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TECH TALK: Letter to a 2005 Baby: 10 Big Ideas (Part 2)

June 21st, 2005 · No Comments

Dear Abhishek,

2. All the Worlds Information At Your Fingertips

We are finally getting to a vision articulate by Bill Gates many years ago information at your fingertips. When I was growing up, the school and college libraries were huge repositories of information Every so often, if I wanted to know and explore more, I would go to the British Council Library. I found the IIT library staggeringly large extending to multiple floors. Twenty years later, we are on the threshold of having most of the worlds digital information searchable and accessible from a computer connected to the Internet. Google has played a large part in making this massive digital library possible with its search engine. Even though most of it is still text-based, technologies to search multimedia content are now becoming available.

You may find it a little funny that for a long time it was easier to search the world wide web of information than it was to search our own hard disks! Sometimes, that which is closest to us can be the furthest from us. (This is a deep statement having repercussions beyond just technology!) Of course, in your world, you will probably not even know the difference between local and remote storage. (Besides, unlike us, you will never run out of disk space.)

So, the question that arises is: what will you do with access to all the worlds information past and present no more than a few clicks (or voice commands) away? More information does not necessarily mean more knowledge or wisdom. You will need to intelligently chose your sources which provide you the necessary insights. Use this freedom to access the worlds information judiciously. Sometimes, less is more.

3. It is a Flat World

Let us shift gears for a moment away from technology. Tom Friedman wrote a wonderful book called The World Is Flat, which he describes as a brief history of the 21st century. What he means is that various technological development and political events have come together to create opportunities for individuals and countries which had been hitherto left behind. In the words of Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani, this has created a platform where intellectual work, intellectual capital, could be delivered from anywhere. It could be disaggregated, delivered, distributed, produced and put back together again — and this gave a whole new degree of freedom to the way we do work, especially work of an intellectual nature. You will grow up in a world where the playing field has been levelled, a Flat World. And my generation is just about coming to terms with this new reality and the world of opportunities that it opens up for us.

Tomorrow: 10 Big Ideas (continued)


TECH TALK Letter to a 2005 Baby+T

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