Super highway to freedom or...?

Super highway to freedom or...?

Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one

Marianne Williamson

The world has witnessed numerous revolutions in the past century. Of these, the most prominent ones that have marked the march of civilisation before the twentieth century are the Agricultural and the Industrial Revolution. With the advent of 21st century, the world is witnessing the most powerful and life-changing revolution through the Information Highway, termed Information Revolution. If we go back a few years down history, then it would be amusing to see that a very limited number of people in our country really knew about something called Internet!

Of course, it might sound quite foolish if today someone asks, 'What is Internet?' Because today, literally everyone including the grandpa, grandma to the watchman or a housemaid has heard about the Internet and mostly are using it to make their life easy.

The Internet, which is a worldwide network of computers that can be accessed from any home computer, is being branded a technology of freedom and praised for its egalitarian trait. The cyber revolution, as it is called by the analysts, has, for all practical purposes, abolished distance and shrunk the world to make a boundary-less landscape. In one way, it's like a global consciousness that can put us in touch with likeminded people on a broad scale. The impact of this technology is so strong on our lives that today it is nearly impossible to imagine how reality would look like and it's even more difficult to believe that it may actually happen.

Indeed it's a factual dilemma that many parents and teachers are facing with today's youngsters who are living more in virtual world rather than the real one. Did anyone of us ever imagine we would one day have the ability to send videos through the air? We never anticipated that ordinary, everyday people would be able to communicate with thousands, if not millions of people instantaneously. However, in our optimism about the bright future through technological advancement, we tend to ignore certain ground realities about the limitations of the power of this technology which is growing so rapidly that sometimes it becomes difficult to discern whether it's here to aid us or if we're here to aid technology.

To start with, we need to look at the facts that we are living in a world where over a billion people still live in abysmal poverty. As per a recent survey, around 40 per cent of the world's population still lives at a basic subsistence level without any form of electricity, while 21 per cent of the population guzzles 70 per cent of the world's commercial energy output.

This reality raises an important question: Can these new information technologies be considered as technologies of freedom? Or, are they mere weapons of destabilisation and degeneration?

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