Kochi: Former US tennis player Andre Agassi highlighted education as the key to address widespread inequality in India. The legend was speaking at the valedictory function of the global meet of the International Advertising Association (IAA) in Kochi on Friday. This was the retired tennis pro's first visit to any Indian place outside Mumbai.
"Economic inequality is quite obvious in India. But later I realised the disparity was more about ability to hope than the ability to earn. This is the real problem, and it can only be solved with education," the 48-year-old Agassi said.
The Las Vegas-based former top player, who is married to German tennis legend Steffi Graf, also spoke on the activities of his Andre Agassi Foundation for Education and his initiation to tennis during his lecture at the IAA World Congress.
"I wasn’t a fan of tennis initially, but it’s that tag that helped raise funds for the foundation for children’s education after my career. It’s my fifth visit to India, all related to the foundation’s operations. But it’s my first programme outside Mumbai," Agassi revealed.
"Father made me take up tennis as part of the American lifestyle. Even though I started off disinterested, efforts to make corrections made me a successful player," he further revealed.
The former world No. 1, who dominated the tennis courts in the 90s and a little later, plays along with his spouse at fundraisers for his foundation.
"I can’t play when it is Steffi on the other half of the court. We have played some matches for charity fund raising," Agassi said.
A conversation between humanoid robot Sophia and actress Kubra Sait on the topic ‘Robots & Humans – Friends or Foes?’ was also held on the sidelines of the World Congress. It shed light on the future of robots too.
Robots will take up challenging and dangerous tasks, but we will never be able to replace humans, said Sophia.
Artificial intelligence should be put to use only for noble causes. Brands can produce any kind of robots but they should always put the interest and privacy of consumers ahead of everything else, it added.
Robots are created by humans. They can never be enemies. Robots have no emotion. Humans will keep learning and teaching no matter how sophisticated robots get. I don’t understand why humans fear robots. They can neutralise me even with a glass of water, said Sophia.
Sophia, developed by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics, is the most famous humanoid robot today.
Nymph of noble brands
The dimpled darling of advertisers was also present at the IAA World Congress in Kochi.
"I like brands. I owe my success to their belief in my abilities, said actor Deepika Padukone. It’s a two-way relationship," said actor Deepika Padukone about choosing endorsements.
"Values are considered above brand or money while choosing to be part of an advertisement. We should be honest about what we endorse. That will bring you a lot of credibility and goodwill," she said.