Explaining AI anxiety, being one with nature, and a trans candidate rising above odds–our top social stories of the week

In our Catalysts of Hope series, we bring you uplifting, inspiring, and impactful stories of change.

Explaining AI anxiety, being one with nature, and a trans candidate rising above odds–our top social stories of the week

Saturday November 18, 2023,

3 min Read

According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index 2023 report, which was released in June this year, around 74% of Indian workers say they are worried that AI might replace them from their jobs. How real are these fears and how does one cope with them?

In recent years, as generative AI tools like ChatGPT have arrived, many people have started to fear losing relevance in the labour market.

Dr Gorav Gupta, Psychiatrist and Co-founder of Emoneeds, a mental health platform, explains that AI anxiety refers to the apprehension or fear associated with the increasing presence and capabilities of artificial intelligence. It encompasses concerns about job displacement, loss of privacy, and potential misuse of AI. Read more about how AI is disrupting lives and whether the fear is real, here.

Returning to nature

Living in rhythm with the natural world is an age-old practice. There are an estimated 476 million indigenous people around the world who view themselves as an extension of the ecological family. Learning from those who live in close contact with the natural world, nature-based therapy or ecotherapy has become an antidote to the ever-widening spectrum of mental health challenges arising in noisy, overcrowded urban populations. Immersing yourself in nature can be rejuvenating, besides cultivating a strong sense of sustainability. Today, it is emerging as a powerful mental health resource.

Rising above oppression

After she revealed to her single mother that she was trans, Chitrapu Pushpita Laya left her home in Warangal for Delhi, where she joined the Kinnar community and went door to door asking for alms. Today, close to a decade later, Laya is back home in Warangal. Almost every day, her home is filled with residents and local communities seeking help. They bring to her attention struggles with poor roads and sanitation in their neighbourhoods, domestic violence in their homes, and loan sharks who have trapped them in debt. Laya is the first trans candidate ever to contest in an election in Telangana.

In other socially relevant news…

Empowering artists

A 17-year-old girl in Hyderabad, Preethika Pavirala is helping preserve and promote cultural art forms through her non-profit, Vaitalika Foundation, by uplifting talented people from underprivileged communities.

According to a report in The New Indian Express, the foundation helps orphans by providing them with dedicated mentors and performance opportunities based on their art forms. According to the report, Pavirala and her team conduct introductory workshops in orphanages and asses children’s interest levels. Based on their aptitude and talents, they hire a teacher to provide them with long-term education. She has a team of 120 volunteers working with her.

Preethika and her team conduct introductory workshops in orphanages, followed by an assessment of the children’s interest levels. If there is true passion, they hire a teacher to provide long-term education. For those who enjoy the experience but lack a serious commitment, occasional workshops are offered.

Edited by Megha Reddy