First AI Summit in Sri Lanka

My life has changed 180 degrees, when I did the data science coursera course from Johns Hopkins University, . That new learning cannot be undone. My understanding of the new world has changed. I started conversations with few of my colleagues and mentors on how Data Science, Machine Learning and AI can make a real change for a country like Sri Lanka. How can it help the common man, Siripala and Sumanawathi who are left behind. It was a very limited niche conversation for me, until yesterday. There were 350 people packed in to a hall in Kingsbury: developers, junior and senior Managers, CEOs, academics, and of course a fantastic lineup of speakers from across the world Although it was a full day event, which most of us find impossible to commit in this age, I was glad to see most of the audience staying until 6 pm. Kudos to Jeevan and SLASSCOM team for making this happen. I had

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Koombiyo – A Creative Dissonance.

Yesterday at the A&K literary festival, the ‘Koombiyo’ panel discussion was a revelation. The panel had the 2 creators ( Lakmal and Dhamitha), 2 actors ( Thumindu and Yureni) and the official from ITN (Wimal) who made sure Koombiyo got the air time. Wimal has played a major role, because Koombiyo was refused by many parties, because it was not main stream. They were brutally honest and candid with their responses. They appreciated the complex changes happening in society, attraction of online video streaming services and social media. Everyone could feel their energy resonate inside the dome of the Empire ballroom of Mount Lavinia hotel. The creators mentioned the fuel for their creativity was never the money or the desire to get it aired on a TV channel. Rather they wanted to do something ultra fun (අපි ආතල් එකට මේක කලේ). Come to think of it, ‘Koombiyo’ is the only Sri Lankan teledrama I watched again and again since ‘Palingu manike’.

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Uber Eats & Pickme Food : A new social dimension.

Yesterday I ordered my first Uber Eats. A vege fried rice got delivered in 35 minutes. Very impressive service. What uber and pickme have done to taxis, was not a thing until it was introduced. Now it is the new normal. Uber Eats and Pickme food will change food industry with in 2 years, that we will not be able to think of a colombo with out 30 minute food delivery. Right now, both are serving a very small area in Colombo. Testing times for both. Burning money for both, I guess. Because Uber eats did not charge me for delivery. Idea is to get more people try the service. These services need thousands of users to make it viable. Scale is the game. While we customers enjoy the convenience, most of us have no idea what a rough sea this delivery business is. Pizza hut do 30 minute delivery with their own cadre of delivery army. They do pizza

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Employability – What’s wrong with Sri Lankan degree?

I will start this blog post with a must read article on employability. 5 steps that could help freshers bag jobs in greater numbers. It focuses on Indian context. If you are lazy to read it, here’s the bombshell. Graduate unemployability: For years, employers used degrees as a lazy filter to shortlist interview candidates. But, now that it is clear a degree is not what it used to be—60% of taxi drivers in Korea, 31% of retail sales clerks in the US, and 15% of high-end security guards in India now have a degree—employers are shifting their focus to employability and skills. This means candidates from outside the top institutions, or those without degrees, can differentiate themselves through certifications, soft skills, apprenticeships, projects, work experience, career growth, and more. Almost all Sri Lankan employers I meet complain about candidates not having right skills and attitude, not just among freshers but also among seniors. Degrees are not relevant, they say. Yet the young

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Balancing social media

I went to tweetupSL 7 yesterday. I have missed last 2 years. So many new young faces, and the interactions gave me the flavour of young aspirations and new trends in social media. Right now, the intensity of  interaction is high, one of the main factors is the inclusion of local languages. It’s much more engaging when one can type in your own language. Good to see some old faces at #TweetupSL, may be not that old 😜Full Album here: https://t.co/PR2B6oUcqCGo Tag yourselves… pic.twitter.com/zK3pERAyW7 — Dialog Axiata (@dialoglk) December 17, 2017 On twitter, we follow so many unknown people. It’s great to meet someone in person after I had followed and interacted with them for like 3 years. Most of the time, when I meet in person, I see a different personality from his or her online presence. So yeah, we have our split personalities: online and offline. This very core human nature brings in numerous issues and tensions on

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How to be a good technician. ( A different perspective)

I meet some remarkable young people in Sri Lanka at the most unlikeliest of places. I found one last week, in front of a hardware store in my neighbourhood. It was 730 in the morning. I was there to rent a water motor, he was there to rent a heavy duty drill. He’s a mechanic, an expert on tractors. We started chatting. He mentioned about a good mechanic he knows who’s work is like a super charm. I said, there are many good craftsmen in Sri Lanka, under the radar, not getting the recognition and respect. Then he said something amazing, that prompted me to write this post. Sri lankans:'can'ts find a good plumber or Mason bas'Also Sri Lankans: " he's a son of a plumber. How dare he approach my daughter" — isura.biz (@isura) September 23, 2017 “Yes we have great technicians, but they don’t thrive to be what they truly can be. They don’t work hard as much

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