Wednesday, February 18, 2015

काला अक्षर भैंस बराबर!!!

Long before the advent of digital and printing technology, paper used to be an expensive commodity. Reserved only for select few - recording philosophy and religion, and  the truths and legends of history. And the actual process of writing words was no less than an art - taking its sweet time and efforts. Gutenberg came along and invented a method of easily 'mass production' of written word - history was never the same again. The proliferation of knowledge that happened after, was one of the turning points of mankind.

But, there still was a divide - haves and have not’s situation... for many, written word was still "kala akshar bhains barabar" (the title of this post)! And there were some deviant minds, which misused this great invention also... Spreading lies and deceit!!

Times have changed, so has the notion of knowledge. Written word is now digitized. At the click of a button you have access to knowledge of thousands of years... Not just that, but also views and opinions and news on real-time, global basis...

Thus, technology can be a great enabler. But, even the best of tools can do no good, if you can't use them! And use them wisely!

Many of the readers of this editorial would be familiar with the difference between machine and machine-tool. If not, let me explain... Machine is any man-made device which reduces human effort, while machine-tool is something which is used to make machines. A machine cannot make another machine, whereas machine-tool can make another machine-tool. Similar to this, every new development that happens, makes use of a huge number of preceding technological iterations. Some technologies provide the means and ends, while others lay foundations of future technologies, yet to come.

There are many techno-geek jokes popular amongst engineers. "If automotive technology advanced at the rate of IT, a Rolls Royce would have cost few pennies!". "How would a computer engineer fix a broke car - he would shut down Windows and restart it!".

Few centuries ago, even flying was a dream or a wild fantasy, no less than a joke. Now, it's not only a norm, but considered to be one of the fastest and safest mode of transportation! Not without its fair share of mishaps. Self-driven autonomous cars are already here... So are drones... Space travel for masses... Almost all of us have in our pockets a device, (which could be used to broadcast or receive information), with better computing power and graphics unimaginable, super-expensive even for scientists few decades back... And many other ideas and inventions waiting to happen. But does technology really drive this innovation?? May be not! But, it's absence surely retards the progress!!

With these enabling-tools at our hand, rather fingertips, we shouldn't restrict our horizons of innovation. We need to dream big. Dreams that take away our sleep. Float crazy ideas which people may laugh at - but don't stop there, make them work. Stay foolish, stay hungry!

Came across this response in the latest AMA session of Bill Gates… an interesting point in line with current post…

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