Rise and Rise of Technology

It all started in 8th or 9th grade when I first logged on Orkut. I used cyber cafe and home dial-up connection to browse internet. I still remember the turtle speed of dial up network and time required to load a page. My digital needs and general needs rose simultaneously as I was admitted to college. I got a new mobile phone (a Nokia feature phone). The main function apart from calling and messaging was music. Camera was not that important back then. 256MB SD card was more than sufficient. Until then, Orkut was on its brink of fall and was slowly getting replaced by Facebook. Facebook offered more features, great user interface and more scope to pass the time. Same was the situation of dial-up and broadband connections. I remember that period when many people replaced their dial-up with broadband. I was also a part of these transitions. Slowly everything above proved insufficient and inefficient & within few years, as I graduated, I suddenly wanted a touch screen smart phone, at least 32GB memory card and 1GB RAM, a cloud storage platform, a Wi-Fi connection and many social networking apps for entertainment like WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. (though Facebook still rules the list then and now). I was generating more data with cheaper and easily available technology.

Data Flows:

New research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) finds that cross-border flows of goods, services, finance, people, and data during this period increased world GDP by roughly 10% – roughly an additional $7.8 trillion in 2014 alone. Data flows accounted for an estimated $2.8 trillion of this gain. Data flows surpassed global goods trade – a remarkable finding. World’s trade networks developed over centuries while cross-border data flows were nascent just 15 years ago. While global goods trade has stalled and cross-border financial flows have fallen sharply since 2007, flow of digital information has surged: Cross-border bandwidth use has grown 45-fold over the past decade, circulating ideas, intellectual content, and innovation around the world.

Size matters:

If we plot ‘time’ on X Axis and ‘size of computer’ on Y Axis, we could find a decreasing curve and if we replace Y Axis with ‘size of mobile phone’, the graph would be increasing. As demand and supply curves strive constantly to reach an equilibrium point, likewise, size of computers and mobile phones would converge for an equilibrium and the fittest would survive one day. Concept of ‘Phablet’ would possibly rule the next generation mobile computing.

Give me my Space:

Spur in social networking sites and cloud computing hampers the privacy of the data. Tech giants like Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Uber, etc. are aware of all your activities, locations, likes and dislikes. If every information is collated a person can be easily decoded and blackmailed, corporates can be sabotaged for sensitive, confidential and insider information & governments can be threatened. Evidences of conspiracy is secondary since the mere fact that you are prone to such perils is alarming and dreadful.

Future course:

Reducing physical efforts has been a top agenda for us. Today, in every aspect of human life technology is pivotal and irreversible component. Machine learning, virtual reality, blockchain and big data would make our lives better and effortless. Technology, if misused, would lead to complete annihilation of the world. So we must also know how to handle it properly. We must also know the boundaries of technological encroachments on human lives. Whether increase in services like Facebook a yardstick for human development? Instead of creating another Facebook like app or another smart wearable on some other body part, we must encourage next creation which is productive and beneficial for the entire world. We must apply technology in underserved sectors and regions of the world. Sectors like health care, environment, disaster management, etc. are a few areas which need greater focus. We must think creatively to uplift poor from destitution and make people’s lives safer. Increasing standard of living of undeveloped countries with the help of technology would be greatly appreciated from all corners of the world. This would require support of educational institutions, tech companies, professionals, policy makers and global citizens.

We must innovate to construct a new building altogether rather than adding floors to the existing one; simply adding floors will collapse it some day. Let’s not innovate at the cost of privacy and humanity.

-Swapnil Karkare


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