Monday, March 29, 2010


" SixthSense is a wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world around us with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information."

- Pranav Mistry, Inventor.

Human beings rely on five senses to live life and survive. To be able to feel textures, taste sweetness, smell freshness, hear laughter and see the beauty that surrounds us are things MasterCard advertisements would describe as priceless. Money can't buy love or happiness but it can buy convenience.

Such convenience comes in the form of technology - a product of our creation and innovation. We have made things cheaper, faster, bigger, and better. Such innovation has changed the way people now live their lives and communicate with each other. Technology has made the world a boarder-less community; transcending distance, time and boundaries. It has brought the world together on the world-wide-web and allowed people from all walks of life to interact and communicate with each other. To share more and learn more.

However, with the sweet there is always the sour. Like many doubled edged swords, Technology also has its ill effects. As connected as it makes people, it also isolates many. We now interact more with our computers, programs, hand-held gadgets, and the internet than we do each other. We SMS instead of call. We e-mail instead of snail-mail. We Skype instead of meeting face-to-face. We blog and make our lives public instead of keeping our personal thoughts private. We now do many things differently that take us away from each other. More walls are created than transcended and people are more disconnected than ever. Alot of Technology has taken us away from the physical world and dulled our senses than once helped man survive.

To solve this dilemma of integrating technology and humanizing it more - Pranav Mistry of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has created the SixthSense. Say goodbye to all the hardware we so desperately depend on to communicate and entertain ourselves - soon, all you will need is a mini projector and color markers (in techie jargon - visual tracking fiducials) to access the digital world, while still being engaged with your environment. No longer will you need to be confined to your desktop or constantly remember not to lose your phone or laptop to stay connected. With the SixthSense, a gap is bridged and the world at your finger-tips - quite literally.

Such Technology is revolutionary. The digital age is headed towards an era of virtual reality. Innovation and invention will soon be not only for the purposes of convenience but also to engage or enhance one's senses, with a SixthSense. Think Minority Report/The Matrix/007 - movie magic will soon become a reality.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

GLOBALization: The Bad, The Good and The Beautiful.

Globalization is a broad term used to describe an ongoing exchange of ideas, languages and cultures. It is the integration of regions and countries through a network communication and trade spanning the globe.

It is easy for many of us to criticize and condemn, however, it takes twice the effort to compliment and appreciate - blame it on human nature. It is even more so when one is on the losing side with the short end of the stick in hand. The struggle for power that we have seen in volumes of history books and stories passed onto us by our ancestors is and always will be part of the balance of life. What goes up, must come down and where there are rich, there almost always, the poor around the corner. In economic terms, resources are scarce and for the market to work - some must lose out on opportunity costs for there to be a balance of power and for resources to be utilized efficiently and effectively.

There have been numerous articles written and commentaries made on the evils of Globalization. Rallies and protests over the many years have also been held against organizations that promote Globalization like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Both the Pro and Anti sides have valid reason to be fighting the good fight for their ideals. It is true that Globalization fosters economic development and brings in opportunity for many in disadvantaged countries - opportunities that would not have been there had it not been for the opening of trade doors. However, it is also true that with great power comes great responsibility - large multi-national companies (many from the USA) have been largely unregulated and have had the opportunity to exploit local resources for monetary gain and leave these communities to waste after. The debate over good and bad is endless and as with many issues, there will always be differing perspectives and the indifferent.

Personally, i see both sides of the coin and it is a double edge sword. However, i would be a hypocrite to sway against Globalization. It affects so many aspects of our everyday lives, much of the time unknowingly. From the things we use to the media influencing us and our culture. It has undoubtedly changed the fabric of society throughout history and is increasingly doing so through improvements in technology and communication. The internet has made it possible to connect and stay connected to people all around the world. Such accessibility and convenience has done more good than bad if one thinks about it. Much of the world's progress can be attributed to Globalization. The proliferation of media has made human beings more knowledgeable and aware of themselves and their surroundings. People have become more cultured and open minded to each others differences as we learn about the ways of the world. It has made the human race more civilized and free from ignorance. As the world, societies, economies and cultures progress and develop - so do individuals. This change empowers people to do more with the world and within their lives as they gain more control.

To imagine a world isolated and protected from the outside is a romantic notion. Unfortunately, as human beings, it is in our nature to be inquisitive. We will always wonder of whats out there and if the grass is really greener on the other side of the fence. This constant search for meaning and thirst for knowledge is insatiable and is in essence the reason why Globalization started in the first place. No man is an island and therefore seeks connection to survive and flourish. This is everyone's right. Maybe this is the answer to World Peace. Maybe it is just pure capitalistic propaganda to take over the world. Whatever it is, i am grateful for it as it has made the world my oyster to discover.

If it wasn't for Globalization, i wouldn't be sitting here in Singapore after growing up in the Philippines and studying in the International School system despite being born in Taiwan - i am a product of Globalization.