Mature Learners

School for the 2nd half of life:

The psychologist Karl Jung was perhaps the first one to suggest that one cannot lead the second half of life on the principles applicable to its first half and lamented the lack of a ‘ School for the second half of life’.
This program attempts to fill that need in part, and shares the tasks that Jung recommended for the 2nd half of life.
The courses in this program are delivered through Whatsapp which can be accessed through a mobile phone, independent of location.

There are 4 weeklong courses in this suite:

WLL05: MSAI: Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence

WLL06: LH2L: Learning How to Learn?

WLL07: Preparing for a 100 year life

WLL08: Death! Understanding it is important to lead a good life

All these weeklong courses can be done in a month. After that the learner is ready to embark on his/her own or be mentored throughout the long lifelong learning journey.

Details of WLL05: offered during first week of every month:

WLL05: Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence


We are now in the 4th Industrial Age and while Artificial Intelligence has been compared to being the new electricity, it’s availability through the cloud and mobile devices is much more universal.

Since AI helps automate tasks which were earlier done by humans, it’s potential to enhance almost all human activities is enormous, and that is why we have adopted an “AI for all” policy, rather than AI for a privileged few.

This is an introductory  one month ( 4 weeks) course for anyone who is curious to know what are the various aspects of AI. That is why it has been given the title ” Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence”. Throughout the course, there will be links to and information about books, articles and videos to learn more. 

This course is therefore a fascinating introduction for the curious, with substantial guidance on more for the serious. 

This course is an attempt to answer the question, in this climate of the hype around the topic. The better we understand AI, the greater the sense of awe at the sheer complexity of the brain, and the amazing algorithms that nature has devised to solve one of the hardest problems known to man. What we see around us are examples of ‘ narrow AI’ or ‘weak AI’. But the quest for ‘strong AI’ is going to be a long journey…. but it’s perhaps the greatest scientific voyage that we can take now….

Monday Day 1: The origins and the present landscape of AI:

1.1: A brief history of evolution of AI

1.2: The Turing test

1.3: Simple automation, algorithmic automation and intelligent automation

1.4: AI and allied ( sometimes confused) terms

1.5: Narrow Intelligence, General Intelligence & Super Intelligence

Tuesday Day2: AI, Machine learning and Deep learning 

2.1: The relationship between AI, ML and DL

2.2: Approaches to machine learning 

2.3: The search for a master algorithm

2.4: Deep Learning and Artificial Neural Networks

2.5: The Mathematics underlying Machine Learning

Thursday Day 3: Generic AI tools: 

3.1: Recommendation Engines

3.2: Predictive models

3.3: Speech Recognition 

3.4: Natural Language Processing

3.5: Computer Vision

Wednesday Day 4: Application areas:

4.1: AI and Marketing

4.2: AI and Finance

4.3: AI and Healthcare

4.4: AI and Agriculture

4.5: AI and autonomous transportation

Friday Day 5: AI and Social Good

5.1: The future of work and human dignity

5.2: AI and SDGs ( Sustainable Development Goals)

5.3: World economic forum on ethical issues in AI

5.4: AI and bias 

5.5: AI in the foreseeable future

WLL06: LH2L: Learning How to Learn?

A 5 day course:

Day 1: Why self-learning ?

Topic 1.1: Why is self-learning important? 

Topic 1.2: Awaken the learner within

Topic 1.3: Serendipitous, deliberate and mandatory learning

Topic 1.4: Unlearning what and how you learn at School 

Topic 1.5: Where and how to learn more? 

Day 2: Techniques of becoming a better learner:

Topic 2.1: Avoiding procrastination 

Topic 2.2: Using mind maps

Topic 2.3: Grit! Passion with perseverance  

Topic 2.4: The right mindset

Topic 2.5: The Feynman technique 

Day 3: Habits of successful learners

Topic 3.1: Stephen Covey

Topic 3.2: Habits of unsuccessful people

Topic 3.3: Malcolm Gladwell

Topic 3.4: The 5 hour rule

Topic 3.5: Josh Kaufman

Day 4: Using AI and other emerging technologies to become a better learner

Topic 4.1: Converting speech to text And text to speech

Topic 4.2: Benefitting from Machine Translation

Topic 4.3: Recommender systems for better learning

Topic 4.4:  Learning with Augmented Reality

Topic 4.5:  Using Virtual Reality for learning

Day 5: What is worth learning, and demonstrating your knowledge

Topic 5.1: General principles

Topic 5.2: Useful knowledge versus useless knowledge

Topic 5.3: Keeping pace with intelligent automation

Topic 5.4:  Creating explainer content

Topic 5.5: Becoming an influencer


WLL07: Preparing for a 100 year life  :

The Backdrop: 

It is common across cultures to ‘bless’ people with “ May you live to be 100”. In Sanskrit we say “ शतनजीवि भव: “. The Italians say “ cent’anni” which is a contraction of “cento anni” and sometimes they add “e piu” for and more. 

The more important matter is that as you approach the number 100, will it be a blessing or a curse. 

India ageing faster than perception:

India is ageing faster then we thought: (Times of India August 12th 2018)

The government has disclosed that the number of people above 60 in India will rise to around 340 million by 2050

India is greying faster than previously projected by several agencies. 

The growth rate of the 0-14 population is slowing but that of older people is rising.

“India Ageing Report 2017” by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says the share of population over the age of 60 could increase from 8% in 2015 to 19% in 2050. In absolute terms, this will be a very large number. 

People living in India experience the health problems associated with ageing at an early stage than those living in Japan or Switzerland, according to a first-of-its-kind study published in The Lancet Public Health.

Why this course : 

The life-spans and life expectancy at birth have been continuously increasing over the last decades, creating new unforeseen and important changes in the social and economic fabric of society as well as personal challenges for those with the blessings of a ‘long life’. 

But during the last 3 years, in the US there has been a slight drop in this trend. It can be dismissed as insignificant or interpreted to suggest that leading a long life is not enough. Humans want to lead a meaningful life as well. 

Japan on the other hand has a large number of happy persons who have found their Ikigai and are living to be 100 and beyond ( many in Okinawa). 

The psychologist Karl Jung was perhaps the first one to suggest that one cannot lead the second half of life on the principles applicable to its first half and lamented the lack of a ‘ School for the second half of life’.

This program attempts to fill that need in part, and shares the tasks that Jung recommended for the 2nd half of life. 

The program is delivered through Whatsapp which can be accessed through a mobile phone, independent of location 

The flow of the weeklong program:

Day 1:Monday: Understanding the ageing phenomenon:

1.1: Drivers of increasing longevity

1.2: What Science says about ageing? 

1.3: Positive ageing

1.4: About death and dying 

1.5: When death becomes optional

Day 2: Tuesday : Lifestyle to promote healthy ageing

2.1: Diet

2.2: Fitness

2.3: Inculcating a happy disposition 

2.4: Dealing with adversities 

2.5: Becoming a lifelong learner gives you a longer life

Day 3: Wednesday: The stages of life

3.1: The stages of life 

3.2: Developing strong relationships

3.3: Creating a 10 year plan 

3.4: The 7 tasks for the 2nd half of life ( Carl Jung) 

3.5: Managing transitions between the stages of life

Day 4: Thursday: Experiences of long lived people

4.1: Blue zones across the world

4.2:What we can learn from Okinawa ?

4.3: The surprising secrets to living longer and better :

4.4: There are no rules: experiment and explore

4.5: Interviews with 100 year olds

Day 5: Friday : Making old age a blessing and not a curse:

5.1: Enjoying the fruits of your investments in relationships

5.2: Finding meaning and purpose in your life ( your Ikigai)

5.3: Learning in later life ( University of the 3rd stage) 

5.4: Thoughts from Bertrand Russell and others…

5.5: Wrapping Up: Developing your Lifestyle plan

The exact titles of the posts and their sequence may be tweaked during the delivery of the course. 

WLL08: Death: understanding it is critical to a happy life 


Day 1: What is life ?

1.1:  Life as we know it

1.2: Characteristics of living systems

1.3: What is disease?

1.4: Brain dead? Comatose….

1.5: Life as information processing

Day 2: Perspectives on Death: 

2.1: Philosophical 

2.2: Psychological


2.4:Poetical expression

2.5: The atheist’s view

Day 3: How we die?

3.1: Various explanations of ageing and death

3.2: Is old age a cause of death?

3.3: The free radical theory

3.4: The telomere theory

3.5: Managing the final days

Day 4: Suicide and Euthanasia

4.1: Why is suicide considered wrong? Sometimes a crime!

4.2: Is suicide ever justified?

4.3: Senicide as a cultural norm

4.4: Harakiri and other forms of honour killings

4.5: Euthanasia

Day 5: Preparing for one’s own death

5.1: Most common regrets of people in their final moments

5.2: Reflections on one’s death by poets and Philosophers 

5.3: The bucket list 

5.4: Closing the Books – 4 Final Tasks Before Death

5.5: The Going away book