CPD of a different kind

Yesterday, while browsing Netflix, I stumbled upon Ex Machina: a British science fiction movie made by Alex Garland. The name rang a bell, so I started watching it. When the protagonist’s name “Caleb” flashed on screen, I realized why the movie’s name sounded so familiar.

“Ex Machina” and “Caleb” get a mention in Prof. Anil Seth’s book — Being You. In one of the chapters, the author discusses whether an AI-driven machine will ever reach a point of having its own consciousness and take decisions using this consciousness. To illustrate this point to the layperson, Prof. Seth briefly discusses the movie “Ex Machina” and the dilemma that the protagonist “Caleb” goes through when he is asked to conduct the Turing test on an AI-driven humanoid (Turing test, founded by Alan Turing, is a method of determining whether or not a computer is capable of thinking like a human being).

The movie has a straightforward storyline and a predictable end. What’s fascinating is how the moviemakers show an AI-driven machine developing its own consciousness and how the distinction between a human and a machine starts getting blurry.

Why did I think of this movie as continuing professional development?

As a writer and translator, AI is fast becoming an integral part of my professional life. It is helping me research terminology and brainstorm ideas for writing. Fascinated as I am about these technological advances, a part of me is apprehensive about its potential to disrupt the world order.

We cannot understand the full power of AI unless we understand how AI works. And, to understand how AI works, we need to first understand how our intelligence works. Being You explains the inner workings of mind and consciousness in lucid manner and suggests resources (in this case: Ex Machina) to dig deeper into the questions of consciousness and intelligence.

Read the book or listen to Prof. Anil Seth narrate it in an audio format. And don’t forget to watch the movie!


Something non-technical

An exciting opportunity presented itself a couple of months ago: Interviewing Philip Boehm, literary translator and winner of the Ungar award for translating Arthur Koestler’s book “Darkness at Noon” from German into English.

Literary translation has always been a mystery to me and I was keen to find out how literary translators go about their job of translating books.

Eager to make a good impression, I researched on the book before contacting Philip. The history of the book was even more fascinating. This gave me enough material to prepare for the interview.

Philip was prompt in responding and I had the interview ready for publishing in a couple of weeks. His answers were insightful and I could get a first-hand perspective on literary translation. The translation process was vastly different from how I approach technical translation. He even gave some practical and sound advice for aspiring literary translators!

Here’s the link to the interview published on the ATA-GLD website:

 Ungar German Translation Award:

It was indeed a great learning experience for me.