India should be pioneers of new technology: former BARC director

Youth will give country momentum, says R. Chidambaram

December 15, 2018 01:14 am | Updated 01:14 am IST - Mumbai

The man behind the Pokhran-II nuclear test and former director of Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC), Rajagopala Chidambaram, on Friday said that India should not hesitate in being the pioneer of new technologies, and that the youth will give the country the momentum that it needs.

He was addressing the youth on ‘Technologies for the Future’ at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay’s (IIT-B) annual technology event ‘Techfest.’

“The world is changing rapidly. Technology is changing from nuclear to rural. A research development ecosystem is the need of the hour,” Dr. Chidambaram said.

The scientist stressed the need for the country’s technological development to be prioritised. “We need to make technological advancements specifically for our country. We also need to have foresight apart from forecast. Foresight requires forecast and assessment. We need to become a knowledge economy,” he said.

Rural reach

While praising Indian scientists for their various achievements, Dr. Chidambaram raised the issue of rural reach. “We have abundant knowledge, the problem is it is not reaching rural areas. While a rural technology action group has been started, we need more efforts on that front. We need e-connectivity for inclusivity and knowledge sharing,” he said.

According to Dr. Chidambaram, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are fast emerging buzzwords in the present world. “AI and machine learning are omnipresent. We now use them in flood forecasting in India. AI could be our future, sure, but I don’t think it will overtake human intelligence,” he said.

“India is using AI adequately. Things are beginning to happen, like IIT-Hyderabad runs an M.Tech and B.Tech course in AI, but these people must also find suitable applications where it can be used,” the physicist said.

Dr. Chidambaram further said, “India should not hesitate to be the pioneer of new technologies. The path to a knowledge-driven economy is paved by new advanced technologies. Proven technologies, unless subjected to continuous evolutionary improvements, are often synonymous to obsolete technologies. I am sure young people will give momentum to the technology development that India wants. We will have failures, but should not have multiple failures.”

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