Image from Javier Arrés via Giphy

Companies have begun declaring human enhancement as the solution to the existential threat posed by artificial intelligence, proclaiming that the race between Man and Machine is well underway, and we have not lost just yet. Kernel and Neuralink are two amongst several brain-computer interface (BCI) startups that are working to hack the human brain, so that humans can be endowed with superior physical, cognitive, and emotional ability, with the eventual goal of allowing humans to coevolve with AI.

The idea of enhancement is not new: for years, athletes have used physical enhancers to remain competitive, students have turned to cognitive…

Fragmented thoughts on isolation, identity, and technology in the pandemic-paradigm

Humans were chiseled, gradually nurtured, by the invisible forces of evolution to run free: bipedality liberated us from the trees of the forests, unleashing us upon the deserts, savannas, and seas. Out of eons of natural selection emerged prehensile hands, capable of carving intricate tools designed to kill, wound, or protect — a marvelous feat of evolution that is today, across much of the known world, deployed in rhythmically tapping on aluminum metal. …

A visualisation examining the factors affecting the spread…

The survival guide to immortality when artificial superintelligence forces us off the balance beam.

The advent of AI

Artificial Intelligence isn’t arriving, it’s here. Articles and books have been written, anthropomorphizing AI, listing its failure modes, and testifying that humanity will struggle to navigate the intricate moral and ethical issues associated with the new paradigm. Some have been met with acclaim, for uncovering social issues that humanity is yet to face; others, with criticism, for unsolicited and unsupported fear-mongering.

These references largely cover the field of artificial general intelligence (AGI), referring to a machine that has the ability to carry out higher-order mental functions in a variety of contexts, like humans. …

Exploring the role of social and political factors in the development and spread of Shotokan karate.

Samurai warriors before the ban of weapons in Okinawa. Source.

A brief history of karate

Shotokan karate is the most widely practiced form of karate today. Developed in the Ryukyuan islands (today, Okinawa), karate is derived from a combination of various martial arts and philosophical ideologies.

The development of martial arts in the Ryukyus occurred as a result of the banning of weaponry as early as the 14th century, when Okinawa was under independent rule. The banning of weapons resulted in the concealed, clandestine development of various forms of non-weapon combat techniques in the various districts of Okinawa. …

This is not an excuse, but an explanation of how our tech has shaped us

Photo: Bronek Kaminski/Getty Images

Dear Traditionalist, Baby Boomer, or Gen Xer,

Millennials have been criticized for too long for supposedly being more entitled, impatient, and narcissistic than previous generations. We have endured taunts labeling us as sensitive, sheltered, and snowflakey. But avocado toast and acai bowls will not be the legacy of this generation. What follows is a description of the world we grew up in and an explanation for our tendencies — an exposition of our very subjective realities.

We grew up with the internet, smartphones, networked devices, and a Wi-Fi connection — indeed, we developed with the information age. People older than…

The piece is an adapted letter that I wrote to my Sensei, telling them about my experiences learning karate in Tokyo, and my subsequent insights into Japanese culture.

Dear Sensei Dave and Ellen,

Hope you have had a great summer so far — I can imagine UVA must be quiet this time of the year! I recently got back from Tokyo, and wanted to tell you about my experience training there, before I forgot.

I was initially going to train with the Japan Karate Association in Tokyo, but with my knee injury, decided against it. But then this bizarre thing happened — I was trying to find a Starbucks in the middle of a financial district in Tokyo, and accidentally walked in on a karate belt test! …

Capitalism, happiness, AI, Kylie Jenner and the human condition: welcome to a radical, unrefined stream of consciousness.

For a design-thinking assignment, I was required to come up with a 100 questions about the world. The following statements are questions or insights — some trivial, some absurd, some profound. Some have objective answers, while others are simply cognitive stimulants. They are not grouped thematically, but simply presented in the order in which they were conceived. At times, there is no discernible train of thought, but some questions have thematic continuity.

Caffeine is advised. Onward.

Brown paper packages tied up with strings. A picture of something delightful.
  1. Why are academic and professional quantifiers and measures based on performance outcomes rather than learning outcomes?
  2. In the context of economics, should be place…

Understanding what constitutes Art, what it means to the human experience, and the consequences of Superintelligence on the freedom of human expression.

Art exists for two entities — the Creator and the Recipient. For the former, it is the tangible result of various internal mental processes combining with an intent to convey them, tainted by emotion and experience. It is the physical manifestation of the artist’s perception and cognition. For the latter, it is a medium of connecting with a Universal truth. It is the ultimate cathartic experience, meant to fill the Recipient with the sentiment felt at the time…

An overview of the economic and social quandaries that are likely to dominate our working-memory in the forthcoming years.

Machine Learning and why it Matters

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the broader concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way that we humans would consider ‘smart’. Machine Learning (ML), a subset of AI, refers to the idea of machines using data to make smart decisions — i.e. decisions they are not necessarily programmed to make.

Today, AI is growing faster than ever. A simple Google search lists the various industries AI is threatening to disrupt — finance, education, science, law… An AI system beats a Grandmaster at chess, and then at Go. …

Avantika Mehra

provide the subjective experience of a young millennial with a passion for epistemology and futurism. more @

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