.
Ever dreamed of being the king/ queen of your own castle? Well, this story proves that ordinary people can do extraordinary things, if they believe.
Little Dot Smith grew up in a small dairy farm north of Auckland with little money and a great imagination, dreaming of castles in air. Today at 60 years of age she is adding finishing touches to her magnificent building project called Riverstone Castle, set on an island at Riverstone, NZ, and complete with dungeon, drawbridge and towers. It includes an award-winning restaurant, Riverstone Kitchen, Dot’s giftware shops, oceans of organic vegetable, flower gardens and much more.
While the internet has already united the world as one, it is also believed that at one time approximately 300 million years ago all continents were joined together as Pan-Gaea (whole-earth), a single landmass which broke apart and drifted away to form the existing continents. Now scientists say that all continents might be coming together very slowly and returning to a single super-continent once again within 50 to 250 million years. Perhaps the jigsaw puzzle of earth keeps re-solving itself over and over again as earth heals physically, although global spiritual healing is always happening even right now.