Tryst with the Future

Comic buffs, I know identifying the above comic marvels would be a cakewalk for you. So, now let me focus my attention on those who are at opposite end of your spectrum. Any guesses non-movie buffs? Who are they? What do they symbolize? What binds them together? Kudos to those who are able to figure out what the mentioned words symbolize and for those not able to figure out, let me open up the chamber of secret for you. All the 4 mentioned words represent fictional characters from the movie Avengers: Infinity War, a record-breaking 2018 American superhero film. A tree like Humanoid, a person who can see the futurean android and avenger created using ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, a king whose strength is enhanced via a heart-shaped flower: All these descriptions if promulgated in real life would be a technological marvel taking our universe to a whole new level. Wouldn’t it be thought provoking?

Wouldn’t it be brilliant if such technological creations help our nation India in uplifting its millions of citizens out of poverty and overcome social, environmental and technological backwardness? Now let me introduce you to a technological buzzword: Fourth industrial revolution. Commonly labelled as offshoot of Third Industrial Revolution or Internet Age, 4th industrial revolution, also referred as an era of disruptive technologies and knowledge economy, is defined as agglomeration of 3 pillars that are Information and Communication Technology (ICT), a vibrant landscape which counts private sector, civil sector and academia as its backbone, and institutional structures that offer incentives for entrepreneurship. Modern day technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, 3D Printing, Machine Learning, Robotics, and Data Science are by-products of this era.

Behind these catchy words, lies the main question:

When and how the technology will rule the roost in India?

True, changes in India happen at a very tardy pace and technological changes are no exception; however, we are noticing a significant tilt towards these upcoming contemporary technologies. Recently, the government of Andhra Pradesh used Blockchain technology for digitalization of land records, subsidy program and vehicle registration. Taking the cue from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana governments declared their intention of using Blockchain for governance. With such encouragement, we hope for seeing our future governance model based on the secured Blockchain technology. This would address the issue of financial mismanagement, subsidy leakages, cyber threats and most help in tackling corruption in our nation. Recently, our ranking in corruption index fell from 79th to a dismal 81st position and one study revealed that our nation loses an approximately $1 trillion annually due to corruption. Just imagine $1 trillion saved from corruption entering our economy. A million stomachs would get food to eat, a million heads would get a shelter that they can call their own, defecating in open will be a thing of past and most importantly reduction in poverty means human dignity is restored.

Identify the image.

Meet Sophia, a HUMANOID ROBOT developed and activated in 2015 by a Hong Kong based company. Often defined as a chatbot with a face, creation of Sophia could open the door for Robotics in the world. Though robotics is a very nascent industry in India, what this industry can do is create a boom for automation, a technology by which a process or work is done without human assistance, and artificial intelligence, a thought process demonstrated by machines, in contrast to human intelligence, in India. Driverless trains, precision irrigation, remote sensing, medical diagnosis etc. are upcoming focus areas for central government which would use automation and AI in near future.

Delhi Metro’s Magenta line will India’s first driverless metro. Future for this technology would be bright if Delhi metro’s pilot project succeeds.

Precision irrigation: A boost for Indian farmers at the time when future for Agriculture is in the doldrums.

Take a look at the above picture and guess the peculiarity. Some of you might have guessed it right while some would be struggling. Let me make things easy for you all. Some of you might have guessed it right, robots being used in automobile factory but specifically saying this photo is Maruti Suzuki’s Gurugram factory. According to official sources, Maruti Suzuki uses a total of 7,500 robots in their Gurugram and Manesar plants. A concept popular in the west, robots in India factories would take time to become popular looking at labor-centric focus of our industries; However, with customers becoming more advanced and demanding, involving robotics in floor shop definitely would have a bright future.

Last but not the least. Guess the technology that is more popular than the above-mentioned ones. And the answer is Internet of Things (IoT). In layman terms, it is a network of home appliances, physical devices, vehicles, and other items that are embedded with software, hardware, sensors, and internet connectivity with the aim of exchanging data. Let’s look at a video to see how IoT works.

An emerging economy like India that has a history of inadequate and crumbling infrastructure like power shortage and theft, water shortages, agriculture crisis etc. IoT can be a boom. Along with other above mentioned technologies, IoT applications are in nascent stage too but the government of India is keen to implement in what it calls next-gen infrastructure like SMART electricity grid, SMART policing grid, SMART logistics, and supply chain network etc.
Concluding that in an era where technologies are and will rule the roost, in an era where countries ranging from China to the US are hell bend on boosting their productivity and governance via technologies of 4th industrial revolution, India shouldn’t be far behind. With pressing problems like poverty, corruption, hunger, illiteracy etc., the time has come for India to involve these upcoming technologies in the social and economic sphere. With central and state governments realizing the importance of these technologies in the day to day affairs, the awareness and investment is bound to increase in the near future. Until now, future of technologies looks bright by the year 2040.

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