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Trusting Businessmen Messiah with future of humanity

#ElonMusk #Musk #Business #Commerce #VirtueofSelfishness #Technology #BusinessmanMessiah #Padmavat #Padmavati #Microsoft #Intel #DumbPC #SunMicrosystems #BillGates

The jurisprudence used by Supreme Court in dealing with Padmavat, a completely commercial venture is an interesting subject to explore; as protection under concept of freedom of expression should, typically be reserved for expressions with implied intent of greater good and not for individuals using the expression to make money.

The application of this novel jurisprudence by SC is obviously rooted in changing social perception towards making money so it needs debate. But, the specific issue now is too emotive to try reasoning with, so I would transcend it by a level and look at a new phenomenon, i.e. emergence of businessmen messiahs enjoying popularity as do-gooders in public perception.

As we turn blind towards the simple fact that every business venture shall have a selfish intent, flamboyant businessmen are becoming social heroes. And the one name that shines like a quasar in the staler list containing likes of Zuckerbergs and Bransons is Elon Musk.

For the educated youth across the world, Elon Musk is larger than any hero. He is almost a messiah about to change the world, and he is doing it through Tesla, a commercial venture. Soon his Lithium-ion batteries will save humanity from fuel guzzling cars or coal burning power plants.

Unfortunately, I have a problem with this, as Musk takes me back to a point in history of evolution of computers, where another businessman in similar position took a very similar commercial decision while changing the world.

In not too distant past, at the dawn of computerisation of the globe, technology had arrived at a fork. In one direction was a standalone computer with individual hard-disk and processor and in other was a smart central core with a network of dumb PCs linked to it.

A standalone computer meant massive duplication of everything. You needed same soft-wares installed in every machine and there would be un-utilised data storage and processing power sitting idle on every desk. There would also be piracy issues, upgrades and debugging problems and humungous amount of wasteful redundancy making it a highly inefficient system.

On the other hand, a network driven system with smart core means no software piracy, no waste of data-space, no un-used processing power, and a smart interconnected world.

While the centralised processor was a bit distant, it was achievable provided those empowered directed technology in that direction.

Unfortunately, the decentralised model had one advantage that dwarfed everything else. It meant creation of an enormous market with astronomical amount of business opportunities. It meant a PC on every desk that would need copies of soft-wares and processing chips. It meant Microsoft and Intel becoming superpowers.

What happened next is history. Today, after passing through that winding road of desktop PCs, we may return to cloud-based centralised system, but reality is, it could have been done lot earlier if businessmen are what we imagine them to be today.

What Musk is doing through is Tesla cars and batteries is just a replication of what Gates did with computers. He is not solving any problem. He is just doing business, and is just smart enough to brand it better.

Lithium-ion batteries need electrical power to charge and cause pollution when disposed. They are just adding a layer on top of existing power and pollution problems.

What we really need is a model that shifts us from individual vehicles full of redundancy. We need to learn from the mistake we made with computers.

Technology can deliver anything, provided it is invested in with appropriate goal of greater good. But, if we start thinking that commerce can be a guiding light for humanity, we could be sadly mistaken.

I am happy to admit that I have managed surviving till now with minimum effort as all my intellect has be used to avoid doing anything meaningful. As I needed to while all the free time I generated in course of being lazy, science has been my favorite muse that I have enjoyed company of. As an effort to kill time (in a way, to get even with it) one fine day I decided to write a science column, more for my personal amusement than to attract readers. After getting educated about the attention span of modern readers from my editor, it became more like a challenge to tackle esoteric subjects in 600 words that I have managed to remain interested in for more than a year now. I do not want to add my worldly profile here as these are ideas that need to be considered only on the merits they carry and not as an opinion of a certain human being.

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