Back to the Future

Bold themes and an ever-increasing internet penetration make a solid case for releasing films online. Web becomes particularly important in current times when filmmakers are toying with bold subjects and catch-lines never encountered before. If the subject is politically sensitive, taking the film to the public becomes challenging, and at times, even more daunting than making the film. Lack of resources is another factor that constrains independent filmmakers and makes them rely on the Internet. To generate revenues from movies, Indian filmmakers need to follow the US model and make them available on the internet so that fans can watch the content on the device they choose, anytime, everywhere.

Sudhish Kamath made ”That Four Letter Word” with three-and-a-half lakh rupees. After managing a limited theatrical release of the film in Mumbai and Chennai, Kamath put it online for free viewing.

“Films earlier mostly catered to people belonging to the lowest common denominator. For the last 10-15 years, the audience has explored a wider spectrum of films and cultures thanks to the Internet. This helped bring about a change in the kind of films we are making and watching,” said filmmaker Indranil Roychowdhury.

Present Scenario

There are two kinds of films in Bengal, class movies and mass movies. Classy films would include films like Proloy, Jaatishwar, Apur Panchali, Baishe Srabon and so on, and massy films include Challenge, Shotru and Borbaad. Let us examine the content and execution of recent Bengali films that claim to be serious, as opposed to the frivolous commercial product that is made up of physical violence -sadistic beatings, murder and rape are staples – blind faith in religion, and in the invincibility of state power as represented by the police, which can be mocked lightly or heavily as the situation demands but must be submitted to in the end. There is also the treatment of women as sex objects that can be deified in a trice. Patriotism, covert and overt, is often an important ingredient.

Bengali Cinema is also undergoing a change

Bengali cinema has always played a significant role and has contributed a rich body of work to the Indian film industry. Known for producing cinematic gems over the decades , the picture changed during 1980-90s when a clear distinction was formed between commercial films and art films. The audiences for both categories were also clearly defined. However, with time situations and the quality of work has changed for the better.

With more and more Bengali films gaining recognition and appreciation at film festivals and getting prestigious awards, the Bengali film industry is still in its growing stage.

“Distributorship is being monopolised in Bengal. People are trying to make money, not movies,” said Mr. Suman. “My film [ Phoring ] may make money for TV channels but it failed at the box office. My film is also a super hit on the Internet. Commercial viability of a film depends greatly on how a film is marketed,” said Mr. Indranil Roychowdury.

Rising up to the new Challenge

According to IAMAI report, there are 149 million active internet users in India in 2013.The advent of internet has changed the way information on films is delivered to users in India. In the recent years, convergence and cross platform marketing activities are increasingly becoming the norm in India. This poses a big opportunity for Bengali films as social media provides a more cost effective means to promote films prior to release compared to traditional promotions.

The demand to watch films instantly has also increased drastically with the proliferation of internet. A digital distribution platform can capitalise on this and enable one to watch a film immediately. Some online digital distribution companies globally, let audiences watch a trailer on any internet platform, and provide instant option of pay per view or purchase the physical copy. This way a film is sold simply and effectively to those who want to see it without having to persuade a hall to book it, a retailer to put it on their shelves or a broadcaster to license and schedule it. The content maker also has the independence to set the price. In countries like India, where the potential audience is huge, even a minimal ticket price can glean huge returns and in turn reduce piracy to a large extent.

Hulu Movies

The report points out that the potential of the Bengali language is immense in terms of both quality and quantity. First, Bengali is the 7th most widely spoken language in the world. Secondly, 170 million people in Bangladesh and 100 million people in India have Bengali as their native tongue. Thirdly, Bengali cinema produces around 100 feature films every year, capable of drawing a massive audience. Bengali cinema can take pride in the international stature of filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ritwik Ghatak, Aparna Sen, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Gautam Ghose and Rituparno Ghosh. However, the returns don’t reflect the potential.

Watch out for Emerging Business Models

The total investment in Bengali film industry is estimated to be around Rs 150 -180 crore, but the buoyancy in the investment is not matched by the growth in earnings in recent years.

The industry is valued at Rs 120-150 crores in terms of expected revenue in 2014 and has shown negligible growth over last year. According to industry estimates, not more than 10% of all films released in a year break even and only five or six generate enough surplus to be termed hits. This means 90% Bengali films are box office flops.

A concerted attempt is required to reach out to the greater ethno-linguistic group across different parts of the world other than US. Aggregated data on internet search for Bengali films reveal maximum queries generated from Bangladesh, Middle East, UK followed by US. At over 200,000 London alone has the largest concentration of Bengali speakers.

From a technology perspective, the US has taken on the rest of the world. With internet replacing linear TV, your content should be really be viewable on any device, anytime and everywhere. Moreover markets like UK, France and Germany in Europe, where Bengali cinema has high demand, has to be targeted by producers and directors. With regard to Bengali cinema, despite the profusion of films made nowadays, there’s a “disconnect” in availability of the movies for the three-and-a-half million Bengalis living abroad. We have services like BoxTV which is Internet’s online streaming video service. BoxTV licenses content from Indian movie producers across seven languages (including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Bhojpuri, and Bengali) and makes it accessible across a wide range of platforms, taking into account the wide range of ways in which Indian consumers access the Internet. In addition to a Web site, BoxTV is available on iOS devices, Android phones and tablets, Kindle and TV-connected platforms like Roku, EvoTV and Woxi Pod. Bollywood producers providing content for BoxTV include UTV Motion Pictures, Shemaroo Entertainment, Rajshri Entertainment and Everymedia Technologies. Aside from Indian production studios, BoxTV has also signed contract agreements with Sony Pictures Television and Disney UTV, allowing its audience to gain access to Hollywood TV shows and movies like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Spider-Man” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

It leaves us with a broader outlook that focuses on understanding the emerging business models, importance of Internet and innovative viewer engagement methods that are vital for the growth of the industry. I am very interested in exploring films for the internet. I believe that is the future. The democracy of the net allows the audience to find your films rather than the film finding the audience.

Ref: CII- IMRB jointly unveils ‘Bengal Bioscope: A Big Picture Outlook for Sustainable Growth’ Dec 10, 2014, http://www.cii.in/

Best Regards,

Raj Kosaraju

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“Aashmani Jawaharat ” Explore. Dream. Discover.

“If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.”
Tom Hanks

When a project goes into turnaround, it’s never a happy moment. Development execs, producers, and writers spend years laboring on a project only to see their hard work put on a shelf. There are many reasons to put a script into turnaround: a competing project beats them to theaters; a regime change alters the studios’ agenda; talent attachments fall apart; or the passion simply dies out. While it’s frustrating to see all that work wasted, turnaround can actually bring about a project’s second chance.

For Roy, a film is the most visually dynamic way that he can tell this kind of story and feel like people will listen. On one hand, he wants to make a quality and entertaining film that explores human behavior, the drama within us all and something we can all relate to, through this defined quality that at times can be incredibly scary, yet can also provide incredible beauty. The 0ne Rupee Film Project is an independent and ultra-low-budget crowd-funded feature length docu-fiction out of India. The makers of the film had to go through a 474 day long fundraising campaign. They asked for a minimum contribution of one rupee from everyone they came across. Thus, 2,85,000 Indian rupees could be raised to complete the production and the initial stages of post-production. The film is titled Aashmani Jawaharat aka Diamonds in the Sky but the campaign had been so huge that it is still popularly recognized as the one rupee film.

Begin Again

I want to make films that send out a strong social message to viewers and contribute towards changing the society. There’s a saying in the industry, “Good, fast, cheap… pick two.” We’re not willing to sacrifice “good” and we will make this film — it’s just a matter of how much money we’re able to raise. If we can raise more than the initial $2500 and film more up front, that would be an absolutely welcomed blessing. If we can’t, we’ll work with what we get and however long it takes.

So I’ve been at this project for just over 3 years now. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs with it — it’s beat me into the ground on occasion, but I refuse to give up on it. I think it’s a timeless story that can serve purpose at any moment. I think it’s also time a movie came out that shows the stark, gritty realities of this condition without trivializing it. ”It would be worth it. I want the audience to walk out really thinking about what they just saw. It’s a real life docu-fiction  with a twist.”

Aashmani Jawahraat

Making it Happen

Finances continue to remain a worry for independent filmmakers, despite the success of independent cinema every time a debut director manages to push his film to the theatres, an actor turns producer or a corporate house bankrolls a project. During the crowd-funding campaign for the 0ne Rupee Film Project, the makers decided to stay truthful and not use deceiving marketing techniques. Probably that’s one of the reasons why completion funds are not readily available for it. But whatever the case may be, the film did reach the point from where one can start looking for completion funds and in this whole process the money did come, not from any corporate entity, not due to the support of a celebrity, but through approaching individuals with the mere unexciting facts, so to speak, related to the feature-length docu-fiction.

Memories

As Riddhiman Basu  points out in his article (Aashmani Jawaharat: A Panorama of Independent Film Scenario in India) , Anamitra had also met God who had told him that his film would never get a theatrical release.  Not able to cope with this, he had committed suicide. It is also mentioned that the partially completed film is a sort of a suicide note, which the maker has  left behind. Thus the premise is set for a make-believe counterpart of Anamitra, who belonged to a small town and is no more in this world. This layer or track makes itself apparent in many segments like ‘Segment 2:6 The Last Scene’.Ironically this is the first segment of the film, where a devastated Anamitra comes to his musician friend in order to find solace. All these scenes are enacted either by Anamitra himself, or other actors impersonating Anamitra. These quasi-real aspects depict the journey of the make-believe Anamitra and the obstacles he faces while trying to complete his film. However, these sequences also reflect the same for the real Anamitra. His experiences on this journey and the mindsets he came across have been cleverly shaped in the form of imaginary characters and sequences. Another interesting example of reconstruction is ‘Segment 2:1 The Executive Producer’, where Anamitra meets another producer who assures him that funds can come through different channels like ministers of the ruling party, while simultaneously chatting on his laptop. Such sequences provide an insight into the nature of the producers who are misleading or concerned with getting returns on their investments or in some cases, getting intimate with the actresses etc.

Five No Budget Films only

On the other hand, I want to use this story as a medium to reach others that may be struggling, or might be watching a loved one struggle and show them they’re not alone and they don’t have to live like that.

Whether we are an employee in the workplace, a parent, a teacher, or simply a member of a community, we all have powerful experiences that we can use to help others through similar challenges. Once we’ve been through a difficulty and have overcome it, we are uniquely poised to lead others through their own perilous times.

Manny Pacquiao is a Filipino world champion professional boxer. At age 32, he was elected to the Philippine House of Representatives; he also has been involved in acting, singing, and playing basketball. By all accounts, Manny is a huge success. But it’s what happened after his recent, widely publicized fight against Floyd Mayweather, in which Manny lost, that tells the real story about who he is.

After the fight, Mayweather went on to celebrate his win, spending $1.2 million on cham-pagne alone. Manny, on the other hand, proceeded with his plans, which had been finalized before the fight even took place. Win or lose, Manny was heading straight to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, a supportive housing program for homeless youth, just as he had done every time he had fought in Las Vegas.

Manny explained that at the start of his career, a good friend advised him, “Manny, don’t you ever forget where you came from. If you forget that, it doesn’t matter how much you win. If you lose where you come from, you lose it all.”

You see, Manny grew up so poor that he had to drop out of school to help support his family. By 16, he was literally fighting for his life. Throughout it all, Manny never forgot where he came from, and that’s why he continues to bring boxes of gifts and toys for the poor children at St. Jude’s whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Time to Deliver

2012 was the year when the campaign for ‘The 0ne Rupee Film Project’ was launched. The film is actually titled ‘Aashmani Jawaharat aka Diamonds in the Sky’. Since its launch, the project went on to create waves across India. As Anamitra says, life is slow when you are fighting every day. But when I look back, it doesn’t seem so. I hope that the project succeeds without hurting any sentiments, be it political, communal or some other sensitive type. Filmmaking is an existential essential for people like me. It’s time we woke the asleep up. Never was a marginal film so much heard, read or shared about. It became a part of ‘The Goa Project’ in March, 2013, ‘Shortbusters, Bangalore’ in November, 2013 and the ‘Indiearth Xchange’ in December, 2013. It was featured in the ‘1st Kolikata International Film Festival’ that took place in September, 2013. Except these, the film has been a part of the Mumbai Film Mart at the Mumbai International Film Festival, 2013 and also Film Bazaar at International Film Festival of India, Goa, 2013. But the market always has its own rules and the final thing to say. The film is stuck in the last stage of post production due to lack of funds since October, 2013. Two times release dates have been postponed. It’s a feature-length (132 minute) docu-fiction about the indie film scenario in India made for 300,000 INR approximately (USD 5,000 $). Two books about the film is already available on the internet and the 3rd one is coming soon. Also, the screenplay will be made available for e-book readers this year. It’s been more than 800 days and no one knows the fate of the film yet.

FB on Puja

What can be done.  I  think first and foremost  is to acknowledge the immense contribution given by many people to the One Rupee Project.  Secondly, to  attach a  sense of pride and privilege to be part of the film. This is  perhaps the only film in the world which has a huge co-producers to its list and perhaps we may have some more till we complete the  final crowdfunding exercise. We would also like to contribute after successfully launching our film ‘’Aashmani Jawaharat’’ to  Make a wish Foundation.  Any surplus amounts received thereof will be handed over to them to make a wish for anyone fulfilled. Any wish fulfilled could bring the greatest Joy, Hope and Strength in a Child and to the family. The foundation has experienced some of the unbelievable real life situations since inception. (http://www.makeawishindia.org/)

Maybe dedicate it  in honour of someone. Be it your parents, Brothers, Sisters, Teachers, Uncles Aunts, Children , film lovers, FB friends, Birthday gifts,  and in short anyone you would want to give this amount  for the film. We would acknowledge it and have your name in the credits of the film.

On the finishing  front  of Aashmani Jawaharat  I personally feel that we will bounce back and with the help of our friends ,contributors and well wishers will try to finish the project very soon.

Best Regards,

Raj Kosaraju

Diamonds in The Sky- A Classic Bengali Movie

Way to Go

2012 was the year when the campaign for ‘The 0ne Rupee Film Project’ was launched. The film is actually titled ‘Aashmani Jawaharat aka Diamonds in the Sky’. Since its launch, the project went on to create waves across India. Never was a marginal film so much heard, read or shared about. It became a part of ‘The Goa Project’ in March, 2013, ‘Shortbusters, Bangalore’ in November, 2013 and the ‘Indiearth Xchange’ in December, 2013. It was featured in the ‘1st Kolikata International Film Festival’ that took place in September, 2013. Except these, the film has been a part of the Mumbai Film Mart at the Mumbai International Film Festival, 2013 and also Film Bazaar at International Film Festival of India, Goa, 2013. Till date Anamitra has four shorts to his credit and a crowd-funded feature, Aashmani Jawaharat (popularly known as the One Rupee Film Project) as a director and more than a dozen as an editor.

First things First

I was introduced to a completely new world of cinema and filmmakers. When I say new, it’s because I am a huge fan of Bollywood and Bengali cinema. When I say a huge fan, it encompasses cinema from the 70s, 80s, 90s and early 2000s. Coming back to the topic, George a classmate of mine, used to keep cinema nights at his place where we used to watch films made by Godard, Fellini, Antonioni and the mass favorite, Wong Kar Wai, Mrinal Sen , Satyajit Ray , Rithwick Ghatak and the Japanese legend Kurosawa . Post film interactions used to continue till sunrise and we all used to go back home and google about the said filmmakers and their journey.

Moving with the Masses

Indie Movies

I grew up in Calcutta and my first cousin produced Mrigaya directed by Mrinal Sen in 1976. I never knew that one day we will be seeing independent movies and crowdfunding in a big way. Today, crowdfunding is used by film-makers, charities, technology companies, even football clubs, for projects that would otherwise struggle to get off the ground. The independent movie scene in India or, as it is colloquially known, the ‘indie’ movie scene, is one that has been slowly but steadily gaining acclaim over the last couple of years. These indie movies arose as a result of the parallel cinema movement in the country and to put it simply, are those movies which are funded independently and made outside the realm of the major studio systems. They circumvent the traditional Bollywood formula of song, dance and fanfare, instead concentrating on the filmmaker’s personal and artistic vision.

Diamonds in the Sky- A Cinematic Masterpiece

None of the best Indian independent films would be complete without this cinematic masterpiece, written and directed by Anamtira Roy. One of the strongest elements of  ‘’Diamonds in the Sky’’ is the way it embraces everyone irrespective of religion, community, class, economic background and gender. His experiences on this journey and the mind-sets he came across have been cleverly shaped in the form of imaginary characters and sequences. More often than not, you should  try and watch Indie films that you know would find difficulty getting a distribution in place. Films without stars, but having an interesting story or concept that you find fascinating. ‘Diamonds in the Sky’’ is going to be a film on the independent Film Scenario of India. It is a touching story without being sappy and over romantic; in fact, its subtlety is what draws you into the plot. This is clearly understood in Vox Populi 4: Kolkata’, where Anamitra describes a character in his film who is an MBA graduate friend of his. Anamitra first expresses his wish to direct a feature to his friend Prateek. Prateek insists to include explicit sequences in his film, since such elements bring the film to notice and may also facilitate getting a few awards for the film. The reference here is probably towards Kaushik’s film ‘Gandu’, which though being an independent film has come into notice because of these very reasons. He clarifies to Prateek that there is no such person in reality; he is rather the embodiment of a specific mind set of commercialization. Only those who come with a sincere heart and thirst for knowledge are able to apprehend the true essence of the film.

Sabse Bada Rupaiah

Close Resemblance to Reality

There’s hardly a moment when your attention gets affected. ‘’Diamonds in the Sky’ ’on one hand uses all these metaphors on how a film gets made, how characters are developed etc. and it also indulges the audience in what is real and what is not. It tries to ask us if art can be original. Or in an even more broader concept it is about a filmmaker or artist wanting to express his ideas, but then like the police officer the moral police comes into picture and puts pressure on filmmakers on how they should make a film, or on what topic they should make a film etc. Had it been a director of less calibre it would have been a mess. He now comes across as a director who is now confident about his story telling skills.

2015 would certainly be a memorable year for Anamitra. ‘’ Diamonds in the Sky ’’ reaffirms the fact that Anamitra Roy is a director to watch out for.

It is a classic, unique, and wonderful movie. Don’t forget to watch it.

Best,
Raj Kosaraju

Artificial Intelligence-Challenges Ahead

Artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionized information technology. The new economy of information technology has shaped the way we are living. Google led the way, showing the power of data-driven artificial intelligence delivered over the cloud, not only in search but also in tasks like language translation and computer vision. Artificial intelligence run through the cloud is now the dominant approach used by researchers at technology companies, universities and government labs.

We’re seeing a rebirth of artificial intelligence driven by the cloud, huge amounts of data and the learning algorithms of software. Some predict that we are headed much further.

Artificial intelligences are now ubiquitous, from GPS navigation systems and Google algorithms to automated customer service and Apple’s Siri, to say nothing of Deep Blue and Watson — but no machine has met Turing’s standard. The quest to do so, however, and the lines of research inspired by the general challenge of modeling human thought, have profoundly influenced both computer and cognitive science.

The ethics of artificial intelligence is already an area of huge concern when it comes to the military’s use of unmanned vehicles. In November 2012, the Department of Defense tried to establish guidelines around minimizing failures and mistakes for robots deployed to kill targets. The United Nations is expected to address the topic this year. Military robots can save soldiers’ lives, and proponents say they aren’t susceptible to mistakes caused by passion, revenge, pressure and fatigue.

It is important to remember that the benefits to Facebook and Google aren’t hard to imagine. Rather than depending on users following brands, they could simply scan people’s pictures and know whether they prefer Coke or Pepsi. Or, going a step further, the machine could determine your location, recognize you haven’t posted a picture of yourself smiling in some time, and recommend you buy tickets to the funny movie playing around the corner.

The following  highlight application areas where AI technology is having a strong impact on industry and everyday life.

AI Application Areas

Aerospace
Petroleum
Business Intelligence
Process Support and Workflow
Logistics and Supply Chains
Financial Advisory Systems
Documentation and Layout
Emergency Response
Homeland Security
Bio-Informatics

AI Technology Areas

Knowledge-Based Systems: data mining, expert systems, knowledge management, KBS methodology, ontologies

Planning and Workflow Systems: modelling, task setting, planning, execution, monitoring and coordination of activities

Adaptive Systems: case-based reasoning: a technique for utilising past experiences and existing corporate resources such as databases to guide diagnosis and fault finding

Intelligent User Interfaces: intelligent agents, document presentation and argumentation, dynamic creation of content

Intelligent Virtual Worlds: collaborative workspaces, virtual operations centres, meeting assistants

For more than 50 years, we’ve been hearing about the promise of artificial intelligence and intelligent machines, but most of the big success stories to date – the IBM Watsons of the world – have been the result of massive efforts by universities and corporate R&D labs rather than by emerging start-ups. That could change soon, as artificial intelligence shows signs of becoming the next big trend for tech start-ups in Silicon Valley.

Improving customer satisfaction by bringing down response times, fewer redundancies, a reduced time to market for new products and a more personalized approach. Artificial Intelligence helps organizations improve customer interactions resulting in more loyal customers. IBM’s Watson for example has developed a financial services assistant that can provide better advice on financial products based on market conditions, life events, client’s past decisions and available offerings.

However there are some shortfalls. One is the realization that the creation of a comprehensive AI solution such as IBM Watson – as amazing as it has been – may simply be too expensive to be economically viable over the long haul. Even IBM has been forced to admit that it needs to rethink how it does AI. The company wants Watson to eventually become a $10 billion a year business, but thus far, Watson has only been able to generate $100 million in new business. As a result, IBM is now talking about partnering with the entrepreneurial ecosystem to develop AI apps for Watson, the same way that developers partner with companies such as Apple to develop iOS apps.

The second factor is a realization by companies such as Google and Facebook that they can use AI to solve smaller, real-world problems. AI doesn’t have to be able to beat a human at chess or win Jeopardy! – if it can produce better search queries or analyze your social graph, then that may be good enough. Facebook, with its DeepFace project, promises to solve the problem of facial recognition so that it can help with Facebook photos. New “deep learning” initiatives at Facebook can be used to make sense of your social graph.

Third, Google  is without question one of the most innovative companies on the planet.  It’s a company that is known mostly for its amazingly successful search and advertising businesses, and will probably be known for this for the foreseeable future. But lately it’s also quickly becoming known for its rather unorthodox array of secondary business efforts. These efforts include things like driverless cars, wearable technology (Google Glass), human-like robotics, high-altitude Internet broadcasting balloons, contact lenses that monitor glucose in tears, and even an effort to potentially solve death (Difficult to believe though).

“It sounds not as dangerous as computers that take over the world, but it’s something that helps with complexity and uncertainty,” Peter Norvig, 53, ( Director Research, Google) says in an interview. The results of his work may be no less far-reaching than the exploration of Mars. It touches on how billions of people already use search, browse the Web, circulate e-mail, and translate documents and speech on personal computers and mobile devices. In years to come, artificial intelligence (AI) systems might remind us of our appointments, drive our cars, and connect us with friends. “Imagine a very near future when you don’t forget anything because the computer remembers,” Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt said at a recent  conference in Berlin. “You are never lost. You are never lonely.” AI in action: Google Instant

Moreover there is just so much data available these days and as humans we need assistance in gathering, analyzing and understanding it. A recent IDC Digital Universe Study predicted that the amount of data that currently exists is going to double every two years from 2012 to 2020. We need to realize that without the help of AI, it is incredibly difficult for any business to sort through all the data and then make informed decisions and take advantage of opportunities.

Artificial Intelligence has already made promises for decades and only recently we are seeing some, significant, results. There are many challenges involved in creating truly intelligent software and machines. Venture capital firms investing in these companies thus need to have a very long investment horizon. Although of course the acquisition of DeepMind by Google suggests otherwise.

We’ve seen huge changes in the way that humans interact with machines. Previously, human minds were responsible for coming up with creative and smart solutions to solve problems and machines would help by completing manual tasks. Now, we allow machines to do the thinking for us and simplify our involvement.   Take for example, the SatNav, a product used globally every day.  We, as the driver, decide where we want to go, and our trusty SatNav tells us the best, quickest or cheapest way to get there.

“Although robots are important to society, they cannot yet do most tasks carried out by humans,” says Granada scientist Eduardo Ros Vidal, “We have been talking about humanoids for years, but we still don’t see them on the streets.”

The following predicts a futuristic view of how our machines will progress in the decades ahead:

2015-2020 – $10,000 robots that read human emotions, perform household chores, and provide security are slowly being accepted as family members.

2020-2030 – $20,000 bots are efficient at most human jobs; some enjoy limited human rights.

2030-2040 – SuperBots outthink humans, making human-machine data transfers commonplace.

Imagine a super-computer-like hard drive linked wirelessly to your mind. An encyclopedia of information pops into your head and photographic memory becomes the norm. With computer-like abilities, you’re now a whiz at processing data. In fact, when faced with making a decision, in just seconds, you can run dozens or even hundreds of “what if” simulations through your mind. You then make the correct decision – always.

Most people welcome mind improvements like this that promise a happier, and certainly far more intelligent life; but some conservatives may find this “magical future” somewhat unsettling. However, while the contours of when this bold science will arrive may be a bit foggy, the map for how we get there is crystal clear. It’s only a question of when, not if.

Best Regards,
Raj Kosaraju

© All Rights Reserved

OM in the News: Products For Our Future

Jay, Barry and Chuck's OM Blog

Audi's virtual cockpit Audi’s virtual cockpit

 Fortune’s special feature called “Shape the Future” (Jan. 1, 2015) names 11 products that will have a huge impact on operations management and on our lives. Here are just four of them:

A Liquid Bandage for Every Pocket. For centuries direct pressure, stitches, and cauterization were the only tools we had to stop significant bleeding. Now the Band-Aid of the future, a plant-based product called Vetigel, appears to imitate the structure of the living tissue on which it’s placed. In other words, it won’t just keep the blood in—it will help heal the wound too, by accelerating the binding of fibrin, a protein that acts like scaffolding during coagulation, with platelets in the blood. (Next year).

The Smart Car Gets Even Smarter. Nvidia engineers are working to give the next generation of automobiles a brain capable of understanding the world around it. “The car is rapidly…

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How One Young Entrepreneur Is Changing Lives One Headband At A Time

The about.me Blog

During her junior at North Carolina State University, Jessica Ekstrom experienced a life changing moment that changed the trajectory of her life.

While volunteering for the Make-A-Wish foundation, she would spend time with young children battling life threatening illnesses. One thing she noticed was that young girls who lost their hair from chemotherapy treatment preferred to to wear headbands instead of wigs. Inspired by the courage of the young girls and seeing a void to fulfill their wishes, Jessica created Headbands of Hope.

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Johnny Walker~ A Belgian Film

127 Hours

The movie 127 Hours tells the story of Aron Ralston, an adventurer who set out on a hike through Utah’s Canyon lands National Park. Trekking through one deep canyon, Ralston inadvertently jarred a boulder loose. The boulder fell on top of him and wedged his arm against the canyon wall.

For days, Ralson was stuck there in the canyon. His arm had lost all circulation and was essentially dead. He finally realized that his only chance for survival was to do the unthinkable: use his pocket knife to cut off his own arm. And that’s just what he did.

Ralston survived that horrific ordeal because he was willing to cut off what was killing him for the sake of saving his own life.

It is a touching movie.

Image

Here comes a movie which after a long time gives us a fresh perspective of the marvelous emotion called ‘love’! And the beauty is that it doesn’t do it halfheartedly or for the sake of it. It holds our hands and takes us into a totally unknown world, slowly guiding us through the nooks and corners of that milieu,  and shows us the various facets of the ‘conventional world’ outside from that other realm’s perspective. And what an exhilarating experience that turns out to be! An experience which leaves you humbled,  happy, pleasantly surprised,  shocked, shaken, moved, and literally speechless!

Johnny Walker is a Belgium movie which projects the human values and the importance of friendships and relationships.“Human relationships are not designed to be a raw contest of power and strength but rather a self-controlled acceptance of clearly outlined roles. Therefore, we exert our greatest influence in life by knowing how to harness and safeguard our own strong wills.”

“With the success of his debut film FOUR ROSES, Kris De Meester firmly put himself on the map of new and promising European filmmakers. His latest project, JOHNNY WALKER (loosely based on Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and with references to classic American indie films) promises to be even better.”

Johnny is a 63-year-old American filmmaker. He was once a very successful and respected director. In the 80’s he was responsible for several blockbusters. This success led to a change in mentality. Johnny thought that everything he touched would turn into gold. His ego became so inflated that eventually every kind of cooperation was impossible. In the ensuing 25 years, Johnny has accomplished absolutely nothing meaningful. . He is married to Sharon, a famous actress whom he met on the set of his last film. That film was Sharon’s breakthrough, the start of a meaningful acting career. She never stopped working since then. Sharon spends more time away than at home. They live together, but no longer share a life. Unlike his wife, Johnny has little or no aspirations. Life has exhausted him and drained his inspiration. For years he’s been working on a new project, but it seems doomed to eternal development hell. He lives in his own world, isolated from reality, in a castle somewhere in Wallonia.

Now he is past his peak years, and he suffers from depression. She is the reason he moved to Belgium. Unfortunately, she spends her time rather than at home by the film set. Johnny has, unlike his wife, no expectations from life. Cut off from reality, he lives in a castle on the border between Flanders and Wallonia – a place which will cause linguistic confusion and is surrounded by staff that barely speak English. One day an unknown pregnant woman shows up unexpectedly at Johnny’s door. Their meeting heralds a new beginning for Johnny.

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Although Johnny Walker is a true Belgian film, the film has already received International recognition. Thus, the film is supported by producer Christine Kunewa Walker (Howl, Life during Wartime, American Splendor). This award-winning producer has already worked with big names like James Franco, Todd Solondz, Matt Dillon, Greg Kinnear and Paul Giamatti. Producer Jim Stark (Coffee and Cigarettes, Night on Earth, Factotum) is also very enthusiastic about the project and see Kris De Meester as’ a new and promising European filmmaker. At the Belgian level, the film is supported by; among others associate producer Tomas Layers (Lost Persons Area, Los Flamencos, Tango Libre) and co-producer Martin Dewitte (Parade’s End).

Kris De Meester- Director

He has worked with renowned directors such as Lars Von Trier (Nymphomaniac), Koen Mortier (Ex-Drummer) and Wolfgang Becker (Me and Kaminsky).

Meester won a wide acclaim and recognition for his previous film “Four Roses” which included the Jury Award at the Memphis International Film Festival. This film was also nominated in several other international and independent film festivals (Cannes, Toronto, Strasbourg, Paris, and Atlanta).  Four Roses could also count on a successful theatrical release in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Producer Kris De Meester was co-responsible for several low – to no-budget films such as  Braised (Belgium),  Menthol  (USA),  Vessel  (Australia) and along with  Raj Kosaraju an Associate Producer of a Spanish movie Por Las Plumas  (Costa Rica) that was recently selected for the renowned Toronto International Film Festival and 61 º Festival Internacional de Cine de San Sebastián.The National Film “Por Las Plumas” (All about the feathers) , won the award for Best International Film Festival Central Icarus. The awards ceremony, which concluded on the 21 November 2013, was held from The Capuchin convent in Antigua, Guatemala. In addition, Neto Villalobos won the award for the Best Director.

Apart from “Por Las Plumas” Raj Kosaraju is also an Associate Producer of Johnny Walker and is looking forward for its release in April 2014.