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Technological Advancement - A boon or bane?

The Current Scenario

The rapid technological advancement has made life easier for this generation as never before. However this has brought with it three imminent threats to the very source of life on this planet. They are Nuclear energy, Climate change, global warming and technology (Artificial Intelligence). All are man made. We have to address these issues on war footing before it is too late.

Tormenting issues staring at us

The world witnessed the wrath of nuclear bombs in the second world war and lost lakhs of human lives. In addition to this, we have been facing global warming and extreme weather causing sufferings to every life present on this planet since the last few decades. The natural resources like water, oil, coal and natural gases are fast diminishing. Furthermore, due to the alarming growth and use of AI in every industry, we are going to lose 59% of jobs to AI powered robots in the next 15 years. Nuclear technology and AI in the wrong hands can be devastating to world peace. What are we going to do to stop the menace of these to save the world for the future generations?

Why should we stop using Nuclear Energy?

Nuclear plants are always the potential targets for terrorists. Losses and damages due to explosions in nuclear plants can be unimaginable. Furthermore, disposal of nuclear waste is a major concern. The reactor fuels and waste remain radioactive for centuries and resulting in the whole area not worth for inhabitation. World has witnessed explosions and nuclear leaks in various places at different times causing huge losses of lives. Fukushima in Japan and Chernobyl in Ukraine (then Soviet Union) are the worst nuclear disasters that have happened in the recent past. These tragedies still linger in the world’s memory and send tremors through our spine.

Burning of fossil fuel, industrial waste gases, deforestation and valcano eruptions are causing high concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This results in global warming. 

According to Nasa, 

  • The COlevel in the atmosphere is going up all the time. 

  • Global temperature has gone up by 1.180 Celcius since 1980. 

  • Arctic Ice is melting and the sea level is rising. 

  • Snow cover in the Northern hemisphere is depleting. 

  • Absorption of carbon dioxide by ocean acidifying its water endangering marine life

Due to all these, we are experiencing extreme weather across the globe.

  • We have droughts and dry weather in the tropical regions. 

  • Hurricanes will be more intense and stronger. 

  • The Arctic ocean will become ice-free in a few decades. 

  • The plants and animals which are not able to cope up with the climate changes will slowly cease to exist. 

This will lead to ecological imbalance.

Ground, Water and Air - a menace to deal with

Carbon emission from the factories and automobiles are polluting the air. Situation further worsens due to poor waste management. Either they are dumped in a lake polluting the water or in the dumpyard in the city outskirts later to be burned polluting the air. This causes respiratory diseases to the people living nearby.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) - a savior or foe?

AI is the buzzword now. It is rapidly changing the functioning of every aspect of life. It is reducing, even in some cases literally removing human interactions in performing certain tasks.

Experts warn, “the growth and proliferation of AI into every industry might take away 59% jobs of the employees worldwide by 2030 rendering them useless econimically. Learning a new skill every 10 years and getting a job after 50 years is not possible for everyone. A few elite who make huge profits employing robots should be heavily taxed. This money should be shared with the unemployed as a common minimum salary.”

It has already taken the jobs of telecallers in BPOs, front office executives, and office secretaries. AI driven robots are being used in security surveillance by security agencies and to deliver packages to the people at their home by e-commerce companies. Driverless trucks are being used in certain parts of The United States. Driverless cars are also in the making and will be available in the market soon. Many automobile manufacturing units are keen to employ robots rather than humans as robots are cost effective and will be more productive and accurate. 

AI can be employed to do surveillence on someone without his knowledge and extract his personal data. AI powered drones can also be used to assassinate leaders with its face recognition technique or blow bombs at a crowded place. The ability of robots is becoming boundless. The day is not too far away that they will overtake humans. Some even fear that robots will enslave us.

 

What can we do to fight off the threats?

  • The use of nuclear energy and fossil fuels for power generation to be minimised to a greater extent and to be done away with in a couple of decades. Use of renewable energies like solar, wind, tidal, biomass etc. to be encouraged for power generation. This will reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases and thus global warming. It cannot happen overnight. We have to persist with the natural resources for power generation. The natural resources are also draining. Population growth, over-consumption of resources, poor farming practices and industrialization are the main causes for this. 
 
  • Strict population control measures, 

  • well organised waste management system, 

  • best farming practices, and 

  • Well monitored and controlled consumption of natural resources

All the nations should work in unison and support each other. 

How can governments help to reduce pollution? 

  • People should be given incentives to promote the purchase of electric automobiles.

  • Manufacturing of Petrol and diesel vehicles should be stopped and vehicles already on the roads be given ultimatums. 

  • Public transport services should be improved to increase public patronage. 

  • People should be encouraged to go on bicycles or foot for short distance travels.

  • Car-pooling and bike pooling can be advised. 

  • Wherever and whenever necessary, work from home can be practiced to avoid travel. 

  • Like rainwater harvesting, space for gardening or growing trees in front of each house should be made mandatory for plan approval. 

  • Proper dredging methods should be followed and done periodically to keep the lakes and ponds clean. 

  • More water reservoirs should be built and well maintained. 

  • Encroachment of water bodies should be prohibited. 

  • Further destruction of forest and mountains should be stopped for expansion of cities.

  • Prescribe best waste management system and monitor

  • One-time use plastics should be banned

 

My suggestion is that those who lose jobs to robots should take to farming, protecting natural resources, creative arts, and literature. Governments can accordingly pay salaries from the taxes collected from the elites. This should be shared with people across the globe. Children at school can be taught arts, music, crafts, literature, gardening, sports, soft skills, ethics, yoga, and meditation instead of training them to memorise data which are available on the internet at a snapping of fingers. 

They can also be taught computers and other latest technologies including medicine if they prefer to learn. These can be subjects of choice. Governments can employ everyone according to their employability and pay from the taxes collected from the elites and big corporations.

 

Working together as a Unified family

These issues cannot be solved by any one individual or a single community or any one nation alone. The entire world needs to work in unison. The superpowers should lend a helping hand to uplift the poor countries by sharing their resources including technologies. But it is really a challenging task to make it happen. The concept of nationalism is taking a strong root now. Nations are trying to become stronger and stronger than the rest. So that they can exploit the poor countries. The nations with strong nationalistic and ideological views are difficult to be convinced.

A World body should be constituted, composed of nations that should be given the highest authority to monitor and ensure all the countries follow the proposed solutions. This body should be responsible for sharing the resources including technologies among the nations. They should also ensure that the best practices on waste management systems, farming, and health care are made accessible to all countries. They should also make sure that the data of individuals or institutions or countries should be used only for constructive purposes and should not be divulged to all.

If we are freed from the clutches of our jobs by robots, we can put more time and meaningful effort into bringing the people of different races, ethnicities, ideological, and political classes closer. If we succeed in bringing all together and create a single global community, the threats of any nature can be easily dealt with. We can all work together to protect the planet. Advanced technologies will provide us more free time to work on our own well-being. If we follow the proposed measures, we can leave a better world for the next generation.

AI - a blessing in disguise

I see AI as a ‘blessing in disguise.  It’s true that AI is going to take away the majority of jobs. But that is going to give us a lot of free time. We can utilize this to focus on enriching our interpersonal relationships, emotional intelligence, and healthy social life. We can work on creating a unified global community devoid of conflicts and war. Other than space missions, aviation, marine, manufacturing, security surveillance, logistics, education, healthcare, banking, and other financial activities, AI can be used to improve farming, controlling and monitoring pollution, and global warming. Children also need not be burdened with memorizing data that are available on the internet. They can focus on subjects which can enliven their life. AI is not a threat. In fact, it can be used to provide solutions to all the threats the planet is currently facing or will encounter in the future. I would hence say technological advancement is a boon. I would even further add it is a panacea for all ills.

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