The Prime Minister got it absolutely right. Mr rendra Modi was addressing the sixth edition of the World Government Summit hosted by the United Arab Emirates Government as the guest of honour last Sunday, where, in a powerful message before the global community, he cautioned the world against mankind fashioning tools of destruction through technology and misuse of cyberspace for radicalization. He also gave a clarion call to the world to unite on issues like long-distance online education through which poor children can be provided education. But the most important message he sent out is that the cost of the mistake of making technology an instrument of struggle with ture is very heavy. As we said in this column last Sunday, there are advanced tions that have made life very comfortable for their citizens but only after transgressing environmental limits, the sustaibility factor being a major challenge. We also hear fanciful talks by eminent entrepreneurs about setting up Mars colonies for humanity, not just Moon that is nearer. Dreams apart, the fact of life on Mother Earth is that technology has made rapid strides and there is no full stop to it as human intelligence is evolving quite fast. And, with technology, we also have the hazard of its absolute misuse, the commonest being the hacking of email accounts and extraction of vital secrets. Security, both interl and exterl, then becomes a major concern. It is all the more so for countries such as India confronted with hostile neighbours such as Pakistan and Chi. When you add to this the fact of an Indian Air Force officer leaking out secrets to Pakistan’s notorious ISI via Facebook imposters, the hazard gets all the more perilous. Therefore, what Modi has pointed to is pertinent. He also harped on disaster magement – an area where India cuts a sorry figure – while driving home the point that technology has become a big instrument of “disruptive change” and “technology is changing at the speed of thought and necessity is no more the mother of invention”. However, “technology and its spread have empowered the common man and this empowerment has got strength from minimum government, maximum governce”. These are, nonetheless, nice things to dwell on. What is imperative is implementation of the policies in place so that technology is not misused and terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Toiba brand do not bleed us by a million cuts as they have vowed by using the murkier side of technology as is available to them at their exploitative best.
The Murkier Side