Braided Learning: a new metaphor for the AI age:

Braided learning: a new metaphor for education in the age of Artificial Intelligence: 

The mismatch between the outcomes of traditional education and the needs of the future is growing rapidly, and many acknowledge that new perspectives are needed. 

Learner centred education, Personalisation of learning, blended learning, learning styles and Heutagogy are all ideas that are being explored. 

In January 2016 Klaus Schwab of the world economic forum suggested that we are entering the 4th Industrial Age which is a fusion of the physical world, the information world and the biological world. The biggest strides that humanity will see will come from the alignment of the biology and information technologies.

I propose here a new metaphor for learning that is suitable for the future, driven by Artificial Intelligence and similar disruptive technologies. 

It is now broadly agreed that narrow specialists of the past ( who knew more and more about less and less) must give way to broad knowledge of a polymath. 

Instead of condemning the “ Jack of all trades but master of none” we are now seeking “ Jill’s of all trades and masters of some”. 

In the age of AI for any specialist knowledge we have solutions that surpass human abilities. But putting together several ideas and techniques into a common structure is the work of humans. 

This is what I am referring to as “ braided learning”. So instead of restricting a learner to 5 subjects at School level, 3 at Unuversity level and 1 at Masters level, a learner can continue to learn the whole spectrum of subjects available at School at all levels as a lifelong learner. 

So if each of the subjects Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, History, Geography, Languages, Civics, Economics, Psychology… a strand of knowledge then the value of this knowledge is not enhanced by tying these strands end to end ( concatenation) but by interweaving them ( braiding) to form a variety of possibilities that are much more valuable  in the coming VUCA ( volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world. 

The depth of knowledge and understanding of a given subject may be represented as the thickness of the strand. 

Braids have been made for thousands of years in many different cultures around the world, and for a variety of uses. Traditionally, the materials used in braids have depended on the indigenous plants and animals available in the local area.

When the Industrial Revolution arrived, mechanized braiding equipment was invented to increase production. The braiding technique was used to make ropes with both natural and synthetic fibers, and coaxial cables for radios using copper wire. In more recent times it has been used to create a covering for fuel pipes in jet aircraft and ships, first using glass fibre, then stainless steel and Kevlar. Hoses for domestic plumbing are often covered with stainless steel braid.

Braids are often used figuratively to represent interweaving or combination, such as in, “He braided many different ideas into a new whole.”

Every learner, during the journey of lifelong learning would acquire a number of these strands through formal, informal and experiential learning. Instead of arguing which among these is most valuable and important, let each learner demonstrate his or her uniqueness by suitably braiding them to create a unique persona. 

The main strands:

  • Traditional academic disciplines ( Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Zoology, Botany, Economics, Politics, History, Geography, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Languages) 
  • Technology MegaTrends of the 4th Industrial Age ( Big Data, Blockchain, 3D printing, Internet of Things, Machine Learning) 
  • Learning ( learning how to learn, becoming a better learner, competence, comprehension, cognitive flexibility)
  • Thinking ( creative, critical and Computational)
  • Entrepreneurship ( Innovation, business and finance) 
  • Humanics ( values, ethics, grit, resilience,empathy, )
  • Making ( bricolage)
  • Questioneering ( curiosity)
  • Communication 
  • Philosophy 
  • Performing Arts ( Painting, Sculpture, Music, Dance) 

Lifelong Learners can create their own “ braids”

The most simple and common braid is a flat, solid, three-stranded structure. More complex braids can be constructed from an arbitrary number of strands to create a wider range of structures.

The phrase ‘braided learning’ has been proposed around the year 2007 in the context of emerging processes observed in an e-learning community, where people working in online social groups combine to answer a question or research issue posed. Rather than a homogenized report written in the official-sounding language, the resulting “braided” text comprises individual contributions reflecting each contributor’s unique perspective. 

No effort is made by the learners to develop the kind of overall style that formal reports or academic research documents would traditionally demand. 

Learning is immediate – online responses can be instant – but the knowledge can also be built up over time.

In this piece, I have used braided Learning as a metaphor and as a broad analogy for the learning models of the future.

But the Mathematical rigour of Braided topology is applied to the development of topological quantum computers where braids form the logic gates that make up the computer. Alexei Kitaev proposed topological quantum computation in 1997.

Here is a link to an article by the brilliant Physicist Max Tegmark famous for his books “ Life3.0” and “ Our Mathematical Universe” : 

Life is a braid in space time:

The opening lines of an article by JD Watson and FHC Crick in the issue of Nature dated 25th April 1953 begins with “ We wish to suggest a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid (D.N.A). This structure has novel features which are of considerable biological interest. “ That idea marked the beginning of the “Biological Revolution.”    

Medicine changed fundamentally and led to  the development of therapies tailored to a patient’s genetic blueprint or by combining biology and technology with brain-controlled prosthetics. 

Perhaps in a few decades, the teaching-learning ecosystems would change to benefit from these ideas of Braided Learning and enable every individual to achieve his/her full potential and add value as a significant member of Society. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Promoting Public Understanding of Emerging Technologies:

Promoting Public Understanding of Emerging Technologies:

The 4th Industrial Age is upon us, and a clutch of different but inter-related technologies are developing at an exponential face. It is mind boggling to just notice what AI could do in 2017, that it couldn’t do in 2016. 

Although it is believed that it is the 3 wings of Governance, the executive, legislature and the judiciary that drive change with the press and media acting as the fourth pillar, the Reality is that continuous lifelong education of all four is the foundation. 

In the absence of a proper understanding, the path  ahead driven by the alignment among these 4 may not be the most suitable.  

A balance has to be maintained between the hype of the media and the financial investors with hyperbolic promises with any new ‘breakthrough’ that could be hyped and the understated modesty of the real researcher. 

See for example the opening sentence of the famous paper in Nature on April 25th 1953 in which the double helix structure of the DNA is announced.

“ We wish to suggest a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleus acid ( DNA). This structure has novel features which are of considerable biological interest.”

Towards the end of the paper they say:

“It has not escaped our notice that the specific pairing we have postulated immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material.”

JD Watson FHC Crick Cavendish Laboratory Cambridge  April 2

I have therefore decided to become an ‘ explainer’ for some of these emerging technologies from the beginning of the New Year and in readiness for the Year 2020. By the beginning of the year 2020, we should have been able to demystify around 10 technologies and by the end of the year 2020 another 10 should have been done.

The general plan ( may be tweaked as we go along) is to have an event with an average monthly frequency of a one hour public lecture with a title like “ Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence” …..or a suitable variant. The bye-products from this public lecture will be a booklet on the theme, a suite of short video clips of a few minutes each, and a Whatsapp delivered course that runs over a weekend.

We will continue to solicit ideas for both topics and formats of dissemination of the knowledge.

An illustrative list of emerging Technologies :

1: A survey of emerging Technologies and their tipping points 

2: Artificial Intelligence

3: Machine Learning

4: Deep Learning

5: Machine Learning Algorithms 

6: Artificial Neural Networks

7: AI and Robots

8: Drones

9: Swarm Robotics

10: Augmented Reality

11: Virtual Reality

12: Big Data

13: Blockchain

14: Digital Manufacturing / 3 D Printing

15: Internet of Things

16: Nano-technology 

17: Genetic Engineering: Genes, DNA and Gene editing with CRISPR

18: Immunotherapy

19: Crypto-currency

20: Quantum Computing

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Data Protection: an important balancing challenge

Data Protection: an important balancing challenge 

It is a general attribute of modern societies that all their members have a right to own property. In its earlier forms property was always tangible and either immovable ( lands and buildings) or movable ( cattle). With the Industrial Revolution, movable property could also mean cycles, cars or buses. As we evolved, the concept of ‘contractual property’ emerged such as shares and bonds. And of what are called ‘negotiable instruments’. And more recently we saw the legal acceptance of Intellectual Property in the form of Trademarks, Copyright and Patents. And a global regime like TRIPS as a framework to which national laws were aligned. We had to align ourselves to the new ‘product’ patent regime as opposed to our ‘process’ patenting regime, which was a formidable challenge to our Pharmaceutical industry. It was not only copyright violation that was clearly illegal, but the collateral of ‘plagiarism’ which is more a matter of ethics that became a concern, especially for academics with tools like ‘turnitin’. Software could now be patented in some jurisdictions, though not in India.

To regard ‘data’ as an entity that is bestowed with attributes such as ownership, that is rightful or unlawful and has to be regulated is a relatively recent phenomenon of about a few decades ago.

Probably UK was the first to have a formal law “ The UK data protection Act 1984” to deal with the matter. The Data Protection Act 1998 is the current UK law governing how the personal data of the country’s citizens is managed by any organisation, be it public or private, including charities.

After 20 years, UK data protection regulations are being updated with a new law, to make it more relevant to the way technology is used today and harmonise it with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that have come into force from Friday May 25th 2018. 

Personal data is any information relating to you, whether it relates to your private, professional, or public life. In the online environment, where vast amounts of personal data are shared and transferred around the globe instantaneously, it is increasingly difficult for people to maintain control of their personal information. This is where data protection comes in.

Data protection refers to the practices, safeguards, and rules put in place to protect your personal information and ensure that you remain in control of it. In short, you should be able to decide whether or not you want to share some information, who has access to it, for how long, for what reason, and be able to modify some of this information, and more.

Who owns data? Ownership involves determining rights and duties over property. The concept of data ownership is linked to one’s ability to exercise control over and limit the sharing of their own data. If one person records their observations on another person who owns those observations? The observer or the observed? What responsibilities do the observer and the observed have in relation to each other? 

There is also a growth in appreciation of “ data ethics” regarding undesirable handling of personal data, even if there is not a violation of the letter of the law. 

When you give your personal details to an organisation or individual, they have a duty to keep these details private and safe. This process is known as data protection. We refer to organisations or individuals who control the contents and use of your personal details as ‘data controllers’.

Many of us give information about ourselves to groups such as Government bodies, banks, insurance companies, medical professionals and telephone companies to use their services or meet certain conditions. Organisations or individuals can also get information about us from other sources. Under data protection law, you have rights regarding the use of these personal details and data controllers have certain responsibilities in how they handle this information.

But there is another principle that ‘private property’ may be coercively  and compulsorily acquired for a larger public purpose. This is how land is acquired for creation of educational Institutions, public hospitals or for building bullet trains. And private buses are requisitioned by the election commission in order to hold elections. Sometimes the stated ‘ public purpose’ may be questionable. 

By analogy, for reasons of national security, improved healthcare and other public good, the data of citizens may be compulsorily sought as in the Aadhar card. 

The balance between rights of individuals and national and social interest will evolve over time. 

Among many other questions that GDPR raises is of its impact on Machine learning in particular and data science in general. The short answer to this question is that, in practice, ML will not be prohibited in the EU after the GDPR goes into effect. 

It will, however, involve a significant compliance burden, which I’ll address shortly.

Technically, and misleadingly, however, the answer to this question actually appears to be yes, at least at first blush. 

The GDPR, as a matter of law, does contain a blanket prohibition on the use of automated decision-making, so long as that decision-making occurs without human intervention and produces significant effects on data subjects. 

In Chapter V of Ancient Law, Henry Sumner Maine characterizes the evolution towards progressive societies as a passage from status (an ascribed position) to contract (a voluntary stipulation).

In terms of the present age of Big Data, Machine Learning and learning algorithms, we might project that “ As societies progress, they move from authority to data”. 

Or articulated a bit differently from hierarchical human decision making to algorithmic decision making. 

If you want to know some more about data protection in different jurisdictions and the Implications of the European GDPR, you may join a FREE Whatsapp weekend learning course that will run on Saturday July 21st/Sunday July 22nd by following this link :

If this link does not work for any reason, please send a Whatsapp message to Prof MM Pant at +919810073724 or an e-mail to

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Become a lifelong learner:

Course announcement :

LAT13: Become a lifelong learner:

It is now almost universally accepted  that to succeed in the coming 4th Industrial Age driven by Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning, in the era of rapid change, it is crucial to become a lifelong learner. As part of our mission of lifelong learning, we are offering a number of weeklong, weekend and one day courses delivered through Whatsapp on mobile devices. This is the announcement for one of the weeklong  courses. There will be separate announcements for other courses.

Planned flow of posts from Monday morning:

From Monday 2nd July 2018 to Friday 6th July  2018

Day 1: Monday 2nd July  2018:

The importance of becoming a lifelong learner

1.1: @7 am : Why lifelong learning is so important now?

1.2: @10 am: UNESCO and World Bank on lifelong learning 

1.3: @1pm : Lifelong learning for career success

1.4: @4 pm: Lifelong learning in an era of increasing longevity 

1.5: @7pm: Well known and successful lifelong learners

Day 2: Tuesday 3rd July  2018:

Awaken the learner within

2.1: @7 am :The habit of reading: learning from literature 

2.2: @10 am: Knowing what to learn?

2.3: @1pm :Expanding the definition of learning

2.4: @4 pm:The characteristics of a lifelong learner

2.5: @7pm:Grit, perseverance and a growth mindset 

Day 3: Wednesday 4th July 2018

Steps to becoming a lifelong learner

3.1: @7am: Become a more curious person. Ask questions.

3.2: @10 am :The do’s of lifelong learning

3.3: @1 pm: The  don’ts for lifelong learning

3.4: @4 pm:The journey to lifelong learning

3.5: @7pm:The future of work

Day 4: Thursday 5th  July 2018

Improving your lifelong learning abilities

4.1: @7 am :What is worth Learning?

4.2: @10 am: Learning at different stages of life

4.3: @1pm :Applying what you learn

4.4: @4 pm:The Feynman technique for learning 

4.5: @7pm:Making learning stick

Day 5: Friday 6th July  2018

How to learn anything?

5.1: @7 am :Learning how to learn

5.2: @10 am: Strategy and Plan for learning anything new

5.3: @1pm :Learning resources on the Internet

5.4: @4 pm:Using YouTube for learning

5.5: @7pm:Learning from Apps and MOOCs


To register for this course :

First pay the fee { of Rs 2500/- + GST @ 18% Rs450/-= Rs 2950/-} by PayTM to MM Pant ( mobile number : 9810073724). 

Then send a Whatsapp message to MM Pant ( 9810073724) with the following information :

1: Your Name : First and Last

2: Mobile phone number linked to Whatsapp 

3: Course Code and course name. The code for this course is LAT13 and the course name is “ Become a lifelong learner”.

4: PayTM transaction number/ screenshot

5: Your brief profile ( optional)

If you would rather pay to a Bank through electronic transfer, then the required information is : Madan Mohan Pant, HDFC Bank, Unitech Cyber Park, Sector 39, Gurgaon 

A/c 26451000000301


In this case send the Whatsapp message with the Bank transaction details instead of the PayTM information. 


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mission 2020

Mission 2020: Building a nation of lifelong learners

In June 2000, the Planning Commission set up a committee to draw up a vision 2020, which report ( ) was published in December 2002.
We have less time than what the committee had to face the real 2020. Just about 20 months. And we want to focus on one thing ‘ The exponential rise of Machine Intelligence’. Our recommended response is lifelong learners. My personal mission is to evangelise lifelong learning, create a community of fellow lifelong learners, and hope that this would sow the seeds for a nation of lifelong learners.

If the more than 1 billion Indians decide to pursue lifelong learning and rational thinking, learning for even 15-30 minutes/day from their mobiles, we would leapfrog to a much better life. Eric Hanushek in his book ‘ The Knowledge Capital of Nations’ has …. and this is Independent of who is in power.
We begin the day by doing yoga. Why not follow it up with learning ( Gyan yoga). We use all devices to measure whether we achieved our fitness goal of 10,000 steps each day. Why not reflect over how many words did we read read or hear that added to our knowledge and understanding of the world.
This is an effort in that direction.
All you need to do yoga is your commitment, a yoga mat…. and practice. Most people who have kept with yoga for a while have experienced significant transformation.
For lifelong learning you need a similar commitment, a smartphone ( perhaps AI enabled) and continued pursuit. Yoga releases endorphins and learning releases dopamine and together they can make you really happy. And if you do the course on ‘happiness’ you will learn that if you act in ways that generate serotonin and oxytocin, you would become truly happy.
Isn’t that what we always wanted.
The year 2020 is just about 20 months away. This period is a period of very rapid ( exponential change) and as Professor Klaus Schwab pointed out in January 2016 is the onset of the 4th Industrial Revolution and era of the fusion of the Physical world ( of atoms and energy), the information world ( of bits and qbits) and the biological world ( of genes and neurons).

As preparation for this, everyone will have to create their plan for change and alignment to the future, and the main driver for it is lifelong learning. Whether you are a young person just about 18 years of age, who is ‘coming of Age in the 4th Industrial Age’ or a young professional facing the ‘ Gig economy’ and want to get comfortable with ‘ Business 4.0’ or a young senior citizen planning a useful ‘next decade’ of your life, you have to create and follow your own path to your destiny.

This mission of lifelong learning delivered through Whatsapp on mobile phones helps you find your way.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

STEM in 2020: a national priority

Addressing the STEM image problem needs to be a national priority :
After the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on the 6th and 9th August 1945, the USA was the world’s undisputed technology leader until 4th October 1957, when the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik. This Sputnik moment was the stimulus for a whole new set of initiatives to promote Science education in the USA. The mission yielded handsome rewards, when on July 20th 1969, Neil Armstrong set foot upon the moon in a giant leap for mankind.
Our stimulus for revamping our STEM education efforts is driven by a number of factors: our Bharata Ratna Scientist Professor CNR Rao unequivocally said that 90% of our Universities have outdated curricula, we are just entering the 4th Industrial Age, and several reports, such as the one by PwC project that India would be the 3rd largest economy ( by PPP) by 2050.
Our hope is based on our success in the IT field, which can be attributed to the timely creation of the IITs in the 1960s which was well timed to reap the benefits of the 3rd Industrial Age.
For the year 2020, which is just about 20 months away, we should set up our goal of setting ourselves up for the fourth Industrial Age. This means a massive access to AI knowledge and tools. Andrew Ng has famously said that ‘ AI is the new electricity’, and India could be the powerhouse. But it is a highly challenging goal. We need to drive Innovation, awakening the Innovator within all of us; promote citizen Science and foster lifelong learning as opposed to finite certification through diplomas and degrees. Our mission 2020 should be to ensure that every learner passing class 10 or class 10+2 would have a knowledge of ‘Computational Thinking’ and an appreciation of its applicability in different domains. Every learner in the first 2 years of tertiary education in any stream would have an Understanding of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; how it works and how can it be used. Every University graduate would be able to ‘ Make Sense of Artificial Intelligence’ and know of its applications and understand its implications. Everyone from Kindergarten to an octogenarian would transform to a lifelong learner.
While this should be a national priority, it is not driven solely by the Government. Ideally the movement should be ‘agnostic’ to the Government of the day, and driven by enlightened, informed and committed citizens.
Professor MM Pant
Former Pro Vice-Chancellor
Indira Gandhi National Open University
Founder LMP Education Trust
Promoting Public Understanding of Emerging Technologies
Websites: and
Whatsapp :+919810073724
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence:

Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence:

This course is designed to introduce the course participants to the key ideas of Artificial Intelligence and its applications in various domains to illustrate the famous quote of Andrew Ng that’ AI is the new electricity’.
A survey of its history, a long ‘winter’, the recent resurgence and the current landscape of AI applications is covered. The course will help the participants develop an understanding of the scope, nature and context of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

At the end of the 2 weeks ,the course participants would be able to:
a. Appreciate the essential elements of Artificial Intelligence
b. Distinguish between Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning and Deep learning: terms that are often used interchangeably
c. Understand the barriers to the implementation of AI
d. Recognise and appreciate the drivers of the rapid growth in AI applications
e. Appreciate the potential of AI to disruptively transform the way we live and work

Target audience :
The course design and content is best suited to the young ( aged between 18 to 23 years), who are positioned to see this field unfolding during their years of preparation for the world of work.
Of course, precocious children from classes 9 to 12 would also certainly benefit from this program, although it may be a bit challenging for the ‘average’ student at this stage of schooling.
Adults would be well advised to pursue this course to have an understanding of the ‘shape of things to come’ and be prepared to respond to the unrelenting assault of these technologies on their traditional jobs. Day 3 and Day 4 content for week 1 is especially important for them.
This course also reflects on AI and arts, including music, poetry and literature, which is the focus of Day 5 of the 2nd week.
This course is not for only the technically inclined who seek a professional path in this field, but for everyone who wants to be aware of the biggest disruption, its challenges and opportunities in our history.
For the technically inclined, this would be a very useful ‘first step’ in the journey. It would have to be followed up with courses on Computational Thinking, Data structures, Algorithms, Heuristics and coding in Python and further courses on Mathematics and on Deep learning at depth. They would also need to learn the basics of neuroscience.
A program has been developed that includes these features and will be on offer from July 2018, to those who pass their 10+2 Board Examination this summer.


Flow of the 2 week program on ‘Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence’
Applications and implications ‘

This is a provisional, tentative set of posts. These posts may get re-sequenced and modified to make a more effective narrative and to respond to changes that happen in this very rapidly changing field. The posts from the resource person ( Professor MM Pant) are scheduled at about 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm everyday from Monday to Friday. The posts comprise text messages, links to other articles, links to videos from global experts and audio posts from Professor MM Pant.
The course participants make their comments, queries and observations at their convenience, and receive responses a-synchronously. The learning experience is enhanced by a very rich social learning element.

First cohort ‪begins : Monday 16th April 2018‬ ; ‪ends Friday 27th April 2018‬

‪Thereafter there will be a fresh cohort every month, that will run for 2 weeks. ‬

Week1: Day1: A quick history of Artificial Intelligence
Topic 1.1.1: Timeline of progress of AI: key moments in its story
Topic 1.1.2: The Turing test
Topic 1.1.3: Narrow Intelligence, General Intelligence and Super Intelligence
Topic 1.1.4: The resurgence of AI: Investments and Opportunities in AI
Topic 1.1.5: Singularity: The future of AI

Week1: Day2: Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
Topic 1.2.1: The many dimensions of AI
Topic 1.2.2: Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
Topic 1.2.3: Robotics and challenges
Topic 1.2.4: Swarm Intelligence
Topic 1.2.5: Applications of Robots

Week1: Day 3: Automation of Knowledge Work

Topic 1.3.1: A Disruptive Technology with $5 to 7 trillion impact (McKinsey Report )
Topic 1.3.2: Benefits of RPA
Topic 1.3.3: Software Robots
Topic 1.3.4: The future of knowledge work
Topic 1.3.5: Robotic Process Automation

Week1: Day4: What can AI do today, and how?
Topic 1.4.1: AI can read, see and hear
Topic 1.4.2: The Mathematics needed by AI
Topic 1.4.3: Predictive modelling
Topic 1.4.4: Recommendation Engines
Topic 1.4.5: Chatbots

Week1: Day5: Machine Learning under the hood: meanings of the buzzwords
Topic 1.5.1: The  key algorithms
Topic 1.5.2: Supervised, Unsupervised and Reinforcement Learning,
Topic 1.5.3: Deep Learning
Topic 1.5.4: Support Vector Machines
Topic 1.5.5: Neural Networks, Convolutional Neural Networks, Recurrent Neural Networks


Week2: Day1: Use case studies
Topic 2.1.1: Autonomous Transportation
Topic 2.1.2: Agriculture
Topic 2.1.3: Healthcare
Topic 2.1.4: Education : research and teaching
Topic 2.1.5: Home and service robots

Week2: Day2: The Technologies
Topic 2.2.1: IBM Watson
Topic 2.2.2: Google Tensorflow
Topic 2.2.3: Apple AI neural engine
Topic 2.2.4: Amazon Sagemaker
Topic 2.2.5: Mobile AI : AI on the Smartphone

Week2: Day 3: Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Matters

Topic 2.3.1: Legal dimensions of AI
Topic 2.3.2: World Economic Forum on ethical issues in AI
Topic 2.3.3: AI empowered warfare
Topic 2.3.4: Robot rights
Topic 2.3.5: What should be the Regulatory Framework for AI?

Week2: Day4: The future of work
Topic 2.4.1: Studies/reports on job displacements
Topic 2.4.2: Reduction/disappearance of the middle class
Topic 2.4.3: The Gig economy
Topic 2.4.4: Human dignity
Topic 2.4.5: The concept of a Universal Basic Income

Week2: Day5: AI and the Arts
Topic 2.5.1: A conversation on AI and the arts
Topic 2.5.2: Movies related to AI: The Terminator (1984); Steven Spielberg’s Movie : AI (2001); Ex Machina (2015)
Topic 2.5.3: Beyond Singularity : the play (2017)
Topic 2.5.4: Can Computers create poetry?
Topic 2.5.5: Arts in the age of AI

To know more about this course, send an e-mail to or send a Whatsapp message to : +919810073724 ( Prof. MM Pant)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happiness Unlocked !!

Happiness Unlocked:
Happiness Unlocked !! : A course on Happiness, for the lifelong learner

Duration 3 months

The main goal of all human activities and endeavours seems to be to seek happiness.

The American Constitution …, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Yet most people are unhappy.

Many of these turn to spirituality, sometimes to fake ‘Babas’.

But in this age of reason and Science, it may be interesting to explore if we can achieve happiness by following the learning from Science including biochemistry, neuroscience and Psychology.

An unexamined life is not worth living : Socrates
Nietschze : One who has a ‘why’ of life can manage almost any ‘how’?

This program is structured as a series of 10 learning weekends that will explore themes such as :

Weekend 1: Saturday: The quest for happiness. What does it mean to be happy? Why its so hard to be happy?

Weekend 1: Sunday: The Science of lasting happiness ; The many faces of happiness

Weekend 2: Saturday: Clayton Christensen : how will you measure your life ?

Weekend 2: Sunday: How to control your feelings and live happily ever after?

Weekend 3: Saturday: The therapeutic value of creative expression : Bricolage; Writing

Weekend 3: Sunday: Speak for yourself ; Be mindful ; Reframing to ease negative emotions

Weekend 4: Saturday: The state of ‘flow’

Weekend 4: Sunday: The concept of ‘stithipragy’

Weekend 5: Saturday: Can money buy happiness?

Weekend 5: Sunday: The biochemical basis of happiness : endorphin, dopamine, sterotonr, oxytocin

Weekend 6: Saturday: Ageing Gracefully: enjoying the second half of life

Weekend 6: Sunday: Living in an age of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

Weekend 7: Saturday: Finding meaning and purpose in your life: Aligning your living to your life’s purpose

Weekend 7: Sunday: The Japanese concept of Ikigai

Weekend 8: Saturday: Overcoming failures, disappointments, despair, and achieving happiness

Weekend 8: Sunday: An attitude of gratitude

Weekend 9: Saturday: Lifestyle matters : Diet; exercise; sleep, time and stress management

Weekend 9: Sunday: Loneliness : another modern malady

Weekend 10: Saturday: Looking at the bright side of life : Optimism, Inspiration

Weekend 10: Sunday: Laughter the best medicine

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Preparing India for the 4th Industrial Age:

Preparing India for the 4th Industrial Age :

In January 2016, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Professor Klaus Schwab drew attention to the arrival of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Davos this January seems to have significantly influenced the Niti Aayog to wake up from its 2 year slumber to announce a mission on AI, Machine Learning ,Blockchains, Big Data, 3D printing, Internet of Things.
This is a good sign, but in the present and future it is the start ups, the established industries and the educators that will drive the change at the desired speeds.

Inspired by Margaret Mead’s view that “ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has ” and further supported by the Nobel Prize winning work of Elinor Ostrom, negating the axiomatic ‘ tragedy of the commons’ of Garrett Hardin to demonstrate convincingly that common resources can be successfully managed without government regulation or privatisation.

Building on these principles and using the model of ‘heutagogy’ for lifelong learning, we have designed and are offering a program for School leavers to be ready for the Age of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. In order to foster the spirit of lifelong learning, all learners will automatically be enrolled as members of a lifelong learning community. In the first year of the program, all learners will do a course on ‘ learning how to learn’ to enable them to continue to pursue their learning and be updated as per their needs. In order to pursue a career as an IT Professional, especially in the rapidly progressing field of AI and ML, being an autonomous Self-directed Learner is Critical.
After completing the course, they will have one year of support on the topics of their studies through a monthly newsletter.

As students successfully pass their School Leaving examinations this summer, they wonder what lies in the future? They do have a feel that they are entering a different world from that of their parents and grandparents: the world of AI.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. “AI is the new electricity “ says Andrew NG .

In the immediate foreseeable future these technologies will continue to improve and will reach human levels. In about 10 years Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be able to communicate with humans in unstructured English using text or voice, navigate in an unprepared environment and will have some rudimentary common sense. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will create the best opportunities in the coming years.

The first offering as part of this initiative is the first year of a 3 year program designed for School leavers to be developed as future AI professionals.

The program is designed such that it can be pursued concurrently with any other program of choice, with the benefit that no matter what field of work a learner chooses, the person would be well equipped to deal with the transformations that AI brings to that domain.

The 3 year program is mapped at levels 3,4 and 5 of the UK’s National Qualification Framework.

Only the first year of the program, that is the Level 3 Certificate proposed program structure is being detailed below.

Structure of the qualification
The Level 3 Certification, in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AIML301) is made up of 11 mandatory course modules and 1 mandatory project module totalling to a 120 credit programme.
Each credit is equivalent to 10 guided learning hours. The mention of Guided Learning Hours (GLH) herein is a reference to the total amount of time that a learner is expected to put for each unit and includes Face-to-face interaction, Seminars, Workshops, Assignments, Self-study, Project work, Group work and final assessment.

The learners will be introduced to the fundamental principles of computational Thinking, algorithms and programming. They will also study mathematics ( linear algebra, calculus and statistics ) as applied to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. This approach is quite different from that of pursuing a degree in Mathematics.
They will learn of the story of evolution of AI and its recent drivers and applications.
They will learn the relationship between AI, Machine learning and deep learning. Also about the most visible applications of Predictive Modelling, Recommendation Engines and Chatbots. This will be topped with a project where all this learning will come together.
They will be goaded and guided to becoming lifelong learners, as in this field the ability to learn to learn yourself is much more important than all the knowledge that you have acquired so far.

List of courses in the first year beginning July 2018:

L3AIML01: The AI Landscape : Applications and Implications ( 5 credits)
L3AIML02: Introduction to Python ( 5 credits)
L3AIML03: Learning how to Learn ( 10 credits)
L3AIML04: Computational Thinking and Algorithms ( 10 credits)
L3AIML05: Basic Maths for AI and ML ( 10 credits)
L3AIML06: Machine Learning and Deep Learning ( 10 credits)
L3AIML07: Machine Learning with Python ( 10 credits)
L3AIML08: Predictor Models ( 5 credits)
L3AIML09: Recommendation Engines ( 5 credits)
L3AIML10: Natural Language Processing ( 5 credits)
L3AIML11: Chatbots ( 5 credits)
L3AIML11: Project work (40 credits)

Having studied Computer Science at School is not a pre-requisite. But having an IELTS score of more than 6.5 or equivalent is a requirement for admission to this program.
Apart from imparting knowledge in programming, mathematics,Computational Thinking and specific topics in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, a Learner makes several projects during this time. The goal of these projects is to go beyond evidence of ‘can do’ to exhibition of ‘has done’.
The project activities help develop desirable personality traits for AI professionals comprising analytical thinking, curiosity, patience, discipline, eye for detail and the ability to work independently or collaboratively as per need.

Another innovation that we are building into the program is to assign a certain percentage of the value of any future Intellectual Property that is unlocked n future from any project. Another percentage of this value would be assigned to the owner of the ‘co-learning space’ where the project work is carried out.

For those who do not want to get into coding but want to appreciate and understand the new Business landscape there is another program detailed below:

Business 4.0 : Running, Managing or leading a business in the 4th Industrial Age

Business is at the cusp of a new digital future. A perfect storm of technologies — cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), automation, big data and analytics, and the Internet of things (IoT) – is transforming industry after industry. This transformation is often referred to as Industry 4.0 in Germany.

A student pursuing BBA, MBA or a young professional would do well to keep himself informed of and acquainted with these fast paced developments so that s(he) can readily adapt to the changing world and being well informed, benefit from the new emerging opportunities.

This program grew out of the interactions and feedback that I received to an evening lecture that I gave at The All India Management Association On 24th October 2017 On “ Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Management”. I have for the last couple of years been exploring the use of Whatsapp and mobile phones for ‘lifelong learning’ and this theme of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning seemed like a promising candidate for an extended program for continuous professional development program for both practicing managers as well as for those pursuing their management courses at the Bachelors or Masters Level. I identified a list of 30 topics that would cover the entire gamut of what is being referred to as the 4th Industrial Revolution. In our format of ‘ Learning weekends with Whatsapp’ they can be covered in 30 weeks. Allowing for some inevitable slack, they can be comfortably pursued within the duration of an academic year. Each lecture is designed to introduce the theme in an easily comprehensible way with links for further exploration and indicating its importance for a successful manager.
As there are very rapid developments in this field, this list of topics may be revised, augmented, merged or deleted.

Proposed list of weekly themes :

#1: What is the 4th Industrial Revolution ?
#2: Technological MegaTrends and Success Skills in the 4th Industrial Age
#3: Big Data : The Big Picture
#4:Blockchain : Demystified

#5: Digital Manufacturing/ 3 D Printing

6: The Internet of Things
7: Robots and Drones
8: Augmented and Virtual Reality Applications

9: The future of work : the Gig economy
10: Computational Thinking
11: Algorithms
#12: The Landscape of AI: Applications and Implications
13: AI and allied terms
14: AI and Robotics
15: Robotic process automation
16: Machine Learning and Deep Learning
17: Deep learning at some depth
18: Predictor Models
19: Recommendation Engines
20: Natural Language Processing
21: Chatbots
22: Cognitive Computing : IBM Watson
23: Google Tensorflow
24: Amazon Spacemaker
25: AI on mobile devices
#26: Marketing 4.0
#27: AI driven Fintech
#28: HR in the 4th Industrial Age
#29: The future of retail
30: Leadership in the 4th Industrial Age: enabling the transition

Condensed Business 4.0 :

For those who would like to have a glimpse of the Business 4.0 program before committing more time, energy and financial resources can pursue the condensed program of 10 courses marked with a # sign and listed at numbers 1,2,3,4,5,12,26,27,28 and 29.
Delivery modes :
The program is best suited to delivery with Whatsapp on mobiles.
But it can also be delivered in flexible configurations as lectures of 60/90 minutes depending upon the needs of the learners or a suitable blend of lectures and Self-learning.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why this is the best time to be an educator?

Why this is the best time to be an educator?

Reflections on the first day of the New Year 2018:

To an observer whose sights are on the developing technological horizon of Big Data, the Internet of Things, Robotics, Drones and enhanced Machine Intelligence competing with humans, it is clear that as we enter the last years of the 2nd decade of the 21st Century, the next 5 to 10 years are likely to emerge as a new Renaissance in education.

We now realise that the Teacher is far more important than the expert consultant, because an expert can demonstrate his or her skill in context, but it is the Teacher that creates an expert practitioner out of an initially ignorant or incompetent person. Education is increasingly becoming learner centric and knowledge is mutually created by the teacher and learner.

In fact, Science the most glorious of human endeavours flourishes because it is a community of Scientists that drives it, and not a hierarchy of bureaucrats and politicians.

We must prepare to move from the ‘art of teaching’ to ‘the Science of learning’, and just as the microscope, telescope and other instruments aided Scientific progress by providing data to be put into contexts, patterns and insights, it is the Computer, Internet, variety of sensors and allied technologies that will drive this transition from a qualitative uncertain authority based model to a data driven one that allows every learner to learn.

The pedagogy of mobile education with adoption of Heutagogy, managing the learning of self-directed life long learners will become one of the important competencies of the new age teacher.

We call this emergent model ‘ The Augmented Classroom Lecture’ which performs a space shift, device shift and time-shift of the traditional classroom lecture.

It incorporates the ideas of ‘flipped learning’, mastery learning and personalisation of the learning experience. We will get more drawn to the significance and importance of ‘social learning ‘ a component that gets significantly enhanced with technology and the size of the learning cohort.
Teachers were at some point in history respected as much as Gods, and teaching was a ‘calling’. In the industrially dominated era, they were often treated as ‘machines’ to produce trained humans who could carry out those functions in factories that could not be carried out by machines. Thus ‘ learning outcomes ‘ assembly line production and quality control processes became dominant.

As we contemplate on the future and specifically of the role of educators and learning, a few insights emerge.

In the foreseeable future, both the human populations and its longevity will be increasing significantly.

“Millennials will have over 13 jobs in their lifetime and the median­ time they will spend in a job will be three years … when they switch from one job to the next, the skills they will need in that next job will usually be something they not only don’t know but in many cases didn’t even exist when they went to school,” said Professor Koller, co-founder of Coursera .
The formal education system, is no longer equipped to cope with the emerging challenges, and the big opportunity is for educators to emerge from the background and take centre stage in addressing the challenges.
Education is constrained by a tradition of preparing clergy for the church or academics for the academia, and is not readily able to respond to the challenges of a very rapidly changing world.
Even in the classical space of learning and research there are many examples of non-recognition of talent or brilliance. For instance John Gurdon was while at Eton considered completely unsuitable for learning Science ( in fact his report card said that this would be a ridiculous idea, and a waste of time of all concerned) would later win a Nobel Prize in Medicine.
The biggest anomaly is that while we teach a number of subjects, we still do not teach learning. Nor do we have a proper system of assessment, and no examination Board declares the error margins inherent in the design of their systems.
It is said that the Internet changes everything, and accessing the Internet through the mobile, even more so. There is a movement in the developed world that ‘ sitting is the new smoking’ which basically draws attention to the fact that sitting at desks ( whether at the office or at School or College) beyond brief periods for rest is significantly harmful, comparable to the harmful effects of smoking.
So we need of have new learning spaces outside the classroom where learners can move around and explore. With handheld devices for content flow, and assessment spending time in the real world rather than in the cloistered existence of academia may be the way. Such spaces are well described as ‘co-learning’ spaces rather than as classrooms or laboratories.

In the context of law ( especially criminal law) it is said that ‘Ignorantia juris non excusat (Latin for “ignorance of the law excuses no one”).

But in real life ” ignorance itself is no excuse”.

So learn, all that you can learn. You never know when not knowing something can be harmful.

The role of the educator is to remove ignorance. Sometimes the learner may know what he needs to learn. But more often in the mode of Socratic questioning, the educator takes the learner through the 4 stages of unknown incompetence, known incompetence, known competence and finally unknown competence. And learning happens in several ways from multiple sources.

There is a saying that ‘when the learner is ready, the teacher will appear’.
And the role of the educator as subject matter expert is secondary to the role of creating conditions in which learning happens. For this the future educator has to blend nature, technology, data and human and machine intelligence to ensure that every learner is able to achieve his desired learning goals.

The main point is that education as a cure or remedy for ignorance is the new reality, and is equally applicable to health, justice, relationships and nation and world building.

With millions of screens on which educators can be viewed both synchronously and asynchronously, we should not be surprised if a decade from now ‘educators’ will become the new celebrities.

Who can believe today that great actors at one time worked as salaried employees in theatre companies and film studios.

In a decade or so, salaried teachers at School or College will be a thing of the past and celebrity RockStar teachers and professors will have millions of learners from all over the world following them on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter.

Educators who shape minds ( not only young minds, but throughout the life-span as well) are therefore very important now, and now indeed is the best time to be an educator.

Happy New Year 2018 !!!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment