Important Questions

12th April 2021

There is this child somewhere in some corner of this country right now as you read this, nervously sitting on his bed in the middle of an exam, writing an informal letter congratulating a friend, copying the format from a smartphone he hid under the desk, while an invigilator monitors over him and his classmates over the Zoom app from the opposite corner of the city. For marks.

I don’t know if you can see the irony in the previous statements or if I need to point out the keywords to you with a yellow highlighter, but that is just the cover of an age old rusted textbook called the Indian Education System.

You see we think we are preparing ourselves to become the next Elon Musk but I can bet you with my life that Mr. Real Life Tony Stark does not write answers on a Sundaram supplement that he mugged up on his way to the Tesla HQ, what he does is ask questions. Questions, that would get you thrown out of class or get a “not in syllabus” response at best, dare you ask them. Reusable rockets was never on the syllabus, you see.

This is a manufacturing unit that mass produces robots and rewards with marks like a little pet while killing the only asset that guarantees real life progress – Curiosity. A battered down system that thinks accumulation of data is equivalent of intelligence.

You remember that child sitting on his bed right now? Yeah he is just in grade 6 and he is being trained to gradually stop questioning the system, he will be rewarded with good grades from school and an iPhone from dad for not questioning but he is soon going to be beaten down by a machine with a better storage capacity. If you fear robots taking over jobs, it is because you value human intelligence as something that can be programmed. But the human mind is far more capable, something that cannot be simplified into bullet points for marks. The human genius is made to ask questions. Questions that have the power to change this system. I maybe completely off here or maybe even dramatic, but I just wish googling “important questions” would’ve thrown me into a spiral of unending curiosity and not given me this…

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