The numbers are indeed mind-boggling but what is more significant is that a corpus of one billion people will be understanding information age appears to be technology of which the NET is its crowning glory. There is a definite shift in perspective with this millennium seeing the re-emergence of the primacy of human mind, of knowledge, of commerce, of the greatness of individual thinkers and the application of egalitarianism in its most practical form. The big idea within the NET is that of the community. People of similar interests will interact with each other regardless of national identities.
The pursuit of knowledge and ideas have gained top priority in today’s world, over other human skills and supported by technology. The invention of a new product is less important than finding the optimum utility of the product. The ideas on the NET by great thinkers and inventors are for the use of all who can understand it, value it and download it. These ideas are not limited by regional, ethnic and nationalistic barriers. The ideas are not secreted away for nationalist dominance, like the misuse of ideas and knowledge of Jewish scientists secreted away by the Allies during World War II.
The NET provides education, reference books and new ideas to scholars, educationists and thinkers from all round the world, something which even the very well off could not afford or make available. There are several websites including that of universities and the World Links for Development which provides free training for all who are interested. They provide free link us between students and teachers of developing countries and those of advanced industrialized nations. Every one gets to know more about each other, their culture, their knowledge and utilization of ideas. This is one miracle which may help make the users more comfortable with alien culture and definitely understand the why’s and when’s of the things happening elsewhere.
Just by educating the masses, the NET will enable them to share their ideas with the world community. The very acceptance of such ideas will in itself be rewarding financially and fruitfully and even the nations will join hands in providing easy access to the majority. The days of corporate ruling the roost all alone are going to be over soon. Instead of men with ideas and brainwaves routing it through international corporate giants we will have them floating their ideas and ventures individually. Freelancing is going to be the buzz word and e-business by individuals are the next to one style of financial rewards. Corporate leaders beware the business world will now have individual entities.
Thomas W. Malone of MIT defines this when he says “The basis civilisational tendency to gravitate towards order will control what chaos is generated by the collapse of bit corporations. Except that this order will be framed by basis protocols and the Internet and it will emerge without leaders. It is the golden age of individual prosperity with individual talent, creativity and ideas finding greater application and not just within a specific organization”.
Internet may have another great use within a short time to come. As it spreads its webs wider and further and people of all nationalities but with similar philosophies, interact with each other on a large scale, it will definitely create more understanding of each others problems and wither away wrong notions about each other countries, mostly spread by the nationalistic media on the advice of political leaders. ‘Politics have remained the preserve of the powerful and petty’ and it is infiltrated with vested interests and self-projections. Their interest lies in the ‘projection of humanity across national lines’.
All this is changing fast. The world is now being considered a ‘Global Village’ and we are now talking about a world community, facilitated by the Net, and regardless of national boundaries, they are intereacting freely. This free exchange of ideas will be what will ultimately matter and make the difference in international politics and religious fundamentalism.
‘With high level politics demystified into the petty bickering that it really is, ordinary people will hold way over leaders.’
India has also seen a phenomenal rise in the number of Net users doing tutorial research, looking for news of games and movies, trying to learn about the latest gadgets available and their price or even checking up on the technological advancement of other sectors, a continent away. Every such technological advance changes our way and style of doing things, our very thinking and technological gap between users and non-users. It disturbs us and our parents more to see the number of hours young students spend on the Net.
But one problem remains, the language which is English to be used on the Net. Net users who are not proficient in the language, loose out on a lot of things. Are we creating a new elite of community of English speaking urban Indians who will be a part of a powerful new transitional community linked by the Web. However the latest innovations have seen non-English users having their own parallel global groupings and India Software and Internet providers are now making the use of our regional language possible for users.
The use of the Net for providing transparency of our bureaucratic system, public sector undertakings and the state systems is now being implemented. Andhra Pradesh has already taken the lead and now all their departments and their functioning are available on the Net.
It is also being put to varied uses where speed of communication is extremely important. Doctors at far away hospitals are now directly communicating with their counterparts in other countries, helping out with their diagnosis and even helping in the treatment and operation. Internet chatters now have the facility of viewing their overseas friends through web cameras while chatting. Zoos the world over are now looking for mates for their animals, some of them endangered species.
The zoos in our country too have been facing these problems for quite sometime and by displaying the photographs of single animals in their zoo, have successfully traced out their partners in other zoos of the country. The breeding and birth of some off the rare species have been a tribute to the Net.
Business houses in India who were on the verge of closure due to paucity of client have now been able to recharge their batteries and increase production again. The typewriter industry in India was being totally phased out due to lack of orders. The ancillary industry related to this instrument was also near the end of its tether. The Net has created a new group of clients overseas and parties from China, Egypt, Brazil, Mexico and other countries are now placing orders with them. From the verge of closure to becoming an exporter and paid in US dollars is all thanks to the Net.
The cottage industry and handicraft industry of India which were being treated as outdated and obsolete have now been infused with a new life. The photographs and display on the Net have drawn customers worldwide and they are being paid better prices for their hard work. At last, they are getting the dignity and worth they had missed over the decades.
The other positive aspect especially for Third World countries like India, Philippines, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, with a large unemployed population who can speak, read and write English, is that the Net generated employment.
The major corporates in developed countries try to outsource their operations in order to avail themselves of expert services at economical rates. In the West, the cost per person comes to 200 for an 8 hour day whereas it is somewhere around 75 or even less in a country like India. We have provided several other advantages for Business Process Outsourcing activities as these are known, providing skilled manpower, high level of intelligence at cheap rates and the availability of the latest in modern information technology.
Through this BPO process the company by transferring auxiliary functions, can concentrate on their core activities. Some of the sectors where these are being applied are in credit card services, Medical transcription, telecom, banking and others. Even top Indian organizations located Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Chennai are planning to shift to BPO process with back office locations at Allahabad, Lucknow and Kanpur where economical services are readily available.
There is a global revolution today, with several countries vying with each other to reap the dividends of this system. China and Ireland are doing their best to wean away big clients from India and we need to step into top gear by providing improved and dedicated services to keep the wolf at bay.
Thanks to the Net, the developing countries are being evaluated more and more. The slogan today is ‘One Idea, One Net, One World, Common Services’.