Get With the Lingo by Aditya Joshi

What is it, really, that differentiates us from animals? Some would argue it’s our self-awareness, others would say it’s our capacity to think at a higher level, while others still would be adamant in their belief it’s the endless adaptiveness that humanity has that is our key advantage.
But I believe the answer is a lot simpler. What makes us special and successful as a species is our extraordinary ability to communicate with one another and share our experiences. Being able to pass on knowledge and learn from the experience of others ensures a steady progress; a continuous, ceaseless march towards advancement- fueled by a steady stream of gradually accumulating information, handed down from one generation to the next.
The impact on history cannot be overstated; all sciences, cultures, arts, history, music and even religions are made possible by the very existence of language. The fabric of society itself relies on our ability to communicate.
With the advent of the spoken word, hunter-gatherers no longer needed to taste a berry to test for its edibility, they could simply ask more experienced persons about its nature.
And, with this simple, often disregarded step, humanity was on it’s way to becoming the dominant species on this planet.
So how did it all begin? How did the spoken and written word decisively shape the course of history?
As for the first question, unfortunately enough, nobody is quite sure as to what the answer is. There are no known animals in a transitory stage from not speaking to speaking.
There is, however, a single, common theme that visibly stands out among all these theories: ‘The world’s languages evolved spontaneously. They were not designed’.
Either way, we don’t know for sure how it finally came to be.
What we do know is how language has impacted human history. A basic application could be a hunter in primeval times seeing a deer ripe for the killing, and subsequently letting out a grunt that informs his partner it’s time to start moving.
But, as human interactions grew more complex, the possibilities that language gave us increased exponentially.
The power of speech allowed great orators to bring together large groups of previously small, solitary tribes into consolidated units. People started to settle down and live with each other, and as this happened language once again propagated a culture of sharing, trading and collectiveness.
In such a manner, society was born.
However, the spoken word has limits. Information can only be disseminated to a fixed number of people at a time and there can never be a permanent record. Word-of-mouth accounts invariably end up getting distorted through the generations. Lastly, the rapid growth of cities demanded administrative measures that could simply not be carried out verbally.
And thereby came the written language. The oldest civilization in the world, the Mesopotamian, exhibits the earliest examples of written language coming to the fore.Through the Uruk period a script was developed and allowed city authorities to administer large groups of people. Intensive trade and contact between regions and maintenance of records were all enabled by language.

Sumerian Language Through Time

The above image shows the evolution of the sign for “head” in cuneiform script-the oldest known- over several millennia. It is apparent that written script developed organically, starting off clunky and gradually becoming streamlined and stylized due to scribes through the ages simplifying the symbols for their own purposes.
Language evolved just like a living being, growing and changing in accordance with the convenience of the times, driven forward not by a single individual but by a collective effort towards codification and the writing down of knowledge that seems to compel man.
Languages evolved from and through each other: English started off as a West Germanic language strongly influenced by Latin, which also heavily influenced modern Italian and in turn was born of the Etruscan alphabet.
With the invention of printing techniques in China and later with the invention of the mechanical printing press by Gutenberg suddenly meant that an individual could now spread all kinds of propaganda and ideas to people they\had never even met in person.
The Bible, the Communist Manifesto, the propaganda that fueled the French revolution; all events that changed the lives of billions and shaped the world as we know it; all the dissemination of knowledge between mankind that has even taken place, were all made possible by the distinctly human characteristic of voluntary communication.
And now, we stand at the doorstep of a new epoch.
Facebook’s AI recently came up with a completely new language, and two Facebook chat bots had the following conversation:
Bob: I can i i everything else
Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to
Bob: you i everything else
Alice: balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me.
This raises questions about the direction in which language is headed. Insofar they have been governed by human need and initiative, now, it would seem, that it is set to be drawn forward by non-human interventions.
All of this, made possible by a single word millennia ago.
Indeed, the ability to type this article and yours to read it hinges entirely on an invisible library that you, me, and all humans, carry in their heads, one that lets them express their thoughts and feelings to each other and continue humanity’s’ ceaseless march towards tomorrow.

Will Artificial Intelligence pose a threat to humanity

Artificial Intelligence or AI, refers to intelligent behavior exhibited by machines or programs. The term inspires so much enigma that over the last few years it has been one of the hottest topics of conversation.

While AI has gained much more traction over the last decade, the concept has actually been around since 1950, when Alan Turing designed the Turing Test. Although the discussions on how well machines can imitate humans have since matured into how far can this imitation lead us and how viable that future is.

Considering the current pace of development it is not hard to imagine that there might soon be robots around that are not only physically far more skilled, but also have an intellectual capacity to advance and adapt at a speed significantly faster than that of humans. Since robots are largely governed by learning systems encoded into them, the concern that at one point they might evolve into independent entities, posing a threat to humanity, is one that many harbor.

By ‘pose a threat’, I’m sure a lot of you envision a Terminator like situation- at least that’s how Elon Musk pictures it. Musk believes that AI can turn out to be ‘more risky than North Korea’ and has reiterated his views multiple times through various channels. “I keep sounding the alarm bell, but until people see, like, robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal,” Musk said in an interview.

Musk is of the opinion that robots will soon have the ability to do everything better than humans and that this is the scariest thing about AI. Working with cutting edge artificial intelligence, he has first-hand experience of the kind of threats that AI can pose to us, humans. When robots’ physical and intellectual capabilities become more superior, they will begin to take over jobs currently done by us, leading to mass unemployment. An idea not entirely absurd, since we are already surrounded by robots — simple and complex — that have taken over human tasks, performing them with incredible dexterity.

However, Musk feels that AI’s most dangerous feature is the fact that it is intangible and is a deep intelligence in the network. So, Musk, Stephen Hawking and other experts gathered to voice their concerns, with an open letter on artificial intelligence, ‘Research Priorities for Robust and Beneficial Artificial Intelligence: An Open Letter’. In the letter, these experts wrote of both short term concerns like those regarding autonomous cars and weaponry, along with long term ones relating to the hypothetical situation where we lose control of AI systems and they don’t act in accordance to human wishes.

But there are a few who warn us not to panic about these situations. We have Mark Zuckerberg, who has been quite outspoken on the matter, even saying that Musk’s claims are “pretty irresponsible.” Zuckerberg’s views not only differ from those of Musk or Prof. Hawking,  but he is even optimistic about AI and is excited for what it has in store. “One reason I’m so optimistic about AI is that improvements in basic research improve systems across so many different fields — from diagnosing diseases to keep us healthy, to improving self-driving cars to keep us safe, and from showing you better content in News Feed, to delivering you more relevant search results,” Zuckerberg wrote. Mark believes that AI will improve every aspect of our lives, from businesses and government organizations to even philanthropy.

And then there are those with a more mellow and pragmatic approach to the issue. “First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned,” said Bill Gates who believes that the grim picture Musk paints has a possibility of becoming reality but the situation may not come around if the development of AI is kept well under control.

Whichever view you support, or whatever view you hold, we are far from unlocking the potential that artificial intelligence has in store. As does everything in life, it is no mystery that a tool as powerful as AI will bring with it benefits, as well as drawbacks. However, the future has and will always be a mystery for us. The answer to whether artificial intelligence will evolve as a friend or foe is one only time and technology will reveal.

Sarah Randhawa

Vice Principal Interview

Over the years, Exun has skyrocketed. I have personally seen Exun achieve several milestones over the years and break barriers, thus opening new horizons in technology at a school level. Constant support from both alumni and school authorities have allowed Exun to reach heights never reached before. We have continued to grow every year, both, in terms of our overall victories, and the Exun event. Exun 2017 is no exception. With over 60 schools participating in 15 different events, Exun 2017 is set to be bigger and better than any previous event. Exun is also back with SudoCrypt 7.0, it’s annual international online cryptic hunt. With over 20 countries participating in this one-of-a-kind event, SudoCrypt is set to be more competitive than ever before. Ln(exun) the natural log of Exun Clan gives the students a portal to share their opinion and shed light on unheard of topics in the field of tech. I remember when Exun started in 1992, there were only a handful of members, that was the birth of Exun, and from there Exun went on to become one of the largest IT clubs at the school level in North India. Exun has already won 15 overall trophies this year and is showing no signs of slowing down. 2017 is a historic year for Exun, this year, Exun has achieved an unbelieveable 25 year milestone. The future of Exun is as bright as the future of the tech industry itself. I wish Exun Clan well for all its future endeavors and I hope they continue to traverse the path they are currently on.

The Wonders of the Jailbreak

The Wonders of The Jailbreak

You’ve probably heard the term “jailbreaking” at some point, but what exactly does it mean?

The iOS operating system is like a close-walled garden, allowing somewhat limited functionality to the users. To jailbreak an iDevice means to exploit one or more bugs in order to remove software restrictions imposed by Apple on iOS. This is done by using a series of kernel patches. Essentially, jailbreaking permits root access to iOS, allowing users to customize their phone by downloading and installing 3rd party applications, extensions, and themes that are normally unavailable through the official Apple App Store.

Things you can do with a jailbroken device

Cydia — the gateway to customisation

the Cydia homepage (source)

The first step to customising any device running on iOS (jailbreak-compatible versions only, yes) starts through Cydia, which is included as a part of the jailbreak package. It can be called the jailbreak counterpart of the iOS app store, and is the portal for gaining access to all the applications, tweaks and themes that you can download and install to customize your iOS device. It was created by Jay Freeman (saurik).

So what can you do using Cydia? Although a better question would be what can’t you do with it, here’s an overview of the things you can do:

Tweaks: Tweaks are nifty packages that allow you to override or change various aspects of the native iOS, to increase its functionality and make it look better. For example, you can change the default font, the icon size or the layout of icons on the home screen, change your carrier logo and text, change the appearance of the battery indicator, to name a few.

the ColorFlow3 tweak colourises the music interface with the dominant colours of your album artwork
Noctis, a dark mode tweak for control & notification centre. FlipControlCenter —a customised control centre
System-wide dark mode using Eclipse 4. Also-subtle, but the distracting carrier name is hidden using HideMeX.
the Activator interface (image source)

Activator is one of, if not the most, popular tweak and it allows you to create a countless combination of handy gesture-, button- or 3D touch-based actions. For instance, I have set up Activator to play the next music track when I double-tap on the top-right corner of the screen, and the previous track from the top-left corner; to automatically stop the video/audio that is playing when I reduce the volume to zero; to disable mobile data when I connect to Wi-Fi; to turn on the flashlight and ringer when I text ‘PHONELOST’ – comes in handy when your phone is on silent and you can’t find it! The possibilities are endless.

the Veexilum theme with a 5 column layout (setup source)

Themes: Themes allow you to customise and change the look of the device’s interface. Unlike Android, where you can use launchers or custom ROMs, Apple doesn’t offer a lot of choices to change the appearance of your device. Thus themes are extremely popular in the Jailbreak community — there even exists a subreddit (r/iOSthemes), where you can share your jailbreak setups created using a mix of tweaks and themes.

Applications: You can download a plethora of applications that aren’t available on the App Store. Notable ones include file managers such as Filza, which allow you to access the entire file system of your device — unlike the new ‘Files’ app available on iOS 11 that permits you to view only your iCloud files. Using a mobile terminal like MTerminal, you can even use command-line tools on your device. iCleaner helps you to free up (lots of) space on your device by removing unnecessary files and f.lux — everyone knows what that does.

But is it legal?

This was perhaps the first question that came to your mind, and the short answer is yes, jailbreaking is legal. However if you use jailbreak to download and install pirated content, such as side loading IPAs of paid applications through Cydia Impactor, that certainly defies the law.

A section of Apple’s website, which condemns jailbreaking, states that:

Apple strongly cautions against installing any software that hacks iOS. It is also important to note that unauthorised modification of iOS is a violation of the iOS end-user software license agreement and because of this, Apple may deny service for an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that has installed any unauthorised software.

It states that jailbreaking may void your warranty; however, there is a simple workaround — you can easily remove the jailbreak in case your phone suffers from a problem that requires you to use the warranty service. Jailbreaks don’t leave a ‘footprint’ and Apple doesn’t have any magical device to check whether your iDevice was jailbroken in the past.

Jailbreaking’s legality is governed by laws related to circumvention of digital locks, like laws protecting digital rights management (DRM) mechanisms.

As per State laws, jailbreaking is permitted in India. This is because India’s copyright laws permit bypassing or circumventing DRM for non-copyright-infringing purposes. The Parliament passed a bill including this DRM provision in 2012 as the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2012. Also, India is nota signatory to the WIPO Copyright Treaty that mandates laws against DRM circumvention.

Much to the dislike of Apple, jailbreak is permitted in the United States too, although there’s a weird exception — it is illegal to jailbreak iPads. However Apple does continue to take up legal battles to get copyright law to include jailbreaking as a violation, but it hasn’t been successful in this endeavour. If you’re interested, you can give the legal drama a read here (the ‘Digital Millennium Copyright Act exemptions section).

Don’t forget though, using jailbreak tweaks and other functions for copyright-infringing purposes or piracy is very much against the law.

If jailbreaking is amazing AND legal, why doesn’t everyone do it?

There can be a number of reasons for this:

  • No need for it: Do you think your grandpa would want to jailbreak? Probably not. (If he would, then you’ve got yourself a cool grandpa, woohoo!). A lot of users simply don’t have the desire to jailbreak, because they enjoy the simplicity of the iOS system and do not long for added functions. They may not have the patience or even the ability to do so (read: nooooooobs).
  • iOS upgrades: When you upgrade to the next version of iOS, your device will no longer stay jailbroken — Apple patches the exploit, so hackers have to search for another one before the new version of iOS can be jailbroken. This can take months or even years. Finding exploits gets harder with each successive version of iOS, which brings us to the next point:
  • Hackers are hired by big companies: Former members and hackers of the jailbreak community often join private security firms or Apple itself, as they receive hefty payouts for finding iOS vulnerabilities.
  • Instability: Jailbreaks can be unstable, too. The jailbreak itself or installed tweaks— which mess with iOS in unusual ways — may cause problems with your device and cause apps to crash or the phone to reboot more often. With a little time and knowledge, this can be fixed or even avoided. For instance, you should install tweaks only from well-known developers and repositories.
  • The annoying untethered jailbreak: If you’re a keen observer, you might have noticed how a few screenshots in this article are cited whereas a few are my own. Well, at the time of writing, Cydia Impactor (the tool for jailbreaking) was facing errors and my phone wasn’t in the jailbroken state — just when I needed it to be! So I had to rely on the previous screenshots I had. Sigh. This is because the iOS 10.2 Yalu jailbreak running on my device is semi-tethered, meaning that you’ll have to re-patch or re-jailbreak using the Yalu app every time your device reboots, and re-sign your certificate every seven days using Impactor on a laptop or computer. This can get bothersome at times but as they say, “No pains, no gains.”
  • Native implementation: Apple has also taken some of the best jailbreak tweaks and implemented them into iOS, reducing the need for jailbreaking. A prominent example is of the gestures in place of the home button on the new iPhone X. A tweak called Tage has been available on Cydia for several years and it implemented the same gestures. There’s a whole list of functions that Apple integrated into iOS. Wouldn’t it have been interesting if these tweaks were copyrighted and developers played the ‘illegal’ game with Apple? 😮😛
YouTube audio being played in the background — on the lock screen. This has now been implemented by YouTube Red.

Security tip for those of you who have a jailbroken device: If you have a jailbroken iPhone with OpenSSH installed, you should uninstall it or better, change your mobile and root password from the default ‘alpine’ to something unique, to prevent an SSH attack. Basically, it all comes down to knowing your root password for a hacker. Once that’s achieved, all he/she needs to do is successfully SSH into your device and your data will be compromised. You can change it using any mobile terminal from Cydia, like MTerminal.

In a nutshell, Apple obviously wants all its users running apps and software that are safe, smooth and stable. In ensuring so, it barely offers any alternatives for customising the device and changing stock features. By performing a jailbreak you are choosing to take a little risk for a lot, lot more control over your device.
If you’re intent on personalising your iPhone to get amazing functions, a different appearance, or you just want to fix minor annoyances — go ahead and jailbreak. You won’t regret it.

Principal Interview-Ms. Vanita Sehgal

Exun Clan’s journey has been impressive, reaching unprecedented heights and showcasing the prosperity of our school. Being our school’s first club, it certainly paved the way for all such future endeavours.

This year, SudoCrypt 7.0, Exun’s annual international online cryptic hunt, has received entries from over 20 countries and I believe this number will only grow in future. Seeing Exun’s development over the years, we might also someday have on site participants from multiple countries.

Technology is an essential part of our daily lives and education is no exception to this. We need to incorporate latest technological advancements in our school, to ensure that we give our students the best education possible. This form of education allows students to absorb maximum knowledge in a relatable format. Technology based education also gives students hands-on experiences, thus making learning much easier and making the classroom a stress reducing environment rather than a stress inducing environment.

Although technology based education is a great medium and is undoubtedly beneficial, it should not completely replace human interaction. A student-teacher relationship is irreplaceable which technology cannot achieve. Applications like google classroom provides students with the best of both worlds.

I wish Exun Clan a bright future in making DPS RK Puram proud.

Teacher Interview( FOUNDER, IN-CHARGE EXUN )- Mr. Mukesh Kumar

The good thing about the growth of technology is that it has always been primarily to solve current real world problems and benefit all. Google Apps and Facebook’s are some of the best examples of this.

It was with this thought that in 1965, Gordon Moore, one of the co-founders of Intel made a bold prediction. He said that every year, the number of components in an integrated circuit, would double, for at least a decade. He later revised his prediction saying that the components would double every two years. This prediction, or “law” has proved to be true for several decades, or rather, Intel has made this law a benchmark goal for every two years and somehow made sure that their chips keep shrinking and they keep widening their bandwidth. This continual shrinking of these chips has helped it move from holding to wearing and now embedded within a human body. Within few years, we have seen the transition of internet speed from 1-5 mbps broadband connections to 50-100 mbps with free downloads moving to multiple GBs. Moore’s law has also become shorthand for the idea that anything involving computing becomes more capable over time.

Intel already has features as small as 14 nanometers, so it is no surprise that they may be slowing the process down. That means, Moore’s law will slow down too. Intel will now primarily focus on the design of its chips to further increase productivity.

While the future of Intel and Moore’s law remains uncertain, one thing’s for sure- The technology sector will continue to grow, one way or another.

With all of this happening around us, remember to keep the healthy human connections growing further and don’t forget to promise each other to shrink the negatives in the society ensuring it to move to null one day.

Teacher Interview-Mohit Dey

Mohit Dey on gaming in a student’s hectic and fast paced life.

Although commonly believed to be a negative activity that students take part in, I believe that Gaming is one of the best stress busters and is very helpful in today’s faced-paced life. In my mind, gaming is simply a more fun way to learn about several things such as history and biology. Many times, students don’t realize it, but they are learning while they are playing games. Online gaming can also help students connect with other players who may be from different countries all around the globe.

What is the future of the Gaming Industry?

We have already seen the gaming industry grow massively in the past. From big arcade games which could only be played by going to a center to having access to high quality games in the palm of your hands. Both the console gaming industry and the PC gaming industry are growing at a very rapid rate, and in recent years, we have also seen Virtual Reality as a potential gaming portal. I believe the future of the gaming industry will see a shift towards newer technological means, such as VR, but overall, the industry will definitely grow at a rapid rate.

Teacher Interview-Aashima Nagpal

Q: Aashima Nagpal – Competitive Programming in a student’s life

A: In the not too far history, programming as a hobby was unheard of. But now it has been introduced to a newer student audience, thus opening a completely new horizon in their lives. Children are developing a sudden newfound interest for complex computational problem solving. As an increasing number of students started to enter this field, so did the number of competitions. Competitive programming provides children with several benefits, it helps with their logical reasoning skills and allows them to think laterally, and it makes them a rational problem solver in all walks of life. Children participate in such competitions from every corner of the globe, without having to pay a price, and sometimes even receive prizes for winning one. Programming Websites like CodeChef, provide a platform for students to learn and practice various programming languages. Events like hackathons also allow students to gain immense and hands-on experience in various programming languages. Such events put participants in the shoes of professional programmers where they compete for over 20 hours. Such activities of competitive programming are essential in ingraining the logical reasoning skills and enhance students’ thought process, which is why we have these events at Exun 2017 as well.


Teacher Interview-Shekhar Sharma

Q: How can we inculcate Cyber Safety in students at a young age?

A: Students of this generation have a lot of exposure to electronic devices, which gives them access to the world of Internet, which has both sides, the good and the bad. A few months ago, a child from from class 5, came to me and asked me how he could download the infamous Blue Whale game. This is the type of exposure students at a young age can get, and it can be extremely harmful to them. This obviously does not mean that we completely stop their internet usage, it just means that it should be under parental supervision so as to make sure of their safety. Schools also have a major role to play in their safety. They also should have some basic facts on Cyber Safety, as we can’t monitor them all the time. We should teach them basic social media rules, such as only accepting requests from people they know, not talking to strangers online and not revealing personal information to anyone. Many schools are now actively holding cyber safety and security sessions for students, thus making sure that no student falls prey to the various methods being used to invade their privacy.

Teacher Interview-Hema Jain

Hema Jain on Internet Security after the advent of new home devices.

In today’s world, we see that new types of home appliances are undergoing high growth. Companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple have entered this field with Apple Home, Google Home and Echo. While these products open a new horizon to the home technology sector, they also open a dark backdoor for hackers who want your data. People with home devices and little to none WiFi security are at a massive risk. In a nutshell, this would mean, that a hacker could break into your home, invade your privacy, without actually ever entering it.

Home devices have control over most IoT devices, such as smart lights, TV, Music etc. and if a hacker gets access to your home device, this can be misused explicitly. A hacker may record all the conversations in the house, unleash mayhem, simply by taking control over your home devices. What we can do to prevent this is taking simple steps to secure our home network. Minor tasks, which may seem redundant, such as putting a strong WiFI password with WEP2/WPA protection, changing passwords at regular intervals could protect you from such attacks. Such steps help to secure your network, and helps you to be the only one in control of your home assistant.