Sunday, Sep 12, 2021 07:45 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Sep 12, 2021 02:12 [IST]

The world from now on

Mrinal Chatterjee

Window Seat
South Korea's first full-length novel written by artificial intelligence (AI) has been published late last month- 29th August 2021 to be exact. Title of this Korean novel roughly translated into English is "The World from Now On".
It has been written by an AI writer named Birampung and published by Parambook.
Birampung (which means ‘a huge storm that blows at the beginning and the end of the establishment of the universe’) has been co-developed by local AI startup Dapumda and natural language processing company Namaesseu.
Kim Tae-yeon, a writer and a computer science expert, directed the AI to write the novel through deep learning process after he outlined the novel's theme, background and characters, according to the publisher.
The book is the first feature-length novel written by AI for Korean readers. The world's first-ever AI-written novel was published in Russia in 2008 titled 'True Love'. Published by the Russia's SPb publishing company, it was the work of a computer program and a team of IT specialists. According to the St. Petersburg Times, "The 320-page novel is a variation of Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina", but worded in the style of a Japanese author called Haruki Murakami."
2013 was a big year for AI novels. Nick Montfort's "World Clock" was "the breakout hit of last year", reports The Verge. Montfort was a professor of digital media at MIT, and used lines of a code to arrange characters, locations, and actions to construct his work. It was printed by Havard Books.
Until now, only ultra-short stories have been written by AI in South Korea and Japan. 'The World from Now On' may be the world's first AI-written novel with a "proper narrative."
The novel tells the story of five protagonists -- a disabled mathematician, entrepreneur, psychiatrist, astrophysicist and Buddhist monk -- trying to figure out the secrets of human existence.
AI written novels posit some existential questions before writers like me, who are cutting edge technology challenged and prefer to write in old style way. Shall we be obsolete in another decade or shall we adapt and adopt the technology to move to the next level. I hope to live long enough to answer this question.
Need for supporting assistive technology
India did remarkably well in the recently held Tokyo para-olympics winning 19 medals including five gold. This was India's most successful Paralympic season. India had won 12 medals (4 medals of each color) of all previous Paralympics appearances combined since 1984.
The success at the para-olympics brought the focus on the potential of persons with disability- provided they are given opportunity and a supportive eco-system.
Over 2.2% of India’s population lives with disability. In  terms of number it is over 2.6 crore people.  Persons with disability are often considered to be burdon on family and society and treated likewise.  
In our ancient literature purans and epics persons  with disability  have in most cases not been considered  with kindness, respect and dignity. Often they are subject of contempt at the worst  and  sympathy at the best. Persons with disability have been portrayed  as villians in stories- like for example Manthara in the Ramayana and Shakuni in the Mahabharata.
However, there are umpteen number of  examples that  persons with disability can do wonders. They can do it even better with help from family, society, technology and  empathetic policies.
Assistive  technology  can go a long way in helping persons with disability to function like normal persons. As  Jeorge Abraham , founder of World  Blind Cricket  Association  said every person with disability is a  citizen  and he or she must be treated like one.
Persons with disability need assistive technology and a societal eco system where they can function without facing barriers.  In any civilised country there are some laws and rules to help persons with disability. They have been given some rights. But in many countries like  in India majority of persons with disability are not aware about their rights and the laws  framed to help them.
Govt. of India should promote assistive  technology to produce and manufacture devices which can help persons with disability  to discharge  normal  functions of life. Disability issues should be included in curiculum  right from school to create a societal  support echo system. Rules  have been framed to create  public places  accessable to persons with disability. However,  in many places they  have not been implemented in spirit.  Strict   compliance of these rules will be an immense help for persons with disability. Media can play an important role in flagging disability issues to get attention  with policy  makers. Journalists need to be sensitized in reporting  disability issue and on persons with disability.
After working in Mumbai for over half a century, mostly in Times of India- R. K. Laxman, the legendary cartoonist, retired to live in place of Ashtavinayaka, Pune.
Every evening Laxman would go to Ganesha temple nearby his house. His wife Kamala Laxman would also join at time.
In 2009, Laxman spontaneously drew this cartoon for Krishnan G.
Next month is Laxman's birth centenary.
Tailpiece: Remembering the land-line telephone
Land-line telephone is dying. In another decade we’ll see the landline telephone only in museums or at homes as souvenirs and decorative pieces.
Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they've always had it.
Persons like me, who are above 60 have such fond memories of land-line telephones that we refuse to believe it could ever disappear.
(Journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, Odisha. He also writes fiction and plays.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi