Indian and Israeli youth can disrupt the tech industry

Today, it seems that the technology is driving the people and making them lose their control, one can say that we are using the smart technologies but becoming dumb as a Human.

PRIME MINISTER of India Narendra Modi looks on during his 2017 visit to Israel as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signs a document of cooperation. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
PRIME MINISTER of India Narendra Modi looks on during his 2017 visit to Israel as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signs a document of cooperation.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
India and Israel both have a thriving hi-tech industry, vibrant start-up ecosystems, and exciting entrepreneurship culture. Global technology players like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Intel, HP, IBM and others choose either Israel or India as their most preferred R&D locations. It is often said that India’s Bengaluru and Israel’s Tel Aviv are challenging Silicon Valley, while the Silicon Valley itself is dominated by the Indian and Israeli minds. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once referred in his speech that “in Silicon Valley, there are two dialects you hear – Hindi and Hebrew, and only a little English.”
Now the question before both countries is whether our young energy should make challenging Silicon Valley or replicating their culture a key goal? That’s too narrow for a goal and too limited for the scope of competition. Our young minds should leverage the technology for providing solutions to those global problems that are not yet addressed, create those examples that are not yet anticipated and should try to build a culture where technology and innovation contribute to the Nation Building and global growth. The youth of countries like India and Israel have a lot to offer to the world, which they can do by becoming more relevant in the future world order, not rebel. But it appears that the new generations of technology and social media tools (produced by big tech companies) are dedicated more on stimulating the ‘rebel’ part in the youth than creativity – an idea with which they made their products popular.
This shift in the purpose of the technology industry from ‘problem solver’ to ‘problem creator’ to ‘problem accelerator” (in some scenarios) has made the idea of “human creativity” an irrelevant subject. Shaping the narratives, supporting the protests, impacting the elections and enabling the non-state actors to achieve their goals – these were not the ideas with which the Internet and digital technologies made their way into the common people’s life but today almost all energy and resources of some major tech companies are dedicated to catering to these activities or to the management of the issues which these activities produce.
Instead of providing the vehicles of effective governance, these social and digital tools are now becoming the new means of distorting the social consensus and creating unnecessary chaos on each and every move of the democratically elected governments. One such experiment of these tech products was recently seen in India, where on the issue of some amendments in the Citizenship Act, hundreds of people from a religious community (organized via social media apps) put the lives and properties of the common people in danger.
From the “United States v. Microsoft Corporation” case of 2001 to Android anti-trust case of 2018, issues of regulation, anti-trust breach and monopolistic approach in technology industry always makes the headlines. And these days the discussion around social media’s terrorism support problems is also common but one of the least discussed yet crucial aspects is the gross impact of these technologies cum media and entertainment products on the psychological and social behavior of its users.
When the consumers became ‘prosumers’ it was seen as another improvisation of technology business but none had anticipated that the whole concept of the consumer will soon get evaporated from the business model of the tech companies. Technology giants like Google and Facebook deal with more than two billion users monthly and their revenues are growing exponentially, too, but they are following a flawed advertising-based business model which allows them to stay free yet profitable. Approximately 95% of Google’s revenue and 98% of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising. The word ‘advertising’ sounds natural with the business, but those who belong to the technology sector can realize what the scale of information exploitation could be when one billion users voluntarily allow themselves to become the product of some unknown entities.
From the business perspective too, these major tech companies have obstructed the very basic need of the customer – the freedom of choice and the availability of options to choose from. When a user will have some options to select from, the psychological effect of these apps will automatically get minimized as after that the user will take the product as the product, not as some final universal truth. When a user will have different versions of Google, each representing different perspectives, then it will naturally make him use his own wisdom and developing his own perspective. If different versions of Twitter will exist in the digital market, the psychological effect of making “followers” and participating in the blind race for that will get minimized, as then it will sound more like a common product feature, not a special social status. And if different Facebook kind of apps (equally impressive) will be there, the strong appetite for getting Likes would naturally disappear from the user’s mind.
Today, it seems that the technology is driving the people and making them lose their control, one can say that we are using the smart technologies but becoming dumb as a Human.
There is a need to recognize that AI, big data, IoT, machine learning, cloud data centers, robotics and other technologies can be leveraged for producing some deterministic outcomes but for the real progress of the technology and economy, it is the human creativity and intelligence that are needed and no algorithm can substitute that.
It is often said “disrupt, or get disrupted.” The time for disrupting the tech industry has come. Young Indian and Israeli minds should be encouraged to brainstorm how they can build a better version of Google, an effective Facebook or a less-cluttered Twitter. When the users will be given the freedom to use their wisdom and make choices, the tech companies will get motivated again to work on gaining the trust of the customers and bringing transparency about the use of their data. As John Chambers, ex-CEO Cisco, mentions in his recent blog: “The currency of today and of the future is three-fold: trust, track record, and relationships.”
The writer promotes advanced technologies, the start-up ecosystem and the Indian government’s business- and technology-related initiatives like Digital India, Make in India, Smart Cities and Startup India, among others.


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