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Sunday, April 24, 2005

BBC Series - Triumph Of Technology

Paul Kedrosky points to BBC Series titled, "Triumph Of Technology". Lord Broers,Distinguished Engineer,President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Chairman of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee presents the lecture in five parts Viz, Technology will Determine the Future of the Human Race,Collaboration , Innovation and Management, Nanotechnology and Nanoscience,
Risk and Responsibility
makes very interesting reading and is very insightful( The lecture series is primarily meant for british audience but the coverage and treatment appeals to global audience. Excerpts with edits:

- Today, technology is sidelined and undervalued - we become defensive about it and would rather retreat into the past, or into fundamental science, than to strive to stay in the race. The cost of this major social failure will progressively disadvantage all of us. Technology is determining the future of the human race. We need it to satisfy our appetite for energy, perhaps through nuclear power; to help us address hunger through plant breeding throughout the world; to monitor and find the means for avoiding global warming so that we can rescue our planet for future generations. Technology can improve our health, and lengthen our lives. This lecture series is aimed at acting as a wake up call to humanity. Technology will determine the future of the human race. We should recognise this and give it the profile and status that it deserves.
- The technology dynamics has already been grasped in India and China which is pleasing because after all technology is the means by which the developing world can increase its standard of living but if western nations do not join the race to advance technology we face serious consequences not least that we will fall behind in our own intellectual, social and material development.
- Most modern technologies are created by bringing together and evolving capabilities which already exist. The genius lies in the way they are brought together and improved. The long sought mobile phone was made a reality by bringing together mathematical concepts of cellular networks, advanced ultra high frequency radios, low power microprocessors, and improved batteries. It was not invented, although buried within it are innumerable inventions, and several of the genii who design the world's best cell-phones do so just south of Cambridge. The hybrid car combines the efficient modern internal combustion engine with pollution free electric drive and systems that recycle the energy dissipated in braking. The modern jet airliner combines innumerable individual capabilities in mechanical design, aerodynamics, jet engines, electronic communication and navigation systems, and the airports that they serve are wonders of modern civil engineering. Other examples include the modern dental surgery, flat-screen TVs, medical scanners, the ubiquitous scanning electron microscope developed in this laboratory, electronic stock exchanges, Dyson's vacuum cleaner, the apparatus used to decode DNA, the IPod, and so on. All of these new technologies came about through a process in which established capabilities were evolved and combined in new ways. They were the result of engineers seeking solutions to practical problems and human need.
- The world of product and process creation has become wholly international. To be only nationally competitive is to be not competitive. The pace has also accelerated to the extent that those who do not thrive in a stressful environment had better find something else to do. In the oft quoted words of Andy Grove, - "Only the paranoid survive". This is a fast moving and ultra-competitive world. In the last decade of the 20th century we lived through what was in effect a new industrial revolution. Companies ceased to make entire products themselves and became assemblers of the world's best, and to do this they had to know the world - both its technologies and its peoples. And these trends are only going to accelerate as the emerging powers of India and China enter the world of innovation as powerfully as they entered high technology manufacturing. It is immensely exhilarating to be a player but there are no places reserved for amateurs.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"