Minority Report


 

“Hazaron Khwahishein Eisi ki Har khwahish pe Dum Nikle

  Bohot Nikle mere Arman, Lekin fir bhi Kum nikle

  Dare kyon mera katil, kya rahega uski garden par

  Wo khoon jo chashme-Tar seUmr-bhar yun Dum-ba-Dum Nikle”

                                                          -Mirza Galib

 

Watching a movie in seminar hall was something I had planned long back to do and if GEC belonged to me I would have realized it as well. Like most of my plans this plan to was scrapped later. As far as scrapping plans is concerned no one can beat me except Goa government.

 

Web Services and minority report had nothing in common as such but may be our prof. was trying to tell us the importance of imagination. Or may be he was just trying to teach things in a different way.

 

If technology has improved quality of our life, art has given meaning to it. Though most of the technological achievements are credited to scientist whatever they implemented was mostly imagined long before any one thought it feasible. Da vinci had drawn diagrams of bicycle and a war tank. Our ancestors spoke about ‘Aksahvani’ and ‘Divyadrishti’ these things have made possible by radio and television respectively.

 

Artists do posses a special intellect for imaginative thinking, scientists often implement such imaginations. Artists do not think about the feasibility of their imaginations by applying theory and logic, scientists have to consider everything because they have the job of implementing it as well. I am not giving the credit of technological achievements to artists but certainly they saw many things that even scientists at that time thought infeasible.

 

Steven Spielberg is unquestionably one of the most imaginative and accomplished directors in the industry today. Whether it is ‘Jurassic Park’ or ‘Minority report’ or ‘Sheindler’s List’ or ‘Saving Private Ryan’, no one can match his style of narrating a story. Despite of using excessive special effects, what makes his movies so impressive is the touch of reality. Nothing seems to be impossible or wild imagination in his movies. He never looses the control over the characters while stressing the fiction part. His characters have all the flaws of ordinary man. May be advancement in technology wont affect the basic instincts of human. Love, fear, jealousy, cruelty, hatred and courage these are the foundation stones of his movies and the science fiction is the decoration.

 

Nothing can be worse than watching a movie in an engineer’s perspective. Its an insult to his piece of art. Figuring out that the core concept of the movie itself is highly based on a disputably achievable scientific achievement of future. Something like viewing the future and then modifying it. If you can modify your future that means what you had seen is not the future. However we can never ignore anything. To get engrossed in the movie it is necessary that you believe the director more than your own mind (do this for Hindi movies at your own risk, I wont suggest it).

 

Imagine a world in 2056, where everybody is authenticated everywhere by his eye retina, from malls to elevators. Imagine a world where everyones position is known using GPS. Where many things like car driving is carried out using artificial agents. Like most of the gadgets everything has its own flaws and limitations. Imagine a cop who gets information from his department about the crimes that might happen in future and his responsibility is to avoid them. Except the last thing everything is imaginable and very much feasible using current technologies. But the movie is not about technology its about a human predicament. What if the cop is told that he is going to  kill someone in future and hence he is no more a law enforcer in the eyes of administration? What if he is now convicted for a crime that he has not yet committed and he sees now possibility of such a thing happening in the next 36 hours? And if he knows the future he has an option to change it then why should he be convicted? There are ethical and philosophical questions that can be raised. But finally we have to choose some system. The cop denies the system and decides to change his future. But circumstances reveal that he can’t do that, he kills the man.

 

No system can be full proof and there are backdoors to every system. A minority report is the one that contains such exceptions to the normal behavior of this system. His mission is now to search the minority report. A minority report is the one where two of the pre-cognitive differ in what they see in future. There are in total 3 such pre-cognitives who see the future and often they see the same thing but rarely they see different things and such incidents are reported in minority report. But even if they see different things the pre-criminals are not spared ‘a doubt is a doubt’ and for the system to work perfectly doubts are to be considered as true.

Here is one like I would like to quote from the movie

 

“I know it is perfect (the system). But there is a flaw. Its Human”

 

Whether or not the Cop (John played by Tom Cruise) is successful in revealing his true destiny is not an important thing in our perspective.

The most important thing that is to be learnt is that, every system unless it is designed by God has flaws; most often the flaws are not because of incompetence of the system but because of the humans who learn to exploit the system. Apply it to politics or academics or anywhere I bet I am not wrong.

 

As far pure technology in concerned and if I am asked to implement any one thing from this movie, I would love to implement either of this two.

1.     An global authentication system mostly based on biometric parameters.

2.     Or a intelligent agent designed to accomplish a particular goal. E.g. Driving a Car, authenticating all the people in the given area or spybots.

 

Imagine a world where everyone has got a unique identity which is determined by his fingerprints or eye retina. There are plans to implement in India something like Social Security Identification to each citizen. Many technocrats are also suggesting strongly a need to provide each citizen a unique identity over cyber world. Imagine applying for passport, today one has to provide almost 6 documents all of which are provided by government agencies. If we can build a network connecting all government offices there is no need to provide any tangible documents. Just provide your thumb impression and you will be done.

 

That’s very optimistic I know but since India has no strong IT infrastructure for governments we have an opportunity to build it right from scratch.

 

Studies revealed that it was possible to avoid ‘9/11’ if there was proper co-ordination between databases of passport offices and aviation in U.S. because people who got license to fly a plan were already marked as suspects by the passport office.

 

Note:- I had brought the DVD to see the movie in Seminar hall but I was extremely ashamed after I saw that the print was a pirated one and very blur. Most of them felt very bored and I guess that was because of me.

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