How does society impact the benefits and challenges of technology?

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Technology is a big part of lifestyles in India. For instance, road carriers and rickshawallahs use cell phones, the net and Aadhar cards – 12-digit identification numbers given to every citizen primarily based on their biometric and demographic data. However, charismatic professionals and superstition nevertheless thrive in India. In the brand new ebook “Reluctant Technophiles: India’s Complicated Relationship with Technology,” University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign electrical and laptop engineering professor Rakesh Kumar affords an account of India’s often contradictory relationship with technology. News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian spoke with Kumar approximately those contradictions, and the way India’s scenario is both particular and commonplace.

Why is India this kind of correct case look at for analyzing how lifestyle impacts generation?

India provides a very good case examine for numerous motives. First, the problems that era purports to address – poverty, inequality, access to fitness, training and infrastructure – are all glaringly found in India. At the same time, the challenges that present day technology gift – effect of automation on jobs, risk to democracy because of disinformation and compromised social harmony because of hate speech and radicalization – are in particular stark for India due to its huge populace, exceedingly risky (or colourful, in case you prefer) democracy and frequently fragile social material.

India is an interesting case observe additionally because of its contradictory attitudes closer to generation. While there is a strong affinity towards using and taking advantage of era, technology is likewise regularly blamed for many stuff that cross wrong within the united states of america. This contradiction extends to the manner human beings reconcile modern technology with some of the superstitious and non secular factors deeply ingrained inside the way of life. It is also interesting how India’s technological past is often glorified, re-imagined and every so often fabricated for countrywide pleasure.

Finally, India serves as a good petri dish to look how effective era-based solutions can be, given cussed societal issues inclusive of deep-rooted inequalities. For example, if a small fraction of a population enjoys get admission to to generation and blessings from it, whilst others warfare to get their primary desires met, how beneficial can generation-based interventions be in that context?

Do Indian society and politics affect its attitude towards technology, or is it the opposite way round?

It’s each! A society comes to a decision its technological priorities. If you just appeared thru the records of era in India, you will see that the focal point on certain era regions – computing, space and nuclear electricity – did no longer arise in simple terms due to happenstance, however thru deliberate policymaking. Fast ahead to today, India’s largest generation projects – specific digital ID to every Indian, seamless national digital-payment systems and broadband get entry to to every village, and so on. – reflect the social and political priorities.

The impact of era on society and politics is likewise clean. The use of social media to promote viewpoints, inclusive of politics, is rampant. Technology-based totally successes consisting of financial inclusion and direct subsidies have arguably helped political events win elections. Online radicalization, disinformation and hate speech have had many unlucky real-world results.

How is India’s relationship with generation affecting its economic system and the worldwide economic system?

We occasionally forget that one out of five humans are Indian. So, alternatives that India makes for its economy affect the world. For a country like India with a massive and growing younger population, the most powerful reason to undertake and increase era is that it is able to help pressure the economy and lift humans out of poverty. As the value of generation continues falling, the culmination of innovation have become to be had to an ever-increasing quantity of human beings.

How can the lessons learned from India’s stories be carried out to all countries?

The key lesson of the book is that the advantages and demanding situations of generation depend on the unique context that it exists in – its history, inequalities and society, and so forth.

In the U.S., for example, we frequently blame generation for many things that go incorrect in society. Challenges, consisting of the impact of automation on jobs, hazard to democracy due to disinformation and compromised social harmony due to hate speech and radicalization, had been front and center for pretty some time. Algorithmic bias is already a massive trouble. Inequalities were growing, which has already began affecting consequences from era-primarily based interventions. A deeper discourse on technology-society interaction may be useful.

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