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Charles Assisi
Articles by Charles Assisi

Life Hacks: Far from doing less, Gen-Z is demanding more, says Charles Assisi

There is a lack of nuance in the discussions underway, Assisi says. Study the data and one finds a generation with focus, searching for meaning and balance.

A Reclining Youth, attributed to 17th-century artist Muhammad Qasim of Safavid Isfahan in Iran. Since at least the time of the 5th-century-CE philosopher Socrates, elders have written, rhymed and sung of their disappointment in ‘lazy’ young people. (Christie’s)
Updated on Oct 21, 2023 07:51 PM IST

Surround sound: Online time is shaping us in new ways, says Charles Assisi

Those we spend time with now include attention-hungry algorithms. This has a corrosive impact. Among the fallouts: a habit called continuous partial attention.

Watch out!: Smartphone addiction as depicted in the animated music video by Steve Cutts, for Moby and Void Pacific Choir’s 2016 song, Are You Lost In The World Like Me?
Updated on Sep 30, 2023 03:16 PM IST

Writers’ bloc: Testing AI’s limits, by Charles Assisi

The new programs may learn faster and better than we expected, but good prose cannot be crafted by checking off boxes, Assisi says. In this week’s Life Hacks.

The Library of Trinity College, Dublin. It takes ideas, conviction – and, of course, rare skill – to craft a story in such a way that it turns into an heirloom. (Adobe Stock)
Updated on Sep 16, 2023 09:21 PM IST
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Watching: Google’s first monopoly trial in USA

The first monopoly trial of the internet era begins next week as US courts decide whether to break up Google's parent company, Alphabet. The trial will determine if the company is too big and engaged in unfair trade practices. The outcome will have implications for other technology giants and governments worldwide, including the EU and India, which are implementing legislation to regulate technology companies. India is also supporting the Beckn Protocol, a language that allows devices and services to exchange information, preventing monopolies from forming. There is divided public opinion in the US on whether Google should be broken up, with some believing it has become too big for American interests.

HT Image
Updated on Sep 09, 2023 12:29 AM IST

Reassessing chore values: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

There is no way to ‘maximise efficiency’ when running a home. Unpredictability must be embraced. I recently experienced the crushing loss of control this causes

Even today, even among those of us who ‘do our part’, there is no real sense of this world. Above, A Woman Cleaning Fish, by Dutch artist Hercules Sanders; 1647. Only a man who had never touched a raw fish would have her doing this, in that dress, with those sleeves. (Wikimedia Commons)
Updated on Aug 26, 2023 05:51 PM IST

Free time? Do some second guessing, says Charles Assisi

Vacant hours must be protected, but should they also be scheduled and planned? Try going with the flow, as we all once did, before the gadgets, apps and alerts.

Don’t be a Doc Ock, twisting yourself into odd shapes as you attempt to over-achieve.
Updated on Aug 12, 2023 06:27 PM IST

Why going uphill takes you further: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

The aim in taking on a challenge is not just to surmount it, but to learn what one is capable of. Doing this in youth lets one acquire skills that can be vital.

Record-setter Taylor Swift, 33, on her Eras Tour. Success, in all its forms, is defined by the ability to set new limits for the self. (Getty Images)
Updated on Jul 29, 2023 04:47 PM IST

Life Hacks: Is your calendar working for you...

...or is it the other way around? An optimal life is ruled by a schedule, we’re told. But life hacks began as an invitation to get creative, says Charles Assisi

A still from the series Ed, Edd n Eddy. Productivity guru David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, now has a book called Getting Things Done for Teens. Whatever happened to embracing unstructured time and learning to use it creatively, or simply goofing off?
Updated on Jul 19, 2023 12:17 PM IST

Evolution of an OTP nation

While the technology has its flaws, telecom companies that deliver these OTPs are at work to upgrade all networks across India to 5G

Work is in progress to create the blueprints for a 6G world. (Representational image.)
Updated on Jul 08, 2023 12:03 PM IST

An oracle is only as good as the question: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

The tricks to getting good advice could also help you make better decisions. Read on for links between semantics, maths and intuition.

Alex Honnold in the documentary film Free Solo (2018). Not every decision is life-and-death, not every leap can be precisely calculated. This is where intuition can play a role.
Updated on Jul 27, 2023 04:59 PM IST

Hero material: Role models are being reimagined, says Charles Assisi

The idea of masculinity is getting an update to reflect the aspirations of Gen-Z males. Our roles, our goals are changing, and so are the people we look up to

In the 2021 retelling of West Side Story (left), the protagonist Tony is a sensitive and vulnerable young man as compared to his macho counterpart in the 1961 version.
Updated on Jul 27, 2023 10:39 PM IST

Putting the little things in their place: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

Even when we know we’re doing it, we can’t seem to peel away from the trivial, to focus on what is vital. I’m now trying a new way out, Assisi says.

Reams have been written about the inexplicable hold that triviality seems to exert on humans; charts have been drawn to represent the urgency of the matter. Above, books by Tom DeMarco, Cyril Parkinson, and Rolf Dobelli; and the Time-Life Grid by Tim Urban.
Updated on Jul 28, 2023 01:03 PM IST

Finding peace in a whisper campaign: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

ASMR videos have gone beyond soft sounds to include roleplay, storytelling. I’m intrigued by the comfort and sense of community they foster among young people.

(From left) Anil Cakmak is an ASMR barber. Gibi talks of “nothing important enough to stay awake for”… “I do love looking at the moon”.
Updated on Jul 27, 2023 11:11 PM IST

Can we resist the allure of liquid modernity, asks Charles Assisi

Humans have gone from being pilgrims in search of meaning to tourists in search of excitement. It is time to find a way back, a way to add depth to our days.

Today’s young Indians have known no world except one of ceaseless stimulus. Can they reclaim their focus amid it? The answer to that will determine our collective future. (Shutterstock)
Updated on Aug 04, 2023 09:19 PM IST

First Principles | Without building hardware, India’s tech dreams are just that

To future-proof India’s software technology prowess, why isn’t India thinking as a “hardware product nation” as well?

it’s clear that the Make-in-India narrative has much ground to cover, replete with fractured attempts to get it going. (AP)
Published on Apr 28, 2023 04:17 PM IST

Be India, by design

Design must be indigenous. It must be developed for local conditions. But it takes time to understand and appreciate good design

But it takes time to understand and appreciate good design, says Prof Nadkarni. “This is like learning music, or any other form of art, riaz in the only way to master the skills. There are no short cuts.” (SHUTTERSTOCK)
Updated on Apr 22, 2023 03:37 PM IST

Should you put your inner child to bed? Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

Unresolved issues can prompt impulsive and destructive behaviours. It takes effort to let go of the fear that the world will not provide what we need.

Steve Carell as Michael Scott, in The Office (US). Left unresolved for too long, inner-child issues can manifest as extreme immaturity, petulance, a desperation to be liked.
Updated on Aug 03, 2023 02:10 PM IST

First Principles | Stumbling blocks and why UPI has slowed down

While the technology is great, cash is back to being king. What does this mean?

Any payment system must be acceptable across all parts of the value chain. (Shutterstock)
Updated on Mar 31, 2023 05:10 PM IST

First Principles | How Indian telcos are cracking the 5G challenge

It appears that an altogether different business model may emerge out of India even after the recent hiccups faced by the Adani Group once poised to emerge as a significant player in the enterprise telecom space.

Indian telcos may just show the world how to work with tight-fisted customers and still make money. (Reuters)
Updated on Mar 25, 2023 05:32 PM IST

Why must we fight the good fight? Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

Altruism has always been difficult, so why did humans evolve to make room for it? Perhaps because it would have made us a short-lived species

In every version of himself, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) finds ways, and reasons, to be kind and good. This makes him the emotional pivot of Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Updated on Aug 12, 2023 03:40 PM IST

First Principles | Why SVB is an American problem and needs to remain so

The four-decade-old Silicon Valley Bank imploding has two simple lessons: One, ignore social media and two, one's loss is another's gain. Here's why

SVB loaded up on long-term government bonds when interest rates were much lower at close to 2%. Since then, the interest rates have more than doubled to rein in inflation. (AP)
Updated on Mar 17, 2023 06:15 PM IST

Switching from fight mode: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

Too many of us set out viewing each day as a fresh challenge, when the real battle is within. Can we find the strength to stay vulnerable?

‘I’m starting to see that the “brave captain on a burning deck” ideal is a hopeless one,’ says Assisi. ‘All our ships will eventually sink. Do we really want to “go down fighting”?’ (Shutterstock)
Updated on Aug 04, 2023 05:07 PM IST

First Principles | Cross-border data transfer needs a whitelist and a blacklist

Public policy professionals suggest all countries be whitelisted. And to create a blacklist only for those countries that India needs to be wary about.

 How would anyone know that the data shared is not compromised? (Shutterstock)
Published on Mar 11, 2023 11:04 AM IST

First Principles | On chips, Make in India may not be the way to go

While the current ‘blockading’ is one of China’s problems and explains the worldwide chip shortage, it is a pointer to what can go wrong with the ‘Make in India’ policy that hinges on an ambitious $300 billion electronics manufacturing goal.

Chips power practically everything in modern electronics and both countries would go to war to control them. (Shutterstock)
Published on Mar 03, 2023 09:15 PM IST

No buddy knows how it turns out: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

There are no rules or formal structures that govern friendships. It’s time to rethink how we imagine these bonds as enriching our lives.

An ode to broken friendships, the multiple-BAFTA-winning film The Banshees of Inisherin explores the fragilities of bonds that have run their course.
Updated on Aug 12, 2023 04:07 PM IST

First Principles | UP(I) and away

When Singapore integrated the Unified Payments Interface this week, there was much to celebrate, for this system moved one more step towards becoming a global payment system.

People now don’t bat an eyelid when sending money to each other on their phones — or for that matter scanning QR codes using apps such as GPay, PayTM or PhonePe. (Mint File Photo)
Published on Feb 24, 2023 07:05 PM IST

First Principles | Some hard truths about emotional chatbots

Last week, when ChatGPT was integrated into search engine Bing, it had an ‘emotional meltdown’, raising key questions: Can AI have a mind of its own? And should AI be brought to the decision-making table?

AI advocates such as Pedro Domingos, a researcher in machine learning, for instance, has, for long made the case that as this domain evolves, algorithms will evolve. (AFP)
Published on Feb 18, 2023 10:19 AM IST

Sulking won’t help. AIm higher, says Charles Assisi

It’s baffling that educational institutes and workplaces are trying to ban AI language programs. They’re here to stay. That’s good news.

A still from I, Robot (2004). AI has long been feared. That can’t remain our default response.
Updated on Aug 10, 2023 05:28 PM IST

First Principles | Future tense for ‘The Office’

Bob Johansen, a professional futurist, says that as a “technology”, current offices are on the verge of obsolesce.

Bob Johansen has been a futurist for 50 years now so the inevitable question comes up: How often has he got things wrong? “Almost 80% of our predictions have come true.” (Photo Credit:
Updated on Feb 10, 2023 09:09 PM IST

First Principles | How to disconnect from work (but read the caveat)

With work-from-home blurring the boundaries of office hours, countries are stepping in to help workers disconnect from work. But veterans have one piece of advice: Do this only if you can afford it.

With layoffs happening all over, most people feel caught in a bind and hear two conflicting narratives. The first has it that you do whatever it takes to hold on to your job. The second is that overworking is detrimental to people's mental health. (Shutterstock)
Updated on Feb 06, 2023 10:42 AM IST
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