Retracing freedom on a Friday afternoon, from Sumerian Inscriptions to Modern Television.
Anyone who has ever experienced the pleasure of not having extravagant plans on a Friday evening, or rather – no plans at all, probably understands a little bit about the concept of liberty. The postmodern world that we inhabit, is driven by wonders – which until a few decades preceding the turn of the century, were limited to pages of George Orwell’s 1984 and other similarly ambitious fiction-escapades. And in developing those wonders, we have invariably found ourselves losing sight of our simpler objectives, like smiling. And I’m not just saying that – I’ve literally seen a lot of people spending time on Video Calls (much like Winston’s plate from 1984) through apps, without the slightest hint of an emotion. I mean, isn’t it weird to imagine that there are millions of faces interacting with each other, based on technology that was fantasy-futuristic until a couple of decades back, with no sign of amusement or acknowledgement whatsoever?
The eagles, in their rendition of Hotel California, said “We’re all just prisoners here, of our own device.” Too real for our tastes, maybe?
Some of the greatest technological minds of the twentieth century had set out on their respective paths, based on the notion that their products would eventually aid the liberation of a greater ‘human’ cause. And yet, many of us – and I’m including myself when I say this – we have somehow figured out a way to distort their vision & our reality to create a twisted semblance of existence. Agreed- the results aren’t really disastrous, but they’re enough to indicate that our idea of invasive technology needs a major rework.
So, this Friday (My third day at Amagi Media Labs) I tried calling my roommates to see if they’d be interested in a movie later in the evening, only to receive a polite denial. Everyone else has plans but me. The event, although excruciatingly minute in the grand scheme of things, got me thinking about something else. Am I trapped in this existentialist race where nobody wins?
The human mind works in strange ways. One question kept connecting to another, and to answer the enormity of my solitude, I began my quest for one thing that could make a difference.
As step one, I tried studying the life & times of Mr Steven Paul Jobs once again. This is a man whom I’ve always admired, for his diligence towards the innovative empowerment of people. But my re-evaluation didn’t help quite as much as I had hoped for. Individual symbolism has its own scary limitations, and I’m afraid the study of an individual biography can only yield a few bouts of inspiration, nothing beyond that.
I looked further. I clicked my way, page after page on Wikipedia, following one link to the next until I was exhausted & convinced about the fact that external stimuli won’t cut it for me. So I looked around – not on the internet, but around me. And finally, the bigger picture began settling in.
When I told my former colleagues a month back that I was supposed to join the biggest international player in cloud based broadcast technologies, everyone was awestruck about the wonderful things that the firm does, and marveled at the new-age broadcast concepts pioneered by the organization. But Amagi? That simple, bold logo on my business card – that big image on the wall, what did it stand for? Facial expressions hadn’t really answered it for me yet.
We fear what we don’t understand – now that’s a concept glorified very recently by Mr Nolan’s rendition of Bruce Wayne’s adventures. I tried applying that theory to understand if my doubts were lined in that direction. Did I not understand Amagi? Of course I did – in the build-up to my joining date, I had spent more than my fair share of internet time looking up various products from the Amagi stable, which allowed the magic to happen. We’re doing things which the future can drool about, and we’re doing them now. We’re enabling businesses in finding affordable broadcast solutions, which is an absolute godsend in today’s economy. What more could symbolism lead me to?
Then I found this. Mr “That Guy” had posted a pin on Pinterest, explaining what Amagi stood for. It’s an ancient Sumerian Inscription, and the first occurrence of the word. Honestly speaking, it did something. It isn’t every day that you find out your firm’s name originates from the earliest written symbol of liberty. I mean, with all that I’ve said so far about technology and the entrapment scenario, I couldn’t really find a better way to salvage my doubts. And then, right then, I put the pieces together.
I’m here to enable a bigger technological destiny for people. I’m not here merely to promote what is arguably the biggest breakthrough in broadcast since Television itself.
I’m here to innovate, I’m here to liberate.
I’m here at Amagi, and I welcome myself into the future. Come join me, won’t you?