Einstein's Thousand Rupee Note
By Monish Chhabra ǀ 23rd December 2016
On 9th November, India demonetized its 500 and 1000 rupee notes, in a bid to curb the black and counterfeit currency in circulation.
While there is – at least for now – cash shortage and inconvenience for many in the country, one major beneficiary of this event was ‘Paytm’; India’s largest mobile payment platform.
Getting half a million new user every day since the demonetization, Paytm allows them to pay for bills, shop or transfer funds, without using cash or cards.
With simply a mobile number and an app, one can make or accept payments, to or from his mobile wallet. This ‘wallet’ can be topped up with cash or a direct connection to the bank account.
The ‘death of cash’ is of real threat to those who have a monopoly over issuing cash – the central banks. If they don’t keep up with the innovation in mobile money, they risk becoming less relevant in the chain of money creation.
The Swedish central bank is already contemplating such scenarios. They are discussing the possibility of issuing electronic currency of its own. While the bankers sort out their viability, technology is shaking other professions too.
In October, the first driverless truck delivered 45,000 cans of beer to a warehouse. It travelled a distance of 120 miles over 2 hours, almost entirely without a driver. It was an Uber truck.
Since the trucking routes are fixed and predictable, they are more suited for self-driving applications, as compared to the cars. Plus, trucking is big business. The world spends almost a trillion dollars on freight annually, 80% of which is spent on trucking.
Truck drivers can empathize with the central bankers. Or maybe also with the teachers in Japan.
Japan shuts down 500 schools every year, due to falling enrolment. Each new cohort of children is smaller than the previous one.
In general, the entire population is shrinking in Japan, but the youngest are disappearing the fastest. Over the next 30 years, the number of children in the country is projected to halve!
China has started on its own path of demographic woes. The country registered 12 million marriages last year, which is a second straight year of decline. Fewer marriages means fewer children.
Singapore could actually be doing much worse; each mother in Singapore produces an average of 1.2 children versus 1.4 in Japan.
However thanks to immigration, Singapore’s population doesn’t fall; wedding halls and schools get their fill. The demand for land increases as well. In the last 30 years, Singapore has increased its land area by 16% through reclamation of land from the sea.
While these countries address the issue of fewer people, Harvard scientists have found a way to use fewer animals.
They have built a human heart on a chip. Real cells of the heart muscle can now be grown on chips and used for testing various drugs. The responses are recorded through sensors. Not only is this way of testing less cruel to animals but also more accurate for humans.
They have also managed to grow living human lung cells on a chip, which can be tested for the effects of smoking, or drug treatments. Rats are relieved – they don’t have to smoke for us anymore!
Just like computers can impersonate our real body, our body can also become more like a computer.
Microsoft’s biological computation unit announced that it hopes to turn our body cells into ‘living computers’ within 10 years. If that is achieved, the corrupted cells (like the ones with cancer) can then be easily spotted and reprogrammed back into healthy cells, just like removing virus from a computer.
Mind, Body & Soul
In 1955, when his friend Michele Besso died, Albert Einstein wrote: “Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
In a recent essay, Robert Lanza (a professor of medicine) and Bob Berman (an astronomer) argued that since past, present and future are not absolutes, the flow of time is illusory. And if ‘time’ is an illusion, then so is ‘death’.
Without ‘time’, there can be no ‘after’ of anything, hence no ‘after death’. The physical body can die in this ‘now’ but it is impossible for the energy to have ‘gone’ anywhere. We may experience one moment at a time, but everything else exists simultaneously as potential.
They reckon that there is no death, only a series of eternal ‘nows’.
The Last Word
Whether it’s ‘money’ or ‘jobs’ – they won’t die either, only the forms would change. Each ‘form’ is a reflection of its ‘now’.
No ‘now’ can be held beyond its moment. Neither can it be had before its moment. We must listen to each ‘now’ and realize it, eternally.
This write-up is for informational purpose only. It may contain inputs from other sources, but represents only the author’s views and opinions. It is not an offer or solicitation for any service or product. It should not be relied upon, used or construed as recommendation or advice. This report has been prepared in good faith. No representation is made as to the accuracy of the information it contains, nor any commitment to update it.