“No Time to Die”, starring Daniel Craig as James Bond for the last time, retains the melancholy and relative crude realism of Craig-era Bond. More importantly, the film retains the longer, deeper conversations introduced in recent Bond films. The introductory conversation between Vesper and Bond in Casino Royale is classic; it starts with Bond’s quintessential one-liners, but continues into a longer, lingering conversation on a train, ushering in a fiery romance. Skyfall also has the long, albeit mostly one-sided, conversation between villainous Raoul and Bond, with a homoerotic undercurrent and Oedipal references. In No Time to Die, the conversation to highlight is that between M and Bond, with Bond ending the conversation putting M in his place for a terrible decision, using the boss’s desk to relatively assess his abilities.
The future of conversations is very interesting, and Bond perhaps reflects what people are looking for in real life: meaningful conversations that connect, nurture, and educate; and sometimes, the one-liners just to flirt, cuddle or irritate!
Of course, there’s a lot more to conversations, as they turn into narratives. Stories can help elect governments, incite violence, help deliver justice, or fuel revolutions.
Technology has created the ability to turn conversations into stories faster. Conversations are everywhere, from single lines to volumes of text; from audio podcasts to short format videos and vlogging; from conversations on social networks to discussions on gaming platforms.
Storytelling has become mainstream. Chiefs are told they must be storytellers, much to the chagrin of the old guard. As conversations become narratives, businesses are interested in knowing which products to build and where to sell; the media are interested in tapping into stories for the news; the government is keen to understand the feelings of its citizens. Today’s fake news travels faster and farther than real news through conversations on social platforms.
Conversations go digital with chatbots – both in plain text and photorealistic. Digital assistants are here to listen, to serve you and even to have an intelligent conversation. Augmented reality and virtual reality can help you in conversations. Among all this, there are sections of the population who are alone and who are hungry for someone to listen to them. Just listen… and maybe understand.
It’s important to take advantage of technology, but also to keep it where it belongs in conversations. It is important to come out and face each other physically, as we have evolved into social creatures. It is important to speak without fear and to develop the art of conversing. It is important to develop empathy and to listen in order to understand. It is important to provide our various citizens with platforms for expression. It’s important that leaders create stories that matter to the planet and that citizens fuel the conversations that inform policy. We need to stop running like squirrels in a race and take the time to chat. Because as Craig’s last line says, as Bond says, “You have all the time in the world.”
(Katragadda is the former CTO of the Tata group and founder of AI company Myelin Foundry. He is driven to peel off known facts to uncover unknown layers.)