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September 01, 2017 Friday 11:00:32 AM IST

Reinvent For a Brave New World

Cover Story

A Smart World means smart countries, smart economies, smart industries, smart education or in short, a smarter everything. The economies of Japan and Korea were on top of the world in the 80s and 90s after rising from the ravaging war. They became global powerhouses and their corporate executives became confident and assertive. But soon they were humbled by stagnation. Today, Indian industries are at the pinnacle of success especially over the past three decades as the economy opened up and markets all round the world grew interested in India because of the globalization phenomenon. The steam, however, is being lost. The lack of high end technologies and the inroads made by other developing countries in infrastructure development are making India a less competitive place especially in the services sector, one where India was booming in the last decade.

 

There are a wide range of technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Computing, Genomics, Robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) that are advancing at exponential rates. Today, robots are assembling circuit boards, AI has created self-driving cars, genes are edited to eliminate hereditary diseases, drought resistant plants are being discovered to improve agricultural produce, and fossil fuel is being replaced with clean energy -- there is disruption in every industry vertical

 


Amazon, Uber, Ola Netflix, Apple, Tesla are the new gods in the corporate world. Amazon, a simple online book store, today accounts for 43% of all online retails in the US. They are even challenging Microsoft and Google in the cloud space. The taxi industry was caught off guard when Uber and Ola entered the segment. Netflix and Apple took the entertainment industry by a scoop. Tesla is shaking the auto industry through electric cars, solar powered homes and much more which is disrupting conventional energy sectors such as oil and power.

 

Is the Indian system ready for disruption? Be it industry, education, hospitality or services sectors? Many are in denial mode, the primary reason being the lack of skilled workforce and we are not doing a good thing by being reluctant to evolve a smart education strategy for our students. The curriculum and the pedagogy need to be redefined. Today’s students will be the productive resources for the industry after six to eight years. Is our education system a study of records or futuristic?

 


Business models have changed. Past success does not guarantee future success. Look at Motorola or Kodak -- not even heard of these days in the market.

 

But disruption does not mean the end of everything. With disruption comes a lot of opportunity. AI is not the only deciding factor of tomorrow’s technology. In fact there are people who feel AI is a threat to human existence.

 


Telsa CEO Elon Musk said: “AI is the biggest risk we face as a civilization.”

 

Stephen Hawking has raised fears that humans who are limited by slow biological evolution may soon be superseded by AI.

 


AI should be considered as an aid to help humans make better decisions. For this to happen, we must learn to be smarter and create devices and technologies that help us make the world a better place to live in. Smarter cities, productive agriculture, pollution-free industries and vehicles, automated factories, etc. are ways by which we can prepare ourselves for the future.

 

Our education system needs constant revision with digital revolution transforming the world. Students need to shift from memorizing to research (not only Google), experimenting and forecasting. Do we encourage brainstorming, recognize team learning, acknowledge individual differentiators and encourage different thinking? The core of education is and will continue to remain the same -- the formation of personality, imbibing the spirit of nationalism. But the subjects of science, mathematics, and management will continue to evolve and reinvent with new concepts, theorems, principles, models and methodologies. This is smart education for a smart world.



Vincent N P

Director, HR, Suyati Technologies

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