Week offs are rotational and it is the time to reconnect with the family and generally speaking try and make the most of what is on offer. Being a ‘normal’ guy in my mid 30’s, the fascination for cars and gadgets brings up the often stated fact, “Boys will be boys” and I could not pass on the opportunity to participate in the most anticipated sound and vision exhibition called What Hi-Fi? which was held in the Pullman Hotel situated at Aerocity, New Delhi from the 22nd till the 24th September with exhibitors being the creme de la creme from all across the country and the world.
The cynic in me remembered what my Physics teacher used to tell us in the twelfth standard by equating the majority of our pursuits or expenses as”Conspicuous Consumption” Now there is a difference between spending money judiciously and being a spendthrift and am proud to say that I fall in the former category especially when my mid-life crisis is just around the corner. India has arrived on the digital superhighway with all guns blazing but still trails the developed world in terms of the extensive use of technology in everyday fields and we miss the cutting edge which could be demonstrated with Amazon not releasing Alexa or Echo devices in the Indian context rather giving us a toned down version in the form of a voice remote for the Amazon Prime.
The Ecosystem and AI
When one looks at the broader picture of automation and control; one automatically associates comfort and convenience with it and it definitely helps when in order to obtain synergy and compatibility in the ecosystem all the electronic devices like TV, smartphone, laptop could come under a common umbrella or a single brand which would not only ease data transfer but also seamlessly sift through the different hardware which is why Apple is the pioneer in such a scenario with bundled hardware like phone, TV, watch and tablet. This route is cost intensive and you really need to be a dedicated and patient geek in order to have a homogeneous environment. The Internet of Things and emphasis on cloud technologies are just a couple of pointers towards the world converging through dial-up, DSL, optic fibre high-speed broadband speeds.
An interesting trivia:-
The pioneers of Artificial Intelligence are two contrasting personalities with their views as different from each other as chalk and cheese. The first protagonist is the South African born head of Tesla Industries, Elon Musk who believes that just like every sphere of technology that has evolved, for example, cars, AI also needs to be regulated before it can override controls in a worst-case scenario.
Then you have the Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg who as the head of an enterprise with two billion members needs chat bots working on AI and does not believe that AI should be regulated.
This is where it becomes interesting, recently Facebook chat bots working on AI started conversing in their own language which humans could not understand and Facebook had to shut them down.
Apocalypse or Terminators? Take your pick.
The technology on display
A nice addition even though exorbitant was Dolby Atmos which are a set of speakers that not only provide surround sound but are installed in the ceiling in order to enhance the effect of rain drops or planes flying up above in a video. Atmos was provided by Harman under the brand Revel as a home theater package and the whole set up including the speakers and screen excluding the recliners would set you back by Rs 12,00,000 or $18,361 approx. Other companies in the stereo speaker space or loud speakers were Sennheiser, Q Acoustics, Gallo Acoustics and Focal(French company brought by Sahil International, Mumbai) to name a few. In fact Focal also had a stand alone speaker that cost Rs 55,00,000 or $84,000.
Mateos and Casadigi were other notable contributors in the home automation department which would start from automated lighting to eventually give you control of your air conditioner, TV, channels, movies, curtain all on your fingertips through a tablet.
Instead of making a hole in my pocket big enough for me to jump in I took dad and did what we do best. We ate at Pluck, a trendy restaurant, serving a buffet which was worth it because it was not limited to a select few guests but the fare on offer was nouveau and rich. I overstuffed myself and skipped the two meals after that but it was a morning well spent and something that I look forward to next year as well.