2 Minute Speech on Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Mankind!

Hi friends,

Every age has its scientific discoveries and inventions. But today’s scientific advancements can impact globally in very short time. Such is the progress made in the field of artificial intelligence or AI.

AI is in simple terms machines and computers learning, thinking and doing what human intelligence does. Instead of doing certain tasks repeatedly, with AI, machines operate from data that we feed them with to recognize human voices, use human language, drive cars or even the ability to suggest the next course of treatment or an article or book you might like to read.

Artificial Intelligence is something which impacts our everyday life. If you have ever used the Google search engine they give you optimized, so near to what you asked for results based on AI. On the other extreme AI is used in Robotics and even in weaponry which can function without human aid.

Now let me ask this vital question, why is there a surge in the field of AI? Several thrusts can be pointed out. But science and technology is trying to create a super intelligence that can outperform human beings not just in specific tasks but in complex cognitive activity which includes decision-making, problem-solving, memory, speech recognition, attention and judgement.

This can lead mankind to a life of ease like never known before when lot of what they had to perform is done to perfection with the help of AI aided robots or machines. But then there is a danger here. What if AI through some chance or misjudged human calculation acquires smarter intelligence that can control human beings or wreck disasters unheard of?

Yes, there are benefits of AI that we are yet to see that far outweighs these assumed dangers. Maybe no one can stop the march of science or those with scientific pursuit and perseverance who are passionately working in the R & D of AI. Soon someday what many thought as Science Fiction, which people read about in novels or watched in movies as future becomes real and operational now.

If AI creates automated jobs in plenty, will that replace much of human skill and labour? That might be an interesting question of concern to many. Or will AI create more careers or at least offer a few career paths which intelligent kids might be tempted to pursue?

Well, let me conclude. There was a time called the beginning when God created man in his image and likeness. But man running independent of God is capable of acts and deeds that mar the purpose for which man was created. We see the impact of that in the environment as well as in senseless destruction through wars and man’s greed.

Likewise AI created by man to have the complex ability to think and act like human beings can act in destructive mode if something goes wrong. Hacking and programming errors or even robots starting to communicate with each other in a language man will not be able to understand can well be the nightmare of tomorrow.

As the world’s leading technology Companies are competing with each other to show the world their prowess through pioneering AI; as efforts are being made to deify AI to semi-god status, robots can some day gain enough intelligence to challenge the might of man. Though it might be in the future, we might lose our sleep on it this very night.

Thank you.

Do robots care? Is there someone who cares? There are moments of despair in every human life when one wished for Someone who cared; isn’t it?

2 Minute Speech for Students on Democracy

Hi Friends,

Loudspeakers blaring with appeals to vote for a particular candidate.
Banners, flags, and colourful posters waved by rallying masses.
Speeches spitting fire. Debates and arguments.
Motorcades and walks and marches.
House to house campaigns. Leaflets and pamphlets being distributed.
Candidates appearing on television.

Well, here in these images that flashed across your mind’s eye the gateway opens to your understanding of democracy. Let us forget the excitement of elections for a moment. And ask ourselves, What is democracy? Let us try to find out.

Freedom that brings responsibility, to borrow a thought from Nehru’s Tryst with Destiny speech, is the bedrock of democracy. Its power is vested in people or as the word democracy literally means “rule of the people.” Leadership that arises out of the people’s will and mandate is what drives a democracy forward.

The right to free speech as well as the right to choose are fundamental to democracy. One way to look at democracy is the way oration of leaders have played in shaping history. Even the popular definition of democracy as “government of the people, by the people, for the people” is the concluding thought of Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address.

Democracy thrives when there is a free flow of ideas.
It thrives when the dignity of individuals and their basic rights are upheld, preserved and cherished.
It thrives when oppositions are strong and bring forth constructive criticism of government policies.
Of course, where there are constitutions, the judiciary plays a significant and vital role in upholding the values enshrined in the constitution. When respect to the legislature, the law-making body of democracy is violated then it is the first step to the disintegration of democratic values.

The challenges of democracy are many:
The kind of corruption that is rampant in democratic institutions is phenomenal.
Criminalization of politics is another.
The dearth of women representation is an area of concern when half of the population is women.
Regional parties playing a kingmaker’s role in national politics is not desirable as it weakens the national outlook.
The lack of political will in implementing beneficial policies is often seen when governments play vote bank appeasing politics.
These are some serious challenges faced by democracy. Even then much good has been done in terms of equality, justice for all, freedom of speech and religion, and inclusion of the weaker and marginalized sections of society into the mainstream of public life, education, employment and the like.

Again, the role of the media as shaping public opinion is worthy of consideration. That is why whenever a dictator takes over in a democracy his first act is to shut down and put a curb on all media. In this 21st century, technology in the form of internet and social media has made everyone capable of contributing their ideas and critiques. This has created greater visibility to politicians and also it acts as a deterrent as anything done wrong can instantly go viral.

Democracy is best seen when governments are voted out of power. It reminds great leaders and their political parties that ultimately it is people who reign and they are at best ministers or servants of the masses.

To conclude, there is no other better or satirical presentation of democracy than found in G. B. Shaw’s preface to The Apple Cart. He says that “I am going to ask you to begin our study of Democracy by considering it first as a big balloon, filled with gas or hot air, and sent up so that you shall be kept looking up at the sky whilst other people are picking your pockets.”

But not all is negative about democracy. What is now required is for people to become more aware and educated about the power of their vote; how important it is to exercise their franchise when they get a chance to do so.

Even as political slogans and sound bites still sway the hearts and minds of the masses;
even as the excitement and frenzy of campaigning takes over every few years;
the hope expressed by Abraham Lincoln will live on:
the “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth!”

Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, here introducing the man who is timeless yet historical. He appeals to you not by his power or majesty; but by his meekness and humility and because he is truly a servant-leader. Above all; on top of a hill he stood for you like no one else ever did! >>

Featured image: Three children curiously watching a political rally in progress in Thiruvananthapuram, capital city of Kerala.

1 Minute Speech for School Children on Today Is a Special Day!

Respected teachers and my dear friends,

Today is a very special day because it is God’s gift to us. That is why it is called the Present.

Today presents us with opportunity to do good. Today is very special again because it gives us a chance to love others and encourage the weak.

Today is a very special day because it gives us a chance to act on our dreams and achieve our goals. That is why Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream today.” He said that because today’s dream is tomorrow’s reality.

Therefore let us not postpone for tomorrow what can be done today. Whoever you are, God has gifted you with an equal opportunity of 24 hours.

Let me end with the words of Jesus Christ who said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”

Yes, yesterday is gone, tomorrow might never come. So let us grab the present moment and live life to the fullest for today is a very special day.

Thank you.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

Read 2 Minute Speech on Today Is a Special Day!

A Speech on Mobile Phones: Boon or Bane!

Hi Friends,

Mobile phones have changed the way people communicate. Everywhere you see people talking over phone while on the move.

For many people life revolves around mobile phones. The advantage is that you can keep in touch with people with ease. You can maintain friendships and relationships. Through mobile phones and a variety of apps, distances and memories are bridged in real time. It is nothing less than amazing what technology has wrought through mobile phones.

That is about connection.

Another advantage is the sense of security it gives to people. For example elderly parents when alone at home can get in touch with their children in an instant in case of an emergency. Mothers can keep in constant touch with their daughters while they travel alone. Or even if your vehicle gets punctured on the road or meets with an accident you can call for help right from there. These advantages cannot be overlooked.

That is about confidence.

Third advantage is that most mobile phones give you access to world wide web and the information super highway. Knowledge is just a search away. Whether it be referring to a dictionary, or looking up “how to” do something in a Youtube video, or gathering information from Wikipedia, websites, blogs and the like; people find it at lightning speed with the help of search engines like google.

That is about comprehension.

If you still try to analyze the benefits of mobile phones it includes banking, shopping, purchasing tickets, photography, music and to mention the ease of switching on the light in case of a sudden power cut. In that sense some people say mobiles are extension of their hands.

That is about convenience.

So, the benefits of mobile phones can be summed up in four words: Connection, Confidence, Comprehension, and Convenience.

Now let me mention how mobile phones can become a bane.

First and foremost mobile phones can easily make people addicted to its use. The long hours people spend on mobile phones certainly steal from quality time you can spend at work, with family and friends. In other words mobile phones are a distraction preventing you from sharply focusing on your task ahead.

That is about distraction.

Secondly, people do use mobile phones to engage in secretive relationships. It is used to violate private spaces including the sacred marriage relationship. Somehow Facebook, WhatsApp and other apps have given a sense of ease and a false sense of freedom to people to engage in clandestine relationships. This has destroyed many families. Children are growing up seeing their parents spend long hours chatting with strangers neglecting their family responsibilities. Of course, you might call me outdated when I say so. But I prefer to be labelled than to stop saying the truth. Let me repeat again, this is a dangerous aspect of mobile phones.

That is about demolition.

Yet another negative of mobile phones is the damage it does to one’s body in the long run. Whether radiation is causing harm or not is still debated. But today we find people engaging with their mobiles with heads bowed down. There are people who injure their necks and back and wrists and eyes and ears because of long use of mobile phones. How can I fail to point out the great number of accidents caused by people using mobile phones while driving.

That is about destruction.

Finally, what about the market influence of mobiles? Why is there such flashy media hype about new mobiles arriving at the market? Why is it that even selfies, a kind of social disease,  are made the stuff of advertisements? It is amazing to see how people get so choosy and obsessed with gadgets. Mobiles beyond their functionality and variety of uses often becomes a style statement. It becomes synonymous with a man’s purchasing power and social status. Gadgets and their possession is a terribly deluded way to compute one’s attempt to define the meaning of one’s life.

That is about display.

Let me once again note the four words related to the negative influences of mobiles: Distraction, Demolition, Destruction and Display.

Now that both sides have been heard and let me conclude.

None of us today can afford to avoid mobile phones. But certainly we can ensure that mobile phones are our servants and not our masters. We can fix boundaries for the time we spend with mobile phones; boundaries that should not be stretched or crossed. We can then live with dignity with the assurance that mobile phones serve our cause and that they will not dictate us to a life of bondage and slavery and unending boredom with so called entertainment.

Choose life and not death!

Thank you.

“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” — Jesus Christ (Luke 12:15 Bible)

A Speech on the Importance of English

Motivational Speech on Women Empowerment: Myth or Reality?

Today, in contrast to the past centuries, we find women  literate, educated, and liberated to lead. We find their surge forward not only in the political front, but also in social life where they act as agents of change contributing  to economic development as well.

But first of all we need to understand what empowerment of women really means if we have to understand its impact.

Empowerment is about being given authority and power to do something.
Empowerment is about becoming stronger and confident.
Empowerment again means to become aware of one’s rights and privileges.
Empowerment also means the ability to control one’s life in a more meaningful and fulfilling way.

The term empowerment naturally presupposes a sense of powerlessness; doesn’t it? Well, with women it has been rightly so. As we look back at the centuries we find many dark ages where women in different lands were suppressed, treated as commodities, with no voice in decision-making and no role in deciding how social and community life evolved. But empowerment of women made a radical change in the whole situation.

And  this change has come about not without its struggles and sacrifices, protests and conflicts. This transformation passed through many difficulties when those who led with a vision to emancipate women were often viewed with suspicion from within the ranks of women themselves and opposed by the male-dominated hierarchies. Even today there are ripples and reflections of these tendencies. One can never say the world has seen gender equality and rights of women championed in the fullest sense.

But change did come.  From powerlessness, women have come to recognize that they are individuals made in God’s image and likeness just like men; and are valuable and precious in God’s eyes. They have come to celebrate their differences from men not as a reason for subjugation, but as a joyous gift of God to give an active support and contribution to the family first, to the workplace next and the community at large in a broader sphere.

In all these areas women have risen to greatness and power by utilizing available resources and increasing their influence in the decision-making process. The key to this change has been literacy and education. Economic freedom came through women finding employment in different spheres like nursing, teaching, management, and the like. Today, women have made their presence felt in the field of police, defence, sports, space exploration, research and development, social work, and many other fields as well.

But all this was not enough as they had to have a political empowerment which especially came through right for women to vote through some tough campaigning. Emmeline Pankhurst who helped women win the right to vote in Britain cannot be forgotten. Perhaps a day will come when the most awaited 33% reservation for women in the Indian Parliament would become a reality. If that happens it will be a grand day when the the voice of women will ring out more loud and clear in the central hall of the world’s largest democracy.

Personally, I have been motivated by many examples where empowerment of women is first of all felt by the masses through the vision of a pioneering lady. Be it Florence Nightingale who made nursing into such a structured and noble profession, Ida Scudder who in response to witnessing three tragic deaths of women in childbirth in Tindivanam in a single night in the late 1890’s responded to the challenge and heard God’s call to become a missionary doctor and establish the reputed Christian Medical College (CMC Vellore, first started for women), Amy Carmichael, who dyed her skin with dark coffee to make her skin brown to gain access to and acceptance with young girl children and rescued hundreds of them from a life of forced prostitution in Dohnavur, Pandita Ramabai, a scholar in Sanskrit who saved the lives of thousands of women in famine struck times through her Mukti Mission in Pune; the list goes on. Today, the need is to have women with such vision and burden for the upliftment of women.

There are countless examples in modern times; Malala Yousafzai is one young voice many listen to today. Her courage and words inspire; and she emphasizes the importance of education as a means of women empowerment.  As she said in an interview,

“The important thing to note is that it is not important whether Malala was shot or not — Malala is not asking for personal favors or support. She is asking for support with girls’ education and women’s rights. So don’t support Malala, support her campaign for girls’ education and women’s rights.”

I am sure there are several other names that come to your mind even as I speak. Indira Gandhi, Prathibha Patil, Rani Lakhsmibai of Jhansi, Kalpana Chawla, Indra Nooyi, Kiran Bedi, Arundathi Bhattacharya, Bachendri Pal, the list goes on. If you recognized some of these names, it is simply because women have learned to lead, have challenged existing norms of society and have taken a proactive role in changing traditions and rewriting history. Surely, women empowerment is a reality; isn’t it? I am sure you are compelled to agree.

Now let me point out that social reformation alone is not just enough for women empowerment. The mind-set of society also has to keep pace. To ensure this transition, laws had to be enacted. Several laws have been enacted to ensure the safety and protection of women especially in the workplace.

But it is sad that there still needs to be a radical change in the way women are viewed in society. A women gets educated, earns a well-paid job and then suddenly finds herself being bargained for in the marriage market. This is sad and tragic. In this world of commercialization, women are in many places regarded as liabilities rather than as assets. This has to change if women empowerment has to become a reality in the fullest sense.

Finally, top leadership is something that women can aspire and reach to. But massive change for the empowerment of women has to begin and be sustained at the grass roots level. Assurance of employment, maintenance of good physical and emotional health should also be priorities as far as women empowerment is concerned.

Kudumbashree, a community organization of neighbourhood groups in Kerala started by the government in 1998 has proven itself as a successful model of women empowerment at the grass roots level. Such models need to be multiplied across different geographic regions across the world where there is a felt need for women empowerment.

Before I conclude, let me point out one more historical moment of women empowerment. When Jesus Christ rose from the dead; it was Mary Magdalene who had the privilege of seeing the Risen Lord first and had the unique distinction of being the first witness to the fact of his resurrection. This was her testimony: “I have seen the Lord!” the echoes of which still resonates in many millions of human hearts even after 2000 years of its happening.

But the point is that Jesus by allowing Mary Magdalene to be the first witness was empowering women for all time. This is stunning because Jesus did not reveal himself first to his inner circle of disciples who were all men and Jewish law did not permit women to be witnesses. And in that society, men usually prayed thanking God that they were not born as women. The way Jesus treated women with respect and dignity will always empower them to claim their rightful share not only in God’s kingdom but also in homes and workplaces; in politics and economics as well.

Two more new areas of women empowerment cannot be left unmentioned in this 21st century:

One is of women’s active presence in the social media. Several women needs and priorities have been brought to light through intense campaigning through the social media. This is powerfully used to promote a cause, share a story, change public perception and even prevent negative stereotyping of women.

The second area of women empowerment in the 21st century is the need to have a massive drive for bringing school and college students into sports and games and outdoor activities. This coming together will not only help teenagers gain self-confidence and esteem; but also increase their physical and emotional health.

Let me now confront some bitter truths. Women empowerment is definitely a reality today. But the question is, Is it enough? Is there more work to be done? Without doubt, there are many places where the voice of women is still not heard. Discrimination still exists and even in the Corporate world we talk about the glass ceiling. The media sensationalizes crime against women which is growing alarmingly.

Domestic violence, dowry, gender discrimination, continue to be evils of our times. Politics is still male dominated even when half the population is female. The dignity of women and their worth as persons and individuals is often tainted by wrong portrayals in advertisements, movies and even in beauty pageants. The lot of sales gales in ever growing super market outlets looks glamorous with their uniforms and dignity it seems to afford; but some serious study should be done as to how difficult their days are in spite of the smiles they gift us with. The list of negatives can go on.

But there is hope. The voice of women will still be heard loud and clear in spite of attempts to silence them. More stories of women empowerment are being scripted in every village and city not only in our state and nation but across the boundaries. It can very well be the transforming reality of the present. Thank you.


Sources and further reading:
Florence Nightingale

Pandita Ramabai

In appreciation of the work of Pandita Ramabai for the advancement of Indian women, the government of India approved the issuance of a commemorative stamp of Pandita Ramabai in 1989 and later named her Woman of the Millennium.

Malala Yousafzai
Malala Brainyquote page

Ida Scudder

    Ida Scudder as a young girl heard three knocks at her door one night. Three men from different religious background came at different times with the same request to assist their wives in childbirth. Ida Scudder told her lack of medical experience and offered the services of her father, a doctor. But those men could not bear the thought of a male presence. The next day Ida Scudder saw the corpses of three women being taken for cremation. This incident which all her biographers note challenged her to earn a medical degree and come back to India and do something for the health and well-being of women.

1 Minute Speech on Self and Selfies!

Selfies! Even mobile phones sell because they promise a fanatabulous selfie experience.

Why has selfies gained such popularity?  Let me point out that for many selfies are an obsession. It is a compulsive display of one’s own importance. Sadly even political and religious leaders, celebrities in sports, cinema, and music are all part of this obsession.

Secondly, selfies are an attempt to gain social acceptance. It is a constant attempt to be good-looking; trying to freeze a moment forever! A moment when you looked perfect; at least in your own eyes! Seriously, selfies showcase a vacuum  and a void in the human heart–a seemingly unending craving for acceptance!

Thirdly, selfies are a reflection of modern man’s search for reality and identity in connection with the purpose and meaning of life. Selfies are an attempt to forget the deeper questions of life like: “Who am I?” “Where do I come from?” “Where am I going to?” The silly and frivolous poses; the plastic smiles, the courting of danger in an attempt to gain a bizzare selfie can all easily be outward displays of the inward unrest of one’s heart and soul. What else can it be?

To conclude, selfies have created a new way of thinking which puts “I” before everything else. It has cheapened the sanctity of life on many occasions where selfies are shot at funerals and at the site of tragic accidents.

Selfies prove that man has not evolved; he still retains the same nature of loving self unto death. Selfies have glorified this tragedy and made it go viral in the digital world!
——-
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
Selfie–Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year 2013.

A Short Speech on 3 Sure Ways How People Fail!

Hi Friends,

There is a lot of talk about how to achieve success out there; isn’t it? Such talks inspire and motivate us.

But then why do people fail to succeed consistently?
Why is it that only a few find success while for a vast majority success remains in the wish list always?

There are surely answers to these questions? Yes, as surely as there is life and death, there are principles of success and there are patterns, behaviours and habits that lead to failure. In this short speech, let me try to point out some ways that lead to failure.

If you ask me which is the most important reason why people fail; I can confidently say that it is their inability to say NO when confronted with a wrong choice. In other words such people try to please everybody. They are dominated by “What will others think about me?” thinking.

The failure to say NO with boldness the first time they get a chance to do so is the road that takes many through pain and bitterness and sorrow even though the entry to it was often through the gateway of pleasure.

The second major cause of failure in the modern world is the inability to say NO to distractions. We live in a noisy world with a lot of voices and sounds everywhere. You cannot walk through the street without being visually attracted to all the colours and brightly lit adverts everywhere. But these are nothing compared to the distractions that come to us through gadgets especially mobile phones and through social media like WhatsApp and Facebook.

The trouble with distractions is that they come in good packets which makes it difficult for you to resist. My friends, distractions take your eyes off your goals and make you lose sharp focus. As far as I know, there are not many who have achieved success in life without having pursued it with a single-minded aim.

Interestingly, the next reason for failure is something that will bring a smile to your face. It is nothing other than procrastination. Let me ask you how many times have you postponed doing things you should have done? How many times did such delaying of things dishearten you when pending tasks became a little mountain?

If you wish to avoid this trap, ask two questions when confronted with tasks. Is this urgent? Is this important? Having obtained those answers tackle the hardest and toughest task first. And never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today as Sir Benjamin Franklin said.

There are many other causes for failure. Some among them are, lack of a specific aim or goal; the absence of planning and teamwork, not setting meaningful and realistic deadlines and sticking to it, the inability to persevere in the face of difficulties and setbacks, and of course not updating knowledge. Perhaps you can add many more to this list.

But I can assuredly tell you with all confidence that if you work on the three core ideas mentioned in this speech, you can reverse the trend of failure in your life. Let me repeat those important points once again.

To succeed in life,
One, learn to say NO with boldness the first time you are confronted with a wrong choice.
Two,have the courage to say NO to distractions even when they come in good packets.
And Three, say NO to laziness, instead prioritize tasks and do things promptly without postponing.

Now, let me tell you my friends, you can listen to all the motivational talks, workshops and seminars on success. But what you hear will only work for you if you follow it up with decisive decisions and action.

Thank you.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!