As the pilot announced the final descent, the credits started to roll on “The Murder on the Orient Express”, and so, the thoughts of Hercule Poirot still on my mind, I switched to the live feed from a camera placed on the plane’s wing, which showed that it was snowing outside. I finally understood why people outside of India obsess about the weather so much, because it is way too unpredictable by humans, warranting and even justifying the use of the first supercomputer for weather prediction. I was in a talk recently where the speaker told us the best way to break the ice was to start talking about the weather. That finally made sense and it happened involuntarily. I walked out of the warm airport and felt as if I had crossed the Wall (Game of Thrones).
I dragged my suitcase, but I could hardly feel my hands. I longed to see a store that sold gloves, and almost a walk of 1km, during which time I switched the hand dragging the luggage from left to right and gave each some pocket time for warmth. Finally I saw a store selling gloves and coats, and without resorting to our inherent feature of bargaining, bought it and breathed a sigh of eternal relief. I then went to the hotel, where I was told that I had to wait for about 3 hours before I was checked it and I waited, updating my Instagram and Facebook and so on.
At 2:45 I met a troop of people at the lobby and we got to talking, to start with about the weather. All of us – 2 from India, 1 from Pakistan, 1 from South Africa, 1 from Ghana and 1 from Zimbabwe, have all been used to temperatures of 30, and probably the lowest we’ve experienced is 15, so yeah, that broke the ice (as righty suggested by the speaker) and we decided to meet at the lobby in about an hour so we could go out and get some coffee.
We then added our numbers on Whatsapp, made a group and coordinated our met at 5:00 PM, and precisely we did. 4 of us walked through the Icy cold city, where we formally introduced ourselves. We first went to a Market, where we got our hands on a few hot potatoes and slowly started talking about the focus of the Drucker Challenge – “How to stay Human in Robot Society”. Talking and debating on each others’ essays, we reached a nice little cafe that screamed “cozy”, so we went in and ordered many types of Lattes. Once we got settled and continued talking, the discussion took an unexpected turn. From technology, the discussion went to society, and then to religion, cast, sect, then to politics, then to gender parity, then to how across the world there exists a class system and the massive increase in difference between them. It was a wonderful discussion that took us to the bedrocks of the Society – Balance is everything, for every yay, there is a nay, for every intelligent initiative, there is a counter-intelligent insurgent, for every ounce of growth in the society, there is a fall somewhere. However, the cause-and-effect isn’t immediate. For every imbalance, it may take days, months and even years for the balance to be restored, during which time the imbalance might totally topple the entire construct. Take for example allowing Walmart in to India. Though it is a sign of progress, growth in Indian FDI policy or globalisation or whatever, Walmart in India would mean the end of a million small industries, grocery stores and various people, who would all be dumped out of jobs. So, what’s keeping that from happening – Regulations. One can see regulations as being counterproductive, however, we can either see that roses have thorns of thorns have roses. Perspective and the idea of “greater good” matters, so, the point now then, is that there needs to be greater efforts to bring in a third part that would ensure that balance is restored, which is the inevitable law of nature. Regulation combined with Accountability then is of core importance.
Who should be accountable? As he broached this topic, we looked at the time, and it was time to meet the other Druckerians at the Hotel, so we walked back, our various ideas bubbling. At the hotel, we met 4 more people amazing people, and 8 of us together walked in search of a Viennese restaurant. A half of walk later, we finally settled into a nice fancy place called “Cafe Museum”, where we ordered a couple of things (none of which were to our satisfaction by the way), and started talking. The others too contributed their views on gender, class, caste, religion, politics and it was really enlightening. It seems that in South Africa, women are more educated than men now, thanks to the efforts of the government they said, and there are men who pay the women’s father for marriage, as a sign of saying thank you for raising her so well. The balance shifting again might lead to Men-centric acts or initiatives to restore balance, but the idea again is to show that change is possible. Now, contrast that with India. We then talked about how In Greece the economy is terrible and there exists a large disease of corruption, and exchanged ideas on the Demonetisation in India. We talked briefly about linguistics, about AI and talked about how in Zimbabwe, everything is going cashless and how it is great for the country.
We talked and talked until we reached the Hotel, where we retired for the night, thinking at how wonderfully aware people are of their country, society and more. And how this generation finally will bring change much needed to tackle problems that are much greater than yesterday.
So, to end this entry, who should be accountable, according to you, to ensure that there exists the needed balance, that there is no abuse of power and all the social elements – gender, caste, religion, class and politics are kept in check so that nothing can grow beyond control, leading to cannibalisation of humankind.
Looking forward to more discussions and talks with the Druckerians today: