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Month Year
  • 2nd National Conclave on Mines and Minerals   13-February,2017
  • A Backgrounder on Exponential Technologies & Future of Human Species   02-February,2017
  • A Note on Zonal Councils   31-January,2017
  • Positive Action for Ensuring Safety on Roads   30-January,2017
  • Role of Sericulture in building vibrant Rural India   30-January,2017
  • Surya Jyoti   27-January,2017
  • Atoms in the Service of the Nation   24-January,2017
  • Dignity of life and respect for retiring government servants as well as pensioners   24-January,2017
  • Two and a Half years achievements of Ministry of Railways (May 2014 to Nov 2016)   11-November,2016
  • A note on initiatives and achievements of NITI Aayog for Economic Editors Conference-2016 organized by Press Information Bureau on 10th and 11th November, 2016, at National Media Centre (NMC), New Delhi.   11-November,2016
  • Work done during 2015-16 and upto September 2017   10-November,2016
  • Achievements in the last 2 years   10-November,2016
  • Background material on various issues / development relating to Department of Expenditure for Economic Editor’s Conference-2016   10-November,2016
  • Background Material for Economic Editors’ conference (EEC)-2016   10-November,2016
  • Background Material for Economic Editor’s Conference - Department of Investment and Public Asset Management   10-November,2016
 
Ministry of Science & Technology

A Backgrounder on Exponential Technologies & Future of Human Species

It took millions of years for the human civilization to evolve into the stage that we are in now. However, the accelerating acceleration of change over recent years has been phenomenal. Trends suggest faster and more profound changes in the future. The question of beating the Moore's Law is not any more confined to the field of computer science. A host of technologies such as Additive Manufacturing, 3D printing, Quantum Computing, artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, virtual and augmented reality, alternative energy systems, biotechnology and digital medicine are growing rapidly. Such technologies are collectively referred to as Exponential Technologies.

 

Tremendous progress is in sight in terms of hyper-connecting the world, solar/ renewables being cheaper than coal, promising an end of cancer as a disease with no cure, and extending human life. Stem cells research has opened up new frontiers in medical science, Autonomous Vehicles, Drones, and Flying Cars etc. are here to disrupt the mobility. Artificial Intelligence and robotics are promising to challenge the human mind in future. Commercial Space Exploration is no longer a fiction.

 

In such an era of rapid and disruptive changes, many question arise: will these technological changes be accompanied by equally profound economic, social and cultural changes? Will technology destroy jobs at a faster rate than the rate of creation of jobs? Will future governments be forced to fork out Universal Basic Income? How education could be redefined with artificial intelligence, big data, augmented reality and personalized learning pathways? Are conventional manufacturing plants under threat with the advent of additive manufacturing? What will be the impact on skills required? After all these changes, people-to-people communication and socio-economic activities remain the same?

 

These issues become more complicated with a few far more mind-boggling predictions about the future. Some futurists even predict that eventually technology will enable one to copy his/her brain onto a computer! Scientists have talked about Technological Singularity, a term used to describe the change that would occur when humans, technology and artificial intelligence would intersect to such an extent that we are incapable of comprehending or predicting what the new race would be like.

 

If the proponents of Transhumanism are to be believed, the human species in its current form is just at the early stage of its development, and does not represent its final evolution!. Some futurists believe that the humans will be able to modify their biology to attain superintelligence; some others forecast that enhanced interface between humans and much improved artificial intelligence systems will eliminate the distinction between man and machine.

 

The implications of Exponential Technologies cannot be understood by looking at the individual parts only. Their interaction and combination in innovative ways may amplify their disruptive potential. Hence, it is necessary to envision such interactions. Co-existence of human beings as efficient as machines and machines with cognitive abilities like humans may be possible in future.

 

We humans certainly cannot remain insulated from the impact of Exponential Technologies, and there is substantial uncertainty about how intensely and how soon the impacts will be felt. Society in general and policymakers in particular need to be prepared for a range of potential outcomes. This calls for continued engagement between government, industry, academia, technical and policy experts, and of course, public at large. With an eye on this, TIFAC dedicates its 30th Foundation Day on 10th February 2017, to crystal-gaze on Exponential Technologies, and the future of human species. A daylong event is to be held on the subject on this day at the Seminar Hall, IIT Delhi (from 9:00 am onwards). People can register to confirm their participation at http://tinyurl.com/TIFACDay2017 to participate in this event.

 

 

The event will feature expositions from TIFAC and select exhibitors providing a snapshot of state-of-the-art and emerging trends. Eminent experts will share their viewpoints on what the Exponential Technologies hold for the future generations. The event will also have a focus on young students, who will not only get enlightened about the prospective future, but also have opportunity to share their perspectives. It is high time for a debate on Exponential Technologies, which are likely to have a profound impact on the human species, and TIFAC sets it in motion on its Foundation Day.

 

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