Softer and softer

Softer and softer

Dear boys,

The world is getting softer. There is some truth when the older generations before us, told us they had it tougher, and our lives are much better than theirs. They can reminiscent their good old days, and they might be right about it.

Machines and automation

The Industrial Revolution can be blamed for starting the long spiral down. While I am no historian, we started making machines to help us do more, and build greater things. There is nothing wrong with that, being lazy in this instance is a good trait. Don’t forget though, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.industrial-revolution-in-great-britain-1-638

When automation comes along, things when slippery down; quickly, while machines helps us make things easier, and reduces our work, automation comes along, and attempts to make things the easiest, and takes away all of our work.

Without work, what is humans?

What is work?

As a martial artist, work to me means a reasonable amount of sweat, effort and physical strain. There is no way to automate martial arts, you can create a martial arts robot, but that does not make a human who created the robot a martial artist.

Sure a machine, in the near future might be able to beat a human in a karate kumite, but the robot cannot justify its own existence. Humans can. It is because we put work, into work. There is an effort in it, and a satisfaction out of it.

Softer martial arts

Even martial arts is getting softer. It cannot be helped as the general over-riding trend is less physical activity, and for some, martial arts is perhaps the only activity one does, other than walking to the subway or an occasional dash for the bus.

We as human beings no longer exert our physicality. There are escalators, elevators, automatic doors, automatic windows, automatic cars and all sorts of machines that helps takes work out of effort.

This cannot be all that good.

While it is good to have years of peace and peace brings about prosperity, it also brings about a skewed sense of existence and reality. Everyone has soften, life has gotten good, nobody knows how to do the hard stuff anymore, nobody wants to do the hard stuff anymore. And when someone is doing the ‘hard stuff’ it is deemed to be something derogatory, or dirty.

It’s been the same for me, I have never gotten into an actual, dirty, messy fight, never got caught in crazy violence, but I’ve never been deluded that violence has become extinct. Violence, death and hatred can sprung up anytime, I’m always prepared and ready, as much as I can. I too, can get lulled in by how nice peace is and peace is here to stay and violence has died, the world will never see violence again. That cannot be further from the truth.


People getting fatter and fatter, lives longer and longer

We are indeed heading the way of Wall-E, the 2008 animation film about us humans many hundreds of years from now. All fat, fed by machines, and nothing else to do, and doing nothing much, we live off a massive spaceship that keeps us alive, the machina sentinel who reports to the fat captain, but is actually doing all the work for us. Heck, the central character of the show is a machine! Wall-E!

It is an endearing film, but it is a telling prediction, we cannot escape from. People are getting fatter, and lazier, and there is no-one else to blame except us.

Humans- the Original Swiss Army Knife


Humans are the original Swiss Army knife, we are build for a great many things. My exposure to Aikido, lead me to running, swimming, hiking and other physical stuffs. Humans were never made for a single, specialist role, and while automation helps us do a great deal of other things, the whole purpose is to free us from the great deal of other things, to do things that actually means a great deal more to us.

Let’s get physical!

So boys, please expand your physicality, when you pick up an activity you love, do it, and do it well. get physical, get moving, don’t get stuck behind a desk for too long, let yourself have one core physical activity. for you dad it is Aikido, from Aikido, your dad expands to other physical stuffs. The learning never stops, humans are learning creatures, and we best learn when we are physically able to, so never allow yourself to become disabled, physically.

Machines Learn, Human Experience

Machines Learn, Human Experience

Dear Boys,

We are in the age of the Computer Revolution. Everywhere, people are making smarter computers, and at a consumer level, smart phones and other electronic products are getting smarter, and unfortunately, humans getting dumber.

‘Anything that you can repetitively do 5 times, the same way, can be automated.’

Every now and then we will hear on the social media, how a baby drowned because the mother is to engrossed on her phone. Oh, there are other cases, I’m sure. We don’t have to look at the news, everyday, I see people engrossed over their 5 inch (some 6) and becomes oblivious to their world. I get caught up in that sometimes, but I do make a mandate not to text while I’m walking or mobile. Seems odd, but I do stop to finish my text messages before moving on. And yes, while I drive, no phones, PERIOD.

This discussion is not about Digital Policy, I wrote about that already. Its about the more current socio-economic environment, where many people fear that robots are taking away human jobs. I think it will be quite a while before robots really catch up to human level of thinking and advances.


Humans, for all our fallacies, frailties and faults, made this world humans. While we tell a lot of self-centred humans out there, ‘The Earth was here, first. ” Likewise, we can tell the machines, ‘The Humans was here first.’ They may evolve, to take over the human race on earth, I can see that coming, but that will be a long time away. By then, Robots will be so intellegent, they will be waging war against other robots, sidelining the lesser species, the Homo Sapiens.

So while we say ‘The Earth was here first”, we are mother nature’s first lover, albeit not a very good one, as many humans rape, pillage and plunder Mother Nature’s resources. The better, human side of us is able to relate and experience, what our surroundings have for us. Machines, at this current level, can only learn.

Take a hike!

For example, I went for a hike recently, enjoying the scenic walk, also testing out my new boots. It was for fun, just to get out of the concrete jungle. While I was there, I totally immerse myself into the environment, feeling the breeze, walking and walking, getting into streams just to try out the water-proofing for my boots (which held up well for s S$50 boots) I feel at a deeper sense a relationship with nature. That’s an experience. The total distance was a good 15 kilometers, I think.

Can a machine do that?

Why not? After all it is just a distance. There are already a ‘bot’ walking with me, That’s my app, on my phone, called Runkeeper. Okay, let’s talk about a physical equivalent, yes, the very smart guys from Boston Dynamics, has created eerily humanistic machines, called Big Dog, Small Dog, which can tackle the kind of terrain I walked for 15 km. The difference is that, the machine will learn the terrain, overcome it, handles the ebb and flows of it, but will not enjoy it. There will be nothing attached to the endeavour, except data and function. The machine will learn, to stoop low, to get past an overhang, go slow, going downhill. Data will be obtained, everything the camera sees, helps the entire machine to manage the journey. That’s it.

They will never ‘get it’ that the whole 15km is about an abstract, random, serendipitous feel. The experience that I felt, looking at all the trees there, with respect and awe, these living things are here first, older than me, wiser than me. Me, a little puny human being, dwarfed by the enormity of the jungle, and yet so fortunate to have this gift of life.

Repetition is the key to robotisation

My mantra is ‘Anything that you can repetitively do 5 times, the same way, can be automated.’ I probably heard that from somewhere else, but it makes sense, and that will be how the machines rise. It will rise from the ashes of the Industrial Revolution, because we humans want to be productive, and make the same things over and over again, until some lazy bastard came along and invented stuffs to do that for us.

So is learning.

So don’t learn. experience. Learning is only one part, the input of information into our brains, learning is repeated again and again until we ‘get it’. But we don’t get it all the times, and I think that is fine, as long as you get the experience about it and from there a lesson. Experience,  is unique, it cannot be repeated. It is a whole body immersion, the problem is, in schools they expects you to learn, using only specific part of our body, if we continue to do that, machines can catch up, because they exist for a specific purpose, function and design. The fact that we still beat machines, is because we are a total, holistic system, the machines not yet. I can pluck out a key from the keyboard, the computer will still work, and will not feel pain, obviously. Try pulling a fingernail out of a person’s hand.

So we need to make learning experiential, then we can continue to be humans, because it is our own unique experiences that makes us one of a kind, any other form of learning, makes us human computers, pretending to be the real computers. And when we lose our originality, our original purpose, the real computers will take over.