Context Not Content in Bits and Bytes

This pandemic is forcing us to rethink the way we work and live. I hope we rethink the way we tell our stories.

Today, social platforms are inundated with Lenin’s words on change – there are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen. Despite knowing that change is the only constant in our lives, we are terrified of it. However, stories of human grit overcoming the challenges past and present give us the confidence and the resolve to not only navigate these changing times but also emerge stronger. “This too shall pass” is not just a phrase, rather a reminder of the human spirit.

Long before we discovered the binary code, stories were motivating individual behaviour, inspiring community action and storing information for posterity. As we progressed so did our stories and their levels of immediacy, impact and integrity. But all progress comes at a price. As the fault lines that were faintly visible start to stare at us, our individual response to this crisis will decide the future of our collective experiences.

What you see is all there is

We need to be vigilant while we sit safely huddled in our homes interacting with the outside world through stories that coming streaming in bits and bytes through the ubiquitous digital platforms. Daniel Kahneman in his book Thinking Fast and Slow explained a cognitive bias – what you see is all there is. He says that we normally make our judgements and impressions according to the information available to us. And today what is available is immediate, gargantuan and polarized – a cognitive nightmare.

The signs of this evolving context have been around for decades but became visible during the financial crisis of 2008. As the Gig Economy flourished and powered ahead so did the digital platforms, thus providing a much-needed impetus to a new breed of storytellers. In a bid to stay relevant, enterprises of all kinds and sizes eager to engage with and influence their audiences flocked to these platforms and the storytellers.

Of course, the engagement often implied that the most available and not the most creative or the most impactful stories prevailed. Earning the trust of the audience was easy given that the narratives were not judged on merits rather evaluated on volumes which was driven by the dollars backing these narratives. Our minds are hardwired for stories and the ones that capture our attention are the ones that are always there in front of us. What you see is all there is.

Rethinking Stories

As the world comes to grips with this pandemic and prepares to open for business, uncertainty prevails. A storyteller knows the power of uncertainty way too well. It is the time when the audience is vulnerable to the creative imagination of the storyteller; a point when the story either leap frogs into hearts or gets entangled in the mesh of our minds.

The digital platforms have not only blurred the lines between various forms of narratives and transformed the characters into a unit of measure but also purged storytelling of its creative process that powered imagination. What remains is propaganda which is delivered with relative ease given the digital context and a narrative that dangerously stokes nationalistic rhetoric and a fear of the unknown.

This pandemic has forced us to rethink the way we work and live by impacting our ability to produce, consume and share resources. I don’t know what lies ahead when it comes to storytelling, but I do know that our minds don’t need the facts laced by misleading data nor do our hearts need to be exposed to the truths of only a certain section of the society. The context of the stories today favours those with power, money and knowledge to influence our behaviour individually and our progress collectively.

As Albert Einstein said – imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. We need to reclaim our imagination to not only ensure economic progress but also a balanced world. We have to rethink our stories if we want to change the context.

Hemant Bohra is a storyteller, entrepreneur and an author turned male ally. He is the Founder of Fortuna PR, a mid-sized public relations firm in India and CXOLife, an initiative that shares work-life balance practices of CXOs. Recently, Hemant moved to Paris to work with companies eager to explore storytelling as a strategic tool.

Pioneer India launches the new AVIC-F80BT

Pioneer India Electronics, the leading in-car entertainment systems company, today announced the launch of AVIC-F80BT, its premium ‘True to Life’ navigation-cum-entertainment system powered by Apple CarPlay, for  Rs.51,990.(approx US$ 775) (Press release by Fortuna PR)

The AVIC-F80BT features 17.8 cm wide touch screen with multi-color LED display. It also features Bluetooth, Dual USB slots, Touch slide cross-over settings and steering wheel control for many cars. The unit gives its users an option to play music from numerous sources like CD-DVD/USB/SD/Radio/AUX/iPhone or Bluetooth. The navigation system has Map data for more than 7000 cities & 500,000 towns/villages across India. Besides having a Hybrid positioning system that gives the user turn-by-turn guidance and access to a large database of POIs, the AVIC maps offer 3D view for certain landmarks, junction view & signpost view for a true to life experience. 

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Gaurav Kulshrestha, Manager – Marketing & Product Planning, Pioneer India Electronics said, ‘The AVIC-F80BT is powered by Apple CarPlay which gives iPhone users an incredibly intuitive way to make calls, listen to music and access messages with just a word or touch. We have also introduced the HDMI feature which enables wired or Wireless projection of smartphones on the headunit using select Miracast dongles. This enables one to sit back and stream his/her favorite movies, videos and photos on head unit screen through a smartphone.’

For an entertaining drive with family, the Dual zone audio-video feature allows rear seat passenger to enjoy audio or video content on additional rear seat monitors and headphones, even while the front passenger and driver listen to audio from other sources. For the music enthusiasts, it provides 13-band Graphic EQ with the unique Advanced Touch Slide Operation which allows the users to fine-tune sound quality just as they like it.

Pioneer’s unique technologies like Advanced Sound Retriever & Mixtrax add to the beauty of user experience. While ASR improves the sound quality of compressed media files like MP3 & WMA files, Mixtrax creates a non-stop MIX of audio files with technology based on Pioneer’s history of innovative professional DJ.

Pioneer India is the Indian Subsidiary of Pioneer Corporation, Japan. Incorporated in 2008, Pioneer India’s core business covers the car audio and video segments with a diversified range of products focusing on DVD players, home entertainment systems, speakers and car audio-visual solutions. Pioneer India, work in line with the corporate vision to become a company that works together in ‘pursuing innovations one after another’. Pioneer India aims to continuously introduce innovative products that will raise entertainment to the level of pure emotion.