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Is Technology Dependent on Man Or is it Vice Versa?

“Is the net working?”, one of my colleagues asked and I before I could reply, pat came the reply, “No”. And with this announcement all work stopped all of a sudden. While some of us rejoiced at this unintended break from work, others who were doing something more important banged their fists on the workstations and mumbled something to give vent to their anger. Soon the entire office, which usually resounds with the noise of key presses, was abuzz with murmur as people started gossiping with their friends and other colleagues. And there was no objection from the bosses as the work requires the employees to have access to the internet 24*7.

And, it was during one such phase in my routine day at the office, when I realized that how far mankind has reached. Today we can do things which could not have been imagined by our grandfathers. Science has gifted us with the technology to reach our loved ones within minutes which was a dream till about a century ago. The developments in the field of IT are squeezing out distances rapidly. We are advancing in space technology and medicinal and engineering fields. Nanotechnology is changing the concept of the way we look at things. And the journey has just begun. We still have many more milestones to cover and many new heights to achieve.

Given the madness of the human race for making everything automated, the day is not far away when we will be dependent on technology to fulfill even our smallest needs. But have we ever thought where this overly fast paced development trend is taking us. Have we ever given a thought to what cost we are paying for this rapid development in science and technology? Are we as humans, not losing our basic humanity in this never ending race.

The speed at which various nations are joining the rat race of developing nuclear warheads has already created quite a threatening situation for the entire human kind. We can just imagine the consequences that the world might have to face in case a war involving biological weaponry was to erupt. Who knows, maybe the horrors of movies that revel a future full of conflict between man and the machine might actually be realized. After all are we not eager to develop machines that cannot only behave like humans but also think like humans.

Today the world is divided into two major parts, an ultra modern and rich part and a shabby and extremely poor part. Somehow the technology is being used for the further development of the former class but what about the other half of the world? People, who do not get a square meal a day, don’t really care what they can do with internet. A mother who has lost her child to a disease like TB cannot understand the benefit of nanotechnology. Is the death of a six year old child, worth the millions of dollars we pump into the development of new weapons for warfare? No, absolutely not!

But if you are thinking that I am some kind of a freak who is against all advancements in technology, then let me correct you. I am nothing of that sort and in fact I am thankful for the many gifts of technological developments including my PC, which I am using to write this article. However, I am just somewhat anxious about where we are heading towards in this blind race that we have named technological research. And in my opinion those of you who have any idea about the fate of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII will share my anxiety. After all, the people who developed nuclear power must never have thought that their invention would be used to completely destroy every form of life in two major cities.

So friends, I am not against any kind of technological development but all I want to say that we need to ensure that what we are developing should not come back to haunt us. We are all well aware that the menace of terrorism has engulfed the entire world. So we can very well understand the repercussions if any device that was developed with the intention of helping in the growth of mankind, were to fall into the hands of the radicals. Hence it is important to bring in laws that will ensure that all the developments made in technology are always kept in safe hands. If this can be ensured then I am sure that the technological development will entirely change the scenario of our planet and we will soon be inhabiting a world full of peace and prosperity.

Nature Inspired – Arts and Science

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) died just as the American Civil War came to a full blow with the Confederate forces crossed the Potomac River to attack Federal targets in Virginia and Maryland.

Today, beside his political legacy, there is also the legacy of his experimental spiritual and intellectual pursuits through communion with nature.

He aspired to demonstrate his pursuit of the divine through communion with nature as a poet and also as a scientist.

In later years, his “journal” was filled with scientific observations and insights that became an important inspiration to the modern day environmental movements. Through both art and science, his transcendentalist perspective a century later became the conscious of an individual, as much as the character of a nation, our nation, America.

“Direct your eyes right inward, and you’ll find

A thousand regions in your mind

Yet undiscovered.” Travel them, and be Experts in home-cosmography”

Voice Of Thoreau
“It is possible to believe that all the past is but the beginning of a beginning, and that all that is and has been is but the twilight of the dawn. It is possible to believe that all that the human mind has ever accomplished is but the dream before the awakening….”

So said, H.G. Wells, english novelist and visionary, in 1902 in his article titled ‘Vision of the Future’ in a journal called “Nature”.

Poetry, music, art, religion, science, and philosophy, much is rooted in inspiration by nature.

A deep appreciation for the laws of nature, and interconnectedness of all life on earth as we know are important for sustenance of our cultural heritage of technology innovation. Such a heritage takes us back to such great minds of modern science and technology, as Charles Darwin, Henry David Thoreau, C.V.Raman, and Albert Einstein (just to mention a few such “great minds”) must also be part of such heritage of natural philosophy. It is important thus to note that before there was modern science and technology, there was natural philosophy.

In parallel, and often totally integrated to the process of science and technology innovation, were such great minds in philosophy and arts that existed in America. In that world of the past included practical minded founding fathers of America as Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and George Mason.

Afterward, there were other “great minds” rooted in natural philosophy such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. It is from such “great minds” that our heritage of deep appreciation of nature comes forward to our era at the gates of 21st Century America’s knowledge economy and our spirit of innovation. Quest for clean water and associated “natural habitats” to sustain clean water comes from this heritage here in America.

Thoreau integrated art and science and provided a philosophical anchor for many 20th century leaders in community, arts, and science including, Martin Luther King (community leader), Gandhi (community leader), Tagore (literary voice and poet), and B.F.Skinner (scientist). Many today considers Thoreau is the father of the modern environmental movement.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discovered that I had no lived”.

Colleges Fail to Turn Out Enough Computer and Information Technology Graduates

The computer and information technology field is one of today’s highest demand employment fields. The Federal Government projects an increase of 22% in the total number of jobs between now and 2020. The trend is expected to continue.

Industry experts say that private and public sector employers are searching for qualified people to work as web developers, security analysts, network administrators, computer support specialists and other specialized computer-related employment jobs.

College graduates with the skills and knowledge that are needed in information technology can have numerous job opportunities. The demand is widespread.

The fact remains, however, that colleges and universities in the United States are failing to prepare enough people to fill the vacancies. Evidence that employers are experiencing difficulty in finding qualified Americans to work in the computer-related occupations can be found in the continuing demand for H-1B visas for foreign workers.

The Brookings Institute reports that U.S. companies continue to face a shortage of available workers in the science and technology fields. Computer occupations remain among the job classifications for which H-1B visas are being sought. Brookings recommends that the Federal Government immediately adjust caps so that employment needs by region can be filled as soon as possible. The Institute further suggests that the fees charged to apply for H-1B visa applications be spent on programs that train U.S. workers in the high demand occupations that are currently being filled by workers from other countries.

Cisco, a major global networking company, confirms that the demand for qualified workers exceeds the supply. Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, vice president and general manager of Learning at Cisco, recently said in a Forbes magazine article, “Absolutely, there is a skills gap in I.T. It’s where the jobs will be in the future.”

William Kamela, senior director for education and the workforce at Microsoft’s Law and Corporate Affairs Office, said “Nationally, there are about 40,000 computer science graduates a year but the nation needs 122,000.” Kazmela adds, “Microsoft can’t find enough people to fill all its positions.”

The demand for information technology workers is high and the compensation for computer technology workers is above average. Modern society and economies are literally driven by computer technology. Hundreds of thousands of information specialists are needed to make it work.

A serious disconnect appears to exist among employment demand, educational institutions and students. One educational leader says, “The educational system in the U.S. has failed to address employment demand. School administrators talk a good game but ignore reality. Existing undergraduate curriculum tends to be too broad. Students have to take the responsibility and inform themselves about career opportunities. Most schools avoid doing so. An individual who obtains the information technology skills and knowledge that are in demand can recession proof his or her future. The sky is the limit.”

The facts confirm that the U.S. has a shortage of qualified information technology workers. The demand for such workers is strong. Industry leaders continue to complain that qualified workers are difficult to find. Universities and colleges are failing to fill the demand. The job opportunities in information technology are abundant.