Balaji Srinivasan’s Dark Horse

A Bright Sun to The West's Black Mirror

Award-winning innovator Balaji Srinivasan believes India could become a media superpower before the end of the decade. In a recorded interview with Tim Ferriss, he drew a parallel with China’s technological development in the 2000s.

Balaji Srinivasan’s Dark Horse

China played “fair and foul” to go from plastic parts manufacturer to high-end smartphone and DJI drone exporter. According to Srinivasan, India could “become a tech and media superpower,” just as intentionally and methodically as China. The South Asian giant already has Bollywood, which produces graphics and animation for Hollywood. There are several organizations that group thousands of Indian journalists, both in India and in the diaspora. The country has already successfully exported Buddhism and Hinduism. Its engineers are highly competitive in the international market, and India is “number three in tech unicorns after the US and China,” Balaji said, “most people don’t know that.”

“This is the mind shift that I think India is going to make in the 2020s. It’s going to take a lot of people by surprise. It’s going to start building products for the world, not just software products, because it can do that, but media products. And I think the direction is a bright sun to the West’s Black Mirror.”

To the West’s dystopian “Black Mirror worldview,” Balaji opposes a vision of hope and opportunity, with India at its center. A vision that, he claims, is perfectly expressed in the trailer for the next Indian blockbuster: Super 30, a kind of Rocky, “but for engineers.”

The trailer for Super 30 opens with images of young Indians in derelict surroundings. “India

A third-world country,” the voiceover explains. “A country of cheap labor. But just a moment, think: Who is the worldwide head of Pepsico? Who's running Unilever? Who's running Mastercard, Vodafone, Deutsche Bank? In case you don't know, just Google it. While you're at it, ask Google, ‘who's the head of Google?’ Well, he's also an Indian.”

The rest of the trailer presents the movie’s premise: under the guidance of a courageous teacher, a group of underprivileged boys from India “will get VIP entry into IT.”

Super 30, the crypto prognosticator explains, “glorifies computer science [and] engineering for the global South, for India, for all these countries that have just gotten smartphones, they’ve risen with technology. This is the greatest improvement in living standards they’ve ever experienced. You can’t teach that. You can’t inculcate [it], [it’s] just a different cultural base.”

In one of the trailer’s most epic moments, an actor says, “what do you call what destiny did to these children? They were blessed with talent, but denied resources...The rich paved a smooth road for themselves. And dug holes in our way. But that was their biggest mistake. They taught us how to jump. And when the time comes...we'll jump higher and farther than anyone else.”

According to Srinivasan, so will India.

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