Mega Tech Technology in 2050- Review

FPJ BureauUpdated: Thursday, May 30, 2019, 06:51 AM IST
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Book: Mega Tech Technology in 2050

Author: Daniel Franklin

Publisher: The Economist

Pages: 256
Price: Rs 399

Technology has changed the course of human life. From mid of 18th century to the mid of 19th century technology developed and the world witnessed sea change in quality of human life. During last two decades of the last century technology developed so rapidly that the world depicted in science fictions almost became reality. It changed the social values, altered our ideas of morality and changed human to human relationships. In coming three decades, how technology is going to be? With the threat of global warming, climate change, rise in sea levels, rise in the levels of Co2 and other green house gases, frequent hurricanes and droughts how man is going to be? How will his life be? How rising population is going to be fed? How we are going to solve the problem of energy? How will we provide clean and potable water to everybody? How health care will be? These are some of the questions we ponder over. “Mega Tech – Technology in 2050” provides answers to these questions and assures the reader of safe, decent and prosperous future.

The book is a collection of essays by eminent writers. Many of them are either regular contributor to “The Economist” or are closely associated with the weekly. Two science fiction stories are also included in this volume. They depict the world of tomorrow. Among them story by Alastair Reynolds (Visiting hours) tells us how advances in science and technology are going to change the course of human life. It is a futuristic story woven around the life of a woman . Story of her life makes the reader to think of the futuristic developments of science and technology.

The essays in the book deals with the various issues mankind is facing and tells reader that technology is going to resolve the issues we are worried of. “Physical foundations of future technology” by Nobel prize winner Frank Wilczek, “ Biotechnolgy’s possibilities” by Robert Carlson, “Farming tomorrow” by Geoffrey Carr, “Energy technology : The rise of the renewable” by Anne Scgukat, “The ethics of artificial intelligence” by Aluciano Floridi and last essay of the book “ Concluding reflections : lessons from the industrial Revolution” by Oliver Morton merit special attention of a reader who is curious to know about the future of our mother planet and of mankind. The speed at which technology is advancing is amazing and the impacts of these advancements on human life is, atleast sometimes, are fearful. The science fiction by Reynolds is, in a way,  frightening. Will man be the same after three decades or in decades to come? Will he loose his identity to robots? Will robots take a dominating position in the future society? Are we dealing with the unknown blindly? Will gene modification or gene editing have bad effects on man and plants? The essays in the book makes the reader to think about these and many more questions.

Technology and science have changed the planet in last 150 years. But technolohy is not as new as we think to be. The current issue of Scientific American, in it’s lead story, tells us that the discovery of 3.3 million-year-old stone tools overturns long-standing views on human evolution. We may have to rewrite the history of human evolution, origins of technology and how man adapted himself to the world of technology.

There are references to India in the book. One of them, is on page 119 (Energy technologies : the rise of the renewables) and it says  “India, for example, has the ambitious plan to bring electricity to its 240 million citizens who are currently without power. Its goal is to do so in part by adding wind and solar installations, but it is also ramping up domestic coal production.” India’s “Technology Information, Forcasting And Assessment Council” (TIFAC) has poblished “Thechnology vision 2035” report which give clear idea of the developments India has been doing in the field of technology. It says that technologies like Solar PV, Supercritical coal, Shale gas, Smart grids,  ICT based smart monitoring systems, Green and Net zero energy buildings and Brushless DC (BLDC) Motors are readily deployable. It says “ Our energy targets will include capacity creation for reaching 1,000 GW of power generation at the national level, with 50% of this taget coming from renewable resources. Transmission and distribution losses would be less than 3%.” Apart from the above mentioned technologies which are readily deployable,  there are eight technologies that need to be moved from lab to field and 13 technologies require targeted research. India has been doing all the efforts in developing various technologies and energy sector is just one of them.

The last chapter of the book demand more attention of reader. Over all the book is a journey to the future. It is a journey that assures us of safe and decent life. Thanks to “The Economist” for bringing out this thought provoking peep in to the future. It assures us that it is certainly not going to be a leap in the dark.

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