An Address to the Students of Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune, India
Guest Post by Ravi Sinha
It should be a matter of no small comfort if, in today’s world and in today’s India, any discussion takes place anywhere about the relationship between knowledge and innovation on the one hand and the prospects for a good society on the other. It is greatly more satisfying and reassuring if this topic interests talented young minds such as present here, who, I hope, also nurse hopes for a better future, not only for themselves but also for the entire society and civilization. Yours is an esteemed institution with such a long history of cultivating and disseminating knowledge about society – about politics, economics and other related disciplines. I am sure this issue has been a core concern right from the inception of this institute, and I doubt if I will be able to bring in anything of added value. But, as I said, this is always a welcome topic for discussion. I am very happy for this opportunity to share some of my thoughts with you.
Today if one mentions these two words – knowledge and innovation – together, it is very likely that the image of a Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs or Bill Gates will come to mind, even if such an association is not obvious to everyone. I, for one, often need to tell myself that I should not complain. After all, these gentlemen are symbols of one of the greatest technological revolutions humanity has experienced and we are living through. It has changed the way humanity works, communicates and lives, and it is not over yet. Unrealized potentials far outweigh the realized ones and far greater changes are in the pipeline. Physicists have recently discovered that the Universe now expands at an accelerated rate, but when it comes to accelerated expansion into the unknown, the Universe appears to be no match for technology.
For many the technological explosion is a cause for unadulterated excitement and a source of unbounded hope. For many others it is a cause for grave concern. There are yet others for whom it presents a mixed picture. In times of rapid and radical transformations, it is not unusual for many to have a sense of unease. Humanity has always innovated and created new ways and forms of life, and it has always found it difficult to adjust to its own innovations and creations. But the capacity to adjust improves with time. If the sense of unease or consternation appears widespread despite a greatly improved capacity for adjusting to the new, part of the reason lies in the break-neck speed of the current change. Continue reading Knowledge and Innovation for a Better Society : Ravi Sinha