Becoming the Next Lionel Messi

By | July 23, 2018

Humans have two fundamental abilities— physical and cognitive. Majority of today’s professionals— designers, doctors, lawyers, civil servants, scientists and software engineers derive their worth not from their physical ability, but from their cognitive capacity.

Industrial Revolution had rendered physical labour mostly irrelevant; Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution is now set to make our cognitive abilities redundant. Self-driving cars are on the cusp of taking over transportation, algorithms are gaining the ability to produce poems, compose music, draft news reports and translate literature books accurately. What if a sufficiently advanced AI gains enough power and dexterity to replace even doctors, engineers and scientists?

Even if such a scenario plays out, I believe sports and performing arts would remain insulated from an AI onslaught precisely because the appeal of both these fields stems from human performance. For instance, technological advancement in sports has provided modern athletes with scientific diets, better training and computer aids to devise the perfect game strategy, but the athletes themselves aren’t in any way different from say, marathon runners of classical Greece. We pay to watch these athletes perform and compete within the realm of human possibility and we steadfastly detest technology having an overbearing impact on the game. This is why FIA regulates car wingspan, ATP restricts racquet size and every sporting authority bans drug use.

I believe even with a supremely advanced AI, people would still come to watch an inferior, slower and less agile human species battling it out on the field, than watch two machines engage in a pointless duel. An AI doctor might be in greater demand for diagnosing cancer, but no one would want to watch an AI footballer dribble its way past humans and score a goal. Even in the game of chess, ever since IBM’s Deep Blue beat Kasparov in 1997, the supremacy of machines over humans remains undisputed, but there’s hardly any allure for AI chess tournaments.

Regardless of how intelligent and dexterous machines might become, sportsmen and performing artists will remain invaluable to our society. In a future world inundated by AI, I wouldn’t be surprised if the most popular aspiration among kids is not on becoming doctors or scientists but on becoming the next Lionel Messi.

67 thoughts on “Becoming the Next Lionel Messi

  1. missbarca

    Wow 😍 sir your words are just so meaningful I’m a big fan of your thought process 🙏.
    And of course as a sports enthusiast that makes me more follow your post every where 😁

      1. medha

        He said his opinion, because he likes him. You can also imagine sunil in place of messi. that doent matter.

        First of all, We are all humans. Religion and regionalism are just inventions ever made by humans.

  2. Anonymous

    Sir why don’t you start YouTube channel it helps alot to many UPSC aspirants..

    1. Anudeep Durishetty Post author

      Not a fan of video making. I prefer writing.

      1. Parveen

        Keep do writing Sir, that’s enough…always eager for your posts…

      2. Rajasekhar

        Thanks, we are fortunate. Reading a good article always gives more pleasure than watching a video explaining the same content.

  3. Rahul Asthana

    Yes, so true. Useage of AI to improve the living standards and being a helping hand for mankind in their future quest is desirable. And not becoming a replacement for humans.
    To say the least, the article is very well articulated. Enjoyed reading.

  4. sateesh

    so sad that he couldn’t get a better team for the world cup.

  5. sateesh

    and also continue writing such wonderful articles and all the best for your future brother.

  6. Anonymous

    Very much true sir…n all these becoz we people connect with emotions first n then with intelligence…EQ dominates IQ….thank u for all ur posts

  7. Anonymous

    Sir your thought process and expression is amazing.
    U make believe in an instant what others have not realised yet,by the way u use your words.
    Country needs ppl like u… bring the change.

    1. Anudeep Durishetty Post author

      I’m assuming the phrase is meant for me 😀

  8. nitish

    ”As there is Technology to Create External Well Being,there is whole dimension of Science and Technology to create Inner Well being”-Sadhguru on AI

    superb article anna .

  9. Anonymous

    Great sir. New perspective. Never thought or read from this point of view or angle from anywhere else. Keep writing sir. We are big fan of u will certainly be following…

  10. Anonymous

    Such a iconic player ever ……Thank you for revitalizing again with your inspirational blog….

  11. Anonymous

    wonderful words…….,different style of expression…..and more than that truth about today’s society…….thanq for all these sir.

  12. Veera

    Beautifully written Sir! Like always 🙂

    Isn’t it strange that to develop and use that AI machine humans need high cognitive ability and the whole of AI’s existence and emergence is based on how we enhance our conginitive skills.

    With AI we can have a doctor with excellent diagnosing ability but can we have a doctor with empathy?

    AI can compose a poem, but a poem without emotions and feelings? No reader would be able to relate to them.

    AI can definitely complement other professions. But do you really think it can replace any or all fields will be equally insulated?

    Your post was like food to brain. 🙂

    1. Anudeep Durishetty Post author

      AI’s emergence is dependent on our cognitive skill. But once we develop a self-improving AI, there’s no end to how good AI can become.

      Regarding your example on AI doctor, sure, essential human values like empathy, compassion, love, care are most difficult to emulate by an AI. But that’s not an insurmountable task. Physicist Max Tegmark presents a wonderful analogy. He says that human advancements are dotted across a mountainous landscape with each mountain peak representing one cognitive human skill. AI is the water level that’s rising and drowning these peaks as the technology advances over time.

      Some mountain peaks are short, like say the ability to win a chess game, which AI has already inundated. Some are moderate, such as diagnosing an MRI scan for tumours. This peak is also being drowned as we speak. The highest peaks are the ones I mentioned earlier (love, care, empathy etc) which will be overtaken too, given sufficient time.

      The same argument goes for poems. In fact, AI technology has already improved to the point that it can accurately translate literature without loss of essence. I’d give it 5 years before we see AI passing the Turing test for poems i.e., you’ll be unable to figure out whether the poem’s written by a human or an AI algorithm.

      I genuinely believe that the threat from AI is imminent and existential. We need to get the technology right and make it safe.

      1. Asha Deepthi

        You seem to be a professional in giving a sharp n precisely furnished expression of thought and equally artistic in injecting your arguments provided proper reasons and references….
        You have such a stunning skill in writing…but…how come you fail the mains thrice….???😐😶🤔

  13. Ranbir Ray

    Great Article. But i think the youth of today are more interested in playing warfare games in computer rather than going out to play outside.

  14. Austaropithacus

    With such a level of advancement man may get subducted to AI. Our cell phone is the best example.

    There will never be humans but the world will see super humans, outputed from gene manupulations. People will be far more superior and talented than Messi.

    1. Anudeep Durishetty Post author

      Yes, trans-humanism is an exciting field of research right now. But per my understanding it’s pretty nascent as of now. My bet is on Elon Musk’s company Neuralink to make the first commercial breakthrough.

  15. Tannu Kumari

    Yes brother i totally agree with you. Artificial intelligence is created by humans but today it (AI) is taken as it’s(human’s) alternative . Day by day we are becoming slave of technology. It is a burning topic to be discussed and think about. It is very beautifully explained in your article.

  16. Anonymous

    Then next generation will start challenging the AI with the point of emotions and feelings…

  17. Anonymous

    Sir, you have written that meditation is one of your hobbies. I would really like to read a post on your meditation practices, what drew you towards it, how did you begin, from where did you learn, how does it help. Please post about it soon. 🙂

  18. Anonymous

    But sir Ronaldo is better than Messi. Even it has been proved no. of times that possibly Messi is the greatest person ever touched football. 😐

    1. Anudeep Durishetty Post author

      One has to be absolutely clueless about football to think Ronaldo is better than Messi. He is nowhere near Messi. It’s not even a debate.

  19. poojaart

    AI for poems!!! That’s something I did not know. Nice article, something fresh and positive! Thank you I’m your fan.

  20. poojaart

    Politics will be under performing arts too right?! I can’t imagine AI politicians 😂

    1. Anudeep Durishetty Post author

      Why do we value politics? Politics is about power, and power is about deciding who gets what, and how much.

      Once we have a supremely advanced AI that can chalk out perfect economic plans, produce valuable goods, reduce economic inequality and propel the world to unbridled prosperity, politics and politicians would lose their grip over people. Once people have enough in their bank accounts, they can’t care less about politicians or their speeches. I think this is why the electoral voting percentage in urban India is less compared to the rural areas. With a supremely advanced, benevolent AI, politics as a performing art would lose its charm.

      PS: But the trick is in making that supremely advanced AI benevolent, for which our politicians need to get their policies right.

      1. poojaart

        Convinced! But that benevolence would need those individuals who know the heights of human development which is only rare like in some Buddhas, others just know it upar upar se. Problem is you know, humans will start venerating those AI also as they will be so good. Infact I read a research wherein humans get emotionally attached to robots, it showed that humans start ascribing humanly qualities to robots too ( humans where supposed to swith off their power supply but as robots begged humans to not do so, considerable number of people’s judgement got affected and the decided against switching off their power supply).
        Whatever it may be, AI for sure is mysterious , I just want that it only helps to make this world a better place and not a worse. Thank you
        Have a nice day.

  21. Anonymous

    Hello Sir, I’m an aspirant from Chennai . I’m immensely thankful to you for this platform which has various dimensions of post not only helpful for upsc but also to enrich an overall personality of every aspirant !!

    I have a request from our side sir , In future please do write about your experiences in training & about your upcoming big event on August 15 . Because I personally feel like these are special boost tonics which makes us even more focused & excited about our preparation ,gear up our stamina to run the marathon.
    Thank you sir

    1. Anudeep Durishetty Post author

      Will keep the blog updated about my training at LBSNAA.

  22. Prabhjeet Kaur

    There’s no doubt about it that a strong AI is our future…..but i personally feel that progress is just a kind of illusion…(i mean i am saying this here in a metaphorical way..of-course..i am upsc aspirant and NOT a pessimist definitely…I am a firm believer of welfare state and believe in adequate use of latest technology for realizing it)…..
    If we talk about the probability of survival let alone about success because…
    Success,the way most people understand and evaluate it today, is relatively a new thing may be the creation of capitalist economy prevalent widely all over the world…
    But survival i think in today’s world is just as elusive as it was at the dawn of life on earth billions of years ago…
    At one place as we evaluate the progress of a country through maternal mortality rates and by all means of technology want a new life and her/his mother to survive in this world,thousands of people die in road mishaps that too a creation of technology…At one hand we deploy our valuable resources in the research for antibiotics and other medicines so that we conquer over infection epidemics and on the other we hear about genetic mutations of bacteria and things like drug resistant TB are the truth of our times…
    As the society has progressed we proudly call ourselves “the civilized society” that just by keeping our innate animal like tendencies behind the veils of well behaved personalities and that frequently come out in open… know what i mean…..
    I feel that methods do change, nomenclatures change, the way economies run change, the way humans interact with each other and with all other existent things change… .. situations change hardly…
    By the up-gradation of AI its highly likely that employment patterns of people may change on large scale…as people were doing some other things for living before taking up driving as a means of employment..but for me it seems an utopia that AI will change things for any better….
    so RESPECTED SIR, as you are a student of anthropology, i would feel myself blessed if you could please comment on this ….Is progress any real?
    sorry…. if you found my query out of context of our article….

    1. Prabhjeet Kaur

      Sorry if you found my query out of context of YOUR article…..

  23. Anonymous

    It definitely makes for an interesting read.different from usual blogging topics.please keep posting such stuff. tnx 🙂

  24. Vidhey

    But sir, I think we are only talking about AI and its impact on cognitive ability and thinking physical ability would be of high value in the future but we also should consider the impact of science & technology in the field of genetics in future, the genome editing can be a game changer in the field of sports, bringing out the best of the abilities of a human.

  25. Sai Chalapathi Rao

    You are absolutely right sir. This article has a very deep meaning and i believe choosing sports and performing arts as profession will bring a lot of satisfaction and happiness and a healthy life.

  26. Md Farrukh Ilyas

    ” I write to find what I think ” Stephen King , this is indeed, inspiring Anudeep I even tagged you in my story on instagram, the word you pen down is just goes straight to my nerves and deep understanding , you have audacity to fetch the dead soul alive through your inspiring words, you made see the world which really exist and that is one’s dream, and working hard to achieve that particular, which will remain constant as proud and smile .

    Thank you for all those words of igniting minds and hearts.

    “A word after a word after word is a power” margaret atwood

  27. abhi

    sir i want to take anthropology as my optional after my 3 attempt with public administration, please
    .guide me should i take any coaching class.. If so please suggest me the institute

  28. Anonymous

    Sir i am nilesh, i have just cleared tje mains. My hobby is playing football and following european league. Could you suggest some resources preparation.

  29. Poorvi Kundwani

    But I guess a new era of alternative sports can emerge, bot fights can be seen as its beginning.
    I believe and as you mentioned once in your Roger Federer post, that it’s the beauty with which they play that takes us away from the reality and we appreciate the efforts s/he would’ve put in to reach god level.
    If that’s the case then a football match(or any other) of beautifully engineered humanoid robots would surely be loved atleast by geeks. And a particular robot with the perfectly created sleak body design and best machine to improve by itself with every game, would be admired by thousands.(As how we now admire the best gadgets and cars in the market)
    And the nerdy childrens would still dream to become the one who makes the best bot player…Maybe 😛
    (I know there are loopholes in this, it depends upon how much power AI gets in the future, if we remain as the ones creating them this scenario is possible but if they overpower us then it won’t me much fun, anyway just putting random thoughts)
    Thankyou 🙂

  30. Anonymous

    Treble this season 🏆🏆🏆
    I like your writing style bro👍
    Keep doing 😍

  31. Vivek sinha

    Excellent analysis.. but with less emphasis on physical sports and increased inclination of the young ones towards video games… a potential clientele eager to watch machines fighting exists..


Leave a comment