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             AI: Evil or Avatar?

            You don’t have to be a sci-fi wizard to remember Avatar.   In  1974,  biochemist  James  Lovelock  posited  a  new
            The  2009  fantasy  blockbuster  was  equally  entrancing   paradigm  known  as  the  Gaia  theory.  Essentially,  he
            for  trekkies  and  school  teachers  alike.  In  the  epic   said  that  organisms  and  their  inorganic  surroundings
            science fiction film, writer and director James Cameron   have  evolved  together  into  one  living,  self-regulating
            envisioned  a  new  world  inhabited  by  an  alien  species   complex  system  over  time.  The  biota,  or  web  of
            known as the Na’vi, who lived in perfect harmony with   interdependent organisms, have determined everything
            their  deity,  Ewya,  on  an  exoplanetary  moon  known  as   from  global  temperatures  to  ocean  salinity  ‒  anything
            Pandora.  All  was  well  ‒ a perfect display of symbiosis   that would ensure “life maintains conditions suitable for
            between  nature  and  its  inhabitants  ‒  until  the  human   its own survival”. In short, life has been making a way
            race had to show up. And once again, it was a case of   for itself over countless centuries.
            ‘winner  takes  all’,  where  the  collective  force  of  human
            greed  was  unleashed  to  tailspin  perfect  order  into   We  might  not  be  able  to  tap  into  the  whisperings  of
            chaos.                                               Ewya like the Na’vi did on Avatar. But, what if we could
                                                                 tune into the undertones of the biota? Our technologies
            Albeit  fantastically  far-fetched,  there  was  something   are   advancing   concurrently   and   exponentially,
            deeply resonating about the movie. What made Avatar   synthesizing billions of intelligent devices into a single
            rack  up  two  Academy  Awards  and  USD2  billion  was   cloud-based  ecosystem  known  as  the  Internet  of
            more  than  just  great  special  effects  and  Sam   Things  (IoT).  As  our  systems  will  get  smarter,  so  too
            Worthington’s  acting.  It  was  the  sense  that  ‘this  is  us   will our ability to understand their  interconnectedness.
            now ‒ and this could be us later.’ The plot was a familiar   Imagine the transformative power we could unlock if we
            one,  with  humanity  as  the  classic  villain,  willing  to   could  see  the  cumulative  impact  of  a  billion  small
            plunder paradise for temporal gain but to their ultimate   actions  in  motion.  Could  IoT  be  the  hero  to  save  us
            demise.                                              from ourselves?

      4            December 2017 - Digital Commerce & Customer Experience
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