As a graduate student studying "Artificial Intelligence," in 1996, Sai Ravela realigned his work to become centered in Sustainability and Systems Science (read personal journey here). ESSG's ethos, captured by this ee cummings poem, is to understand Nature using knowledge scientifically acquired in the process of doing systematic work to gather information for meaningful inferences.
- Truth Seekers: We are here to learn the Truths of our existence. No field is out of bounds for us to pursue (recall: Truth Alone Prevails).
- Freedom of Expression: As a corrolary to the seeking truth and in light of the controversies at the institute, we add that we firmly defend your right to the freedom of expression and the right to hold a different viewpoint. We would rather that you be slightly cocky and fiercely independent rather than be utterly polite and always agreeable.
- Do great Work1: An internal marching band exhorts us to advance! Diligently, intuitively, creatively, methodically, and energetically. Use all fair means of Right Action (e.g., see Dharma) to produce great work.
- Service before Self: In academia, the universal demand to be "visible" and "standout" often leads to cut-throat competition and zero-sum games that decouples ends from means and the common good for individual reward. For example, seeking questionable funding has become a mode; see a re-evaluation here. We believe that the "service before self" principle encourages a focus on process over the anticipation of reward (e.g., see Bhagavad Gita 2:47) which, in the long run, we posit is a more sustainable basis for knowledge gain.
- Observe All, Disrupt None: The rate of scaling new technology is now so rapid that there is barely a contemplation of deep consequences. We posit that the ESSG "observe all, disrupt none" theme promotes a minimal intervention model for Sustainability and is consistent with the Native American wisdom that envisioning utility several "generations" out is an excellent test for scaling "disruptive Tech," especially where "doing good" motivates the speed; e.g. batteries everywhere to stave off climate change. In a sense, our "anti-disruption" systems science also promotes a dynamic and data driven approach to Sustainability.
- The World is One Family: ESSG is one of the most diverse groups in our department and, we dare say, the institute. We are people of various religions, races, identities, and cultures and, without doubt, committed to excellence. We believe that the world is one family (e.g., see Vasudaiva Kutumbakam) and we find it a calling to help the disdvantaged scholar avail better opportunities. Come join us to enhance our culture!
1: This slogan is borrowed from GoSpotCheck Inc.